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The fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe has created an extraordinary opportunity to raise democratic societies in that part of the world. However, since the 2008 economic crisis and throughout the ongoing pandemic, Europe has seen a rise of populist movements, which depart from governing by “the rule of law” in favor of the “rule by law”.

During our third webinar, Professor Laurent Pech, Head of the Department Law at the Middlesex University London, specialist in EU Public Law, will talk about the role of the European Court of Justice in the protection of the rule of law and processes geared towards the promotion of the rule of law.

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by Professor Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Poland.

The webinar is part of the series “Spring with the Rule of Law in CEE”, organised by Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL) and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Language of the event is English. Live streaming will be availabe for all interested parties on the day of the event.

May 27
11:00 CEST (UTC+2)

The Court of Justice to the rescue of the rule of law: from Portuguese Judges (Case C-64/16) to Romanian Judges (Case C-83/19 et al)

During the webinar, Professor Laurent Pech will talk about the rule of law in the context of the European Court's of Justice activities, and in particular its role in protecting the principles of the rule of law in the EU. He will focus on two specific cases related to some legislative initiatives introduced by the EU member states, which affect one of the EU's legal fundamentals, i.e. judicial independence.

The system of the rule of law works well when all its elements are balanced. Judges employed by the justice systems of the EU member states are, at the same time, European judges. Any threat to judicial independence and any political presure exerted on judicial systems of the member states should be viewed as a crucial European issue.

The webinar series “Spring with the Rule of Law in CEE” is organised by Riga Graduate School of Law and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. The series aims to raise the awareness about the fundamental concepts of the rule of law system, its Central and Eastern European specifics and the challenges that await societies during the creation of a fully democratic political community.


About the Series

The webinar series “Spring with the Rule of Law in CEE” is organised by Riga Graduate School of Law and SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities. The series aims to raise the awareness of participants about the fundamental concepts of the rule of law system, its Central and Eastern European specifics and the traps that await society during the creation of a fully democratic political community.

Participants will have an opportunity to attend meetings and discussions with acclaimed experts who have spent their time on in-depth research of the rule of law, Central and Eastern Europe, and the legal practices strengthening these ideals.

The series aims to shed some light on emerging issues and opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe and the European Union as a whole.

Keynote Speaker

Angelika Nussberger



Prof. Laurent Pech – is Professor of European Law and Head of the Law and Politics Department at Middlesex University London. He is also a Visiting Professor of Law at Bordeaux University and a Senior Research Fellow at the CEU Democracy Institute in Budapest. Professor Pech specialises in EU Public Law and is currently a member of the editorial board of the Hague Journal on the Rule of Law and a member of the H2020 funded research project on ‘Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law’ (RECONNECT). In March 2021, he co-founded The Good Lobby Profs which he is now co-directing with Dr Joelle Grogan. His main area of research is respect for the rule of law in the European legal space and his most recent publications include: ‘Poland’s Rule of Law Breakdown: A Five-Year Assessment of EU’s (In)Action’ (2021) 13 Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 1; The Concept of Chilling Effect. Its untapped potential to better protect democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights in the EU, Open Society European Policy Institute, March 2021; ‘Protecting Polish judges from Poland’s Disciplinary “Star Chamber”’ (2021) 58 Common Market Law Review 137; Written submission in response to the Rule of Law call by the Joint Committee on EU Affairs of the House of the Oireachtas, RECONNECT Policy Brief, January 2021.



Barbara Grabowska Moroz



Anna Wójcik – is a researcher at the Constitutional Law and European Studies Department of the Institute of Legal Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences. She covers the rule of law crisis in Poland for OKO.press and is as co-founder and editor of the Wiktor Osiatyński Archive and a blog ruleoflaw.pl. Anna graduated with a degree in law from the University of Warsaw and a degree in sociology from the Central European University. She also studied philosophy in Warsaw and at the University of Paris Sorbonne-IV. Currently, Anna is a Rethink.CEE fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, researching links between safeguarding democratic values and independent media.

Kristaps Tamuzs



Francesco Luigi Gatta – is a Visiting Professor at the Riga Graduate School of Law (Latvia), where he teaches EU Law, European Constitutional Law, and Migration and Asylum Law. The areas of his research/interests include migration, asylum law, and human rights.
Professor Gatta graduated cum laude from the University of Padova. He holds a double-Ph.D. from the Universities of Padua (Italy) and Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck (Austria). During his teaching career, he was a visiting researcher and a research fellow in various European universities, including: Universität-Konstanz (Germany); EUI – the European University Institute (Italy); Università della Tuscia (Italy); Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium); Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck (Austria); Université de Strasbourg (France); Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium); and Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (Germany). 


marcin jacoby



Professor Adam Bodnar – is a lawyer specializing in constitutional law and human rights. He has held the position of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Poland since September 2015. He is also a former Vice-President of the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights (2010-2015). Throughout his career, he has been working with many NGOs, including Panoptykon Foundation (Chair of the Foundation Council), ClientEarth Poland (member of the Program Council), Professor Zbigniew Hołda Association (co-founder and member of the board). Additionally, he was a member of the Civic Legislation Forum operating at the Batory Foundation and a member of the Board of Directors of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (2014 - 2015).

Prof. Bodnar is an author and co-author of numerous scientific publications, in particular on the topic of human rights. His doctoral theses A multilayer citizenship in the European constitutional space received a special prize in a competition organized by Przegląd Sejmowy (Sejm Overview), a bi-monthly publication of the Polish Parliament (Sejm). Professor Bodnar obtained his post-doctoral degree (habilitacja) at the University of Warsaw in 2019. His post-doctoral dissertation was published as Wykonywanie orzeczeń Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka w Polsce. Wymiar instytucjonalny (Implementation of Judgements of the European Tribunal for Human Rights in Poland. Institutional Dimension), (Wolters Kluwer).



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Date and Location 

Thursday, May 27, 2021, 11:00 CEST (UTC+2)


SWPS University: Filip Cyuńczyk
e-mail: fcyunczyk@swps.edu.pl

RGSL: Ieva Racenaja
e-mail: ieva.racenaja@rgsl.edu.lv


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