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Executing a European Arrest Warrant in the Middle of a Rule of Law Crisis: Case C-216/18 PPU Ministe
In LM, the Court of Justice ruled that the executing Member State (in this case Ireland) must refrain from giving effect to an European Arrest Warrant where the issuing Member State (in this case Poland) is facing systemic or generalised deficiencies in the independence of its judiciary and where there are substantial grounds for believing that the individual concerned will consequently risk having his right to fair trial breached upon surrender. The case was not only legally complex, but also politically charged, as it was set within the context of systemic undermining of judiciary in Poland. This contribution focuses on critically assessing the judgment from the perspective of the relationship between the principle of mutual trust and fundamental rights, analysing the developments with regard to the nature of rights capable of rebutting mutual trust and the test required to do so. It also briefly reflects on the potential for the Court’s reasoning in LM, in particular the central positioning of the independence of judiciary in the EU constitutional order, to impact the ongoing legal and political proceedings addressing the Polish rule of law crisis.