Venice Commission’s Opinion on legal amendments on judicial system

In its Report on Judicial Appointments, the Venice Commission stated that setting probationary periods can undermine the independence of judges. As regards the Republic of Moldova Venice Commission has earlier expressed a clear preference for the abolishment of probationary periods and strongly recommended that judges be appointed permanently until retirement.

“On the other hand, when new judges are being appointed, no one can guarantee that they will live up to the high standards that the profession requires. This is why some countries established a special system of training period of candidate judges who aspire to become judges and this experience could be taken into account by the Moldovan authorities,” says the Opinion of the Venice Commission that was published on the website of the Constitutional Court.

It welcomes the unification of the procedures for appointing judges in courts of all levels, which will exclude involvement of Parliament. It also agrees that the court presidents and vice-presidents shall be appointed by the Supreme Council of Magistracy (SCM) and not by the President of the Republic. However, previously it recommended, as an alternative, to consider the election of court presidents by their fellow judges.

Both the March 2020 Opinion and the June 2020 Opinion recommended that in case of the election of lay members of the SCM by the Parliament, an anti-deadlock mechanism should be envisaged. It is therefore welcome that such anti-deadlock mechanism is now mentioned in the Constitution. However, the efficiency of the mechanism proposed in the draft Law needs to be examined further.

The Opinion on the draft law on amending some normative acts (Judiciary) was adopted by the Venice Commission at its 131st Plenary Session in Venice after the minister of justice of the Republic of Moldova, by a letter of May 23, 2022, asked this to answer a number of additional questions that can lead to other possible modifications of the draft law.

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