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On reducing the remuneration of members of the Seimas

Case No. 15/98, 33/03

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF PROVISIONS OF THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA “ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF MEMBERS OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA” OF 9 NOVEMBER 1999 AND THOSE OF THE RULING OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA “ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ITEM 2 OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 62, PARAGRAPH 4 (WORDING OF 11 JULY 1996) OF ARTICLE 69 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT AND PARAGRAPH 3 (WORDING OF 24 JANUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 11, PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 24 JANUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 96 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON COURTS WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA” OF 28 MARCH 2006

 

15 January 2009

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 8 January 2009, in a public hearing, considered the petition of Arūnas Valinskas, the Speaker of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, requesting the construction:

of whether the statement “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” employed in the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 November 1999 is also applied to the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas;

of whether in case an extremely difficult economic and financial situation occurs in the state (which is mentioned in the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Compliance of Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 62, Paragraph 4 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 69 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Constitutional Court and Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 28 March 2006) the legislature would be permitted to amend the legal regulation according to which during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is temporarily decreased from what it was at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law;

of “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1. On 9 November 1999, in constitutional justice case No. 15/98, subsequent to the petition submitted by a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas was in compliance with Paragraph 4 of Articles 59 and Paragraph 3 of 60 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 November 1999 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1999, No. 96-2739; hereinafter also referred to as the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999).

2. It was recognised in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 that Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas was not in conflict with the Constitution.

3. On 28 March 2006, in constitutional justice case No. 33/03, subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the provision “the annulment of the impugned legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings” of Paragraph 4 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court was not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 30, Paragraph 1 of Article 109 and Paragraph 2 of Article 110 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, whether the provision “When the economic and financial situation of the country deteriorates considerably, the Seimas may review the financial and material conditions for the functioning of the courts” of Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts were not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 109 and Paragraph 1 of Article 114 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the Compliance of Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 62, Paragraph 4 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 69 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Constitutional Court and Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 28 March 2006 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2006, No. 36-1292; hereinafter also referred to as the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006).

4. It was recognised in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 that, inter alia, the provision “When the economic and financial situation of the country deteriorates considerably, the Seimas may review the financial and material conditions for the functioning of the courts” of Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts were not in conflict with the Constitution.

5. The Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests the Constitutional Court to provide the construction:

of whether the statement “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” employed in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 is also applied to the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas;

of whether in case an extremely difficult economic and financial situation occurs in the state (which is mentioned in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006) the legislature would be permitted to amend the legal regulation according to which during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is temporarily decreased from what it was at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law;

of “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

This petition was received at the Constitutional Court on 11 December 2008.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. The powers of the Constitutional Court to officially construe its own rulings are entrenched in the Law on the Constitutional Court (Article 61). The Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that it enjoys the powers to construe its other final acts as well.

2. Paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that a ruling of the Constitutional Court may be officially construed by the Constitutional Court at the request of the parties to the case, of other institutions or persons to whom it was sent, or on its own initiative. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 60 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the President of the Constitutional Court may order that a ruling of the Constitutional Court be sent to other institutions, officials, or citizens. Under the Order of the President of the Constitutional Court (No. 4B-10) “On Sending Final Acts of the Constitutional Court” of 29 March 2004, final acts of the Constitutional Court are sent, inter alia, to the Speaker of the Seimas. Thus, under Paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Constitutional Court, the Speaker of the Seimas has the right to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting the construction of a ruling of the Constitutional Court.

3. A decision concerning the construction of a ruling of the Constitutional Court shall be adopted at a sitting of the Constitutional Court as a separate document (Paragraph 2 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court).

4. In its acts, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the purpose of the institute of the construction of rulings and other final acts of the Constitutional Court is to disclose the contents and meaning of corresponding rulings or other final acts of the Constitutional Court more broadly and in more detail if it is necessary in order to ensure proper execution of that ruling or other final of the Constitutional Court act so that this ruling or other final of the Constitutional Court would be followed.

5. The Constitutional Court has held more than once that a ruling of the Constitutional Court is integral, its operative part is based upon the arguments of the part of the reasoning; while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court is bound both by the content of the operative part and that of the reasoning of its ruling; the decision adopted concerning the construction of a ruling of the Constitutional Court is inseparable from that ruling of the Constitutional Court.

6. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court must construe its ruling without changing its content.

The Constitutional Court has held more than once that this provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court means, among other things, that while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court cannot construe its content so that the meaning of its provisions, inter alia, the notional entirety of the elements constituting the content of the ruling, the arguments and reasons upon which that ruling of the Constitutional Court is based, is changed, also that the Constitutional Court may not construe what was not investigated in that constitutional justice case, subsequent to which the construed ruling was adopted, either. The Constitutional Court also held that the consideration of a petition requesting the construction of a ruling or another final act of the Constitutional Court does not imply a new constitutional justice case (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 21 November 2006, 6 December 2007, 1 February 2008, and 4 July 2008).

In this context it needs to be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court more than once, the formula “shall be final and not subject to appeal” of Paragraph 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution, which provides that the decisions of the Constitutional Court on issues within its competence according to the Constitution shall be final and not subject to appeal, also means that the rulings, conclusions and decisions of the Constitutional Court by which a constitutional justice case is finished, i.e. final acts of the Constitutional Court, are obligatory to all state institutions, courts, all enterprises, establishments and organisations, as well as officials and citizens, including the Constitutional Court itself: final acts of the Constitutional Court are obligatory to the Constitutional Court itself, they restrict the Constitutional Court in the aspect that it may not change them or review them if there are no constitutional grounds for that.

Therefore, in the official construction (subsequent to a petition of the persons that participated in the case, other institutions and individuals, to whom the ruling of the Constitutional Court was sent, also on the initiative of the Constitutional Court itself) of rulings and other final acts of the Constitutional Court, the constitutional doctrine is not corrected. The correction of the official constitutional doctrine (which, undoubtedly, must always have a constitutional basis and be explicitly reasoned in a respective act of the Constitutional Court) must be related with the consideration of new constitutional justice cases and creation of new Constitutional Court precedents therein, but not with the official construction of provisions of rulings and other final acts of the Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 6 December 2007, 1 February 2008, and 4 July 2008).

7. It is also to be noted that the uniformity and continuity of the official constitutional doctrine implies the necessity to construe each construed provision of a ruling or another final act of the Constitutional Court by taking account of the entire official constitutional doctrinal context, also of other provisions (explicit and implicit) of the Constitution, which are related with the provision (provisions) of the Constitution in the course of the construction of which in a ruling or another final act of the Constitutional Court a particular official constitutional doctrine was formulated. No official constitutional doctrinal provision of a ruling or another final act of the Constitutional Court may be construed in isolation, by ignoring its meaning and systemic links with the other official constitutional doctrinal provisions set forth in that ruling or other final act of the Constitutional Court, in other acts of the Constitutional Court, as well as with other provisions (explicit and implicit) of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 21 November 2006, 6 December 2007, 1 February 2008, and 4 July 2008).

II

The Constitutional Court is requested to construe:

whether the statement “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” employed in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 is also applied to the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas;

whether in case an extremely difficult economic and financial situation occurs in the state (which is mentioned in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006) the legislature would be permitted to amend the legal regulation according to which during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is temporarily decreased from what it was at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law;

– “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

2. It needs to be noted that although the petition of the petitioner is formulated as a petition requesting the construction of whether the statement “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” employed in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 is also applied to the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas, as well as the construction of whether in case an extremely difficult economic and financial situation occurs in the state (which is mentioned in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006) the legislature would be permitted to amend the legal regulation according to which during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is temporarily decreased from what it was at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law, it is clear from the entirety of the petition that the petitioner requests the construction:

of whether the notion “the remuneration of a Seimas member” of the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 also includes remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas;

of whether the provision “where, due to particular circumstances (economic crisis, natural disasters, etc.), an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state <…> the legislature may change the legal regulation which establishes the remuneration to various persons, and may consolidate the legal regulation on remuneration which would be less favourable to these persons, if it is necessary in order to ensure the vital interests of society and the state and to protect other constitutional values” of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 means that after an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state the legislature is allowed to temporarily establish lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas from that established at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office.

3. It has been mentioned that the Constitutional Court is requested, inter alia, to construe “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

The Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, refers in his petition to the provision of the official constitutional doctrine consolidated in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 November 1996 and 30 December 2003, as well as in other rulings, whereby the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated, if a certain group of persons for whom the legal norm is established, if compared to other addressees of the same legal norm, is treated differently, even though there are not any differences in their character and extent between these groups that such an unequal treatment would be objectively justified.

In addition, the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas refers to a provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, whereby in case of a very difficult economic and financial situation, usually the financing from the budget to all the institutions which implement state powers, as well as the financing of various spheres which are financed from the resources of the budgets of the state and municipalities, should be revised and reduced, however, the petition does not specify whether the construction of this provision (part thereof) is requested.

Thus, it is not clear from the petition as for the construction of the content of which provision (formulation, statement, or notion) of the Constitutional Court’s ruling is requested.

It needs to be emphasised that in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 one did not investigate the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law or with Article 29 of the Constitution.

This petition of the petitioner should be treated as one requesting the construction of the compliance of an imaginary (probably, a would-be) legal regulation with the Constitution.

It has been mentioned that while construing its ruling, the Constitutional Court cannot construe its content so that the meaning of its provisions, inter alia, the notional entirety of the elements constituting the content of the ruling, the arguments and reasons upon which that ruling of the Constitutional Court is based, is changed, also that the Constitutional Court may not construe what was not investigated in that constitutional justice case, subsequent to which the construed ruling was adopted, either.

It has also been mentioned that the consideration of a petition requesting the construction of a ruling or another final act of the Constitutional Court does not imply a new constitutional justice case.

Taking account of the arguments set forth, the Constitutional Court will not construe the part of the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, wherein it is asked “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

III

1. The Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests, inter alia, the construction of whether the notion “the remuneration of a Seimas member” of the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 also includes remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

2. The provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999, the construction of which is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas, is part of the text of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999, in which it was held:

Members of the Seimas are representatives of the Nation through whom the Nation implement their supreme sovereign power (Paragraph 1 of Article 55 and Article 4 of the Constitution). Seimas members will only be capable of performing the functions of the representatives of the Nation properly when they are free and independent. One of the main guarantees of free and independent activity of a Seimas member is the fact that under Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution the services of a Seimas member and all expenses incurred from parliamentary activities shall be reimbursed with funds from the state budget. The same article also provides that a Seimas member may not receive any other remuneration, with the exception of remuneration for creative activities. These constitutional provisions imply that the remuneration of a Seimas member must be of a sufficient size, paid regularly, as well as that it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law. Such constitutional regulation of the remuneration of a Seimas member is established so that a Seimas member might properly perform his duties as a representative of the Nation.”

3. In its ruling of 9 November 1999, the Constitutional Court construed the constitutional concept of the remuneration of a member of the Seimas while interpreting, inter alia, Article 60 of the Constitution.

Article 60 of the Constitution provides:

The duties of a Member of the Seimas, with the exception of his duties at the Seimas, shall be incompatible with any other duties at State institutions and organisations as well as with work in business, commercial and other private establishments or enterprises. During his term of office, a Member of the Seimas shall be exempt from the duty to perform the national defence service.

A Member of the Seimas may be appointed only either as the Prime Minister or a Minister.

The work of a Member of the Seimas as well as all the expenses relating to his parliamentary activities shall be remunerated from the State Budget. A Member of the Seimas may not receive any other remuneration, with the exception of remuneration for creative activities.

The duties, rights and guarantees of the activities of a Member of the Seimas shall be established by law.”

4. In this context, it needs to be noted that, inter alia, it is established in Article 60 of the Constitution as for which work a member of the Seimas can receive remuneration, which is

for the work of a member of the Seimas;

for creative activities.

It also needs to be noted that in its ruling of 9 November 1999, while taking account of Article 99 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court construed the constitutional right of a member of the Seimas to hold the office of the Prime Minister of a Minister, which is consolidated in Paragraph 2 of Article 60 of the Constitution, as the right which also implies the right of the member of the Seimas to receive remuneration for performance of duties of the Prime Minister or a Minister.

In addition, Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution provides that the expenses relating to the parliamentary activities of a Seimas member shall also be remunerated from the State Budget.

5. It has been mentioned that the Speaker of the Seimas requests that the Constitutional Court construe the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 in the aspect whether the notion “the remuneration of a Seimas member” also includes remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

6. It needs to be noted that in the constitutional justice case wherein the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 was adopted, the Constitutional Court investigated the compliance of Paragraph 1 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 13 of the Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas. The following was established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 13 of the Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas: “Every Seimas member shall be paid a monthly basic remuneration of the prior month of the triple size average work remuneration (AWR) in the Lithuanian economy which is publicised by the Statistics Department under the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, and every Seimas member who is appointed Prime Minister or a minister shall be paid the remuneration of the size of one AWR.”

Thus, in its ruling of 9 November 1999, the construction of the provision of which is requested by the petitioner, the Constitutional Court interpreted Article 60 of the Constitution and the constitutional concept of remuneration of a member of the Seimas inasmuch as it is related with the regulation of the remuneration for work received by a member of the Seimas, inter alia, when the member of the Seimas holds the office of the Prime Minister or a Minister.

It also needs to be noted that in the said constitutional justice case the Constitutional Court did not investigate those provisions of the Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas, inter alia, those which were entrenched in Article 16 (wording of 11 July 1996) of this law, which were designed for regulation of the relations regarding remuneration for the expenses relating to the parliamentary activities of a Seimas member.

Therefore, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 includes only the concept of the remuneration of the Seimas member and it may not be construed as including the concept of remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

7. The official constitutional doctrine of the remuneration of a Seimas member was developed not only in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999, but also in other acts of the Constitutional Court, therefore, the provisions of the said ruling of the Constitutional Court should be construed, inter alia, by taking into account the entire official constitutional doctrinal context.

8. In its ruling of 9 November 1999, the Constitutional Court held that one of the most important guarantees of free and independent activity of a member of the Seimas is the fact that under Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution the services of the Seimas member and all expenses incurred from parliamentary activities shall be reimbursed with funds from the state budget.

Thus, both remuneration for work of the member of the Seimas and remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of the member of the Seimas are important elements of the constitutional status of the member of the Seimas and should be treated as guarantees of the parliamentary activity of the member of the Seimas. The provision “The <…> guarantees of the activities of a Member of the Seimas shall be established by law” of Paragraph 4 of Article 60 of the Constitution explicitly consolidates the duty of the Seimas to establish, by means of laws, a system of the guarantees of the work of a member of the Seimas at the Seimas and of other parliamentary activities.

The system of the guarantees of the work of a member of the Seimas at the Seimas and of other parliamentary activities should ensure the possibility for members of the Seimas for exercising their constitutional duty as the one of representatives of the Nation in a fully-fledged manner. When establishing this, the legislature must pay heed to the norms and principles of the Constitution; it, inter alia, may not establish any such guarantees that would unreasonably grant priorities to members of the Seimas, since the requirement of Paragraph 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution that a person may not be granted privileges due to his social status would be disregarded (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 1 July 2004).

9. A broad official constitutional doctrine of remuneration of the member of the Seimas has been formulated in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court:

in the Constitution the member of the Seimas is treated as a professional politician; under the Constitution, the activity of the member of the Seimas is his full-time job for which remuneration is paid to the member of the Seimas; the proper performance of the said job must be ensured by corresponding social guarantees and special guarantees for parliamentary activities provided for in the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 10 February 2005);

the duties of the member of the Seimas at the Seimas for which he receives remuneration encompass only the office at the Seimas which can be held by the member of the Seimas, as well as such duties of the member of the Seimas in inter-parliamentary and other international institutions, which may only be taken by the member of the Seimas (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 1 July 2004);

the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution also imply that that the remuneration of a Seimas member must be of sufficient size and paid regularly; such constitutional regulation of remuneration of the member of the Seimas is established for the purpose that the member of the Seimas would be able to properly perform his duties as a representative of the Nation (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999);

the notion “remuneration” used in Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution is a constitutional notion, it bears the constitutional content and may not be construed only following the definition of analogous notions in laws and other legal acts (for example, legal acts regulating employment or public service relations) (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 1 July 2004).

10. In its ruling of 1 July 2004, the Constitutional Court, while construing the right of a member of the Seimas to receive remuneration for creative activity, which is entrenched in Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution, emphasised that the concept of creative activity should be related with an activity aimed at creating a piece of science, technology, culture or art; one of specific features of freedom of creative activities of a member of the Seimas is that a Seimas member exercises this freedom not as a subject to employment, service or similar relations; a member of the Seimas has the right to receive remuneration only for such creative activity.

The member of the Seimas, while implementing his freedom of creative activity, must heed the constitutional status of the member of the Seimas, as a representative of the Nation, and the legal and ethical imperatives arising therefrom, inter alia, he must avoid the conflict between public and private interests.

11. While construing the constitutional concept of the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas, it needs to be noted that in its ruling of 1 July 2004 the Constitutional Court held that, under Paragraph 3 of Article 60 of the Constitution, the expenses connected with parliamentary activities of a member of the Seimas are remunerated from the State Budget; such funds may be used only for the purpose specified in the Constitution, i.e. parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas; the legislature must establish the legal regulation which would provide an opportunity each time to verify whether these funds are used for their actual purpose.

It needs to be noted that one should establish such legal regulation whereby it would be possible to assess in all situations whether a corresponding activity, the expenses of which are compensated from the State Budget, should be regarded as a parliamentary activity, and whether certain expenses, which are compensated to the member of the Seimas from the State Budget, are indeed related with the parliamentary activity of the member of the Seimas and whether such expenses are necessary in order to discharge parliamentary activity.

In this context it also needs to be noted that the funds of the State Budget designed for compensation of the expenses of a Seimas member related with his parliamentary activity cannot be treated as the funds received as fair pay for work under Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution.

12. Therefore, the conclusion should be drawn that the concept of remuneration for work of a member of the Seimas and the concept of remuneration for the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas may not be identified, each of these concepts have their own characteristic content, they are not synonymous nor overlapping. Thus, the concept of remuneration for work of a member of the Seimas cannot include the concept of remuneration of the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

Thus, the expenses related with the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas, which are remunerated from the State Budget, may be reduced during the term of office of the Seimas, however, while doing so, one must not deny an important constitutional guarantee of the activity of a member of the Seimas, which is the right to be remunerated for the expenses related with his parliamentary activity.

13. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be held that the notion “the remuneration of a Seimas member” of the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 November 1999 does not include remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

IV

1. It has been mentioned that the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests, inter alia, the construction of whether the provision “where, due to particular circumstances (economic crisis, natural disasters, etc.), an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state <…> the legislature may change the legal regulation which establishes the remuneration to various persons, and may consolidate the legal regulation on remuneration which would be less favourable to these persons, if it is necessary in order to ensure the vital interests of society and the state and to protect other constitutional values” of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 means that after an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state the legislature is allowed to temporarily establish lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas from that established at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office.

2. It needs to be noted that the provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 the construction of which is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas is part of the text of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 wherein it was held:

The provision ‘when the economic and financial situation of the country deteriorates considerably’ of Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11 of the Law on Courts should be construed as meaning an essential change of the economic and financial situation of the state, where, due to particular circumstances (economic crisis, natural disasters, etc.), an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state. In such cases, due to objective reasons, there may be not enough funds in order to implement the functions of the state and to satisfy the public interests, thus, also to ensure the material and financial needs of courts. Under such circumstances, the legislature may change the legal regulation which establishes the remuneration to various persons, and may consolidate the legal regulation on remuneration which would be less favourable to these persons, if it is necessary in order to ensure the vital interests of society and the state and to protect other constitutional values. However, also in such cases the legislature must keep the balance between the rights and legitimate interests of the persons, to whom the less favourable legal regulation is established and the interests of society and the state, i.e. to pay heed to the requirements of the principle of proportionality.

It should be noted that in case of a difficult economic and financial situation, usually the financing from the budget to all the institutions which implement state powers, as well as the financing of various spheres which are financed from the resources of the budgets of the state and municipalities, should be revised and reduced. If one established a certain legal regulation, whereby in case of considerable deterioration of the economic and financial situation of this country it would not be permitted to reduce the financing of courts only, nor to reduce the remuneration of judges only, it would mean that courts are groundlessly singled out from among other institutions which implement the state power, and the judges—from among other persons, which participate in implementing the powers of corresponding state institutions. Such consolidation of the exceptional situation of courts (judges) would not be in line with the requirements of an open, fair and harmonious civil society and the imperatives of justice.

It should also be emphasised that it is possible to worsen the financial and material conditions for the functioning of courts and to reduce the remuneration of judges only by law and that it is possible to do so only temporarily, for the period of time when the economic and financial condition of the state is extremely difficult; by such reduction of the remuneration no conditions should be created for other state power institutions and their officials to violate the independence of courts. Even in the case of the extremely difficult economic and financial situation of the state, neither the financing of courts, nor remuneration of judges may be reduced to the extent that the courts would not be able to implement their constitutional function and obligation—to administer justice—or the opportunity of the courts to do that would be restricted.”

3. In the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, which contains the provision the construction of which is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas, the Constitutional Court investigated, inter alia, the compliance of the provision “When the economic and financial situation of the country deteriorates considerably, the Seimas may review the financial and material conditions for the functioning of the courts” of Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11 of the Law on Courts and that of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96, which provides that “during the judge’s tenure it shall be prohibited to reduce his remuneration with the exception of cases provided by this Law, or any other social guarantees”, with the Constitution, and the said provisions were ruled not in conflict with the Constitution.

4. The official constitutional doctrine regarding remuneration of judges as an important element of the constitutional status of judges was developed not only in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, but also in its other acts (inter alia, in its ruling of 22 October 2007 and its decision of 8 August 2006). It was mentioned in this decision of the Constitutional Court that the provisions of a ruling of the Constitutional Court should be construed, inter alia, by taking into account the entire official constitutional doctrinal context, also that courts are one of the institutions which implement state power (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006); courts implement judicial power, which is a fully-fledged branch of state power.

Summing up, it needs to be held that the official constitutional doctrine regarding the remuneration of judges as formulated by the Constitutional Court is, inter alia, grounded upon the following requirements: the remuneration of judges must be established only by law; the Constitution prohibits any reduction of judges’ remuneration save the situations when there is an extremely difficult economic and financial situation of the state, however, it is allowed to do so only temporarily and only by means of a law, by heeding the constitutional principle of proportionality, which implies that the remuneration of judges must not be reduced to the extent where courts would become unable to perform their constitutional function and obligation—administration of justice; such constitutional guarantees of the remuneration of judges are determined by the constitutional status of judges who implement judicial power; the said constitutional status of judges is implied by the constitutional function of administration of justice.

5. It has been mentioned that the provision the construction of which is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas is part of the text of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 wherein the Constitutional Court also held, inter alia, that “<…> in case of a difficult economic and financial situation, usually the financing from the budget to all the institutions which implement state powers, as well as the financing of various spheres which are financed from the resources of the budgets of the state and municipalities, should be revised and reduced. If one established a certain legal regulation, whereby in case of considerable deterioration of the economic and financial situation of this country it would not be permitted to reduce the financing of courts only, or to reduce the remuneration of judges only, it would mean that courts are groundlessly singled out from among other institutions which exercise state authority, and the judges—from among other persons who participate in implementing the powers of corresponding state institutions. Such consolidation of the exceptional situation of courts (judges) would not be in line with the requirements of an open, fair and harmonious civil society and the imperatives of justice.”

6. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution, in Lithuania, state power shall be executed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic and the Government, and the Judiciary. The structure of the democratic state under the rule of law, which is entrenched in the Constitution, implies, inter alia, the equal worth of the institutions that implement state power.

7. In this context, it needs to be noted that the Constitutional Court, while forming the doctrine of the constitutional status of a member of the Seimas, has held, inter alia, that the Seimas is the representation of the Nation. The constitutional nature of the Seimas, as the representation of the Nation, determines its special place in the system of institutions of state power, its functions and powers necessary in order to discharge these functions (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004 and 4 April 2006); while implementing its constitutional powers, the Seimas discharges the classical functions of the parliament of a democratic state under the rule of law: the Seimas passes laws (the legislative function), conducts the parliamentary control over executive and other state institutions (save courts) (the control function), establishes state institutions, appoints and releases their heads and other state officials (the establishment function), confirms the State Budget and supervises the execution thereof (the budgetary function) etc. (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004, 1 July 2004, and 4 April 2006).

It has been mentioned in this decision of the Constitutional Court that one of the most important elements of the constitutional status of a member of the Seimas is constitutional guarantees of his parliamentary activity, inter alia, remuneration of the member of the Seimas for work of the member of the Seimas. The constitutional guarantees of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas must ensure the opportunity for members of the Seimas to perform in a fully-fledged manner their constitutional obligation as representatives of the Nation; while establishing this, the legislature must heed the norms and principles of the Constitution; it, inter alia, may not establish any such guarantees, which would unreasonably grant privileges to members of the Seimas, since then the requirement of Paragraph 2 of Article 29 of the Constitution that the human being may not be granted any privileges on the ground of social status would be disregarded.

8. Thus, there are not any constitutional arguments permitting asserting that the provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, the construction of which is requested by the Speaker of the Seimas, may allegedly be interpreted as prohibiting the legislature from establishing lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas than that established at the beginning of the term of office of the Seimas in case there is a an extremely difficult economic and financial situation in the state. Otherwise, the Seimas would groundlessly be singled out from among other institutions which implement state power, while members of the Seimas would groundlessly be granted privileges, thus, it would be done in violation of the imperatives stemming from the Constitution, inter alia, the imperatives of an open, just and harmonious civil society and justice, as well as the requirements of Article 29 of the Constitution.

In cases where, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation in the state, lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas is established than that at the beginning of the term of office of the Seimas, one must adhere to these requirements: the remuneration of a member of the Seimas is reduced by means of a law, it is done temporarily (as long as the economic and financial situation of the state remains extremely difficult), and the constitutional principle of proportionality is heeded, which implies that the remuneration of a member of the Seimas cannot be reduced to the extent where the member of the Seimas would become unable to perform in a fully-fledged manner his constitutional obligation as a representative of the Nation.

9. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “where, due to particular circumstances (economic crisis, natural disasters, etc.), an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state <…> the legislature may change the legal regulation which establishes the remuneration to various persons, and may consolidate the legal regulation on remuneration which would be less favourable to these persons, if it is necessary in order to ensure the vital interests of society and the state and to protect other constitutional values” of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 means, inter alia, that after an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state the legislature is allowed to temporarily establish lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas from that established at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office.

10. In this context it needs to be noted that when due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation in the state the legislature adopts a decision to reduce the remuneration for work of officials and other state servants (employees) of the institutions that are funded from state and municipal budgets, it must be ascertained that the economic and financial situation of the state is so difficult that it calls for a necessity to reduce the remuneration for work of the said officials and state servants (employees). It also needs to be noted that such reduction of the remuneration for work must be temporary and grounded upon the circumstances of the extremely difficult economic and financial situation in the state, as, for instance, the collection of the state budget revenue is disordered to the extent that due to this the state is unable to perform the obligations undertaken by it, and such situation in the state is not short-termed.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1 and 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

1. To construe that the notion “the remuneration of a Seimas member” of the provision “it is not permitted that during the term of office of the Seimas the remuneration of a Seimas member is decreased from what it was at the beginning of the Seimas’ term of office by establishing it by law” of Item 3 of the reasoning part of the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Working Conditions of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 November 1999 does not include remuneration for the expenses of the parliamentary activity of a member of the Seimas.

2. To construe that the provision “where, due to particular circumstances (economic crisis, natural disasters, etc.), an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state <…> the legislature may change the legal regulation which establishes the remuneration to various persons, and may consolidate the legal regulation on remuneration which would be less favourable to these persons, if it is necessary in order to ensure the vital interests of society and the state and to protect other constitutional values” of Item 4 of Section III of the reasoning part of the Ruling of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Compliance of Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 62, Paragraph 4 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 69 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Constitutional Court and Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 11, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 96 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 28 March 2006 means, inter alia, that after an extremely difficult economic and financial situation has occurred in the state the legislature is allowed to temporarily establish lesser remuneration of a member of the Seimas from that established at the beginning of Seimas’ term of office.

3. Not to construe the part of the petition of the Speaker of the Seimas, the petitioner, wherein it is asked “whether the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law would be violated when, due to an extremely difficult economic and financial situation which has occurred in the state, in the course of decreasing the budgetary funding (decreasing the remuneration of state servants) of institutions implementing the executive power, the budgetary funding of other institutions (for example, the Seimas) implementing state power would not be decreased or would be decreased in a disproportionate manner”.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis