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On accepting a petition of the petitioner

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING TO INVESTIGATE WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON SCIENCE AND STUDIES ARE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 13 December 2012

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Egidijus Bieliūnas, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis, and Dainius Žalimas,

with the secretary—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

in the procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court considered a petition (No. 1B-37/2012) of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate “whether:

– the legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 12 and Paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict, from the systemic point of view, with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 of Article 19 together with Articles 20, 21 and 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Articles 20, 21, 22 and 53 of the same law, if assessed from the point of view of their systematicness and mutual interaction, are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Paragraph 1 of Article 20 and Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Paragraphs 3 and 9 of Article 20 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Paragraph 1 and Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

– Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Paragraph 9 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639).

– the note on the application of the provisions of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the same law to persons whose studies of the first cycle or integrated studies are funded by the state and who were accepted to schools of higher education prior to the entry into force of this law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 8/5/2012, No. 53-2639)”.

 

The Constitutional Court

has established:

The Constitutional Court received a petition of a group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether:

– Paragraph 4 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 12 and Paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 3 of Article 19, Articles 20, 21, 22 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Articles 20, 21, 22, 53 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 1 and Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of Article 20 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraphs 3 and 9 of Article 20 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 1 and Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 9 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– “the note on the application of the provisions of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the same law to persons whose studies of the first cycle or integrated studies are funded by the state and who were accepted to schools of higher education prior to the entry into force of this law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

  1. A group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 4 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 12 and Paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Paragraph 4 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 7 of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes: “Accountability of a school of higher education shall also be carried out through the supervision comprising the monitoring of access to and quality of education and science, provision of consultation to schools of higher education, institutions implementing the policies regarding schools of higher education, science and studies, carrying-out of preventive measures, evaluation and accreditation of schools of higher education, application of sanctions, promotion of improvement of educational and scientific activity quality as well as other measures provided for by laws. The Ministry of Education and Science as well as other institutions and establishments authorised by laws and other legal acts shall exercise state supervision of activities of schools of higher education in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Government.”

Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 12 of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes: “The Council of Higher Education shall be an expert institution on issues of higher education development. The Council of Higher Education shall be set up and function according to the regulations approved by the Government.”

Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes: “The council of a school of higher education shall consist of 9 or 11 members. The statute of the school of higher education shall set an exact number of the council members. One member of the council shall be appointed by the representation of students in accordance with the procedure laid down by it, and in the absence of such—by a general meeting (conference) of students; other members of the academic community shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down by the school of higher education, appoint respectively not more than 4 or 5 members. 4 or 5 members respectively, who do not belong to the staff and students of the school of higher education, shall be selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the senate (academic council), with one member from them being selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the representation of students. These 4 or 5 members shall be selected through open competition and appointed upon the evaluation of the assessment of the candidates, carried out by the Council of Higher Education. The composition of the council shall be publicly announced by the chairman of the senate (academic council).”

  1. While substantiating its doubts regarding the compliance of the legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 and Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the petitioner makes general statements (“<...> the formulation consolidated in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 that the Ministry of Education and Science shall exercise state supervision of activities of schools of higher education raises doubts as regards the compliance of the direct granting of such a right to the Ministry of Education and Science with the constitutional principle of autonomy of schools of higher education. <...> According to the official constitutional doctrine of autonomy of higher education, the Ministry of Education and Science may not exercise any direct supervision of activities of schools of higher education. <...> the legislator also changed the purpose of the Council of Higher Education while making it an expert, but not advisory institution functioning according to the regulations approved by the Government. Such an expert institution becomes directly dependent on political decisions of the Government, but not on its legal status which is regulated on the level of legislation”), however, does not provide any legal arguments to substantiate its doubt.

The petitioner does not provide any arguments why, in its opinion, the Ministry of Education and Science may not exercise state supervision of activities of schools of higher education and why changing the purpose of the Council of Higher Education and making it an expert institution were impermissible.

It is asserted in the petition that, “according to the official constitutional doctrine of autonomy of higher education, the Ministry of Education and Science may not exercise any direct supervision of activities of schools of higher education”, however, no concrete provisions of the official constitutional doctrine were presented in order to substantiate such a position of the petitioner. The petition of the petitioner does not point out as to what concrete supervision, from among its forms enumerated in Paragraph 4 of Article 7 of the Law on Science and Studies, is directly exercised by the Ministry of Education and Science, and what supervision, according to the petitioner, it is not allowed to exercise. From the totality of the arguments of the petitioner it is not clear why the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of the Law on Science and Studies are in conflict with namely Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. Under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation of the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, whereby one applies to the Constitutional Court, must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing reference to laws.

While construing the said item of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that “the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must be indicated clearly and unambiguously, the petition must contain the arguments and reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner that the legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution. Thus, the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must clearly indicate concrete articles (parts thereof), items of the legal act the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful from the petitioner’s viewpoint, also concrete provisions—norms and/or principles—of the Constitution, with which, in the opinion of the petitioner, the concretely indicated articles or items of the impugned legal act are in conflict. The petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must also clearly set forth the legal reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner as regards every concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provisions of the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner. Otherwise, the request to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must be considered to be not in line with the requirements of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court”.

It also needs to be noted that if, in the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation, one does not indicate concrete articles (parts thereof), items of the legal act, the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner, nor concrete provisions—norms and/or principles—of the Constitution with which, in the opinion of the petitioner, the concretely indicated articles (parts thereof) or items of the impugned legal act are in conflict according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation, nor the legal reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner concerning each concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provisions of the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation is doubtful to the petitioner, and in case such a petition was accepted at the Constitutional Court and a case was commenced subsequent to it, one would also restrict the rights of the party concerned, the state institution that has passed the impugned legal act, since it would be more difficult for the party concerned to present explanations concerning the arguments of the petitioner and to prepare for the judicial consideration (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 16 April 2004, 19 March 2010, 5 March 2012 and 25 April 2012).

  1. It needs to be held the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, does not contain any clear legal reasoning grounding the petitioner’s doubt regarding the conflict of Paragraph 4 of Article 7 and Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Thus, this petition of the petitioner fails to comply with the requirements of Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

If a petition (part thereof) fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such a petition is returned to the petitioner.

  1. Taking account of the arguments set forth it needs to be held that there is a ground to return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 4 of Article 7 and Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.
  2. The petition of the petitioner requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is substantiated by the following arguments.

6.1. Four of five members (who do not belong to the staff and students of the school of higher education) of the council of the school of higher education are selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the senate (academic council) (one member from them being selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the representation of students) through open competition. These members are appointed upon the evaluation of the assessment of the candidates, carried out by the Council of Higher Education. The Constitutional Court has held that the academic communities themselves form their self-government institutions from among the members of the community of the school of higher education itself, or not only from among the members of that school of higher education, but may also invite members of the communities of other schools of higher education. Thus, the established legal regulation is not in conformity with the provisions of this constitutional doctrine.

6.2. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies, the Council of Higher Education, being, perhaps, a politically dependent institution, since the procedure of its formation is established by the Government, has the right to assess the members of the council of a school of higher education selected by the senate (academic council) through open competition. Thus legal and political preconditions are created for a conflict to arise in the course of formation of the council of a school of higher education between the senate (academic council) that enjoys the constitutional right independently to decide issues of formation self-government bodies of the school of higher education and the Council of Higher Education, as an expert institution that is dependent on the Government. By such a way also conditions are created for the Government to intervene in the sphere of autonomy of schools of higher education, unreasonably to interfere with the governance of schools of higher education and negate the self-government of the academic community of schools of higher education.

  1. The petitioner requests investigation into the compliance of the entire Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution, however, from the arguments of the petition it is clear that the petitioner requests investigation into the compliance of the said paragraph with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law insofar as that paragraph establishes that 4 or 5 members of the council of a school of higher education respectively, who do not belong to the staff and students of the school of higher education, shall be selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the senate (academic council), with one member from them being selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the representation of students, and insofar as the same paragraph establishes that those 4 or 5 members shall be selected and appointed upon the evaluation of the assessment of the candidates, carried out by the Council of Higher Education.
  2. It needs to be held that the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies, insofar as it established that 4 or 5 members of the council of a school of higher education respectively, who do not belong to the staff and students of the school of higher education, shall be selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the senate (academic council), with one member from them being selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the representation of students, and insofar as it establishes that those 4 or 5 members of the council of a school of higher education shall be selected and appointed upon the evaluation of the assessment of the candidates, carried out by the Council of Higher Education, is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, is substantiated by legal reasoning, therefore, this petition is acceptable for consideration at the Constitutional Court.

II

  1. The group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 3 of Article 19, Articles 20, 21 and 22 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 19 of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes: “The statute of a state school of higher education may also provide for other collegial or single-person bodies to perform the functions which are not assigned by this Law to the exceptional competence of the governance bodies of the school of higher education. The composition of such bodies, their competence, the procedure of their setting-up and annulment shall be laid down in the statute of the school of higher education.”

Article 20 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 20. Council of a state school of higher education

  1. A governance body of a state school of higher education shall be the council.
  2. The council of a school of higher education shall perform the following functions:

1) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve the vision and mission of the school of higher education;

2) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), submit amendments of the university statute to the Seimas (amendments of the college statute—to the Government) for approval;

3) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve a strategic action plan of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

4) consider and approve plans for reorganisation of the structure of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

5) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), set the procedure of management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets managed by the right of ownership;

6) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve the procedure for organising the election of the rector (director) of the school of higher education through open competition;

7) elect, appoint and dismiss the rector (director);

8) set the principles for selection and assessment of the administration staff and other employees of the school of higher education;

9) approve the internal rules of the school of higher education;

10) on the recommendation of the rector (director) set the study cost and the rates of fees that are not directly related to the implementation of a study programme;

11) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), set the general number of student places, taking into account the possibilities of quality assurance in studies and scientific as well as artistic activities;

12) consider an annual statement of revenue and expenditure of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director) and approve a report on the execution of this statement;

13) approve an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

14) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve plans for reorganisation or liquidation of the school of higher education and submit them to the Seimas (the Government);

15) prepare an annual report on its activities and announce it publicly on the website of the school of higher education prior to 1 April of each year;

16) perform other functions prescribed in the statute of the school of higher education and other legal acts. <...>”

Article 21 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 21. Senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education

  1. The senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education shall be the governance body of academic affairs of that school of higher education.
  2. The senate (academic council) of a school of higher education shall perform the following functions:

1) lay down the procedure of studies;

2) approve programmes of studies, scientific research and experimental (social, cultural) development, art programmes in universities, and present proposals to the rector regarding the funding of these programmes and reorganisation of the university structure which is necessary for implementation of those programmes, evaluate the results of conducted research as well as the quality and level of all scientific and artistic activities of the university;

3) approve study programmes in colleges and present proposals to the director regarding the funding of these programmes and reorganisation of the college structure which is necessary for implementation of those programmes, evaluate the results of conducted research as well as the quality and level of applied scientific and artistic activities of the college;

4) approve an internal system of quality assurance in studies and control its implementation;

5) lay down the qualification requirements for positions of teaching and scientific staff members, lay down the procedure for performance evaluation of teaching and scientific staff members and for organisation of a competition to fill a position;

6) in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education, convene meetings (conferences) of the academic community of the school of higher education to discuss important issues concerning activities of the school of higher education;

7) in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education, bestow honorary degrees and other titles of the school of higher education;

8) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the vision and mission, strategic action plan of the school of higher education;

9) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding amendments of the statute of the school of higher education;

10) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the suitability of the candidates to occupy the position of rector (director);

11) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the reorganisation of the school of higher education or the plans of its liquidation;

12) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the procedure of management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets managed by the right of ownership;

13) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the setting of the general number of student places, taking into account the possibilities of quality assurance in studies and scientific, artistic activities;

14) perform other functions prescribed in legal acts and the statute of the school of higher education. <...>”

Article 22 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 22. Rector (director) of a state school of higher education

  1. The rector (director) of a school of higher education shall be a one-person governance body of the school of higher education, shall act in the name of the said institution and represent it.
  2. 2. The rector (director) shall execute the following functions:

1) head a school of higher education, organise its activities, ensuring the implementation of a strategic action plan;

2) issue orders;

3) recruit and dismiss employees of the school of higher education;

4) admit and exclude students in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education;

5) submit to the council proposals for the setting the amounts of the study cost and the fees which are not directly related to the implementation of a study programme;

6) be responsible for financial activities of the school of higher education, proper management, use and disposal of funds and assets;

7) submit to the council of the school of higher education for approval an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education;

8) publicly announce an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education approved by the council of the school of higher education;

9) submit to the senate for consideration and the council of the school of higher education for approval a strategic plan for activities of the school of higher education and plans for reorganisation of the structure of the school of higher education;

10) consider and take decisions concerning the management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets;

11) perform other functions prescribed in legal acts and the statute of the school of higher education. <...>”

  1. The petition of the petitioner requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 3 of Article 19, Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with the Constitution points out that Paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Law on Science and Studies consolidated the provision that the statute of a state school of higher education may also provide for other collegial or single-person bodies to perform the functions which are not assigned by this law to the exceptional competence of the governance bodies of the school of higher education. According to the petitioner, under the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 December 2011, no duty arises for the legislator to establish the exceptional competence of the governance bodies of a school of higher education. Laws should establish only the essential, basic functions of the bodies of governance of a state school of higher education, while leaving an opportunity for schools of higher education themselves to detail more comprehensively the functions of the model of academic and institutional governance structure chosen by them. The petitioner maintains that in Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies the legislator established the exceptional competence of the bodies of governance of a school of higher education without leaving the right for schools of higher education to choose themselves a model of academic and institutional autonomy and to develop it in detail in their regulations or statutes.

Thus, the petitioner doubts in substance the compliance of the legal regulation consolidated in Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution.

  1. The petitioner, while doubting the compliance of the aforesaid provisions of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution, does not specify any concrete provisions of Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies regarding the constitutionality of which it has faced doubts. The petition of the petitioner maintains that laws should establish only the essential, basic functions of the bodies of governance of a state school of higher education, however, it does not specify and explain which of the functions of the council of a state school of higher education, the senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education, and the rector (director) of a state school of higher education enumerated in Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies, according to the petitioner, are not essential and should not be established by law, nor any arguments are presented substantiating the position of the petitioner that those functions should not be consolidated by law. The petition also asserts that schools of higher education are not given the right to develop their model of governance structure, however, under the Law on Science and Studies, the council of a state school of higher education, the senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education, and the rector (director) of a state school of higher education also perform other functions established in the statute of the school of higher education (Item 16 of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20, Item 14 of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 21, Item 11 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Paragraph 2 of Article 22 respectively), whereas, under Paragraph 3 (impugned by the legislator) of Article 19, the statute of a state school of higher education may also provide for other collegial or single-person bodies to perform the functions which are not assigned by this law to the exceptional competence of the governance bodies of the school of higher education, where the composition of such bodies, their competence, the procedure of their setting-up and annulment shall be laid down in the statute of the school of higher education.

It also needs to be noted that, in its ruling of 22 December 2011, the Constitutional Court held that the legislator may establish various models of governance structure of schools of higher education, thus, contrary to what is stated by the petitioner, the model of governance structure of schools of higher education is chosen by the legislator, but not by a school of higher education itself.

  1. It has been mentioned that, under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation of the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, whereby one applies to the Constitutional Court, must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing reference to laws.

It has also been mentioned that, while construing the said item of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must be indicated clearly and unambiguously, the petition must contain the arguments and reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner that the legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution; thus, the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must clearly indicate concrete articles (parts thereof), items of the legal act the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful from the petitioner’s viewpoint, also concrete provisions—norms and/or principles—of the Constitution, with which, in the opinion of the petitioner, the concretely indicated articles or items of the impugned legal act are in conflict; the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must also clearly set forth the legal reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner as regards every concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provisions of the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner.

  1. It needs to be held the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, does not contain any clear legal reasoning grounding the petitioner’s doubt regarding the conflict of Paragraph 3 of Article 19 and Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Thus, this petition of the petitioner fails to comply with the requirements of Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

If a petition (part thereof) fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such a petition is returned to the petitioner.

  1. Taking account of the arguments set forth it needs to be held that there is a ground to return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 3 of Article 19 and Articles 20, 21, 22 of the Law on Science and Studies of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

III

  1. The group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether inter alia:

– Articles 20, 21, 22, 53 of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 1 of Article 20 and Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of the same article of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 9 of Article 20 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 1 of Article 21 and Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of the same article of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 3 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 9 of Article 22 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Article 20 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 20. Council of a state school of higher education

  1. A governance body of a state school of higher education shall be the council.
  2. The council of a school of higher education shall perform the following functions:

1) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve the vision and mission of the school of higher education;

2) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), submit amendments of the university statute to the Seimas (amendments of the college statute—to the Government) for approval;

3) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve a strategic action plan of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

4) consider and approve plans for reorganisation of the structure of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

5) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), set the procedure of management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets managed by the right of ownership;

6) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve the procedure for organising the election of the rector (director) of the school of higher education through open competition;

7) elect, appoint and dismiss the rector (director);

8) set the principles for selection and assessment of the administration staff and other employees of the school of higher education;

9) approve the internal rules of the school of higher education;

10) on the recommendation of the rector (director) set the study cost and the rates of fees that are not directly related to the implementation of a study programme;

11) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), set the general number of student places, taking into account the possibilities of quality assurance in studies and scientific as well as artistic activities;

12) consider an annual statement of revenue and expenditure of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director) and approve a report on the execution of this statement;

13) approve an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director);

14) upon evaluating the proposals of the senate (academic council), approve plans for reorganisation or liquidation of the school of higher education and submit them to the Seimas (the Government);

15) prepare an annual report on its activities and announce it publicly on the website of the school of higher education prior to 1 April of each year;

16) perform other functions prescribed in the statute of the school of higher education and other legal acts. <...>

  1. The council shall approve its rules of procedure. The council shall take decisions by a simple majority of votes cast by the council members attending the meeting. A meeting of the council shall be valid if it is attended by at least two thirds of the members of the council. The council shall publicly announce its decisions on the website of the school of higher education. <...>”

Article 21 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 21. Senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education

  1. The senate (academic council) of a state school of higher education shall be the governance body of academic affairs of that school of higher education.
  2. The senate (academic council) of a school of higher education shall perform the following functions:

1) lay down the procedure of studies;

2) approve programmes of studies, scientific research and experimental (social, cultural) development, art programmes in universities, and present proposals to the rector regarding the funding of these programmes and reorganisation of the university structure which is necessary for implementation of those programmes, evaluate the results of conducted research as well as the quality and level of all scientific and artistic activities of the university;

3) approve study programmes in colleges and present proposals to the director regarding the funding of these programmes and reorganisation of the college structure which is necessary for implementation of those programmes, evaluate the results of conducted research as well as the quality and level of applied scientific and artistic activities of the college;

4) approve an internal system of quality assurance in studies and control its implementation;

5) lay down the qualification requirements for positions of teaching and scientific staff members, lay down the procedure for performance evaluation of teaching and scientific staff members and for organisation of a competition to fill a position;

6) in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education, convene meetings (conferences) of the academic community of the school of higher education to discuss important issues concerning activities of the school of higher education;

7) in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education, bestow honorary degrees and other titles of the school of higher education;

8) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the vision and mission, strategic action plan of the school of higher education;

9) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding amendments of the statute of the school of higher education;

10) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the suitability of the candidates to occupy the position of rector (director);

11) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the reorganisation of the school of higher education or the plans of its liquidation;

12) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the procedure of management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets managed by the right of ownership;

13) consider and submit proposals to the council regarding the setting of the general number of student places, taking into account the possibilities of quality assurance in studies and scientific, artistic activities;

14) perform other functions prescribed in legal acts and the statute of the school of higher education. <...>”

Article 22 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes:

“Article 22. Rector (director) of a state school of higher education

  1. The rector (director) of a school of higher education shall be a one-person governance body of the school of higher education, shall act in the name of the said institution and represent it.
  2. 2. The rector (director) shall execute the following functions:

1) head a school of higher education, organise its activities, ensuring the implementation of a strategic action plan;

2) issue orders;

3) recruit and dismiss employees of the school of higher education;

4) admit and exclude students in accordance with the procedure laid down by the statute of the school of higher education;

5) submit to the council proposals for the setting the amounts of the study cost and the fees which are not directly related to the implementation of a study programme;

6) be responsible for financial activities of the school of higher education, proper management, use and disposal of funds and assets;

7) submit to the council of the school of higher education for approval an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education;

8) publicly announce an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education approved by the council of the school of higher education;

9) submit to the senate for consideration and the council of the school of higher education for approval a strategic plan for activities of the school of higher education and plans for reorganisation of the structure of the school of higher education;

10) consider and take decisions concerning the management, use and disposal of funds of the school of higher education (as well as funds designated for work remuneration of the administration staff and other employees) and the assets;

11) perform other functions prescribed in legal acts and the statute of the school of higher education.

  1. The rector (director) shall be elected by the council in accordance with the procedure laid down by the council of the school of higher education. <...>
  2. If an annual report on activities of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director) is not approved by a majority of all the members of the council of the school of higher education, the rector (director) shall, in accordance with the procedure laid down by legal acts, be dismissed from office by a majority of votes of not less than 6 members of the council of the school of higher education (where the council comprises 9 members) or 7 members of the council of the school of higher education (where the council comprises 11 members).”

The petitioner requests investigation into whether Article 53 (wording of 24 April 2012) of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with the Constitution. It needs to be noted that Article 53 of the Law on Science and Studies that was adopted on 30 April 2009 has not been amended and/or supplemented. Thus, the petitioner doubts whether Article 53 (wording of 30 April 2009) of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with the Constitution. The said article prescribes:

“Article 53. Academic community

  1. The academic community shall consist of students, the teaching staff, scientific workers, other researchers, and professors emeritus of institutions of science and studies.
  2. Members of the academic community shall be guaranteed academic freedom which encompasses:

1) the freedom of thought, the freedom of expression;

2) the freedom to choose methods of and access to scientific (artistic) and pedagogical activities, which is in conformity with the recognised principles of ethics;

3) protection against restrictions and sanctions for making public the results of his or her research, and for the manifestation of his or her beliefs, with the exception of the cases when the information made available to the general public is a State or official secret and/or is in violation of laws of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. The academic community shall be also guaranteed the following:

1) the copyright of creative and intellectual work as established in laws and international agreements of the Republic of Lithuania;

2) equal rights to take part in competitions;

3) objective and open reviewing of scientific works.

  1. The academic community shall make use of the academic freedom and acts in compliance with the Code of Academic Ethics, which is prepared and approved by science and studies institutions in accordance with the recommendations of the supervisor of academic ethics and procedures.”
  2. The doubts of the petitioner regarding the compliance of the said provisions of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution are grounded on the fact that the legislator, by means of the law adopted on 24 April 2012, “made the council of a state school of higher education the governance body of the school of higher education, the senate (academic council)—the body of management of academic affairs of the school of higher education, whilst granted no right for the academic community to form self-government institutions”. The doubts of the petitioner are also grounded on the assumption that the council of a school of higher education formed under the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article of the Law on Science and Studies is not a self-government institution formed by the academic community itself, therefore, it may not be the body of governance of the school of higher education, it may not discharge any basic functions related with self-government of the school of higher education, inter alia it may not approve an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director) and elect to and dismiss from office the rector (director). According to the petitioner, such legal regulation is not in conformity with the provisions of the constitutional doctrine.
  3. The petitioner, while asserting in its petition that the council of a school of higher education is not a self-government institution formed by the academic community itself, retells the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies, however, does not analyse and provide any arguments why the council of a school of higher education formed on the grounds of this legal regulation is not a self-government institution formed by the academic community itself.

While asserting that Paragraphs 1 and 2 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies, wherein it is established that a governance body of a state school of higher education shall be the council and wherein the functions of the latter are defined, is not in line with the concept presented in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 December 2011 regarding the council of a state school of higher education as a control, supervisory and consulting institution, the petitioner does not take account of the fact that Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies prescribes a procedure for forming the council of a school of higher education different from the former one established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies, which was a matter for investigation in the constitutional justice case in which the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 December 2011 was adopted. The petitioner provides no analysis as regards the influence exerted by the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Law on Science and Studies upon the legal status of the school of higher education and provides no arguments why the council of a school of higher education formed under this legal regulation may not be the body of governance of the school of higher education, may not discharge any basic functions related with self-government of the school of higher education, inter alia may not approve an annual report on the activities of the school of higher education presented by the rector (director) and elect to and dismiss from office the rector (director). Nor does the petitioner provide any arguments why those functions should be commissioned for the university senate (academic council) as the institution implementing self-government of the academic community.

It is asserted in the petition of the petitioner that there may arise a situation, where the council of a state school of higher education, by a simple majority of votes, would adopt decisions related to governance of the school of higher education and where such decisions would be determined by votes of the council members not belonging to the academic community, and that such legal regulation was recognised by the Constitutional Court as conflicting with the constitutional concept of the autonomy of higher education.

It needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 December 2011 assessed a legal situation different from the one pointed out by the petitioner in its petition. The said Constitutional Court’s ruling assessed a legal situation where the academic community of a state school of higher education had no decisive influence in the formation of the council—as a collegial governance body—of that school of higher education and had no decisive influence on decisions of the council: strategic and other most important decisions of governance of the school of higher education could be adopted by the council without the assent of the council members directly appointed by the academic community.

  1. In its petition the petitioner points out that it doubts the compliance of Articles 20, 21, 22, 53, Paragraph 1 of Article 20, Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Paragraph 9 of the same article, Paragraph 1 of Article 21, Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22, Paragraphs 3, 9 of the same article of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraphs 1, 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, however, it does not provide any arguments why the impugned legal norms are in conflict with these provisions of the Constitution.
  2. It has been mentioned that, under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation of the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, whereby one applies to the Constitutional Court, must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing reference to laws.

It has also been mentioned that, while construing the said item of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution according to the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must be indicated clearly and unambiguously, the petition must contain the arguments and reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner that the legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution; thus, the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must clearly indicate concrete articles (parts thereof), items of the legal act the compliance of which with the Constitution is doubtful from the petitioner’s viewpoint, also concrete provisions—norms and/or principles—of the Constitution, with which, in the opinion of the petitioner, the concretely indicated articles or items of the impugned legal act are in conflict; the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must also clearly set forth the legal reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner as regards every concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provisions of the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner.

  1. It needs to be held that the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, does not contain any legal reasoning substantiating the doubt regarding the conflict of Articles 20, 21, 22, 53, Paragraph 1 of Article 20, Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Paragraph 9 of the same article, Paragraph 1 of Article 21, Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22, Paragraphs 3, 9 of the same article of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1, 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. Thus, this petition of the petitioner fails to comply with the requirements of Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

If a petition (part thereof) fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such a petition is returned to the petitioner.

  1. Taking account of the arguments set forth it needs to be held that that there is a ground to return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether Articles 20, 21, 22, 53, Paragraph 1 of Article 20, Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Paragraph 9 of the same article, Paragraph 1 of Article 21, Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22, Paragraphs 3, 9 of the same article of the Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1, 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

IV

  1. The group of Members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests investigation into whether inter alia Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The petitioner requests investigation into the compliance of Paragraph 7 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution, however, it is clear from the copies of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” attached to the petition that the petitioner doubts whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 19 January 2012) of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with the Constitution. The said paragraph prescribes: “A person whose studies of the first cycle or integrated studies are funded by the State shall, upon the end of the period of academic studying set by the school of higher education, but not exceeding an academic year, after which a regular main check of knowledge is carried out, lose state funding for studies if the mean of the results of his studies during a respective period is more than 20 percentage points lower than the mean of the results of studies of a respective study programme and form by students of the school of higher education of the same year of studies during a respective period. A person who loses state funding must pay for his studies the study cost fixed by a school of higher education and his state-funded student place shall be occupied by a person whose study results in a student place which is not funded by the State are the best.”

  1. The petition of the petitioner requesting investigation into whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with the Constitution is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. The status of the one who is good at his studies is determined not by objective criteria established by law, but by the relation of the assessment of the student with the mean of the results of studies of other students. Such legal regulation is not in line with the criteria formulated in the official constitutional doctrine defining which persons (who are funded by the state) meeting such criteria are regarded as those who are good at their studies: the criteria which are established by a law and according to which persons funded by the state are regarded as those who are good at their studies cannot be formal; moreover, it is not permitted to establish in advance a number of citizens who are allegedly “good at their studies”, either an absolute or relative size, i.e. a quota, since it is impossible in advance to predict precisely how many students will actually be learning well, and how many of them will not (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 20 March 2008).

2.2. A regular main check of knowledge is carried out upon the end of the period of academic studying set by the school of higher education, which does not exceed an academic year, but not upon the end of each semester. The formula “the period not exceeding an academic year” includes the period of one year and the period of all academic studies. “An academic year” is an idiom voluminous in its meanings. The legislator must use precise notions, definitions and terms so that the legal subjects would not face any ambiguities as to how to behave and how to interpret the established legal regulation.

  1. From the substantive provisions of the petition of the petitioner it is clear that one requests to investigate whether Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution, however, in its petition the petitioner does not point out any arguments by which it would substantiate its doubts regarding the compliance of the legal regulation with the said article of the Constitution.
  2. It needs to be held that the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 19 January 2012) of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, is grounded on legal reasoning, therefore, this request is acceptable for consideration at the Constitutional Court.

V

  1. The group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests investigation into whether “the note on the application of the provisions of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the [Law on Science and Studies] to persons whose studies of the first cycle or integrated studies are funded by the state and who were accepted to schools of higher education prior to the entry into force of this law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law”.

The petitioner requests investigation into the compliance of the note of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution, however, from the copies of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” it is clear that the petitioner doubts whether Article 7 “Final provisions” of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies adopted by the Seimas on 19 January 2012 is not in conflict with the Constitution. The said article prescribes: “The provisions of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Science and Studies set forth in Article 6 of this Law shall also be applied to persons whose studies of the first cycle or integrated studies are funded by the state and who were accepted to schools of higher education prior to the entry into force of this law, but not prior to 12 May 2009, providing their study agreements do not provide for a different procedure of comparison of study results.”

It needs to be mentioned that Article 6 of Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of Law on Science and Studies amended Paragraph 7 (whose compliance with the Constitution is also impugned by the petitioner) of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies and set it forth in a new wording.

  1. From the entirety of the arguments set forth in the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of Article 7 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies with the Constitution, it is clear that the petitioner’s arguments are inconsistent and conflicting: on the one hand it is maintained that “the possibilities of retroactive application of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies <...> are in conflict with the Constitution: thus, the law is deficiently applied to legal relations that came into being prior to the entry of this wording of the law into effect. The persons who were admitted to schools of higher education prior to the entry into force of this law and signed agreements with the schools of higher education, when the previous legal regulation was in force, were unable to know any future specific requirements regarding checks of knowledge. <...> it is not allowed to demand that subjects follow the rules that were not consolidated at the time of signing the agreements with schools of higher education”, i.e. the petitioner doubts the possibility of retroactive application of Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the law; on the other hand, the petitioner notes that “providing the agreements provide that the study results of students are assessed and, in their turn, students are rotated during an academic year, but not after the check carried out after each period of academic learning, the legislator all the same legislatively commissions one to apply and execute the conditions of the agreements that are in conflict with the Constitution <...>. <...> the provisions of the agreements concluded while following the provisions of the Law on Science and Studies that had been recognised by the Constitutional Court as being in conflict with the Constitution may not be applied and executed until they are properly harmonised with the provisions of the law implementing the ruling of the Constitutional Court”. It means that the petitioner thinks that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 7 of Article 70 of the Law on Science and Studies must be applied retroactively.

Thus, the position set forth in the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, regarding the conflict of Article 7 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 1 of Article 7 and Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is ambiguous and conflicting.

  1. It has been mentioned that, under Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation of the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, whereby one applies to the Constitutional Court, must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing reference to laws.

It has also been mentioned that, while construing this provision of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must be indicated clearly and unambiguously; the petition requesting to investigate the compliance of a legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution in view of the content of norms and/or the extent of regulation must clearly set forth the legal reasoning grounding the doubt of the petitioner as regards every concretely indicated article (part thereof) or item of the impugned legal act (part thereof), the compliance of which with the concretely indicated provisions of the Constitution is doubtful to the petitioner.

  1. It needs to be held that the position of the petitioner in the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, regarding the compliance of Article 7 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law does not indicate, unambiguously and clearly, any legal reasoning substantiating the doubt regarding the compliance of the said article with the Constitution. Thus, this petition of the petitioner fails to comply with the requirements of Item 8 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

If a petition (part thereof) fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such a petition is returned to the petitioner.

  1. Taking account of the arguments set forth it needs to be held that there is a ground to return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether Article 7 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

VI

  1. The decision of the Constitutional Court on accepting the petition neither approves of nor denies the arguments upon which the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, grounds its position; when adopting such a decision, the fact of essential significance is whether the petition of the petitioner is grounded on legal reasoning (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 15 December 2006, 8 January 2008, 3 April 2009, 14 May 2009 and 5 March 2012).
  2. It has been held in this Constitutional Court’s decision that the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas is not substantiated by legal arguments in part. Thus, it has been held that the petition of this petitioner is to be, in part, considered as not complying with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court.

It needs to be noted that the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas has also other shortcomings, inter alia it erroneously specifies the wordings of some of the articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Science and Studies the investigation into whose compliance with the Constitution is requested (from the substantive provisions of the petition, it is clear that the petitioner impugns the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 20, Paragraph 7 of Article 70 and Article 53 of the Law on Science and Studies, which were set forth in the wording of 24 April 2012, with the Constitution, however, these articles (parts thereof) have never been set forth in the wording of 24 April 2012), in addition, no copy of the impugned Article 53 of the Law on Science and Studies was attached.

  1. If a petition (part thereof) fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, under Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, such a petition is returned to the petitioner. The return of a petition shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure after removal of the deficiencies thereof.

Conforming to Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Paragraph 3 of Article 22 and Articles 25, 28, 66, and 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

decision:

  1. To accept the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting investigation into whether:

– Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 April 2012) of Article 20 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Science and Studies, insofar as it established that 4 or 5 members of the council of a school of higher education respectively, who do not belong to the staff and students of the school of higher education, shall be selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the senate (academic council), with one member from them being selected, appointed and recalled in accordance with the procedure laid down by the representation of students, and insofar as it establishes that those 4 or 5 members of the council of a school of higher education shall be selected and appointed upon the evaluation of the assessment of the candidates, carried out by the Council of Higher Education, is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 7 (wording of 19 January 2012) of Article 70 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

  1. To return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether:

– Paragraph 4 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 12 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Science and Studies are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 3 of Article 19, Articles 20, 21, 22 of the same law are not in conflict with Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Articles 20, 21, 22, 53, Paragraph 1 of Article 20, Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Paragraph 9 of the same article, Paragraph 1 of Article 21, Items 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 of Paragraph 2 of the same article, Items 5, 7, 8, 9 of Paragraph 2 of Article 22, Paragraphs 3, 9 of the same article of the said law are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 40, Paragraphs 1, 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

– Paragraph 7 (wording of 19 January 2012) of Article 70 of the same law is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. To return the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 7, 11, 21, 22, 69, 70 of the Law on Science and Studies is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 7, Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This decision of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The decision is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                               Egidijus Bieliūnas

                                                                                                   Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                                   Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                                   Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                                   Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                                   Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                                   Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                                   Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

                                                                                                   Dainius Žalimas