On February 21, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) presented the 2022 report on monitoring the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), identifying “clannish rule” as the main challenge facing the judiciary.
According to the report, the “clannish rule” in the HCoJ is fostered by the rule of selection of its members, through which “in reality, only the representatives of an influential group of judges appear among the members of the HCoJ.” In this context, the GYLA focuses on the abolition of the prohibition to elect the same person twice as a member of the Council, saying that the so called “chair quota” is constantly filled, while the seats of five non-judicial members remain vacant.
“The Council takes decisions without the participation of non-judicial members, which further reinforces corporatism in the Council,” the document says, stressing that “the issue of appointment/promotion of judges remains a problem.”
“The selection/appointment and transfer of judges without any competition is an important lever for “the clan” to gain influence. “The clan” controls two thirds of the votes, enough to make decisions in the Council that allow it to appoint desirable people to positions.”
According to the report, court presidents are one of the levers of “clan power” and “every influential member of the clan constantly holds important positions in the judiciary.” “They exchange these positions among themselves, which does not allow other judges to participate in management.”
The document also notes that the terms of disciplinary proceedings are lengthy and that the Council has not considered a single complaint filed in 2022, especially since the period for consideration should not exceed three months.
The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association calls on the High Council of Justice to ensure that:
· The process of transfer and promotion of judges is transparent.
· The procedures and rules for the appointment and nomination of chairpersons are transparent.
· Disciplinary complaints are considered within the time limits established by law.
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