01.06.2023

What issues were discussed in May by the High Council of Justice?

The High Council of Justice sessions were scheduled five times in May 2023; three times they were held (meetings began up to one hour late), and two times they were postponed.

Key findings

  • The High Council of Justice adopted almost all decisions unanimously, no dissenting opinions/questions were noted;
  • The High Council of Justice failed to provide notice on the website of the session's delay promptly;
  • The High Council published the information about the appointment of all sessions in violation of the organic law – only one working day in advance rather than at least three working days.

May 5, 2023

The meeting was initially set on April 28, but it finally took place on May 5. The allotted time for problem discussion was 37 minutes.
Nino Kadagidze, the Chairperson of the Supreme Court and the High Council of Justice, was absent from the session.

Agenda:

1. The letters from the Chairperson of the LEPL Department of Common Courts;
2. The draft of the order - "Authorizing the transfer of state property with the right-of-use to the LEPL Department of Common Courts."
3. The organizational issue concerning the High School of Justice;
4. Regarding amending some normative acts;
5. On determining the composition of chambers/panels in some district (city)/appellate courts;
6. Organizational issues.

Main issues addressed during the session/decisions:

  • The Department of Common Courts intends to contact the Ministry of Finance with a request for 900,000 GEL to organize judicial training. The Council issued an approval concerning this issue. At the session, Levan Murusidze stated that the allocation of this money is significant because, unlike donor-funded meetings, they will be able to "independently" select the subject of seminars and training in this case.
  • Another letter reviewed at the High Council of Justice meeting concerned the preparation for the qualification examination of judges, organizational issues, and the allocation of finances.
  • The session participants also discussed the issue concerning drafting the submission on the number of trainees for the High School. There is a total of 101 vacancies in the court; the term of seven judges expires at the end of 2024. Therefore, there will be 108 vacancies at the end of the year; the school should host 20% more trainees than there are vacancies. As a result, with the total number of cast votes, it was decided to send a submission to the school on the number of trainees.
  • The High Council of Justice of Georgia gathered for a partially closed meeting because the formation/determination of the Commission for Qualification Examination of Judges was discussed.
  • Concerning the organization issues - the High Council of Justice wishes to hold a meeting of judges from all three disciplines to discuss existing/established practices.

May 24, 2023

A total of one hour and 35 minutes was allocated for issue discussions.
Nino Kadagidze, Chairperson of the High Council of Justice and Supreme Court was absent at the session.

Agenda:

1. The letter from the Chairperson of the LEPL Department of Common Courts;
2. Concerning the authority of certain judges;
3. The letter of S. Kopaliyani, judge of Rustavi City Court;
4. Issues related to Article 37 of the Organic Law of Georgia “On Common Courts;”
5. Organizational issues concerning the High School of Justice.
6. Regarding amending some normative acts;
7. On determining the composition of chambers/panels in some district (city)/appellate courts;
8. Organizational issues.

Main issues addressed during the session/decisions:

  • The Chairman of the Department of Common Courts' letter concerned the end of the judge's powers of Lela Orkodashvili owing to reaching retirement age.
  • The High Council of Justice also discussed a letter from Judge Cristine Kopaliani concerning rent changes for a residential apartment.
  • The letter from the chairperson of the Department of Common Courts also addressed the problem of allocation of the additional budget costs for the formation of court working groups.
  • The High Council of Justice considered the applications of Judges Giorgi Bukhrashvili, Tsitsino Rokhvadze, Sergo Metofishvili, and Manuchar Tsatsua for transfer to the Administrative Chamber of the Tbilisi Court of Appeals within the framework of the issues envisaged by Article 37 of the organic law “On Common Courts.” The High Council of Justice opposed the transfer of any of the candidates. The High Council of Justice evaluated Judge Ekaterina Maghradze's application for employment at the Civil Cases Panel of Batumi City Court and did not support the transfer under Article 37. The High Council of Justice denied Guliko Kazhashvili's application for transfer to Ozurgeti District Court by one vote to eleven. Judge Guliko Kazhashvili's transfer to Poti City Court petition was also denied. Following the voting, the High Council of Justice unanimously announced an employee selection competition in the Tbilisi and Kutaisi Courts of Appeals: Criminal Chamber, Civil Chamber, Administrative Chamber, and Investigation Panel.
  • At the session, the High Council of Justice terminated its resolution of June 5, 2020, on the announcement of the school admissions contest.
  • The discussion of the sixth and seventh issues was postponed without an explanation.
  • Within the organizational issues, the High Council of Justice discussed the application of Badri Shonia concerning the resignation of a member of the Independent Council of the High School of Justice. The Council accepted Badri Shonia's application and elected Dimitri Gvritishvili as a member of the Independent Council.

May 29, 2023

A total of 10 minutes was allocated for issues discussion.
Nino Kadagidze, Chairperson of the High Council of Justice and Supreme Court was absent at the session.

Agenda:

1. The letter from the Chairperson of the LEPL Department of Common Courts;
2. Regarding amending some normative acts;
3. On determining the composition of chambers/panels in some district (city)/appellate courts;
4. Organizational issues.

Main issues addressed during the session/decisions:

  • The High Council of Justice unanimously agreed with the letter from the Department of the Common Courts Chairperson, which addressed the rising costs issue of court repairs.
  • The second topic – “regarding amending some normative acts” - was withdrawn from the agenda without explanation.
  • Organizational issues discussion concerned the extension of the deadline for applying for vacancies announced under Article 37 of the law "On Common Courts." Also, the vacancies were announced in Mtskheta and Tianeti courts.
  • Nikoloz Marsagishvili stated that the judges' professional meetings were well received by the judges and indicated his desire to have similar meetings again.
  • The meeting was partially closed when addressing organizational issues; it was unclear which matter should be discussed.

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Megi Shamatava