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On the procedure for the publication of legal acts

Case No. 1/02

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 458) “ON THE APPROVAL OF THE METHODS FOR CALCULATING DAMAGE INFLICTED ON NATURE AS A RESULT OF VIOLATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAWS” OF 8 NOVEMBER 1991 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

29 October 2003
Vilnius

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Augustinas Normantas, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Stasys Stačiokas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Živilė Liekytė, Director of the Legislation and Public Law Department of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, acting as the representative of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 1 October 2003, in its public hearing, considered case No. 1/02 subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Vilnius Regional Court, the petitioner, suspended the consideration of a civil case by its ruling and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”

II

The petition of the petitioner is based on the following arguments.

The Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” (hereinafter also referred to as the Resolution) was published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios (1991, No. 33-928), but the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws (hereinafter also referred to as the Methods) as approved by Item 1 of the Resolution was published neither together with the Resolution, nor later. In the opinion of the petitioner, the Methods are an inseparable constituent part of the Resolution.

The petitioner points out that at the time when the Resolution was adopted the procedure of the publication and entry into force of legal acts was regulated by the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and some other legal acts which had been in force before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania. The Resolution was published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios, but the Methods as approved by this Resolution were not published. In the opinion of the petitioner, this was in conflict with the then procedure of publication of legal acts.

The petitioner also points out that on 6 April 1993 the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (hereinafter also referred to as the Law) was adopted. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of this law, the resolutions by the Government which establish legal norms shall come into force following the day, when signed by the Prime Minister and the appropriate minister, they shall be published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date of their entry into force has not been established by the resolution itself. The impugned resolution was signed only by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania, but not signed by the appropriate minister.

The petitioner has doubts as to whether the Resolution is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution, and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from the representative of the party concerned, the Government, who was Ž. Liekytė, Director of the Legislation and Public Law Department of the Ministry of Justice.

The representative of the party concerned points out that, according to the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of resolutions by the Government, which was valid at the time the impugned resolution was adopted, government resolutions had to be signed by the Prime Minister. Government resolutions had to be published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios.

The impugned Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was signed by the Prime Minister and published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios in No. 33, 1991. The Methods, as approved by Item 1 of the Resolution, were not published. In the opinion of Ž. Liekytė, legal acts, which regulated the procedure of publication of laws and other legal acts at the time of the adoption of the impugned government resolution, did not establish the obligation to publish attachments of government resolutions, which somewhat did not constitute a part of a government resolution, in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios.

The representative of the party concerned maintains that the impugned government resolution was adopted before the adoption and entry into force of the Constitution and the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of the Laws and Other Legal Acts. Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted together with the Constitution, establishes that “laws, other legal acts or parts thereof which were in effect on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this Law, and shall remain in effect until they are either declared null and void or harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution”. In the opinion of Ž. Liekytė, though laws, other legal acts or parts thereof which were in effect in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution should be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and the said law, this norm may not be construed as establishing that the said legal acts are ineffective if they are in conflict with the Constitution according to the procedure of their adoption, signing, publication and entry into effect. Therefore, the procedure as established in Paragraph 2 of Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article of the Constitution and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law should not be applied to the Resolution which was adopted before the entry into force of the Constitution and the Law.

The representative of the party concerned indicates that the Constitution shall be an integral act (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution). The provisions of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 and Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution are closely related with the principle of a state under the rule of law which is consolidated in the Constitution. In the opinion of Ž. Liekytė, the petition of the petitioner has to be considered also with regard to the fact that the striving for a state under the rule of law emerged as an imperative from the very restoration of independence of the Republic of Lithuania on 11 March 1990, but not from the moment of the adoption of the Constitution. Thus, the procedure of the signing of legal acts as well as that of the publication and entry into effect of the Resolution, must conform to this objective. A significant element of the constitutional principle, which guarantees this objective, that only published legal acts are effective also means that law may not be non-public. While assessing the compliance of the Resolution with this principle, the representative of the party concerned notes that in Item 2 of the Resolution the Government proposed the Environmental Protection Department of the Republic of Lithuania to provide all ministries, services and organisations concerned with these Methods. In the opinion of Ž. Liekytė, by such norm the provision of Article 97 of the Provisional Basic Law that the Government organises the execution of resolutions which it has adopted used to be implemented. While implementing Item 2 of the Resolution, in 1992 the Environmental Protection Department published “Methods for Calculating the Damage Which is Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” as a separate publication in 3000 copies. In addition, in 1991 the Methods were published in the Environmental Protection Department and Lithuanian Information Centre bulletin “Environmental Protection in the Republic of Lithuania” (1991, No. 2) which was published in 5000 copies. Therefore, in the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, one can assert that this publishing of the Methods in the overall edition of 8000 copies may be equalled to its publication and can be considered to be appropriate means for the implementation of the principle of publicity of legal acts.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the judicial consideration, written explanations were received from A. Kundrotas, Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Lithuania, and K. Virketis, Director of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas.

V

At the Constitutional Court hearing the representative of the party concerned, the Government, who was Ž. Liekytė, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in her written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. The petitioner requests an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 is not in conflict with;

1) Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution;

2) Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution;

3) Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

2. It is clear from the petition of the petitioner that he has doubts as to whether the manner of the signing and publishing of the impugned government resolution is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7, Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution, and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

II

1. While deciding whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 is not in conflict with the Constitution and Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, one has to ascertain what institutions of the State of Lithuania and what legal acts regulate (used to regulate) calculation of damage (loss) inflicted on nature and how this legal regulation has changed.

2. On 5 April 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Establishment of State Bodies Accountable to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Item 1 of which it was decided to liquidate the Republic of Lithuania State Committee for the Environmental Protection and to establish the Republic of Lithuania Environmental Protection Department accountable to the Supreme Council.

On 13 July 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Law on the Republic of Lithuania Department for the Environmental Protection. According to Article 1 of this law, the Environmental Protection Department used to be a state body for the regulation of natural resources and control over the environment protection, accountable before the Supreme Council. Item 6 of Article 9 of the Law on the Environmental Protection Department used to provide that the competence of the Environmental Protection Department includes presentation of claims and actions concerning compensation of damage for pollution of the environment and unreasonable use of natural resources, preparation and approval of methods and rates for calculation of damage. Under Item 5 of Article 13 of the Law on the Environment Protection Department, the Director General of the Environmental Protection Department used to have the right to issue orders, approve instructions, rules, methods, adopt other decisions within his competence.

3. On 24 September 1991, the Supreme Council adopted the Resolution “On Economic Sanctions for Emergency Leakage of Pollution Into Environment, Water Dispersed Pollution, One-off Exhaust of Pollution Into the Atmosphere that Exceed Established Norms, as well as the Disposal of Pollution in the Place that is not Designated for the Purpose or Without Permission” whereby it was decided to commission the Government to approve the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws upon the presentation of the Environmental Protection Department.

4. On 8 November 1991, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” in which it was established:

While implementing the 24 September 1991 resolution (No. I-1823) of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania decides:

1. To approve the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as prepared by the Republic of Lithuania Environmental Protection Department.

2. To propose to the Republic of Lithuania Environmental Protection Department to provide all ministries, institutions and organisation concerned with the Methods and to prepare and approve the Procedure of Application of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws until 30 December 1991.

3. To establish that:

3.1. the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws shall come into effect as of 15 November 1991;

3.2. the amount of the damage inflicted on nature may be recalculated and supplemented if types of pollution, which are not prescribed in the Methods, are established, new contaminants appear, or ecological situation of the Republic changes;

3.3. damage inflicted on nature shall be exacted from natural and legal persons of the Republic and foreign countries that have violated the laws on environmental protection according to the following procedure: natural persons and non-profit organisations shall compensate the damage from their funds, while other enterprises, establishments and organisations––from the profit which remains to them;

3.4. the exacted funds shall be paid to the State Nature Protection Fund.”

5. On 21 January 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Environmental Protection. Item 3 of Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of this law established that the Environmental Protection Department is a state institution for regulation of the utilisation of natural resources and control over the environmental protection which is accountable before the Supreme Council and which prepares draft laws on environmental protection and, according to its competence, adopts normative acts on the issues of environmental protection and utilisation of natural resources, co-ordinates normative acts of the Government which are related with environmental protection and utilisation of natural resources. Paragraph 2 of Article 32 of the Law on Environmental Protection used to establish that the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, upon the agreement of the Environmental Protection Department, shall establish the methods and rates to compensate for damages inflicted on the environment.

6. On 19 May 1994, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Paragraph 1 of Article 27 of the same Law provided for a new ministry––Ministry of Environmental Protection.

On 31 May 1994, the Seimas adopted the Law “On the Implementation of the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Article 1 whereof the Environmental Protection Department was liquidated as of 15 June 1994, while under Article 2 the Ministry of Environmental Protection was established at the same day. Article 4 of the said law established that the Government of the Republic of Lithuania must approve the regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania until 1 September 1994. Until the regulations are approved, but not later than 1 September 1994, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania shall perform the functions which have been assigned to the Environmental Protection Department according to the Law on Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania, and shall have the powers assigned to this department (with the exception of the powers specified in Articles 5 and 6 and Items 4 and 11 of Article 9 of the Law on Environmental Protection).

7. On 9 September 1994, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 842) “On the Approval of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania” whereby the Regulations of the Republic of Lithuania Ministry of Environmental Protection were approved. Item 7.4 of these regulation established that the Ministry of Environmental Protection, while fulfilling the tasks which have been assigned to it, has the right to prepare and approve the methods, instructions and rates for calculation of damage and compensational means, as well as to control the payment of taxes for natural resources and environmental pollution.

8. Article 6 of the Law on the Environmental Protection was amended by Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Environmental Protection which was adopted by the Seimas on 28 May 1996. Item 11 of Paragraph 5 of Article 6 (wording of 28 May 1996) of the Law on the Environmental Protection provided that the Ministry of Environmental Protection, while executing the management of environmental protection and state regulation of natural resources, shall prepare and approve the methods for calculation of damage caused to the environment.

Article 24 of the Law on Amendment and Supplement of the Law on the Environmental Protection of 28 May 1996 recognised Paragraph 2 of Article 32 of the Law on the Environmental Protection as no longer valid.

9. On 3 September 1997, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 947) “On the Approval of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania” by Item 1 of which the Regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania were approved, while by Item 2 whereof the Government Resolution (No. 842) “On the Approval of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 September 1994 was recognised as no longer valid. In Item 6.3 of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environmental Protection it used to be established, inter alia, that the Ministry of Environmental Protection, while fulfilling the tasks assigned to it, has the right to prepare and approve the methods of the calculation of damage and compensational means.

10. On 28 April 1998, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Amendment of the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, by Item 1 of which the Law on the Government was set forth in a new wording. According to the Law on the Government of a new wording, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Construction and Urban Planning ceased to exist and a new Ministry of Environment was provided for.

11. On 22 September 1998, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1138) “On the Approval of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Item 1 of which the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania were approved. Item 6.16 of these regulations established that the Ministry of Environment, while fulfilling the tasks assigned to it, prepares and approves the methods of calculation of the damage inflicted on the environment.

On 20 February 2002, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 260) “On a Partial Amendment of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1138) ‘On the Approval of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania of 22 September 1998’” which partially amended and set forth the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment in a new wording. The legal regulation which had been established by Item 6.16 of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment (wording of 22 September 1998) was not amended and provisions of the same content were set forth in Item 6.15 of the Regulations of the Ministry of Environment of a new wording.

12. On 7 September 2000, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1065) “On the Recognition of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 8 November 1991 as Null and Void” (Official gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 77-2338), which established the following:

1. To commission the Ministry of Environment to prepare and, upon co-ordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of National Defence, Ministry of Social Security and Labour and Ministry of Justice, approve the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Compensation of Damage Inflicted on the Environment.

2. To recognise the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 2 November 1991 as null and void from the entry into effect of the methods specified in Item 1.”

13. It has been mentioned that Item 11 of Paragraph 5 of Article 6 (wording of 28 May 1996) of the Law on Environmental Protection established that the Ministry of Environmental Protection, while executing the management of environmental protection and state regulation of natural resources, shall prepare and approve the methods for calculation of damage inflicted on the environment.

On 9 September 2002, the Minister of Environment issued the Order (No. 471) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage inflicted on the Environment”, by Item 1 whereof approved the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage Inflicted on the Environment. The order was published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios (No. 93-4026) on 25 September 2002.

Paragraph 1 of Article 10 (wording of 18 May 1999) of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” established, inter alia, that orders of ministers shall come into force following the day, when they shall be published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date of their entry into force has not been established by the order itself.

The Order of the Minister of Environment (No. 471) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage Inflicted on the Environment” of 9 September 2002 did not establish a later date of its entry into force, thus, the said order of the Minister of Environment came into force on 26 September 2002.

Item 2 of the Government Resolution (No. 1065) “On the Recognition of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 8 November 1991 as Null and Void” of 7 September 2000 established the legal regulation which means that the impugned in the present case Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 became null and void from the day that the Minister of Environment order which approved the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage Inflicted on the Environment came into force.

14. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 95 of the Constitution, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania shall resolve the affairs of state administration at its sittings by resolutions adopted by majority vote of all members of the Government.

14.1. The Government, having the powers to adopt resolutions under the Constitution, also has the powers to establish when the resolution adopted by it comes into force. According to the Constitution, the Government also has the powers to establish when resolutions adopted by it become no longer valid. The Government can establish this by adopting a resolution. Thus, according to the Constitution, only the Government itself has the right to decide when government resolutions come into force as well as when government resolutions become no longer valid. While establishing when resolution adopted by it come into force or become no longer valid, the Government must pay heed to the Constitution and laws.

14.2. The Constitutional Court has held in its rulings more than once that, if the Constitution directly establishes particular powers of a certain state institution, no state institution can take over such powers from another institution, or transfer or waive them, while the other institution cannot take over such powers. Such powers may not be changed or limited by law.

Under the Constitution, the Government by its resolutions may not establish such legal regulation, according to which the time of the entry into force or becoming no longer valid of a resolution would depend on entry into force of a legal act of lower power, which is adopted by another subject.

14.3. Item 2 of the Government Resolution (No. 1065) “On the Recognition of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 8 November 1991 as Null and Void” of 7 September 2000 established the legal regulation, according to which the time of recognition of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 as null and void depended on the entry into force of a legal act of lower legal power, which had been issued by the Minister of Environment.

Thus, the Government bound the implementation of its constitutional powers to establish when the Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 becomes no longer valid by a decision of another subject and made it dependent on the entry into force of the order of the Minister of Environment which had to approve the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage Inflicted on the Environment.

14.4. It has been mentioned that, under Item 11 of Paragraph 5 of Article 6 (wording of 28 May 1996) of the Law on Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Environmental Protection shall prepare and approve the methods for calculation of damage inflicted on the environment. Thus, the competence of the Ministry of Environment to prepare and approve the methods for calculating damage inflicted on nature arises directly out of the Law on Environmental Protection.

Under Article 98 of the Constitution, a Minister shall head his respective ministry, shall resolve issues belonging to the competence of his ministry and shall also discharge other functions provided for by law. Therefore, upon the entry into force of the 28 May 1996 Law on the Amendment and Supplement of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Environmental Protection, no other state institution, as well as the Government, had the right to issue the methods for calculation of damage inflicted on the environment.

14.5. According to Item 2 of Article 94 of the Constitution, the Government shall execute laws and resolutions of the Seimas concerning the implementation of laws, as well as the decrees of the President of the Republic. Under Item 7 of Article 94 of the Constitution, the Government shall discharge other duties prescribed to the Government by the Constitution and other laws.

The Constitutional Court has held in its rulings more than once that in cases when a government resolution containing norms conflicting with a law is adopted prior to the adoption of the law, such a government resolution must be harmonised with the norms of the subsequently adopted law or it must be recognised as no longer valid.

The Government, upon recognition of its Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 as no longer valid by Item 2 of its Resolution (No. 1065) “On the Recognition of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 8 November 1991 as Null and Void” of 7 September 2000, fulfilled the above-indicated requirement of the Constitution. However, by the legal regulation as established in Item 2 of the Resolution of 7 September 2002, the Government disregarded the Constitution in that respect that it did not establish a concrete time when the resolution of 8 November 1991 becomes no longer valid, and bound the implementation of its constitutional powers with the decision of another subject––made it dependent on the entry into force of an order of the Minister of Environment which would approve the Methods for Calculation of the Amounts of Damage Inflicted on the Environment.

This legal regulation disregards the Constitution.

14.6. The Constitutional Court notes that, taking account of the petition of the petitioner, the matter of the investigation in this case is the way of how the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was signed and published. Thus, the Constitutional Court will not consider the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 1065) “On the Recognition of the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) ‘On the Approval of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws’ of 8 November 1991 as Null and Void” of 7 September 2000 with the Constitution.

III

1. The Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Approval of Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was adopted before the Constitution went into effect.

2. While deciding whether the impugned Government Resolution is not in conflict with the Constitution and Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, one has to elucidate how the signing, publication and entry into force of government resolutions used to be regulated at the time when the impugned government resolution was adopted, i.e. before the entry into effect of the Constitution, as well as later, i.e. during to whole period the impugned government resolution was in effect.

3. Upon restoration of the independent State of Lithuania on 11 March 1990, the creation of the national legal system was started. On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania. Until 2 November 1992, when the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which was adopted by the Nation in the referendum on 25 October 1992, came into effect, the national legal system used to be created and developed on the basis of the Provisional Basic Law. The creation and development of the national legal system is a gradual process.

Upon restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, there existed a legal situation where legal acts, which had been adopted before restoration of an independent State of Lithuania, were in effect. It needs to be noted in this context that Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Entry Into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Provisional Basic Law” of 11 March 1990 established that the laws and other legal acts which had been in force in Lithuania until then, which were in compliance with the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be valid in the Republic of Lithuania.

Thus, during that period the legal acts which had been adopted before restoration of the Independent State of Lithuania and had regulated the procedure of the signing, publication and entry into force of laws, government resolutions and other legal acts, were valid to the corresponding extent.

4. Article 97 of the Provisional Basic Law used to establish that the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Lithuania shall adopt resolutions and issue orders, organises and verifies their execution on the basis of the statutes of Lithuania and in the course of their execution. Resolutions and orders of the Council of Ministers must be executed in the entire territory of Lithuania.

5. On 22 March 1990 the Supreme Council adopted the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of this law used to establish that Government normative decisions or those important to the economy of the Republic shall be issued in the form of resolutions, as well as that government resolutions shall be published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios and in case of need by means of mass media. Paragraph 3 of Article 29 of the Law on the Government used to establish that government resolutions shall be signed by the Chairperson of the Government (Prime Minister) and the Manager of the Government Affairs.

6. On 23 October 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On the Amendment of Some Articles of the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Article II of which it was established:

The supreme body of administration of the State of Lithuania shall be further called only the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Therefore, the words ‘the Council of Ministers’ shall be replaced by ‘the Government’ in Articles 48, 50, 51, Item 21 of Paragraph 2 of Article 78, Articles 81, 93, 95, 97, 98 and 99 of the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania.”

Article 97 (wording of 23 October 1990) of the Provisional Basic Law used to establish that the Government shall adopt resolutions and issue orders, organises and verifies their execution on the basis of the statutes of Lithuania and in the course of their execution.

7. On 23 October 1990, the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On the Amendment of Some Articles of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Government”, by Article 6 of which Paragraph 3 of Article 29 of the Law on the Government was set forth in a new wording. It was established therein that government resolutions shall be signed by the Chairperson of the Government (the Prime Minister).

8. The Nation adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania in the Referendum of 25 October 1992.

Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution provides: “Only laws which are published shall be valid.”

Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution establishes: “Resolutions of the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch.”

9. Upon the entry into force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the previously issued official gazette Lietuvos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios was further published under an amended title Lietuvos Respublikos Seimo ir Vyriausybės žinios.

10. On 6 April 1993, the Seimas adopted the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”. Article 12 of the same law provided that the official gazette Valstybės žinios shall be published instead of the official gazette Lietuvos Republikos Seimo ir Vyriausybės žinios.

Paragraph 3 of Article 2 of the said law established that “laws and other legal acts specified in this article shall be officially published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios by the officials who sign them”.

Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” provided:

The decisions by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, by which legal norms are established, amended or recognised as no longer valid, shall come into force following the day, when signed by the Prime Minister and the appropriate minister, they shall be published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date of the entry into force has not been established by the decision itself.

The decisions by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, by which legal norms are not established, amended or recognised as no longer valid, also the Prime Minister’s decrees shall come into force on the day of their signing even though, they have been published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided the later date of their entry into force has not been established in the resolutions and orders themselves.”

11. On 18 May 1999, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment of Articles 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, Supplement by Article 101 and Recognition as Null and Void of Article 7 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Article 4 of which Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) was amended and set forth in a new wording:

The resolutions of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, by which legal norms are established, amended or recognised as no longer valid, shall come into force following the day, when signed by the Prime Minister and the appropriate minister, they shall be published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date of the entry into force has not been established by the resolutions themselves.

The resolutions of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, by which legal norms are not established, amended or recognised as no longer valid, also the Prime Minister orders, shall come into force on the day of their signing even though they have been published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date the entry into force has not been established by the resolutions and orders themselves.”

By Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment of Articles 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, Supplement by Article 101 and Recognition as Null and Void of Article 7 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” was supplemented by Article 101 which provides:

Within 3 days of their official publication in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, legal acts specified in Article 2 of this law must be published on the Internet sites of the Seimas and the institution which has adopted them.

Within 3 days of the day of their entry into force, legal acts specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of this law must be published on the Internet site of the institution, which has adopted them.

Legal acts, which contain information which constitute the State or official secret, shall not be published on the Internet sites.”

12. The Constitutional Court’s ruling of 29 November 2001 recognised the provision of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wordings of 6 April 1993 and 18 May 1999) that government resolutions, by which legal norms are not established, amended or recognised as no longer valid, may come into force without their official publication, to be in conflict with the principle of a state under the rule of law which is consolidated in the Constitution.

13. On 10 December 2002, the Seimas adopted the Law on the Amendment of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, by Article 1 of which the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” was set forth in a new wording.

Article 9 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 10 December 2002) provides:

1. The resolutions of the Government shall come into force following the day, when signed by the Prime Minister and the appropriate minister, they shall be published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, provided a later date of the entry into force has not been established by the resolutions themselves.

2. The Prime Minister orders shall come into force on the day of their signing, provided a later day of the entry into force has not been established by the orders themselves. The Prime Minister orders which have been published in the official gazette Valstybės žinios, shall come into force on following the day of their signing, provided a later date of the entry into force has not been established by the orders themselves.”

IV

1. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution establishes that only laws which are published shall be valid, while Paragraph 2 of Article 95 provides that resolutions of the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch.

2. It has to be noted that the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution that only laws which are published shall be valid, and the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution that resolutions of the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch, are to be construed while taking account of the provisions which are consolidated in other articles, chapters, and other constituent parts of the Constitution.

3. While construing the content of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution that only laws which are published shall be valid, one must elucidate in what meanings the notion “published” and the notion “laws” are employed in this Constitution article.

3.1. The notion “published” which is used in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution means, inter alia, that the law must establish the procedure of publication of the laws and the source of information in which the laws must be published.

3.1.1. It should be noted that while establishing by law the procedure of publication of laws, one must observe the requirements of the Constitution that the laws adopted by the Seimas shall come into effect after the signing and official promulgation thereof by the President of the Republic of Lithuania, unless the laws themselves establish a later date of entry into effect (Paragraph 1 of Article 70), that within ten days of receiving a law adopted by the Seimas, the President of the Republic shall either sign and officially promulgate the said law, or shall refer it back to the Seimas together with relevant reasons for consideration (Paragraph 1 of Article 71), that if the law adopted by the Seimas is not referred back and signed by the President of the Republic, such a law shall come into effect upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas (Paragraph 2 of Article 71), that the President of the Republic must, within 5 days, sign and officially promulgate a law or other act adopted by referendum (Paragraph 3 of Article 71), that if the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate such a law within the indicated period, the said law shall come into effect upon the signing and official promulgation thereof by the Speaker of the Seimas (Paragraph 4 of Article 71), that the President of the Republic must sign and forthwith officially promulgate the laws which were referred back by the President of the Republic and considered anew and adopted by the Seimas within three days (Paragraph 3 of Article 72), that the President of the Republic shall sign and promulgate laws adopted by the Seimas or refer them back to the Seimas in accordance with the procedure established in Article 71 of the Constitution (Item 24 of Article 84), that the President of the Republic shall sign the adopted law on an alteration of the Constitution and officially promulgate it within 5 days (Paragraph 1 of Article 149), that if the President of the Republic does not sign and promulgate such a law during the indicated time, this law shall come into effect when the Speaker of the Seimas signs and promulgates it (Paragraph 2 of Article 149), and other norms and principles of the Constitution.

3.1.2. According to Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, the publication of laws must allow the subjects of the law to be certain that the announced law is exactly the law which has been adopted by the Seimas or which has been adopted in a referendum. Such announcement of laws is their official publication.

3.1.3. In its ruling of 11 January 2001, the Constitutional Court held that the official publication of laws in pursuance with the procedure established in the Constitution and laws is a necessary condition so that laws be valid and that subjects of legal relations should know as to what laws are valid, what their content is, and that they might follow these laws. There may not be not published laws in a democratic state.

3.1.4. The notion “published” which is employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution also means that laws must be published publicly. The Constitutional Court has held that law may not be non-public (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 November 2001 and 30 May 2003).

Laws must be published publicly so that all legal subjects might get acquainted with them. The constitutional requirement that only laws which are published can be valid is an important precondition of legal certainty. This constitutional requirement is inseparable from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of laws.

3.2. The constitutional principle that law may not be non-public is reflected in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution.

Thus, taking account of the constitutional requirement that law may not be non-public, the notion “laws” which is employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution should not be construed only literally. It should be construed in an expanding manner, as a notion that includes not only legal acts, which have the power of the law, but also other legal acts.

4. In its ruling of 9 July 1999, the Constitutional Court held that all parts of a normative legal act (as well as annexes) constitute a whole, are inseparably connected and have equal legal power.

Annexes may not be separated from a legal act because, upon changing legal regulation established therein, the entire content of the legal regulation established in the legal act is changed.

Thus, if the said requirements of the Constitution are observed, the whole legal act with all its constituent parts must be published.

5. Under Article 14 of the Constitution, Lithuanian shall be the state language, therefore, only those legal acts which are published in the Lithuanian state language are valid in Lithuania.

6. Thus, only those legal acts that have been published according to the requirements of official publication and publicity which are consolidated in the Constitution, as well as the constitutional requirement that the whole legal act (all its constituent parts) should be published, also the constitutional requirement that legal acts must be published in the Lithuanian state language, may be ruled to be in compliance with the requirements of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, therefore, to be valid.

7. Alongside, it needs to be noted that the Constitution establishes expressis verbis only separate elements of publication of the laws on amendment of the Constitution (Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 149), laws (Paragraph 1 of Article 70, Article 71, Paragraph 3 of Article 72, Item 24 of Article 84), other acts adopted by the Seimas (Paragraph 2 of Article 72). The Constitution does not establish expressis verbis sources of the official publication of legal acts or all possible ways of their publication. The legislature must establish it by law. While regulating these relationships, the legislature, taking account of the variety of legal acts and their content, may establish a differentiated legal regulation. While establishing it, the legislature must observe the Constitution in all cases.

8. The provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution that only laws which are published shall be valid should be construed, as well as all other provisions of the Constitution, by only taking account of the principle of superiority of the Constitution as the basic requirement of a democratic state under the rule of law.

The constitutional principle of the superiority of the Constitution is consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution, which provides that any law or other act, which is inconsistent with the Constitution, shall be invalid. Different aspects of this principle are also consolidated in Paragraph 2 of Article 5 which provides that the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution, in Paragraph 1 of Article 6, which establishes that the Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable act, in Paragraph 2 of Article 6, which establishes that everyone may defend his rights on the grounds of the Constitution, in Paragraph 1 of Article 30, which establishes that the person whose constitutional rights or freedoms are violated shall have the right to apply to court, in Paragraph 1 of Article 102, which stipulates that the Constitutional Court shall decide whether the laws and other acts of the Seimas are not in conflict with the Constitution and whether acts of the President of the Republic and the Government are not in conflict with the Constitution or laws, in Paragraph 1 of Article 110, which establishes that a judge may not apply a law, which is in conflict with the Constitution, and other provisions of the Constitution.

While construing the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, in its ruling of 24 December 2002 the Constitutional Court held the following: “The principle of the supremacy of the Constitution means that the Constitution rests in the exceptional, highest, place in the hierarchy of legal acts, that no legal act may be in conflict with the Constitution, that no one is permitted to violate the Constitution, that the constitutional order must be protected, that the Constitution itself consolidates the mechanism permitting determining whether legal acts (parts thereof) are not in conflict with the Constitution. In this respect, the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution, which is established in the Constitution, is inseparably linked with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, which is a universal constitutional principle upon which the entire Lithuanian legal system and the Constitution itself are based. Violation of the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution would mean that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is violated as well.”

In the context of the case under consideration it needs to be noted that the principle of the superiority of the Constitution implies the duty of the legislature or other lawmaking subjects to revise legal acts, which were issued before the entry into effect of the Constitution, while taking account of norms and principles of the Constitution, to ensure a harmonious hierarchical system of legal acts, which regulate the same relationships.

9. The Constitution shall be an integral and directly applicable act (Paragraph 1 of Article 6 of the Constitution).

9.1. While construing the principle of integrity of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has held more than once in its rulings that norms set forth in different articles of the Constitution are co-ordinated with each other and constitute an integral whole, a harmonious system; no provision of the Constitution may be opposed against other provisions of the Constitution, it is not permitted to construe it in such a way that the meaning of other provisions of the Constitution be denied or distorted.

9.2. The Constitution has certain structural peculiarities. The Constitution consists of the Preamble, fourteen chapters, final provisions, as well as other constituent parts of the Constitution.

9.2.1. Article 150 of the Constitution provides:

The constituent part of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania shall be:

The 11 February 1991 Constitutional Law “On the State of Lithuania”;

The 8 June 1992 Constitutional Act ‘On the Non-Alignment of the Republic of Lithuania with Post-Soviet Eastern Unions’”.

9.2.2 Article 152 of the Constitution provides: “The procedure of entry into effect of this Constitution and separate provisions thereof shall be regulated by Law of the Republic of Lithuania ‘On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania’, which, together with this Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be adopted by referendum.”

The Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” was adopted by the Nation in the Referendum of 25 October 1992 together with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” provides:

Article 1

Upon entry into effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania shall become null and void.

Article 2

Laws, other legal acts or parts thereof which were in effect on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this Law, and shall remain in effect until they are either declared null and void or harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution.

Article 3

Provisions of the laws of the Republic of Lithuania which regulate the status of the supreme institutions of State power and administration of the Republic of Lithuania, of the deputies and municipalities shall be in effect until the elected Seimas decides otherwise.

Article 4

The powers of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania and its deputies shall be terminated when the elected Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania convenes into its first sitting.

The members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania shall convene in the sitting on the third working day after the official announcement of the Central Electoral Commission, following both election rounds, that not less than 3/5 of all the members of the Seimas have been elected.

Article 5

The following text shall be the established oath of the member of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania:

I, (full name),

Swear to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania;

Swear to respect and execute its Constitution and laws and to protect the integrity of its lands;

Swear to strengthen, to the best of my ability, the independence of Lithuania, and to conscientiously serve my Homeland, Democracy, and the welfare of the people of Lithuania.

So help me God.’

The oath may also be taken omitting the last sentence.

Article 6

During the period that there is no President of the Republic, the legal situation shall be equivalent to that provided for in Article 89 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

If necessary, the Seimas, by a majority vote of more than half of all the members of the Seimas, may prolong the terms provided for in Article 89, but not longer than a four-month period.

Article 7

Justices of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, including the President of the Constitutional Court, must be appointed within one month after the President of the Republic is elected.

Upon the initial appointment of Constitutional Court justices, three of them shall be appointed for a three-, three for a six-, and three for a nine-year term.

The President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas, and the President of the Supreme Court, while proposing to appoint Constitutional Court justices, shall indicate which of them are to be appointed for a three-, which for a six-, and which for a nine-year term.

The justices of the Constitutional Court who will be appointed for three- and six-year terms may take the same office for one more term of office after an interval of not less than three years.

Article 8

The provisions of the Third Paragraph of Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania shall become applicable once the laws on criminal procedure of the Republic of Lithuania are harmonised with this Constitution.”

9.2.3. It needs to be emphasised that the provisions of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” are inseparably related with other provisions of the Constitution. The provisions, which are consolidated in some articles of this law, supplement other provisions of the Constitution, which the former could not be implemented without. Other articles of this law establish the peculiarities of implementation of the provisions of the Constitution during the period when state institutions provided for by the Constitution were in the course of establishment, also when the legal regulation which is required by the Constitution was being created.

The Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted by the Nation in the Referendum together with the Constitution and provisions of which are inseparably related with the provisions and principles of the Constitution and supplement other provisions of the Constitution or establish peculiarities of implementation of corresponding provisions of the Constitution may not be itself a non-constituent part of the Constitution.

Thus, the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” is a constituent part of the Constitution and its provisions have the power of the Constitution.

10. It should be noted that the wording of Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” “inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this Law”, which is related with the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, and in particular with the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution that any law or other act which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be invalid, means that the Constitution establishes that legal acts, which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution, may not be valid if they are inconsistent with the Constitution and if it has been established, on the basis and according to the procedure established in the Constitution that those legal acts are in conflict with the Constitution.

Under the Constitution, the formulation “shall remain in effect until they are either declared null and void or harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution” of Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” means that the legislature or other legislative subjects have the duty to revise all legal acts adopted by them prior to the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, also the legal acts which were adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, as well as the legal acts which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, and to assess whether those legal acts, in the opinion of that legislative subject, are not in conflict with the Constitution.

The legislature or another legislative subject, upon an assessment that, in his opinion, a legal act, which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, or a legal act, adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, which regulates the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, or a legal act, which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, is in conformity with the Constitution, may leave such a legal act in effect. On the other hand, if the legislature or another legislative subject assesses that, in its opinion, a legal act (or part thereof), which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, or a legal act (or part thereof), adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, or a legal act (or part thereof), which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships, which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, is not in conformity with the Constitution, he has a constitutional duty to either harmonise this act with the Constitution, i.e. to pass a new legal act, which would amend, in the opinion of that legislative subject, the legal act (or part thereof) that is not in conformity with the Constitution, or to recognise such a legal act, which, in his opinion, is not in conformity with the Constitution, as no longer valid.

The constitutionality of legal acts (or parts thereof), which have not been harmonised with the Constitution by passing a new legal act by the appropriate legislative subject, which would have amended, in the opinion of that legislative subject, the legal act (or part thereof) that was not in conformity with the Constitution, and which have not been recognised as no longer valid, may be verified by exercising constitutional review. According to the Constitution, the Constitutional Court decides as to the conformity of the Republic of Lithuania’s laws, other acts adopted by the Supreme Council, government acts, which were adopted prior to the entry into effect of the Constitution, as well as of legal acts of corresponding legal power, which were adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, but remained in force after the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, and regulate the relationships that are assigned to sphere of regulation of the Seimas or the Government. In its ruling of 30 May 2003, the Constitutional Court held that, according to the Constitution, only the Constitutional Court has the powers to officially construe the Constitution.

11. It needs to be noted in the context of the case at issue that the duty of the legislature or another lawmaking subjects to revise all legal acts adopted by them before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, also legal acts, which were adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, as well as legal acts, which were adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the Independent State of Lithuania and, after entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, and to assess whether those legal acts, in the opinion of that legislative subject, is not in conflict with the Constitution, also implies their duty to guarantee that these legal acts be harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution not only according to the content and extent of legal regulation established therein, as well as not only according to the form of a legal act, but also according to the publication of these legal acts, as it is required by Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution.

It should be noted that the process of the revision and assessment of legal acts as to their conformity with the Constitution, which were adopted before the entry into force of the Constitution, is not a one-off act, however, this process may not last for a groundlessly long time period. The duty of the legislature or another lawmaking subjects to revise all legal acts adopted by them before the entry into effect of the Constitution and which still remain in force, also legal acts, which were adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, as well as legal acts, which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships, which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, and assess their conformity with the Constitution within a reasonably short period, stems from the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. This can be also said about the revision and assessment of such legal acts in respect of the manner of publication.

12. It has been mentioned that, under Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution, resolutions of the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch.

Thus, Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution establishes what state officials have the powers to sign resolutions of the Government. The provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution also means that the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch must sign resolutions of the Government if they have been adopted according to the established procedure, as well as that it is forbidden to persons, who are not specified in Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution, i.e. who are not the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch, or to only one of these officials, to sigh resolutions of the Government.

According to the Constitution, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, only those resolutions of the Government that are signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch are authentic.

V

On the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution and Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner has doubts as to whether the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution and Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

The petitioner based his doubts on the fact that the impugned government resolution was published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios, but the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as established in Item 1 of this resolution was neither published together with the impugned government resolution, nor later.

2. Item 1 of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991, whereby the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws were approved, is inseparably related with Items 2 and 3 of this resolution, which regulate different aspects of implementation of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws.

3. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that all parts of a normative legal act (as well as annexes) constitute a whole, are inseparably related and have equal legal power, that annexes may not be separated from the legal act, because the entire content of legal regulation, which is established in the legal act, is changed while changing the legal regulation established in them.

Thus, the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws are an inseparable part of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991.

4. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that only those legal acts that have been published while observing, inter alia, the requirements of official and public publication, which are established in the Constitution, as well as the constitutional requirement that the entire legal act (all its constituent parts) must be published, may be ruled to be in compliance with the requirements of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, therefore, to be valid.

Otherwise, subjects of law would not be certain that the published legal act is precisely the one that has been adopted by the competent lawmaking subject.

It has also been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, according to the Constitution, lawmaking subjects have a duty to revise all legal acts adopted by them before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, and to assess whether those acts, in the opinion of the lawmaking subject, are not in conflict with the Constitution.

It has been also held that the said duty of lawmaking subjects also implies their duty to guarantee that those legal acts be harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution not only according to the content and extent of legal regulation established therein, as well as not only according to the form of the legal act, but also according to the publication of these legal acts, as it is required by Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution.

5. It is clear from the material of the case that the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws" of 8 November 1991 was published on 30 November 1991 in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios (1991, No. 33-928). However, the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws, as approved by this government resolution, were not published in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios. The representative of the party concerned maintains that the said methods were published in the bulletin “Environmental Protection in the Republic of Lithuania” (1991, No. 2) of the Environmental Protection Department and Lithuanian Information Centre, which was published in 5000 copies, and in a separate publication of the Environmental Protection Department “Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” in 3000 copies. The representative of the party concerned maintains that all ministries, services and organisations concerned were supplied with these methods.

It is also clear from the case material that even after the entry into effect of the Constitution, the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 were published neither in the official gazette Lietuvos Respublikos Seimo ir Vyriausybės žinios which replaced the official gazette Lietuvos Aukščiausiosios Tarybos ir Vyriausybės žinios, nor in the official gazette Valstybės žinios which replaced the latter. The said Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as a constituent part of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was not published in any other official source of publication of legal acts.

6. The publication of the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as a constituent part of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 in a non-official source of publication of legal acts may not be considered complying with the requirements of the official and public publication of legal acts as consolidated in the Constitution, as well as the constitutional requirement that a whole legal act (all its constituent parts) must be published.

The Government, having not published the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 after the entry into effect of the Constitution, has not fulfilled its constitutional duty to revise this legal act, which had been adopted before the entry into force of the Constitution and still remaining in force, and harmonise it with the provisions of the Constitution according to the manner of its publication. This is not in conformity with the requirement of Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

7. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be concluded that the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

8. Having held that the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court will not investigate the compliance of the said government resolution with Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”. In this part the case must be dismissed.

9. Alongside, it needs to be noted that a duty of all persons to preserve nature and to compensate the harm (damage) to the natural environment, when it has been done, arises out of the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 53 of the Constitution that the state and each person must protect the environment from harmful influences, the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 54 of the Constitution that the state shall look after the protection of the natural environment, its fauna and flora, individual objects of nature and districts of particular value, and shall supervise that natural resources be used moderately and they be restored and augmented, and the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 54 of the Constitution that the destruction of land and the subterranean, the pollution of water and air, environmental degradation as the result of radioactive impact, and the impoverishment of fauna and flora, shall be prohibited by law.

The fact that this ruling of the Constitutional Court has recognised the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 to be in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law does not mean that the persons who have inflicted harm (damage) on the natural environment, do not have the constitutional duty to compensate this harm (damage). In all cases the harm (damage) inflicted on the natural environment has to be compensated irrespective of the fact whether any methods of compensation of the harm (damage) caused to the natural environment has been established. In case of a dispute, the amount of the harm (damage) may be established according to the judicial procedure.

VI

On the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 with Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution.

1. It has been mentioned that the petitioner doubts as to compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 with Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution.

2. The signing of a government resolution is a one-off act. Thereby it is confirmed that the government resolution is adopted and that the said signed text of the government resolution is authentic.

3. In needs to be noted in the context of the case at issue that the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was adopted and signed by the Prime Minister before the entry into force of the Constitution.

4. The requirement of Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution establishing that resolutions of the Government shall be signed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of an appropriate branch must be applied to government resolutions, which were adopted after the entry into effect of the Constitution. This requirement may not be applied retroactively to the government acts that had been adopted and signed before the entry into effect of the Constitution.

5. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the Constitutional Court will not investigate in the case at issue whether the Government Resolution (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 95 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, 56 and Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure for Entry Into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. To dismiss the part of the case subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 458) “On the Methods for Calculating Damage Inflicted on Nature as a Result of Violation of Environmental Protection Laws” of 8 November 1991 was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 (wording of 18 May 1999) of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry Into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                                  Armanas Abramavičius

Egidijus Jarašiūnas

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas