Constitutional Court of Georgia

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The Constitutional Court of Georgia is the judicial body of constitutional review, having the greatest significance with the view of securing constitutional provisions and separation of powers, and protecting human rights and freedoms.

The Constitutional Court was established in 1996. The legal basis of its organisation and activity is the Constitution of Georgia, the Organic Law of Georgia "On the Constitutional Court of Georgia", the Law of Georgia "On the Constitutional Legal Proceedings" and the Rules of the Constitutional Court. In 2002 the aforementioned legislative basis was improved, amendments moved to the Organic Law of Georgia "On the Constitutional Court of Georgia" and to the Law of Georgia "On the Constitutional Legal Proceedings", the constitutional legal proceedings being made simplified and more expeditious. The Constitutional Court of Georgia was moved from Tbilisi to Batumi on 5 July 2007.

Structure and elections/appointments[edit]

The Constitutional Court of Georgia consists of nine judges. All three branches of state powers participate in the formation of the Constitutional Court on an equal basis—three members are appointed by the President of Georgia, three members are elected by the Parliament by not less than three-fifths of the number of the members of the Parliament on the current nominal list, and three members are appointed by the Supreme Court. The term of office of a judge of the Constitutional Court is ten years.

A member of the Constitutional Court is independent in carrying out his/her duties. He/she evaluates the factual circumstances and reaches a decision only in accordance with the Constitution of Georgia. Interference in the activity of a member of the Constitutional Court is impermissible. The Constitution secures the personal immunity of a member of the Constitutional Court. The legislation provides for other guarantees with the view of securing independent activity of a member of the Court.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia elects the President of the Constitutional Court among its composition for a term of five years. A candidate to the office of the President of the Court is nominated by an agreed proposal of the President of Georgia, the President of the Parliament of Georgia and the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The President of the Court may not be re-elected. The President of the Constitutional Court convenes and presides over the sittings of the Plenum of the Constitutional Court, signs the acts passed by the Plenum, submits the Rules of the Constitutional Court and the By-law of the Staff to the Plenum for approval, allocates the constitutional claims and constitutional submissions, maintains general guidance over the functioning of the Staff of the Constitutional Court, appoints and dismisses staff members, disposes of the budgetary assignations of the Constitutional Court, discharges other authority defined by the legislation and the Rules of the Constitutional Court.

Two Vice-Presidents of the Constitutional Court and the Secretary to the Court are elected by the Plenum upon the submission of the President of the Constitutional Court for a term of 5 years. A Vice-President may not be re-elected.

A Vice-President of the Constitutional Court presides over sittings of a Board, performs particular functions under the instructions of the President of the Constitutional Court. In case of absence of the President of the Court or his/her inability to perform functions, one of the Vice-Presidents acts on the President’s behalf under the instructions of the latter.

The Secretary to the Constitutional Court is in charge of preparatory measures of the sittings of the Plenum and Boards, organises the maintenance and lay out of the minutes of the sittings and dispatch of formal documentation, takes measures with the view of enforcing judgments of the Constitutional Court etc.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia consists of the Plenum and two Boards. There are all nine members of the Constitutional Court represented on the Plenum. Each of the Boards consists of four judges. The composition of the Boards is approved by the Plenum upon the submission of the President of the Court. While considering and adjudicating upon a case, a Board acts as the Constitutional Court.

Those entitled to lodge a constitutional claim or a constitutional submission with the Constitutional Court are: the President of Georgia, not less than one fifth of the members of the Parliament of Georgia, a court of general jurisdiction, the higher representative bodies of Abkhazia and of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, the Public Defender, legal entities of Georgia, citizens of Georgia and other individuals residing in Georgia.

Duties of the Plenum[edit]

The Plenum:

  • adjudicates upon conformity with the Constitution of Georgia of the constitutional agreement, laws of Georgia, normative resolutions of the Parliament of Georgia, normative acts of the President of Georgia and of the higher state bodies of Abkhazia and of the Autonomous Republic of Ajaria, as well as upon conformity of adoption/enactment, signing, promulgation and entry into force of legislative acts of Georgia and of resolutions of the Parliament of Georgia with the Constitution of Georgia;
  • considers a dispute related to constitutionality of referendum and elections of the Parliament of Georgia and the President of Georgia;
  • considers constitutionality of international treaties and agreements;
  • renders a conclusion regarding violation of the Constitution of Georgia by the President of Georgia, the President of the Supreme Court of Georgia, a member of the Government of Georgia, the Prosecutor General of Georgia, the President of the Chamber of Control of Georgia and members of the Council of the National Bank of Georgia;
  • considers a submission of a court of general jurisdiction. The submission is lodged with the Constitutional Court, when, during consideration of a particular case, the court of general jurisdiction concludes that there is a sufficient ground to deem the law or other normative act applicable by the court while adjudicating upon the case, fully or partially incompatible with the Constitution.

Duties of a Board[edit]

A Board may consider:

  • a dispute on competence between state bodies.
  • constitutionality of formation and activity of political associations of citizens;
  • constitutionality of elections of the local self-government;
  • constitutionality of the normative acts adopted in terms of Chapter Two of the Constitution of Georgia (Georgian Citizenship, Basic Rights and Freedoms of Individual);
  • recognition or pre-term termination of authority of a member of the Parliament of Georgia;
  • the case comprising the issues falling under the jurisdiction of both the Plenum and a Board, is considered by the former.

Activity[edit]

Since its establishment the Constitutional Court of Georgia has received 422 constitutional claims and 17 constitutional submissions. 34 constitutional claims have not been admitted for the consideration of the merits. The Constitutional Court has upheld 34 constitutional claims. 31 constitutional claims have been upheld partially. 59 constitutional claims have been rejected. The constitutional legal proceedings have ceased on various grounds in respect of 206 cases.

The Staff of the Constitutional Court provides the accomplishment of legal, organisational, personnel, financial and logistical issues. The Staff is guided by the Chief of the Staff. There are the following units in the Staff : Secretariat of the President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Offices of the Vice-Presidents of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Offices of the Secretary to the Constitutional Court of Georgia and of the members of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, Legal Department, Financial-Logistical Department, Chancellery, Personnel Department, Editorial-Publishing Department, International Relations Department.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia maintains active relations with international organisations and Constitutional Courts of other countries. The Constitutional Court of Georgia is a full member of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia co-operates with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe "Democracy through Law". Within the framework of co-operation with the Venice Commission an annual international scientific-practical seminar is held on the subject of "actual problems of the Constitutional Court".

The Constitutional Court has opened up relations and co-operated with the following organisations: OSCE, UNDP, GTZ, ABA, USAID, COLPI etc.

With the support provided by the ABA annual Legal Olympiad "Individual and Constitution" is held for pupils and students in the Constitutional Court, which aims at popularising the activity of the Constitutional Court and raising young people’s knowledge in the field.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia runs active editorial-publishing activity. A quarterly law journal "Individual and Constitution" is issued. Several issues of the Constitution of Georgia, inter alia in foreign languages, have been printed. The legislation on the Constitutional Court, the trilingual collections of judgments of the Constitutional Court have been issued. The first scientific-practical commentaries on the Constitution of Georgia are being prepared.

See also[edit]