Attack or reform: Systemic interventions in the judiciary in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1393

Keywords:

Central and Eastern Europe,, judicial independence, attack and reform, accountability of the judiciary, Slovak reform of the judiciary 2020, Europa Central y del Este, independencia judicial, reforma judicial eslovaca 2020, ataque y reforma

Abstract

Is it possible to distinguish whether a government is willing to eliminate its accountability or aims for public trust or efficacy growth? Moreover, which elements in the government’s actions differentiate valid criticism from an attack on the independence of the judiciary? This paper proposes an original approach toward recognizing an attack on the judiciary. While previous approaches focused on the reformer’s motivation, adherence to international standards, or the requirement of the “tribunal established by the law,” this approach is looking for a kernel of judicial independence and finds it in sufficient conditions for a judge’s free and impartial decision. In the paper, changes in Hungary and Poland will be compared to the Slovak judicial reform since 2020. While after three decades after the fall of state socialism, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia face similar problems of backsliding of the rule of law and emerging populism, different motivations, interpretations, and outcomes of the judicial reforms can be seen in Slovakia.

¿Es acaso posible distinguir si un gobierno está dispuesto a eliminar su responsabilidad o si aspira a la confianza pública o al crecimiento de la eficacia? Por otro lado, ¿qué elementos de las acciones del gobierno diferencian una crítica válida de un ataque a la independencia del poder judicial? Este documento propone un enfoque original para reconocer un ataque al poder judicial. Mientras que los enfoques anteriores se centraban en la motivación del reformador, la adhesión a las normas internacionales o el requisito del “tribunal establecido por la ley”, este enfoque busca un núcleo de independencia judicial y lo encuentra en las condiciones suficientes para la decisión libre e imparcial de un juez. En el documento, los cambios en Hungría y Polonia se compararán con la reforma judicial eslovaca desde 2020. Si bien después de tres décadas de la caída del socialismo de Estado, Hungría, Polonia y Eslovaquia se enfrentan a problemas similares de retroceso del Estado de Derecho y populismo emergente, en Eslovaquia se observan diferentes motivaciones, interpretaciones y resultados de las reformas judiciales.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1393

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Author Biography

Peter Čuroš, University of Oslo/Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences

Peter Čuroš is an assistant professor at the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw. Before, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institutt for Privatrett, Univeristetet i Oslo, member of the project Judges under Stress – The Breaking Point of Judicial Institutions Project. The project was financed by the FRIPRO program of the Norwegian Research Council and the University of Oslo (2019-2022). Contact details: curos.peter@gmail.com

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Published

06-02-2023 — Updated on 01-04-2023

How to Cite

Čuroš, P. (2023) “Attack or reform: Systemic interventions in the judiciary in Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 13(2), pp. 626–658. doi: 10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1393.