Consultations are underway with the government on how to reflect recommendations of the Venice Commission in the draft law on common courts, which among other issues, also envisages reforming of High Council of Justice (HCoJ), Kote Kublashvili, the Chairman of Supreme Court said on March 14.
“I had a conversation with both the Justice Minister and the Prime Minister after the conclusions of the Venice Commission were published,” Kublashvili said.
“The goal is to reflect in the law everything that was pointed out by the Venice Commission. The Prime Minister has agreed about it and the Justice Minister also expressed agreement in overall, although she has also offered some different proposal. We are still discussing it and I do not want to pre-judge; I think the process is ongoing in a way that will allow us to achieve our common goal, which is fulfillment of conclusions of the Venice Commission,” he said.
Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, Venice Commission, said legislative amendments will bring the law on common courts “closer to European standards” and “represent progress for the independence” of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), the body overseeing judicial system.
The Venice Commission, however, also noted that some of the proposed measures were “controversial”; among them a provision envisaging pre-term termination of authority of sitting members of HCoJ. The Venice Commission recommended against complete renewal of the Council, even though the composition of the current HCoJ “seems unsatisfactory”.
Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani, whose ministry has initiated the reform, said on March 15 that an agreement was reached to allow chairmen of courts to be elected as members of HCoJ by the Conference of Judges. The initial plan was to ban chairmen from taking seat in HCoJ. She, however, also said that the Justice Ministry would insist on a rule that would envisage termination of authority of seven out of eight judges, currently sitting in HCoJ, on the grounds that they became council members through rules incomputable with those planned to be introduced.