The association representing Ireland's judges has expressed "grave concern" over challenges to the independence of their Polish counterparts.

Echoing similar warning to judges across Europe, the Association of Judges of Ireland executive said that mutual recognition was dependent on the clear independence of the judiciaries in both territories.

The Polish government passed a series of controversial laws last week granting itself wide-ranging powers to sack and hire judges, including its Supreme Court.

A recent similar statement by the association representing English and Welsh Judges led to claims by legal experts that extradition between Poland and other states may be challenged by the belief that judicial independence had been undermined.

Ireland currently receives around 90 requests from Poland annually for the extradition of persons living here but wanted there to face criminal charges or trial.

The mechanism under which these extraditions occur is the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) system, one of the requirements of which is the clear independence of the judiciary to which the requested member country is asked to return a person to face trial or charges.

The full statement, which was issued on the AJI website, says the Executive of The Association of Judges of Ireland was "gravely concerned by the events and actions" in Poland. 

It added that the AJI "wishes to emphasize that in order to maintain and enhance that trust between judicial authorities in the European Union which is necessary as the basis for mutual recognition, it is essential that the independence of the judiciary be maintained. Respect for the rule of law demands no less".