Law
HCJG - High Council of Justice of Georgia
15 December, 2011

 

Judge Lasha Kalandadze is talking to us today about the structure of the High Council of Justice of Georgia, its importance and its role in the processes of developing the national judiciary.

 

NBR – May I now direct your attention towards the structure and details of functionality of the High Council of Justice of Georgia?

L.K. – Certainly! This is why I am here for. And I think raising the question about the importance of HCJG right at the beginning of our

interviews is most expeditious because the improvement of the System on the whole very much depends on how well the Council is functioning. The HCJG is like brain of the system, so to speak. The existence of the High Council of Justice of Georgia is dictated by the Supreme Law of the Land itself. Naturally, its constitutionality underlines and promotes the Council’s role in the entire judicial system of our country.

NBR – Have there been any major changes in the structure and work of the HCJG recently?

L.K. – I would rather not waste your time speaking about the background, membership and functional changes of the Council, which had been mulled on for years in the press and anywhere else. It must be rather interesting that the Council was made from presidential advisory into an independent judicial body, turning the judges from minority into majority on the Council, revoking the membership of the President of Georgia and the minister of justice in the Council, refusal from presidential nomination, appointment and dismissal of judges. I would instead deliberate on current burning issues.

NBR – And what would those burning issues be, if I may?

L.K. – According to the legislation in force, the High Council of Justice of Georgia consists of 15 members, 9 of whom are Judges. These judges, except the Chairman of the Supreme Court, who at the same time is the Chairman of the High Council, are elected by the Conference of Judges of Georgia. 2 members are appointed by the President of the country and 4 members represent legislative body – the parliament of Georgia. Among them, one – the head of the committee of legal issues – is ex-officio member of the Council and the 3 members are elected by the parliament. Out of the 3 members, elected by the Parliament, one represents the Parliamentary Opposition. The above mentioned amendment certainly makes the High Council of Justice more transparent as a judicial body. Thus, one of the priorities of the reform, which was aimed at reorganizing the High Council of Justice by increasing the number of judges, and in general, strengthening the ‘voice’ of judges, is in fact taken care of.

NBR – Judges are outnumbering others on the Council, don’t they?

L.K. – They certainly do and I think this is a right thing to have done in the reform process.

NBR – And why is that?

L.K. – Because their vote is decisive in solving current issues. This surely represents one more important guarantee for independence of judges.

NBR – As it is mentioned above, the High Council is the body of authority in the judicial system. What are its main competences?

L.K. – The main functions of the High Council of Justice are very clearly-cut obligations. And they are undoubtedly functional: nominating, appointing, promoting or dismissing judges, coordinating the administration of qualifying exams, defining and perfecting proposals connected with judicial reforms, drawing up the judiciary budget, providing with and controlling the material and technical resources, initiating disciplinary measures against judges, determining the specialization of a district court judges and so on.

 

Our next conversation with Judge Lasha Kalandadze will be dedicated to the High School of Justice and to the issues connected with selection and assignment of judges.

 

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