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Constitutional Court Partially Satisfies Former State Inspector’s Complaint

The Constitutional Court of Georgia announced on 17 November that it partially satisfied Londa Toloraia, the former State Inspector, and the Public Defender’s lawsuit against the Parliament. The Court found that the dismissal of the State Inspector and her deputies before their term was up, “without offering an adequate, equivalent position or fair compensation, cannot meet the Constitutional standards of protection of the right to the unhindered exercise of public service activities.”

The Lawsuit

According to the Constitutional Court’s explanation, the plaintiff found the abolishment of the State Inspector’s Service to be “problematic,” not in principle, but because it took place before 3 July 2025, when the State Inspector’s term in office was meant to expire.

In particular, the plaintiffs disputed the rule for abolishing the State Inspector’s Office and the State Inspector’s position, as well as the ensuing changes reflecting the abolishment of the agency and the creation of the Special Investigative Service (SIS) and the Personal Data Protection Service.

The plaintiffs claimed that in March 2022, following the abolishment of the State Inspector, as well as the Inspector and her deputies’ dismissal, no new bodies have been formed, “which would be qualitatively different from the State Inspector’s Service in terms of competences.”

In addition, according to the plaintiffs, despite the fact that the qualification requirements were not changed and the State Inspector met all the requirements that were outlined in the new agencies, “the State Inspector and her deputies were terminated unconditionally.”

Parliament’s Argument

According to the Georgian Parliament – the defendant in the lawsuit – the purpose of the changes related to the State Inspector’s Service was to improve the structural effectiveness, expand the capacity to oversee the processing of personal data during investigations, and avoid conflicts of interest.

The Parliament argued that since the State Inspector and the Inspector’s position are not defined by the Constitution, but are a service created by law, thus the Parliament had the discretionary power “to create an independent body or bodies implementing similar content and functions.”

According to their explanation, with the enacted changes, the SIS was given the function of investigating official crimes, and its investigative service was expanded. In addition, the Personal Data Protection Service has been assigned the additional role in monitoring the legality of personal data processing, as well as given the oversight over covert investigative actions (surveillance), and electronic communication activities.

Thus, “according to the position of the Georgian Parliament, the disputed norms meet the criteria of usefulness, necessity, and narrow proportionality of interfering with the Constitutional right.”

Constitutional Court’s Reasoning

In its statement, the Constitutional Court agreed with the defendant that in this case, based on the assessment of the current challenges, the abolishment of one agency and the creation of two independent bodies fell under the Parliament’s discretion. Additionally, the Court emphasized the importance of the existence of independent investigative and personal data protection bodies.

The Court also shares the defendant’s claim that its action was aimed at averting the conflict of interest in institutionally splitting the special investigative functions from the personal data protection mechanism.

However, the Constitutional Court emphasized that any interference with the constitutionally guaranteed right to hold a public office, which is related to constitutional institutions and positions, should be assessed particularly strictly.

In particular, “in each specific case, the Court must evaluate whether the legislative body acted in the reform process in accordance with the Constitutional requirements and whether it took measures to reduce the damage and protect the rights of those officials whose guaranteed term in office would be in jeopardy due to the implementation of the institutional reform.”

Per the Court’s explanation, as long as the termination of the State Inspector’s office was not related to any violations or non-compliance with official requirements on her part, “the offer of being appointed as the head of the personal data protection service might have been the least restrictive means of the right to exercise her public office without interruption.”

However, the Constitutional Court noted that the former State Inspector was not automatically appointed as the head of one of the two new bodies, she was not offered any position, nor was she paid “fair compensation,” “which would be an important mechanism for reducing the intensity of interference with those rights and in terms of minimizing harm.”

As for the former State Inspector’s deputies, the Court explained that, although their official status was not equal to the position of the State Inspector, their dismissal without the offering of an equivalent position or compensation also did not satisfy the Constitutional right to hold public office.

Dissenting Opinion

A panel of 4 judges deliberated on the case, one of whom, Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze, filed a dissenting opinion. In particular, in his opinion, the Court should have considered the overarching public interest in the State Inspector and her deputies continuing to fulfill their functions without abridging the legally guaranteed term in office, and thus have satisfied the plaintiffs in the entirety of their argument, rather than by focusing on the normative content of the disputed rules.

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

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