December 17, 2018 / 4:54 PM / 2 months ago

EU court orders Poland to suspend judicial overhaul law

FILE PHOTO: Poland's President Andrzej Duda speaks during a joint news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev (not pictured) in Sofia, Bulgaria, November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov/File Photo

LUXEMBOURG/WARSAW (Reuters) - The European Union’s top court ruled on Monday that Poland must immediately suspend a law that forced some Supreme Court judges to retire, drawing a line under a dispute between Warsaw and Brussels.

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party had already agreed to scrap the law that lowered the judges’ retirement age, after the European Court of Justice issued an interim judgement against the legislation in October. Monday’s order made the court decision final.

The eurosceptic and nationalist PiS initially pushed through a range of new powers after coming to power in 2015 that rights groups and EU officials said threatened the rule of law and increased the government’s control over Polish courts.

PiS originally argued the changes were needed to improve the efficiency of the courts and rid the country of a residue of Communism.

But as it prepares for national elections next year, it has shown signs of softening its position on a number of issues.

President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the ruling party, said late on Monday he had approved revamped legislation to reverse the change to the judges’ retirement age.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop and Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter

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