April 27, 2016 / 6:12 PM / in 2 years

Polish administrative court says government must recognize constitutional rulings

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s top administrative court urged the government on Wednesday to recognize constitutional court rulings and appealed for the judiciary’s independence to be respected in Poland’s worst constitutional crisis in decades.

Since coming to power in October, the staunchly conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party has enacted a reform which has increased the majority the court needs to pass rulings and changed the order in which cases are heard.

Critics say the changes make it difficult for judges to review, let alone challenge the ruling party’s legislation. The court itself struck the reform down as unconstitutional, bypassing the new regulations, but the government refused to recognize the verdict.

The government has also said it would not recognize any of the court’s future verdicts unless they are issued on the basis of the new regulations.

In the statement, the Supreme Administrative Court, which rules on issues concerning state administration, appealed for the judiciary’s independence to be respected, and said the constitutional court’s rulings were final and binding.

It also said that verdicts, which need to be printed in a governmental journal of laws to become legally binding, must be published without “undue delay”.

The administrative court’s statement comes just a day after Poland’s Supreme Court said that the constitutional court verdicts must be recognized by the government, adding they were binding even if they remain unpublished.

Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Editing by Dominic Evans

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