NGOs evaluate proposed amendments to the Georgian Organic Law on “Constitutional Court”
On 4 April, Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Georgia Mr. Vakhtang Khmaladze initiated the bill on changes to the Organic Law of Georgia on “Constitutional Court “.
According to the current regulations, the Constitutional Court has the authority to suspend the law until the court makes a final decision, if the Court considers that a legal act can cause irreparable consequences for each of the involved parties. With the proposed amendments, the Court will retain its abovementioned authority, but it will be limited to a 30-day period. In particular, if the Court decides to suspend the disputed legal norm, then the Court will have to decide on a case within 30 days. If the Court does not render final decision within 30 (calendar) days, the decision to suspend a disputed rule will automatically lose its power from the 31st (calendar) day.
According to the explanatory note the aim of the proposed amendments is to reduce a legal vacuum caused by the suspension of the law to reasonable time limit, which can inflict damage on the third parties.
The aim of the amendment is understandable and acceptable. Despite this, we consider that the draft law requires further improvements. In our opinion 30-day deadline is too short. The Constitutional Court deals with a very difficult task to produce authentic interpretation of the constitution. Based on the public interest it is important that the interpretation made is complete, reasonable and of descent quality. Taking into account limited practice and scarce resources available to the Constitutional Court, this term should be reasonably extended based on the consultations with the Court itself.
The second remark concerns the nature of the norm as it applies to all cases (blanket ban); The Court has to announce its final decision within 30 days, regardless whether the suspension of the norm might be damaging for the interests of third parties or not. This generates unjustified waste of the Court’s resources emanating from the accelerated procedure to be applied by the Court. We consider that the discretion to initiate accelerated procedure should rest with the Court, in case the Court considers that the suspension of the legal norm damages the interests of the third party.
We urge the Parliament of Georgia to launch public consultations with the Constitutional Court before voting procedure regarding the increase of the terms for ruling on the case and to change the blanket ban on granting discretionary powers of the court.
Transparency International – Georgia (TI-G)
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
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