C-619/18 European Commission v Republic of Poland [2019]

C-619/18 European Commission v Republic of Poland [2019] addressed two main legal issues: the violation of equal pay measures under Article 157 TFEU and the breach of Article 19(1) TEU read in light of Article 47 CFREU concerning judicial independence. The proceedings were initiated by the Commission against Poland, alleging a failure to uphold its obligations under EU law.

In relation to the first complaint under Article 157 TFEU, the Commission argued that the Polish legislation, which lowered the compulsory retirement age for judges and public prosecutors based on gender, violated the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sex. The Court held that the conditions set by the legislation introduced directly discriminatory practices, failing to comply with both Article 157 TFEU and Article 5(1) of Directive 2006/54.

The second complaint, based on Article 19(1) TEU read in light of Article 47 CFREU, focused on the issue of judicial independence. The Commission contended that Poland failed to establish a system of legal remedies ensuring effective judicial review, particularly concerning bodies like the ordinary Polish courts. The Court emphasised the inherent requirement of judicial independence, which is essential for effective judicial protection and a fair trial, as outlined in Article 47 of the Charter.

The Court found that the mechanism introduced by Poland, allowing the Minister for Justice to extend a judge's term beyond the new retirement age, undermined the independence of judges by not guaranteeing they would carry out their duties autonomously and be protected against external intervention or pressure. The specific conditions and procedural rules imposed by the contested national provisions did not meet the requirements to protect judges from potential influences.

In its judgment, the Court concluded that Poland's measures violated EU law, both in terms of equal pay under Article 157 TFEU and the requirements of judicial independence under Article 19(1) TEU read in conjunction with Article 47 CFREU.

This case highlights the significance of this case, noting that it marked the first time the Court of Justice found a Member State in violation of the obligation to provide remedies sufficient for effective judicial protection under Article 19(1) TEU. The ruling underscores the Court's role in safeguarding fundamental principles of the rule of law, especially in situations where explicit rule-of-law backsliding affects a national judiciary.

This case also raises broader questions about the EU's role in addressing systemic threats to the rule of law and the ongoing challenges in handling such matters, as exemplified by Art. 7(1) TEU proceedings initiated against Poland and Hungary. Criticism is directed at the Council and the Commission for perceived delays and disagreements on how to tackle rule-of-law backsliding at a systemic level, emphasising the need for a comprehensive approach that considers the consequences for fundamental rights.
Back to blog

UOL Case Bank

Upon joining, you become a valuable UOL student and gain instant access to over 2,100 case summaries. UOL Case Bank is constantly expanding. Speed up your revision with us now.

Subscribe Now

Where are our students from?

Yale University
Council of Europe
Baker Mckenzie 
University of Chicago
Columbia University
New York University
University of Michigan 
University College London (UCL)
London School of Economics (LSE)
King’s College London (KCL)
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Zurich
University of York
Brandeis University
University of Exeter
University of Sheffield
Boston University
University of Washington
University of Leeds
University of Law
Royal Holloway, University of London 
Birkbeck, University of London
SOAS, University of London
University of Kent
University of Hull
Queen’s University Belfast
Toronto Metropolitan University
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
University of Buckingham

  • Criminal Practice

    Diagrams and Charts

    Our carefully designed diagrams and charts will guide you through complex legal issues.

  • Criminal Law

    Clear and Succinct Definitions

    Key concepts are concisely defined to help you understand legal topics quickly.

  • Property Law

    Statutory Provisions

    Statutory provisions are provided side by side with legal concepts to help you swiftly locate the relevant legislation.

  • Public Law

    Case Summaries

    We have summarised important cases for you so that you don't need to read long and boring cases.

  • Evidence

    Rules and Exceptions

    Rules and exceptions are clearly listed so that you know when a rule applies and when it doesn't.

  • Company Law


    Legal terms and key concepts are explained at the beginning of each chapter to help you learn efficiently.

  • Case Law

    Case law is provided side by side with legal concepts so that you know how legal principles and precedents were established.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Law Essay Guide

    You will learn essential law exam skills and essay writing techniques that are not taught in class.

  • Law Exam Guide

    Problem Question Guide

    We will show you how to answer problem questions step by step to achieve first-class results.

  • Conflict of Laws

    Structured Explanations

    Complex legal concepts are broken down into concise and digestible bullet point explanations.

  • Legal System and Method

    Legal Research

    You will learn legal research techniques with our study guide and become a proficient legal researcher.

  • Jurisprudence and Legal Theory


    All essential concepts, principles, and case law are included so that you can answer exam questions quickly.