Disciplinary Responsibility of a Disciplinary Spokesman for Breach of Judicial Independence
The following article comprises an analysis of the basis and scope of disciplinary liability of a disciplinary spokesman for breach of judicial independence. It indicates the inherent interdependence between judicial disciplinary liability and the constitutionally protected principle of independence. The author believes that a separate judicial disciplinary liability constitutes one of the guarantees of independence. The protection of independence is further enhanced by the autonomy of the disciplinary proceedings and the means of determining the basis for such liability, the limits of which are delineated by independence. Nevertheless, it serves to outline the spokesman’s competences and thus the scope of legal acts. Abuse of the aforementioned competences in this regard is equal to an abuse of independence. What is more, the commentary sets out to introduce a two-tier understanding of the notion of abuse of independence, that is internal and external breaches. Under the current law, it is impossible for a spokesman to be in breach of independence, for he does not boast one. However, a spokesman can undertake to externally abuse another party’s - i.a. a judge’s - independence. Such abuse can be caused by non-adherence to the established limits of judicial disciplinary liability. Under such circumstances, a spokesman is in breach of his competences, which is subsequently reflected in a material violation of judicial independence. The bases of disciplinary liability of a disciplinary spokesman are set forth in the provisions pertaining to the disciplinary liability of the judiciary and the prosecution. Hence, a disciplinary spokesman’s liability is a sub-type of the general disciplinary liability of the judge (or prosecutor) who serves as a spokesman.