‘Third wave’ judicial reforms pushed through Georgia parliament
In a so-called ‘third wave’ of judicial system reforms, Georgian legislators passed a bill on common law courts on February 8, voting down president Giorgi Margvelashvili’s objections and proposed amendments to it as they did so.
After overriding by 74 votes to 26 the amendments proposed by the president, the parliament voted 97 to 18 to pass the original version of the bill called “On common law courts”.
President’s parliamentary secretary Anna Dolidze said that by passing the bill the ruling party compromised independence of the judicial system. The bill authorises the supreme justice council to appoint court chairmen – the people who Dolidze says will control the entire system.
Pursuant to the ‘third wave’ reforms
- judges of district, city, and appeal courts will be appointed with a 3-year prior probation period;
- distribution of cases among judges in courts will happen automatically as from 2018;
the number of supreme court members will grow from 10 and 16 and may even be further increased should the court plenum decide so;
- judges may be reassigned from one court to another for a period of one year, by the supreme justice council’s decision and upon their own consent.