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Georgian President vetoes so-called third wave of judicial reform

President sends to Parliament his remarks with regard to judicial reform

Georgian President has vetoed the legislative package related to the so-called third wave of judicial reform. As Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, stated at a special briefing, he is going to send motivated remarks to the Georgian Parliament.

Georgian Parliament passed a relevant law on the third wave of judicial reform in December last year.

The law envisages the following major novelties: introduction of a system of electronic distribution of cases in courts; criteria for appointing the judges; introduction of an independent inspector service and establishment of Management Department, a new organizational unit in the High Council of Justice. In addition, under the law, the incumbent and former members of the Supreme Courts will not have to undergo a probationary period or take the qualification exams.

In President Margvelashvili’s words, the presented legislative package contains some important and useful changes. “But, at the same time, the package includes certain norms that contradict the principles of fair judiciary and guarantees of independence of individual judges,” the President stated.

The President’s remarks that have been sent to Parliament provide for election of court chairmen by judges rather than their appointment by the High Council of Justice. And also, according to the President’s remarks, one and the same person will no longer be entitled to hold the court chairman and the chamber/board chairman’s post. A 3-year probationary period should not be applied for further nomination.

Judges should have broader representation in the Council of Justice. The rules for accumulation and dissemination of information on nominees during a contest for judges need to be specified.

The Parliament either will have to overcome the presidential veto by 76 votes or to take into account the President’s remarks. The ruling party that enjoys the constitutional majority reasonably should have no problem overcoming the veto.

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