Legal system of Armenia

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The legal system of Armenia was founded on September 21, 1991 by the referendum on country's independence and by the declaration of independence on 23 September 1991. For the evolvement of Armenian law this phase was a turning point in nation’s historical development, because it marked the beginning of the establishment of an independent, sustainable legal system guaranteeing human freedoms, rights, legitimate interests and welfare. The highest legal form for this new platform of interaction of the Armenian state and society – the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia – was voted in the referendum from July 5, 1995.

For historical reasons and the dictate of that time, the legal system of the Republic of Armenia began and still continues to evolve according to the patterns that describe the legal systems of civil law countries.[1] The Constitution of Armenia is based on the model of the French Constitution,[2] and several principal aspects of the Civil Code of Armenia depict the model code of civil law elaborated for the Commonwealth of Independent States.[3] In previous years the impact of German administrative legislation on the development of the relevant legal framework of Armenia has been obvious. Indeed, the legal system being built on new ideological and institutional merits continues to bear influence on various practices inherent to the legal procedures of Soviet Socialistic Republics.

Being aware of the relativity of the classification of legal systems into legal families,[4] one also needs to understand how the statutes are construed by the Constitutional Court of Armenia and the Cassation Court of Armenia. The constitutional justice in Armenia is carried out by the Constitutional court, and by virtue of the article 92 of Constitution and the article 15th of Judicial Code it is the Cassation Court of Armenia which is vested in the formation of predictable and consistent jurisprudence.

The Republic of Armenia is a secular state, which presupposes regulation of public relationships solely by the state enacted legal acts. However, in the absence of Armenian statehood, the Armenian Apostolic Church played and now continues to play an essential role in the protection of humanitarian values constituting an indivisible part of the moral-physiological foundations of the Armenian legal system. For the aforementioned reason the wording of article 8.1 of Armenian Constitution states: “…The Republic of Armenia recognizes the exclusive historical mission of the Armenian Apostolic Holy Church as a national church, in the spiritual life, development of the national culture and preservation of the national identity of the people of Armenia.”

Legal culture (Legal ethno-culture)[edit]

The logical unity and hierarchy of canons, standards, rules (mostly known in legal science as positive law[5]) and their interpretation through the application of specific methodologies is indispensable but insufficient to build a comprehensive understanding of a legal system. In this context, legal system of the Republic of Armenia is not an exception.

At the core of the legal system are the customs and practices of the specific society which have a decisive role to play in the overall effectiveness of legal practice of the country. “The essential key for an appreciation of a legal culture lies in an unraveling of the cognitive structure that characterizes that culture”.[6] Lawrence M. Friedman describes the legal culture as combination of values and approaches which tie the elements of legal system and determine its place in the overall cultural space of the society.[7]

The thorough examination and understanding of Armenian legal culture and valuing its role in the evolvement of the legal system of Armenia is of particular importance, because cultural factors and national mentality continue to hinder the effective implementation of enacted legislative framework. The complexity of the matter is mostly determined by characteristics of Armenian culture, such as natural unity of eastern and western cultural elements.

Legal System of Armenia and International Legal System[edit]

A specific form of rooting the principles, outlining the directions of the development of the legal system, and also entering into a dialogue with the nations that have an advanced legal culture is Armenia’s participation in bilateral and multilateral international treaties.

The international agreements become a constitutive part of the Armenian legal system when they are ratified or adopted by the relevant national authorities. Moreover, the wording of Article 6 of the Constitution indicates: “If a ratified international treaty stipulates norms other than those stipulated in the laws, the norms of the treaty shall prevail. International treaties contradicting Constitution cannot be ratified.”

The consistent parts of Armenian legal system are almost all international treaties in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In particular the following:

A comprehensive list of international treaties the Republic of Armenia has acceded/ratified may be found in the following Human Rights, 3rd edition.[8]

The System of Law[edit]

The system of Armenian law is another component of the legal system. It comprises the structural elements such as norms, institutes, and branches that are classified based on various criteria. Thereby the branches of law are usually classified into public and private law or substantive and procedural; the legal norms might take the form of norm-principles, norm-guarantees, norm-mechanisms,etc. Later the branches of Armenian Law are presented under the classification criteria of substantive and procedural law. It is well known that the exploration of any system of law, with no exception of Armenian, starts with the study of theoretical legal sciences. On a certain level of generalization they uncover the anatomic structure and functional capacity of law, which are common for any type of legal system.

Substantive Law[edit]

Constitutional Law of RA
Civil Law of RA
Criminal Law of RA
Administrative Law of RA
Financial Law of RA
Labor Law of RA
Environmental Law of RA
Land Law of RA
Customs Law of RA
Family Law of RA
Penitentiary Law of RA

Procedural Law[edit]

RA Civil Procedure Law
RA Criminal Procedure Law
RA Administrative Procedure Law

The system of legislation[edit]

The system of legislation encompasses all the relevant legal acts regulating public and private relations within that legal system. One needs to differentiate the system of legislation from the system of law discussed above. The latter has an objective beginning and is aimed to the exploration of the objective content of legislation in force. The term “system of legislation” is applied broadly to refer to various legal acts of Armenia and, in a narrow definition,to refer to the laws adopted by the National Assembly of Armenia.

All acts of Armenian legal system are available via the following official web source; www.arlis.am. The alphabetically classified laws are available via the web-page of the National Assembly of Armenia; www.parliament.am. The laws enacted before 2001 are available also in English and Russian translations.

The decisions of the Constitutional Court are available as well o the page of the Constitutional Court of Armenia –www.concourt.am. The www.datalex.am provides access to the judicial of Armenian courts

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ R. David Traité élémentaire de droit civile comparé: Introduction à l'étude des droits étrangers et à la méthode comparative. Paris, 1950
  2. ^ Khachatryan H.M. First Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan, 1998.
  3. ^ Barseghyan T.K. Civil Law of the Republic of Armenia ; First Volume (4th Publication), Yerevan, 2014
  4. ^ Gabriel A. Moens and others, International Academy of Comparative Law. General Reports Delivered at the XVIth International Congress of Comparative Law. "Convergence of legal systems in the 21st century". Brisbane, 2002
  5. ^ Kelsen, Hans, The Pure Theory of Law and State, 1960.
  6. ^ Legrand, Pierre "European Legal Systems Are Not Converging", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 45: 52–8, 1996.
  7. ^ Lawrence M. Friedman “Legal Culture and Social Development” Law & Society Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1969.
  8. ^ Ayvazyan V.N. Human Rights; Textbook, 3rd edition, YSU, Yerevan, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]