How many members does the Polish Constitutional Court have?

Originally published on Völkerrechtsblog, 8 January 2016

The Polish Constitutional Court (the ‘Court’) will soon consider the constitutionality of a new statute that regulates the Court’s procedure (case K 47/15). The statute in question, amending the Act on the Constitutional Court, introduced inter alia a novel decision-making procedure and has been criticised as infringing the Court’s constitutionally guaranteed independence. One highly problematic aspect of the new statute is that it aims to disable the Court from using the old procedure to assess the constitutionality of the new procedure. The Court has already opted to proceed notwithstanding the new rules, acting directly on the basis of the Polish Constitution, thus implicitly confirming that it does not view itself bound by the new statutory procedure (or, for that matter, by the old procedure). It will not be possible here to do justice to all the complex issues involved (a longer overview is available here). Hence I will focus on the crucial issues concerning the required quorum and of the number of the Court’s members.