Judge & Social Welfare
09 February, 2012

Judge Lasha Kalandadze is today presenting to Georgian Journal his thoughts on social welfare and financial benefits accessible for judges in Georgia which he thinks is one of the strongest guarantees for rendering judiciary utterly transparent, independent and effective, administering justice in good time and faith, thus strongly providing for unmitigated observance of human rights and freedoms. 

NBR – Could you please comment briefly on the details of drawing up judiciary budget in Georgia?
L.K – I can certainly try

although this is not precisely my realm to dwell upon. I know the subject as long as I am a sitting member of the High Council of Justice. According to our legislation, courts in Georgia are financed off of the state budget. The High Council of Justice submits to the government the draft of the budget. It should also be noted that the chair person of each court is entitled and obligated to present to HCJ their proposals on current financial exigency of their respective courts. Thus the budget is elaborated based on the demands of each court. And downsizing of the presented budget is allowed only with the consent of the High Council of Justice. I simply wanted to add that the budget formation is done using three preconditions: the previous year experience, unsatisfied demands and modern technologies. Making use of these three preconditions is practically impossible without direct contact with the organizations whose budget we are talking about.
NBR – How about the legal and social protection of judges?
L.K – The legal and social protection of a judge is dictated by the Supreme Law of the Land and the law on common courts of Georgia. In compliance with the functioning law, the state is obliged to ensure appropriate living and working conditions of a judge as well as the security of a judge and his/her family. It should be mentioned that a judge is provided with condition or rent allowance if not having domicile in the area where judge administers justice.
NBR – What could you tell us about the remuneration of a judge and a court staff?
L.K – Within the framework of the reform, it is envisaged to significantly increase the salaries of judges as well as court staff. This has been legally established. This again represents one of the basic guarantees of independence of the judicial power. The reduction of the salary is inadmissible during the entire tenure of a judge’s office.
NBR – Does Georgian legislation envisage the system of granting pension to a judge after his/ her retirement?
L.K – Yes, it does. After expiration of the term of office or reaching the retirement age, a judge is guaranteed to be granted a lifetime pension. It should be said that our legislation also determines welfare aid, injury benefit and disability allowance in certain cases. For example, the welfare pecuniary aid amounts to GEL 25, 000 if a judge dies while fulfilling his or her duties.
The amount of the injury benefit and disability allowance is GEL 10, 000. The postmortem financial aid is also envisaged by law.
NBR – How about the insurance benefits?
L.K – A judge in Georgia is eligible to several types of insurance. The health insurance program covers comprehensive medical care, surgery, doctor’s visit, preventive care and prescription drugs. A judge also receives pregnancy, maternity, traveling, orthopedic, dental and life insurances. Finely, I want to emphasize that it is our desire and readiness to improve social conditions of a judge because it surely plays key role in the achievement of more independent, fair and impartial judiciary, the main guarantor of human rights and freedoms.