Language of document :

Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 6 October 2021 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Sąd Najwyższy – Poland) – Proceedings brought by W.Ż.

(Case C-487/19) 1

(Reference for a preliminary ruling – Rule of law – Effective legal protection in the fields covered by EU law – Second subparagraph of Article 19(1) TEU – Principles of the irremovability of judges and judicial independence – Transfer without consent of a judge of an ordinary court – Action – Order of inadmissibility made by a judge of the Sąd Najwyższy (Izba Kontroli Nadzwyczajnej i Spraw Publicznych) (Supreme Court (Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs), Poland) – Judge appointed by the President of the Republic of Poland on the basis of a resolution of the National Council of the Judiciary, despite a court decision ordering that the effects of that resolution be suspended pending a preliminary ruling of the Court – Judge not constituting an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law – Primacy of EU law – Possibility of finding such an order of inadmissibility to be null and void)

Language of the case: Polish

Referring court

Sąd Najwyższy

Parties to the main proceedings

Appellant: W.Ż.

Intervening parties: Prokurator Generalny zastępowany przez Prokuraturę Krajową, formerly Prokurator Prokuratury Krajowej Bożena Górecka, Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich

Operative part of the judgment

The second subparagraph of Article 19(1) TEU and the principle of the primacy of EU law must be interpreted as meaning that a national court seised of an application for recusal as an adjunct to an action by which a judge holding office in a court that may be called upon to interpret and apply EU law challenges a decision to transfer him without his consent, must – where such a consequence is essential in view of the procedural situation at issue in order to ensure the primacy of EU law – declare to be null and void an order by which a court, ruling at last instance and comprising a single judge, has dismissed that action, if it follows from all the conditions and circumstances in which the process of the appointment of that single judge took place that (i) that appointment took place in clear breach of fundamental rules which form an integral part of the establishment and functioning of the judicial system concerned, and (ii) the integrity of the outcome of that procedure is undermined, giving rise to reasonable doubt in the minds of individuals as to the independence and impartiality of the judge concerned, with the result that that order may not be regarded as being made by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law, within the meaning of the second subparagraph of Article 19(1) TEU.


1 OJ C 337, 7.10.2019.