Federation of European Bar Associations Press Release – Ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court of 15 April 2021

4.05.2021

The Presidency of the European Bars Federation (FBE), an organisation representing 250 European bar associations and over 1,000,000 lawyers,  expresses its concern about the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Court of 15 April 2021, which declared that it is unconstitutional for the Polish Ombudsman to continue to perform the Ombudsman’s  duties after the expiry of the term of his office if no successor has been elected.

The FBE presidency notes with deep concern that the result of such decision may be that the citizens of a democratic country which is a member state of the EU may be denied the right  to  seek  protection of their fundamental human rights and freedoms from the Ombudsman in case such rights are threatened by the governmental  authorities.

The FBE Presidency would like to emphasize that, in a democratic society, the Ombudsman is an authority independent of the governmental agencies and therefore protects the rights and freedoms of human beings and citizens and at the same time guarantees that all vulnerable citizens, regardless of their social and economic status, political views, gender or any other features will not be left without assistance.

The FBE Presidency believes that ensuring the continuity of the office of the Ombudsman is an obligation of a democratic state adhering to the rule of law.

Therefore, the FBE Presidency expresses its wish that in the near future the mandate of the Ombudsman office in Poland will be effectively filled by a candidate who will guard the rights and freedoms of citizens and human beings in a manner independent of the authorities, following the example of Professor Adam Bodnar.