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Poland’s Controversial Law on Work of Constitutional Tribunal Comes Into Force

Poland’s controversial law concerning the country's Constitutional Tribunal and its decision-making came into force on Tuesday.

WARSAW (Sputnik) — On July 31, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a new law concerning the Constitutional Tribunal, the country's top legislative court, stipulating 11 out of 15 Constitutional Tribunal judges must vote, while a review the constitutionality of a law can be made with only five judges.

The bill also enacts a so called "blocking minority" — if four judges vote against a motion during, it could hamper its passing.

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However, earlier this month, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that 10 articles of the new law regulating its work were partially inconsistent with the country's constitution. The tribunal ruled in particular that the ability to block  court decisions by four judges contradicted the country's constitution.

Reforms to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal proposed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party have been met with international opprobrium and have sparked internal protests.

In March, the Council of Europe’s advisory panel, known as the Venice Commission, said that the reform of the Constitutional Tribunal, as well as other legislation passed by Poland's ruling party was a threat to democracy and rule of law in Poland.

On July 27, the European Commission set out its concerns and recommendations on how to address a constitutional crisis in Poland, giving it three months to make the Constitutional Tribunal compliant with EU regulations.

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