Law
Unethical Behavior & Disciplinary Liability
15 March, 2012
Unethical Behavior & Disciplinary Liability

Judge Lasha  Kalandadze is today answering the questions of GJ on the disciplinary liability of judges in Georgia 

 

NBR – What can you tell us briefly about unethical behavior and disciplinary liability of judges in Georgia thereupon?

L.K. – There is a set of rules of ethics for judges functioning today in Georgia which regulates the issues not directly covered by law – this concerns the behavior of judges not just in court but in their private and public life too. Breaching

of these rules is subject to disciplinary liability.

According to the legislation in force, disciplinary responsibility and measures can be imposed on a judge for having committed a disciplinary violation.

NBR – Who has the right of initiating of disciplinary prosecution of judges?

L.K. – The right of initiating of disciplinary prosecution is given to: a) The Chairman of the Supreme Court – against the judges of the Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals and the District (City) Courts; b) The Chairman of the Courts of Appeals – against the judges of relevant Courts of Appeals, also the judges of the District (City) Courts operating within their jurisdiction, and c) the High Council of Justice – against all judges of the Common Courts of Georgia.

NBR – What are the types of disciplinary violation of judges?

L.K. – The types of the disciplinary violation, determined by law, are: Gross violation of law during a trial; Corruption law violation or misuse of public office doing harm to justice and public interests; The activity incompatible with the position of a judge; The action inappropriate for a judge, which damages the prestige and authority of a court or belittles promotes the sense of trust towards the court; Unreasonable procrastination of a case discussion; Inappropriate fulfillment of duties of a judge; Divulging secrecy of a meeting of judges; Obstructing activity of agencies with disciplinary authority or showing contempt towards their functioning; Violation of rules of ethics for judges; Violation of labor discipline.

NBR – What kind of disciplinary penalties are being enforced?

L.K. – Based on the functioning law in Georgia we practice the following disciplinary penalties: warning notice; reprimand; strict reprimand and dismissal. There are also certain disciplinary measures such as: Letter of recommendation personally directed to a judge; Dismissal the chairman of court, the deputy chairman and the chairman of special chamber of court.

NBR – Could you please describe the procedure of starting disciplinary investigation against judges?

L.K. – Sure I can! In case of the submission of a complaint or an application for a disciplinary violation, committed by a judge, the authorized agencies carry out a preliminary investigation into the reasons and basis of initiating of the disciplinary prosecution. As a result of a disciplinary examination, the assessment of the grounds for initiating the disciplinary prosecution will take place and the decision will be made either on termination of the disciplinary action or requesting an explanatory note on the subject signed by judge under disciplinary allegation. The body initiating the disciplinary prosecution is authorized to require any information, documents and materials connected with the fact of the disciplinary violation as well as explanatory note from a complainant or a judge against whom a disciplinary prosecution is initiating. One more detail is also very important: while carrying out disciplinary prosecution, it is prohibited to examine the legitimacy of court judgments made by a judge, except for cases when the disciplinary prosecution is commenced on the ground of gross violation of law, committed by a judge.

NBR – Please, give us a brief picture of decision making process on disciplinary issues in the High Council of Justice of Georgia!

L.K. – The disciplinary sessions are chaired by the Chairman of the Supreme Court and those members of the HCOJ, who, at the same time, are the members of the Disciplinary Panel, shall not be authorized to participate in the disciplinary issue hearings and decision-making process. It should be noted that the High Council of Justice is allowed to discuss issues and make appropriate decisions if its session is attended by more than half of its members and a decision is considered to be taken if it is approved by the majority of the attending members. The council, of course, makes decisions by voting.

(To be continued)

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