New Council of Europe Report Assesses Georgia’s Judiciary

The Council of Europe’s (CoE) European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice published a new report on 5 October which compared the situation in the judicial sector in 44 member States of the CoE, including Georgia.

The report is based on 2020 data and provides an overview of judicial systems with a focus on the budget spent on the courts, prosecution services, and legal aid, the efficiency of courts, the number of courts, judges, prosecutors, and lawyers, per capita, as well as the salaries of judges, gender balance in the judicial sector, and the state of information and communication technology (ICT).

The Budget

The report noted at the outset that in 2020, Georgia spent EUR 32.40 million (USD 32.03 million) on the implemented budget of the judicial system. This amounted to EUR 8.93 (USD 8.83) per inhabitant, which is “considerably below” the CoE median, and 0.23% of Georgia’s GDP, also below the CoE median.

When looking at the budget breakdown, the report found that in 2020, 59% was spent on courts, 35% on prosecution services, and 6% on legal aid.

Overall, it emphasized that “Georgia is among the European countries with the lowest spending on the judicial system per inhabitant.”


Having reviewed the efficiency of different courts in Georgia, the Council of Europe found that the second instance courts appeared to be the most efficient, while criminal justice was the most efficient area of law in all instances.

In line with that conclusion, the lowest disposition time –  which refers to the theoretical amount of time needed for a pending case to be resolved –  was found to be in second-instance criminal cases, while the highest one was in first-instance administrative cases.

In the second and third instances, the disposition time was found to be higher than the CoE median for the three categories of cases considered (civil, criminal, and administrative), except for second-instance administrative cases and criminal law cases.

Overall, the report found that while the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on all courts’ instances and in all categories of cases, the most significant impact was reported in civil and commercial cases in second-instance courts.

Professionals and Gender Balance

Looking at the number of judges per capita, the report denoted that Georgia has 8.82 judges per 100,000 inhabitants and “continues to remain significantly below the CoE median.”

Regarding the gender balance, the report noted that in 2020 the number of women judges reached 54%, while 32% of prosecutors were women. The report accentuated, however, that only 15% of court presidents were female and only 15% of women headed prosecution offices, “which indicates a strong glass ceiling.”

Legal Aid

Regarding the number of legal aid cases in Georgia, the report stated that COVID-19-related restrictions “seem to have contributed to a change in demand for legal aid.”

In that sense, they highlighted that the number of legal aid cases brought to court decreased by 60% while the number of cases not brought to court increased by 113% compared to 2018.

Significantly, the report underlined that the amount of EUR 0.52 spent for legal aid per inhabitant continues to be “significantly below the CoE median, even if it constitutes 6% of the judicial system budget in Georgia.”

Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

The report also made note of the fact that Georgia has an ICT index of 5.1, which is a decrease of 1.6 points compared with its previous rating.

The document explained that this is in part due to decisions like the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) choosing to suspend the uploading of court decisions on its website, as a result of a 2019 decision by the Constitutional Court of Georgia and pending the approval of new regulations.

At the same time, however, the report lamented that the ICT budget in Georgia “seems to be one of the lowest in Europe.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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