Parliament discusses law to monitor judges

The draft will be discussed at Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committees on an expedited basis., 23 Jul 2014 - 16:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Parliament of Georgia is set to discuss changes to a law that will monitor judges before they are appointed for life.

The draft law, which outlined the criteria as to how judges will be evaluated during their three-year probationary period, will be discussed at Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committees on an expedited basis.

Deputy Head of the Legal Affairs Committee Shalva Shavgulidze said the three-year monitoring period would decide whether judges are appointed for life or not.

"The monitoring will be undertaken by one judge of the High Council of Justice and one non-judge member. In the second year, other monitors will be revealed by the same principle,” he said.

MP Shavgulidze said all conclusions reached following the monitoring sessions would be sent to all members of the High Council of Justice.

"Members of the Council will study the reports. The judge himself will also have the opportunity to express his opinion. After this, the Council will make a decision on [whether this person is] appointed for life,” he said.

The MP added judges would continue to be monitored once they are appointed.

The draft law was prepared by the Ministry of Justice and approved by Government earlier this month.

The changes foresee evaluating judges six times during their three-year probationary period. In the end, two thirds of Justice Council members will decide whether a person is appointed for life or not.

The changes affect all judges who were appointed since President Giorgi Margvelashvili came into power in 2013.

The two main criteria for the evaluation are conscientiousness and competence.

The conscientiousness criteria contains different features, including personal honesty and professional conscience; independence, impartiality and fairness; personal and professional behaviour; personal and professional reputation and financial obligations.

As for competency, in this case a judge is required to have knowledge of the law; legal reasoning ability and competence; writing skills; oral communication skills and sound professional features including acceptable courtroom behavior, academic achievements and professional training and conducting themselves in a professional way.

There are 12 judges currently on their three-year probationary period.