#YearofNewTasks: Prime Minister Beata Szydło with the Ministers Zbigniew Ziobro and Mariusz Kamiński about the reforms of the judiciary and of special services

Service to the citizens is a priority of the the Law and Justice government - argued on Thursday Prime Minister Beata Szydło, after meeting with the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro and the Special Services Coordinator, Mariusz Kamiński. In this context, she mentioned, inter alia, the planned reform of the judiciary and modernisation of the special services.

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Photo: P. Tracz/Chancellery of the Prime Minister

Well functioning law and special services to guard the safety of the Polish citizens

It was the third meeting of the Head of the Government with the Ministers as part of a review of the ministries scheduled to last for two weeks. Its objective is to determine new lines of the activities of the Government.

We talked about the things which are most important for the Poles, namely, safety and justice and about the activities which have already been taken within the framework of the projects being introduced. The Ministry of Justice’s achievements include the adoption of many very important acts - stressed Prime Minister Beata Szydło. She mentioned the activities to reduce pathologies in the economy or acts to protect Polish children.

Prime Minister Beata Szydło informed that in 2017 the Ministry of Justice will focus on the reform of the judiciary expected by all. The Poles complain about the work of courts and they need to trust courts - she stressed. She also argued that the citizens need to know that they go to courts to get justice and that everytime they need protection, the state stands on their side. This, according to Prime Minister, is the main objective, the starting point of the reform of the judiciary.

Referring to the special services, the Head of the Government added that they are under control of the state and in the service of the state and their fundamental role is to protect strategic institutions and every Polish citizen. It is extremely important that the Poles may feel safe and all internal and external threats are eliminated - stressed Beata Szydło.

Plans of the Special Services Coordinator for 2017: modernisation of the services and fight against corruption

We have a very detailed plan, whose only purpose is to strengthen and modernise our special services, so that we all could feel – we, as the government leaders and the state as the citizens – that we can live in a safe country, that Poland is, so far, an oasis of safety against a background of what is happening in Europe - said Minister Mariusz Kamiński. As he added, those elements of the plan, which will require the consent of the Parliament, will be announced to the public in due course.

Minister Mariusz Kamiński pointed out that the major task of the Polish special services is to protect the sovereignty of the state. The safety of citizens is also associated with the threat of terrorism. The fact that there were no spectacular, bloody attacks in our country is a great luck, but also hard work of the special services - he argued.

The Special Services Coordinator recalled that in 2016 two world-class events were held in Poland – the NATO Summit in Warsaw and the World Youth Days in Kraków. Securing those events in terms of the safety of their participants was a gigantic effort of, inter alia, the special services. I am sure that those were the most advanced and largest-scale operations of the special services in free Poland - he said.

Minister Kamiński stressed that another priority of his activities for the coming year is the fight against corruption. Currently, the draft act on the public life transparency is being prepared, inter alia, on property statements of public officials. Also, the legal status of so-called whistleblowers will be regulated. It is about the creation of protection for the citizens, so that they could not be harassed in their workplace due to their civic attitude - said Minister Mariusz Kamiński.

2017: reform of the judiciary and of the Criminal Code

The Head of the Ministry of Justice announced a major reform of the Criminal Code. We will tighten the penalties for the most violent crimes and will adequately respond to minor offences - said Zbigniew Ziobro. In his opinion, the society deserves to be effectively protected against dangerous, persistent bandits”.

The Minister also presented the objectives of the reform of the judiciary. The changes in the area of the judiciary require prudence and well-thought introduction so as not to cause unnecessary side effects - said the Head of the Ministry of Justice. Another change planned by the Ministry of Justice is to increase the effectiveness of the work of judges and to reduce the number of functional posts in courts. We have diagnosed here many irregularities and phenomena, whose elimination, in our opinion, will really improve the efficiency of the work of judges. In Poland, there are too many judges. We have the army of 10 thousands judges - said Ziobro.

The Minister of Justice also announced simplifying procedures affecting the legal proceedings in civil and business cases and establishing the principle of the immutability of the court composition, also in civil cases. Also, an electronic system for recording the work of judges will be introduced to measure the case load of courts and judges, and will allow to distribute these cases in such a way so as to accelerate the proceedings. Within the Supreme Court, an additional disciplinary chamber will be established which would be involved in disciplinary offences committed by judges and prosecutors. The Ministry also intends to control, on a national scale, selecting court compositions by lot in every court in Poland.

Minister Ziobro informed that an amendment to the Act on the National Council of Judiciary had been prepared, according to which judges to the NCJ would be selected by the Parliament. This is the democratic legitimacy and Parliament’s right to co-decide on who will create the judiciary in the future.

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