Institutional changes
26 January, 2012
Institutional changes

Judge Lasha  Kalandadze  is today talking to GJ about the details and subtleties of institutional changes in the judiciary of Georgia. As Judge Lasha has emphasized, the changes were not easygoing and it took the system to endure many pains to achieve the expected result.  


NBR – What kind of system has been created as a result of your recent efforts?

L.K. – In terms of the institutional changes, a streamlined, consistent system, based on the principle of categorizing the courts

by instances, has been created.

NBR – What do you mean by the principle of categorizing the courts by instances?

L.K. – Every case, being it administrative, civil or criminal, will initially go to the first instance (trial) court for consideration, in other words, every case is subject to deliberation by district (city) courts before it goes to any other court.

NBR – What else could you tell us about the changes introduced into first-instance (trial) courts?

L.K. – Based on the number and specificity of cases, merging of several district courts into one bigger court, was deemed reasonable. Instead of those smaller courts, a magistrate judge is appointed in those districts. The magistrate is usually taking care of less important cases. In fact, there is nothing more than those cases to be deliberating on in those districts. By introducing of the institute of a magistrate judge timely consideration of cases as well as easy and free access to justice is effectively achieved.

NBR – How about the courts of other instances - were there any specific changes introduced?

L.K. – The Institutional change was reflected on other courts too. For example, the court of appeals is doing the hearing of appeals coming only from first instance courts. One more detail is also very important: in the first instance court the specialization of judges was introduced according to criminal, administrative and civil cases. This particular kind of change had been made long before in the courts of higher instances. Thus, we did not have to take any special pains for introducing the change now.

NBR – And now, how about the Supreme Court of Georgia – have you accomplished any particular innovations?

L.K. – The change has taken place in the Supreme Court too, as a result of which it is today functioning as the cassation court. Hearing the cassations by the Supreme Court will take place only in case when: a) The appeals court makes the ruling, contradicting the practice, established by the Supreme Court; b) The appeals court makes ruling through the breach of procedural rule, which had triggered the erroneous judgment; c) Supreme Court deems the cassation as example of promoting justice in general. In addition, it should be noted that the cases concerning violation of freedom of speech and free expression are automatically subject of consideration at the cassation court. This, of course, legally underlines the level of significance and the attitude of our country and society towards universally recognized above-mentioned human rights.

NBR – Was that the only change which had affected the activity of the Supreme Court of Georgia?

L.K. –No, it was not. Specific cases are deliberated by the Chamber of the Cassation Court if: a) the gist of the case contains particular and rare legal issues; b) the Chamber of the Cassation Court does not concur with the assessment previously formulated by another Chamber of Cassation; c) the Chamber of the Cassation Court does not concur with the assessment previously formulated by the Grand Chamber.

NBR– Can we say that the reform of the Georgian judiciary has been finalized?

L.K. – No! We actively continue the process of the reform of Judiciary and our bottom-line is that each individual feel the existence of independent, objective and fair court in the country.


During our next meeting, Judge Lasha will embark on the role of public in administering justice in Georgia. Watch for it!

GEL Exchange Rate