Poland ordered to repay EU fines for breaching judicial decision

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Poland’s ruling party Law and Justice contested the court’s decision to hand down fines

Europe’s top court has ordered Poland to pay back more than 1m euros (£940,000) each day it failed to comply with a decision to limit judicial appointments.

The European Court of Justice said the ruling party’s “shameless politicisation” of Poland’s judiciary has tarnished the reputation of its courts.

The government says the court’s decision is illegal.

Law and Justice is already reeling from the EU’s suspension of its voting rights earlier this year over democracy concerns.

The court ordered Poland to restore a court tribunal’s powers to overturn government changes since 2015.

Law and Justice changed the way judges were appointed and managed the handling of court cases in the country.

It stood accused of violating several aspects of the European Union’s rule of law by undermining democratic checks and balances and pursuing a judicial reshuffle that had not been backed by parliament.

Judges are required to be elected, and the current system gave the president powers over judicial appointments.

However, the president lost this power in 2015 when Law and Justice’s Law and Justice party took power.

It has since taken steps to strengthen its control over the judiciary.

The ruling party often accuses the judiciary of an anti-government bias and its critics say this interference has undermined judicial independence and undermined the court’s autonomy.

Two rulings issued on Monday by the Luxembourg-based court sided with the Council of Europe, which includes Poland among its members.

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