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On drawing up and announcing the reasoning of court decisions, on the institute of a decision adopted in absentia and on appeals

Case No. 35/03-11/06

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF PARAGRAPH 3 (WORDING OF 19 SEPTEMBER 2000) OF ARTICLE 85, PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3 (WORDING OF 19 SEPTEMBER 2000) OF ARTICLE 139 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE PROCEEDINGS OF ADMINISTRATIVE CASES, ARTICLE 306 (WORDING OF 8 JULY 2004), PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 308 (WORDING OF 1 JUNE 2006), PARAGRAPHS 12 AND 13 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 324, PARAGRAPH 9 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 377 (WORDING OF 8 JULY 2004), PARAGRAPH 7 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 448, PARAGRAPHS 5 AND 6 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 454, PARAGRAPHS 4 AND 5 (WORDING OF 14 MARCH 2002) OF ARTICLE 460 OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, PARAGRAPH 3 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 268, PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 5 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 285, PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 286, PARAGRAPH 4 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 288, PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 289, PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 303, PARAGRAPH 2 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 320, PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 325, PARAGRAPHS 2 AND 3 (WORDING OF 28 FEBRUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 358 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, AS WELL AS ON THE PETITION OF A GROUP OF MEMBERS OF THE SEIMAS, A PETITIONER, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER ITEM 1 (WORDING OF 24 JANUARY 2002) OF PARAGRAPH 2 OF ARTICLE 119, PARAGRAPH 5 (WORDING OF 24 JANUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 119, ITEM 1 (WORDING OF 24 JANUARY 2002) OF ARTICLE 120 (WORDING OF 21 JANUARY 2003) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON COURTS, THE DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 2067) “ON THE PROLONGATION OF THE POWERS OF A JUDGE OF A REGIONAL COURT” OF 19 FEBRUARY 2003, AND THE DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 128) “ON APPOINTING CHAIRPERSONS OF DIVISIONS OF REGIONAL COURTS” OF 18 JUNE 2003, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT PROVIDES THAT KONSTANTAS RAMELIS, A JUDGE OF THE VILNIUS REGIONAL COURT, IS APPOINTED CHAIRPERSON OF THE CIVIL CASES DIVISION OF THE SAID COURT, ARE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

21 September 2006

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Vytautas Sinkevičius, Stasys Stačiokas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Seimas member Nijolė Steiblienė and the advocate Kęstutis Čilinskas, acting as the representatives of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a petitioner

Seimas member Julius Sabatauskas (representing the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner), acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned

Mindaugas Girdauskas and Gediminas Sagatys, senior advisors of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas (representing the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner), acting as the representatives of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned

Milda Vainiutė, advisor to the President of the Republic of Lithuania on legal issues (representing the President of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner), acting as the representative of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, a 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, in its public hearing, on 21 August 2006, considered case No. 35/03-11/06 subsequent to the following petitions:

1) the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania that the court of appeal instance shall consider the case without overstepping the limits established in the appeal, with the exception when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

2) the petition of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the members of the Seimas Nijolė Steiblienė, Algirdas Monkevičius, Julius Dautartas, Irena Degutienė, Andrius Kubilius, Rimantas Dagys, Vida Marija Čigriejienė, Danutė Bekintienė, Edmundas Pupinys, Antanas Matulas, Egidijus Vareikis, Audronis Ažubalis, Rasa Juknevičienė, Kazys Starkevičius, Algirdas Vrubliauskas, Povilas Jakučionis, Alvydas Sadeckas, Vaclavas Stankevičius, Valerijus Simulikas, Vaclovas Karbauskis, Gediminas Jakavonis, Petras Baguška, Jurgis Razma, Saulius Pečeliūnas, Rytas Kupčinskas, Antanas Stasiškis, Donatas Jankauskas, Henrikas Žukauskas, Violeta Boreikienė, Jonas Lionginas, Juozas Jaruševičius, Ramūnas Garbaravičius, Vilija Aleknaitė Abramikienė, Gintaras Steponavičius, Algis Kašėta, and Petras Auštrevičius, requesting an investigation into:

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the introductory and operative parts of the decision shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the considering of an individual case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the introductory and operative parts of the decision or the ruling shall be drawn up and pronounced together with setting forth short reasoning after the considering of a case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the judge shall draw up and pronounce the judgments with the reasoning substantiating it only in the cases on the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of first instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment, specify the reasoning of the adoption of the judgment only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment; that the entire reasoned judgment is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the court of appeal instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, specify the reasoning of its adoption only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling; that the entire reasoned judgment or ruling is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment or the ruling, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of cassation instance shall adopt the ruling without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and the ruling is supplemented with it later after the pronouncement of the ruling, and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the ruling, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances, in regard of all persons save the convicts who must be released from the places of confinement, a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in cases concerning renewal of a case upon the adoption of a corresponding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights the ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within ten days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced while the remaining part, which substantiates the decision, is drawn up later, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court of first instance, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in the course of deciding a case in a court of cassation instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the ruling are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within twenty days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 to the extent that it prescribes that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

By the Constitutional Court’s decision of 10 May 2006, these petitions of the Vilnius Regional Court and the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioners, were joined into one case and it was given reference No. 35/03-11/06.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

1. The Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, considered a civil case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into whether the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the court of appeal instance shall consider the case without overstepping the limits established in the appeal, with the exception when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Article 109 of the Constitution.

2. A group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into:

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the introductory and operative parts of the decision shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the considering of an individual case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the introductory and operative parts of the decision or the ruling shall be drawn up and pronounced together with setting forth short reasoning after the considering of a case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter referred to as the CCP, the new CCP) to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the judge shall draw up and pronounce the judgments with the reasoning substantiating it only in the cases on the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the Criminal Code (hereinafter also referred to as the CC) are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of first instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment, specify the reasoning of the adoption of the judgment only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment; that the entire reasoned judgment is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the court of appeal instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, specify the reasoning of its adoption only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling; that the entire reasoned judgment or ruling is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment or the ruling, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of cassation instance shall adopt the ruling without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and the ruling is supplemented with it later after the pronouncement of the ruling, and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances, in regard of all persons save the convicts who must be released from the places of confinement, a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in cases concerning renewal of a case upon the adoption of a corresponding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights the ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within ten days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced while the remaining part, which substantiates the decision, is drawn up later, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court of first instance, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution Code of Civil Procedure as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the petitioner, it prescribes that in the course of deciding a case in a court of cassation instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the ruling are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within twenty days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 of the Law on Courts is not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 (hereinafter also referred to as the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic) is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 (hereinafter also referred to as the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic) to the extent that it prescribes that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

II

1. The petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, is grounded on the following arguments.

Under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure the court of appeal instance may overstep the limits established in the appeal when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure, while no prohibition is established for a court of cassation to overstep the cassation appeal if this is required by the public interest (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 353 of the Code of Civil Procedure). The fact that the court of appeal instance is prohibited from overstepping the limits established in the appeal, even though the public interest requires to do so, and the fact that no corresponding prohibition is established to the court of cassation instance, mean that the rights and interests of the persons who have no right to lodge a cassation appeal and of the persons whose cases are considered under appeals are, under the law, defended to smaller extent than of the persons whose cases are considered in a court of cassation instance. However, the public interest requires that law be applied properly in cases of all categories, and that decisions adopted in all cases be just ones, therefore, the court of appeal instance (if it is intended that it decide the case justly) must enjoy the powers to overstep the limits of the appeal and assess the part of the decision, which was not the point of appeal, when it considers cases of not certain but all categories. In the opinion of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not permit the court of appeal instance to administer justice, nor to apply laws while following the principles of justice and reasonableness (Article 1.5 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Lithuania, nor to fulfil the objectives of the civil procedure; the petitioner had doubts whether such legal regulation was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution, under which all persons shall be equal before the law and the court, and Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution under which in the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts.

2. The petition of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is grounded on the following arguments.

2.1. The articles (parts thereof) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, of the CCP and certain articles (parts thereof) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which are impugned by the petitioner, regulate the relations related with drawing up and pronouncing court decisions, rulings and judgments (inter alia, they establish the terms during which the court, after it has investigated the case, must draw up and pronounce decisions (rulings, judgments).

2.1.1. Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP provides that the judge of a local court, while drawing up a judgment of conviction, in the recital need not set down the circumstances provided for in Items 2, 3, and 4 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 5 of Article 305 of the CCP, save the cases in which the persons are accused of the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC (Paragraph 1); the participants of the consideration in court, who may, under the Code of Criminal Procedure, file an appeal against the court judgment, have the right to receive, after they have submitted written requests, a copy of the judgment with a non-abridged recital, and that such a request must be submitted to the court within seven days of the day of the adoption of the judgment (Paragraph 2); if the written request provided for in Paragraph 2 of this article is submitted or the judgment is appealed against with a court of appeal instance or a court of cassation instance, the judge who has adopted the judgment shall, within three days of the day of the reception of the request of the appeal, draw up a non-abridged recital of the judgment, and that the judge shall sign the newly drawn up recital of the judgment and attach it to the existing judgment (Paragraph 3); if a judgment, whose recital drawn up in an abridged form, and by which several persons have been convicted or the convicted were recognised guilty of the commission of several criminal deeds, is appealed against with a court of appeal instance, a non-abridged recital shall be drawn up (Paragraph 4).

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, which regulates the adoption of judgments in courts of first instance when the judgment is adopted by the judge of a local court, the legal regulation is established whereby judgments with the reasoning substantiating them are adopted and pronounced only in the cases regarding the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC, while in other cases the judge draws up judgments and pronounces them without the reasoning substantiating them, and only later, in the cases specified in the same article, the judge newly draws up the recital of the judgment with the reasoning substantiating the judgment and attaches this part, without pronouncing it, to the judgment.

Such court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, unsupported, since they do not contain the circumstances specified in Items 2, 3, and 4 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 305 of the CCP, namely, the evidence upon which court conclusions are based, and the reasoning, by following which the court has rejected other evidence (Item 2 of Paragraph 1), the reasoning regarding qualification of the criminal deed and the conclusions (Item 3 of Paragraph 1), the reasoning regarding the imposition of the punishment, of penal coercive measures or educational coercive measures (Item 4 of Paragraph 1), the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed (Paragraph 5). In addition, under Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, the reasoning substantiating the judgment is drawn up provided there are certain conditions (save the exceptions established for the cases on the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC): within certain period of time this is requested by the persons who can lodge an appeal against the judgment (Paragraph 2); the judgment is appealed in a court of appeal instance or a court of cassation instance (Paragraphs 3 and 4).

2.1.2. Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the CCP provides that in cases when the case is too complicated or big, the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment; that in this case the court pronounces the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment, and that the judges who have considered the case draw up and sign the whole reasoned judgment within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the judgment.

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the CCP, which regulates the adoption of judgments in the court of first instance when the judgment is adopted jointly, the legal regulation is established whereby the court must specify the reasoning of the adoption of the judgment prior to the time of the pronouncement of the judgment only when it thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment; after the judgment is pronounced and the participants to the case no longer take part in it, the judgment is further supplemented with reasoning: the judges who have considered the case draw up and sign the whole reasoned judgment within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the judgment.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court judgments provided for in Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.3. Article 324 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP provides, inter alia, that when the case is too complicated or big, the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling in the deliberation room; that in this case the court pronounces only the operative part of the judgment or the ruling and verbally explains the reasoning of its adoption, also that the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure draw up and sign the whole reasoned judgment or ruling within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling (Paragraph 12), also, that within five days of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, and if only the operative part was pronounced—within the same time after their signing—a copy of the judgment or the ruling must be sent to the arrested convict who has lodged the appeal against the judgment or with whose interests the judgment or ruling of the court of appeal instance is related, also that a copy of the judgment or the ruling is handed in to other appellants provided they request so (Paragraph 13).

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP, which regulate the adoption of judgments and ruling in the court of appeal instance, the legal regulation is established whereby the court must specify the reasoning of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling prior to the time of the pronouncement of the judgment only when it thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling; after the judgment or the ruling is pronounced and the participants to the case no longer take part in it, the judgment or the ruling is further supplemented with reasoning: the judges who have considered the case draw up and sign the whole reasoned judgment or ruling within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court judgments and rulings provided for in Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.4. Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP provides that after it considers the case, the court retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling; that after it adopts the ruling, the court returns to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college or another judge pronounces the operative part of the ruling and delivers the arguments of its adoption, also that the whole reasoned ruling is drawn up and signed by the whole college of judges within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the ruling.

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP, which regulates the adoption of rulings in the court of cassation instance, the legal regulation is established whereby the court, after it has considered the case, adopts and pronounces a ruling without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and the ruling is supplemented with it later, within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days of the adoption of the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court rulings provided for in Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.5. Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP provides that the court retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling; that, after it has adopted the ruling, the court returns to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college pronounces the operative part of the ruling and delivers the arguments of its adoption, also that the whole reasoned ruling is drawn up and is signed by the entire college of judges within three days of the adoption of the ruling.

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP, which regulates the adoption of rulings due to newly emerged circumstances, the legal regulation is established whereby the ruling in such cases is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court rulings provided for in Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.6. Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP provides that the court, after it has heard the speeches, retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling; that, after it has adopted the ruling, the court returns to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college pronounces the operative part of the ruling and delivers the main arguments of its adoption; that the whole reasoned ruling is drawn up within three days; also, that if the convict must be released from the place of confinement, the whole reasoned ruling must be drawn up and referred for execution on the day of its adoption.

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP, which regulates the adoption of rulings on renewal of the case due to evidently improper application of the penal law, the legal regulation is established whereby the ruling in the cases regarding all persons but the convicts who must be released from the places of confinement is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court rulings (save the rulings concerning the convicts who must be released from the places of confinement) provided for in Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.7. Article 460 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP provides, inter alia, that the court, after it has heard the speeches of the persons participating in the case and their additional explanations, retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling; also, that, after it has adopted the ruling, the court returns to the courtroom and pronounces its operative part and delivers the main arguments of the adoption of the ruling (Paragraph 4); in addition, the whole reasoned ruling is drawn up and signed within ten days of its adoption; also, that it is signed by all judges of the college or the Chairperson and the rapporteur of the plenary session (Paragraph 5).

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP, which regulate the adoption of rulings in cases concerning renewal of a case upon the adoption of a corresponding judgment by the European Court of Human Rights, the legal regulation is established whereby in such cases the ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within ten days of the adoption of the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court rulings provided for in Paragraphs 5 and 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.8. Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

The decision shall be adopted by drawing up its introductory and operative parts and shall be pronounced immediately after the case has been considered, save the cases provided for in this Code, by short verbal delivery of the reasoning of the decision. The recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within five days of the adoption of the decision.”

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which regulates the adoption of decisions in the court of first instance, the legal regulation is established whereby the decision, upon drawing up its introductory and operative parts, is pronounced without the recital or the reasoning: they are drawn up within five days of the pronouncement of the decision.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court decisions provided for in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.9. Article 325 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, inter alia, provides:

2. Having adopted the decision or the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college or another judge shall pronounce the introductory and operative parts of the decision or the ruling, shall deliver verbally the reasoning of the decision or the ruling and shall pronounce as to when the entire decision or ruling will be drawn up.

3. The entire decision or ruling shall be set forth in writing and signed by all judges within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision or ruling.”

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which regulate the adoption of decisions and rulings in a court of appeal instance, the legal regulation is established whereby the decision or the ruling, after only the introduction and operative parts are drawn up, is pronounced without the recital or the reasoning; they are drawn up within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court decisions and rulings provided for in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.10. Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides: “After the case has been considered, a court ruling is adopted, which is composed of the introductory and operative parts, while the ruling which meets the requirements of Article 361 of this Code shall be drawn up within twenty days of its adoption.”

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which regulates the adoption of rulings in a court of cassation instance, the legal regulation is established whereby the court, after it has considered a case, adopts a ruling which is composed of only the introductory and operative parts, while the ruling which meets the requirements of Article 361 of the Code of Civil Procedure, i.e. a ruling with the recital and the postulating parts is drawn up within twenty days of the adoption of the ruling.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court rulings provided for in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.11. Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases provides:

The introductory and operative parts of the court decision shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the consideration of an individual case. The parts of the judgment comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up no later than within seven working days after the pronouncement of the judgment.”

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which regulates the adoption of a decision in the court of first instance, the legal regulation is established whereby a court decision is, as a rule, pronounced on the same day after consideration of “an individual” case without the recital or the reasoning—they are drawn up within seven days of the pronouncement of the decision.

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court decisions provided for in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.12. Article 139 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, inter alia, provides:

2. Having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling and inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up.

3. The complete text of the decision or ruling shall be presented in writing and signed by all the judges within seven days from the adoption thereof.”

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which regulate the adoption of a decision or a ruling in a court of appeal instance, the legal regulation is established whereby a court decision or ruling is pronounced on the same day after consideration of “an individual” case by briefly setting forth the reasoning, but without the recital and full reasoning—they are drawn up within seven days of the adoption of the decision (ruling).

On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those due to which, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court judgments provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (save the exceptions established for the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182, and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC) in which the reasoning substantiating them are not indicated, are unsupported, the court decisions and rulings provided for in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases should also be regarded as unsupported.

2.1.13. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution provides: “All persons shall be equal before the law, the court, and other State institutions and officials.”

Article 109 of the Constitution provides:

In the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts.

While administering justice, the judge and courts shall be independent.

When considering cases, judges shall obey only the law.

The court shall adopt decisions in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.”

Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution provides:

In all courts, the consideration of cases shall be public. A closed court hearing may be held in order to protect the secrecy of private or family life of the human being, or where public consideration of the case might disclose a State, professional or commercial secret.”

2.1.14. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it follows from Articles 29, 109, and 117 of the Constitution as well as from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law that the court, when considering a case and by adopting and pronouncing the decision (judgment, ruling) in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, performs an act of justice.

Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, under the Constitution, a decision (judgment, ruling) adopted and pronounced by the court is an act of justice only when it is adopted, drawn up and pronounced directly, after comprehensively and objectively assessing all the circumstances which are important to the case, the evidence, the arguments and demands of the participants to the case, applicable legal acts etc., i.e. when this decision (judgment, ruling) is pronounced at once in its entirety, by indicating the reasoning substantiating it (inter alia, the reasoning of the qualification of the deed, the reasoning of imposition or non-imposition of punishments or other sanctions, the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the inflicted damage). Here consistency must be adhered to: first, the reasoning of the decision (judgment, ruling) must be considered and drawn up, and only after that the decision (judgment, ruling) is adopted, and not vice versa—first, the decision (judgment, ruling) is adopted and afterwards the reasoning is drawn up. Under the Constitution, justice administered by the court cannot be split somehow into two parts, where “one part of justice” is administered when the participants to the court process take part and the principle of publicity is followed—the decision (judgment, ruling) is pronounced without the reasoning, while “the other part of justice” is administered without participation of the participants to the court process and when the principle of publicity is not followed—the reasoning is created and drawn up, whereby the court decision (judgment, ruling) is substantiated and the court decision (judgment, ruling) which has already been adopted and pronounced is supplemented. Thus, according to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court must draw up and publicly pronounce the reasoning of the decision (judgment, ruling) instantaneously, but not adopt and pronounce the decision (judgment, ruling) first, and afterwards, after some time, supplement it with reasoning.

2.1.15. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the provisions of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, and Article 460 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85, and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that the court adopts court decisions (judgments, rulings) without providing any reasoning, are not in line with the provisions of Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.1.16. In addition, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, under Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, judges cannot be dependent on other persons—court officials—also when court decisions (judgments, rulings) are drawn up; the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 109 of the Constitution that, when considering cases, judges shall obey only the law, implies that it is only the law, but not court officials that may establish the maximum limits for drawing up a reasoned judgment.

However, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, and Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP, the possibility for the court to draw up the judgment within fourteen days depends not on how much time, in the opinion of the judges who are considering that case, is necessary to draw up a reasoned judgment, but on the assent of other persons—the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division. Thus, the judges, while administering justice, become dependent on other persons—court officials.

2.2. Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a decision due to the respondent who failed to appear may be adopted in absentia only as regards the demands of the claim about which the respondent was informed under procedure established by the Code of Civil Procedure and that, when adopting the decision in absentia, the court shall perform a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it shall ascertain that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision. Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that the party that failed to appear, because of which the decision was adopted in absentia, may not appeal against this decision either under appeal, or cassation procedure. Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a decision adopted in absentia shall be composed of the introductory and operative parts as well as abridged reasoning. Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a court decision adopted in absentia may not be an object of appeal, if the appeal is lodged by the person in whose regard such decision was adopted.

2.2.1. According to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286, and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which regulate the adoption of a decision in absentia and lodging an appeal against it, the legal regulation is established whereby in case the respondent fails to appear, the court may adopt a decision in absentia upon performing only a formal assessment of the evidence presented in the case (in cases provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure), which is composed of only the introductory and operative parts as well as abridged reasoning; in addition, the party that failed to appear has no right to appeal against this decision either under appeal, or cassation procedure. One should take account of the fact that under the Code of Civil Procedure a decision in absentia may be adopted if: the respondent fails to submit a response to the claim within the established term without valid excuse (Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 142 of the Code of Civil Procedure); the party fails to appear in the preparatory court hearing (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 230 of the Code of Civil Procedure); a party fails to appear in the court hearing without valid excuse (Articles 246, 285 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, even though the court has recognised the personal participation of the party in the court hearing as necessary (Article 246 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure), i.e. when, in the opinion of the court, in the event of non-participation of a corresponding party, it is impossible to adopt a just decision. In addition, if the party fails to appear in the preparatory court hearing, the decision is adopted in absentia without considering the reasons of such failure to appear (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 230 of the Code of Civil Procedure), while if the respondent fails to submit a response to the claim within the established term without valid excuse (Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 142 of the Code of Civil Procedure), or if one fails to appear in the court hearing (Articles 246 and 285 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure), a decision in absentia is adopted after the court recognises that the reasons of failure to appear in court are not valid (Articles 246 and 285 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure). While deciding whether the reasons of failure to appear are not valid, the court must follow Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 156 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 246 of the Code of Civil Procedure, under which neither a sickness, nor a vacation, nor a business trip or other occupation, nor other similar reasons are, as a rule, regarded as valid reasons. If such court decision, which is composed of only introductory and operative parts and abridged reasoning and which is adopted in absentia (in cases provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure) by performing only a formal assessment of the evidence presented in the case, by which the party—claimant—is granted, to whose claim the respondent did not present his response within the established term, or the party which appeared in the preparatory hearing or in the court hearing, at the request of which the court adopted the decision in absentia, does not loge an appeal against it under appeal procedure, the said decision remains to be “an act of justice” not repealed by the court that adopted it; this is also the case when the court, having held that a party has failed to appear in court without a valid excuse, rejects an application of the party and a third party regarding the review of the decision adopted in absentia, also when the court rejects such a request after it holds that a corresponding party failed to appear in the court hearing without valid excuse, but the evidence indicated in the application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia will not be important as regards the lawfulness and reasonableness of the adopted decision (Article 288 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure). The party that due to whose failure to appear in the preparatory hearing or the court hearing or due to whose non-submission of a response to the claim the decision was adopted in absentia, has no right to appeal against this decision either under appeal, or cassation procedure.

2.2.2. However, as mentioned before, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it follows from Articles 29, 109, and 117 of the Constitution as well as from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law that the court, when considering a case and by adopting and pronouncing the decision (judgment, ruling) in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, and, thus, performing an act of justice, must directly, comprehensively and objectively assess all the circumstances which are important to the case, the evidence, the arguments and demands of the participants to the case, and applicable legal acts; the court must do so with regard to all persons related to the case.

Thus, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the legal regulation where the court adopts a decision in absentia and when such decision is a final one, although it was adopted by performing only a formal assessment of the evidence presented in the case, and where such decision is composed of only the introductory and operative parts and abridged reasoning, is incompatible with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution.

2.2.3. In addition, the legal regulation established in Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure also means that two sanctions are applied to the party that failed to appear in the preparatory hearing or the court hearing or that which failed to present a response to the claim: (1) a decision in absentia is adopted with regard to such party; (2) it cannot lodge an appeal against such decision of the court of first instance either under appeal, or cassation procedure. According to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it is possible to justify the first of such sanctions, even though it is applied also when “there is no fault of the person in the usual sense” (for example, the party fails to appear in the court hearing because of sickness or a business trip), but it is impossible to justify the second one, since, while heeding the constitutional principles of the equality of persons and a state under the rule of law, it is not permitted that a party be prohibited from verifying, under established procedure, the lawfulness of the decision of the court of first instance, especially when this decision was adopted under the circumstances which were not favourable to objectivity and reasonableness (when the party which is seeking a review of the decision was not participating, nor giving any explanations).

2.3. The articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Courts which are impugned by the petitioner, regulate the relations related with the composition of the Council of Courts and chairpersonship of the Council of Courts.

2.3.1. Under Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, a special institution of judges provided for by law shall advise the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges, or their release from office.

Under Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, this advisory function was carried out by the Council of Courts. It was established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 114 of the same law that the system of self-governance of courts is composed of the General Meeting of Judges (Item 1), the Council of Courts (Item 2) and the Court of Honour of Judges (Item 3).

2.3.2. It was established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts that the Council of Courts shall be composed of 24 members—by virtue of their office (ex officio)—the President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, an authorised representative of the President of the Republic, an authorised representative of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of Budget and Finances of the Seimas, the Minister of Justice or the Vice Minister authorised by him, the Minister of Finance or the Vice Minister of Finance authorised by him (Item 1); judges elected by the General Meeting of Judges: one from the Supreme Court, one from the Court of Appeal, one from the Supreme Administrative Court, one from each of the five regional courts, one from each local court within the territory of each regional court, and one from all regional administrative courts; the candidatures of judges are nominated to the General Meeting of Judges by the representatives of the corresponding courts (Item 2); the judge elected by the largest public organisation of judges (Item 3).

It was established Paragraph 5 of the same article that the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges.

It was established in Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on courts that the Council of Courts shall: elect the Vice President and the Secretary of the Council of Courts (Item 1); approve the Rules of Procedure of the Council of Courts (Item 2); advise the President of the Republic about the appointment of judges, their promotion, transfer and removal from office (Item 3); advise the President of the Republic about the appointment and removal from office of Presidents, Vice President of courts, Chairpersons of divisions of courts, with the exception of cases specified in Article 79 and Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 81 (Item 4); advise the President of the Republic in respect of determining or changing of the number of judges in courts, with the exception of cases specified in Paragraphs 8 and 9 of Article 12 of this Law (Item 5); form the judicial examination commission and appoint its Chairperson, discuss the regulations of the commission, the programme of the examination and shall approve them (Item 6); approve the procedure of entering the candidates on the list of judicial vacancies at a local court and the procedure of entering the candidates in the register of persons seeking promotion in judicial office (Item 7); form standing and ad hoc commissions and approve their regulations (Item 8); appoint members of the Judicial Ethics and Disciplinary Commission (Item 9); appoint members of the Court of Honour of Judges (Item 10); approve the regulations of the Court of Honour of Judges (Item 11); approve the Regulations of Administration in Courts and resolve other issues of administration in courts (Item 12); approve the Regulations of the Selection of Candidates for Judicial Appointments, the Assessment Criteria for Candidates for Judicial Office, the Regulations of Selection of the Persons Seeking Promotion in Judicial Office and the Assessment Criteria for Persons Seeking Promotion in Judicial Office (Item 13); approve model structures of local, regional and regional administrative courts, model lists of positions and job descriptions (Item 14); consider and approve proposals for draft investment programmes for courts and proposals for the budgets of local, regional and regional administrative courts and submit them to the Government (Item 15); control the activities of the National Courts Administration and hear its reports (Item 16); convene, when necessary, the General Meeting of Judges (Item 17); co-operate with other institutions and organisations of Lithuania on the issues of self-governance of courts, administration and other issues relevant for the activities of courts (Item 18); co-operate with institutions of other countries and international bodies on the issues of self-governance of courts, administration and other issues relevant for the activities of courts (Item 19); decide other issues relating to court activities and issues provided in relevant legislation (Item 20).

2.3.3. Under Paragraph 11 (wording of 22 December 2005) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the State Service, state politicians are persons, who are elected or appointed, in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law, as the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Seimas, a member of the Seimas, the Prime Minister, a minister, while under Article 31 (wording of 16 April 2002) of the Law on the Government, a vice-minister is a state servant of political (personal) confidence of the minister.

2.3.4. Under 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 (Paragraph 1); while the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution (Paragraph 2).

Under Article 109 of the Constitution, in the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts (Paragraph 1); while administering justice, the judge and courts shall be independent (Paragraph 2).

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 114 of the Constitution, interference by institutions of State power and governance, members of the Seimas and other officials, political parties, political and public organisations, or citizens with the activities of a judge or the court shall be prohibited and shall incur liability provided for by law.

According to the interpretation of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in these articles (parts thereof) of the Constitution important provisions of a state under the rule of law are entrenched: the separation of powers, independence of courts, depoliticisation of activity of courts.

2.3.5. Courts consider cases in which, along with other persons, also the state, state institutions, state politicians (inter alia, as a party to the case) take part. According to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, judges, when they consider cases, cannot be entirely independent from state politicians, if the law entrenches the right of the politicians to decide the questions which are important to the activity and career of judges.

2.3.6. According to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, under Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, state politicians, i.e. the President of the Republic and the Speaker of the Seimas (indirectly, through their representatives) and the state politicians as the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of Budget and Finances of the Seimas, the Minister of Justice or the Minister of Finance (directly), participated in the activity of the institution of self-government of courts—the Council of Courts—and decided the questions assigned to self-government of judges. If the said ministers did not participate in decision of questions of self-government of courts, they could do so through the authorised state servants of their political confidence—vice-ministers. Thus, a legal situation was created, where state politicians either directly or through their authorised representatives exerted influence on self-government of courts, the Council of Courts, when decisions on questions specified in Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts were being adopted, as well as regarding appointment, promotion, transfer and release of judges, and their appointment as members of the Court of Honour of Judges and of the Judicial Ethics and Disciplinary Commission.

2.3.7. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the legal situation where state politicians and state servants, who have their confidence, participate in the activity of self-government of courts is incompatible with Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, under which, the institution that advises the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges, or their release from office, is an institution of judges; nor is it compatible with the quoted provisions of Articles 5, 109, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.3.8. In addition, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the impugned legal regulation created also a legal situation, where, the President of the Republic “gives advice to himself” through his representative in the Council of Courts on appointment, transfer and release of judges, also appointment and release of presidents of courts and chairpersons of divisions of courts, as well as on the establishment or changing the number of judges in courts (Items 3, 4, and 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts).

2.3.9. Under Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, the Council of Courts did not have the right to elect its President; the President of the Supreme Court had, by virtue of his office, to be the President of the Council of Courts, while the Council of Courts had the right to elect its Vice-president and the Secretary.

2.3.10. Self-government institutions are created in order that they act as a counterbalance to a decisive influence of officials with broad powers, so that it be a counter-balance to centralised administration. In a state under the rule of law the activity of self-government of courts cannot be based on a centralised government. Therefore, when bodies of self-government of courts are formed, the subjects of the self-government have to adopt the decision, they should not be imposed a candidature of the person in charge, as they themselves have to decide as to who will be their persons in charge. Thus, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, under the Constitution, it is the Council of Courts—an institution of self-government of courts—that should adopt a democratic decision on the person in charge of the Council of Courts. While if the President of the Supreme of Court is, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, an official of judicial power, who has “the main administrative powers”, i.e. one of the subjects with whose regard courts and judges would have to implement the right to self-government, he cannot, by virtue of his office, be the President of the Council of Courts.

2.3.11. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the fact that under Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, the Council of Courts did not have the right to elect their President, but the President of the Supreme Court had, by virtue of his office, to be the President of the Council of Courts, is not in compliance with the provisions of Articles 5, 109, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.4. The Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

Article 1.

Conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, I shall prolong the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the same division, until he reaches the age of 70.

Article 2.

This decree shall come into force as from the day of its signing.”

The Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, inter alia, provides:

Article 1.

Conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, I shall appoint:

The judge of the Vilnius Regional Court Konstantas Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court <…>.

Article 2.

This decree shall come into force as from 26 June 2003.”

By Article 1 of his Decree (No. 2015) “On Submitting that the Seimas Assent to the Appointment of A. Driukas and K. Ramelis as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 10 January 2003 (hereinafter also referred to as the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic), the President of the Republic, conforming to Item 11 of Article 84, Article 112 and Item 4 of Article 115 of the Constitution, and while taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, submitted that the Seimas assent, inter alia, to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. It was established in the said decree of the President of the Republic: “This decree shall come into force as from the day of its signing.”

By Article 1 of its Resolution (No. IX-1323) “On the Assent to Appointment of a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 28 January 2003 (hereinafter also referred to as the Seimas resolution of 28 January 2003), the Seimas, conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 of the Constitution and taking account of the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic, resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. Article 2 of the said Seimas resolution provided: “This Resolution shall come into force from the moment of its adoption.”

According to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, these legal acts—the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic and the Seimas resolution of 28 January 2003—expressed the will of the state to appoint Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.

However, when the said acts were in force, the President of the Republic, disregarding the will expressed by two state institutions—the Seimas and the President of the Republic himself—issued decree No. 2067 of 19 February 2003, and later—decree No. 128 of 18 June 2003, whereby Konstantas Ramelis was granted the powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court.

2.4.2. As mentioned before, under 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 (Paragraph 1); while the scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution (Paragraph 2).

According to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, one of the requirements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is obligatoriness of valid legal acts to all persons and to all state institutions. This requirement also means that state institutions, including the President of the Republic, must follow valid legal acts, including decrees of the President of the Republic (including those who were issued when another person was the President of the Republic). Under the Constitution, only legal acts (normative and individual ones) of higher legal force may establish a different regulation than that established in legal acts of lower legal force—in that case such legal acts of lower legal force must be harmonised with the legal acts of higher legal force.

2.4.3. Therefore, in the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the legal regulation where, when a legal act which was issued by a state institution and officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” is still in force, by means of a legal act of the same legal force the same state institution establishes a different legal regulation from that established in the legal act which is still in force, is in conflict with the Constitution.

2.4.4. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic (to the extent that it provides that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court) do not meet the aforesaid requirements and they are in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from M. Girdauskas and G. Sagatys, the representatives of the Seimas, a party concerned, as well as from Č. Atkočaitis and M. Vainiutė, the representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned (together with annexes—copies of the documents related to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and as the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court, and to the appointment of the same person as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, as well as with the prolongation of the powers of the same person as a judge of the Vilnius regional Court, the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court).

1. It is maintained in the explanations of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, that Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, and Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 460 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, are not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, is grounded on the following arguments.

1.1. It is clear from the explanations (in their entirety) of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, that, in his opinion, Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, establishes the legal regulation whereby in the court of first instance, when the judgment is adopted by the judge of a local court, in all cases reasoned (at least to certain extent) judgments of conviction must be drawn up before they are pronounced: in the cases in which persons are accused of commission of the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC, the entire part of recital of the judgment of conviction is drawn up (provided for in Article 305 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP), while in the cases in which persons are accused of commission of other criminal deeds, the judgment of conviction may (but not necessarily must) be drawn up with an abridged part of recital, in which the circumstances provided for in Items 2, 3, and 4 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 5 of Article 305 are not set forth; taking account of the cognisance rules established in Article 224 (wording of 14 March 2002) and Article 225 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, all these cases considered in the court of first instance, where the judgment is adopted by the judge of a local court, are cases on the criminal deeds that are not grave or very grave. Meanwhile, in the opinion of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, in the other articles (parts thereof) of the CCP (in Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, and Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 460 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP) whose compliance with the Constitution is impugned by the petitioner, the legal regulation is established whereby after a judgment (ruling) is adopted, first only the operative part or only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment (ruling) may be pronounced and, alongside, the arguments of its adoption (all arguments or the “main”, “most important” ones) must be set forth verbally—in such cases the reasoning substantiating the judgment (ruling) (the arguments of the adoption of the judgment (ruling)) must be drawn up later, within a corresponding time period established in the CCP.

1.2. The Constitution does not contain any expressis verbis established prohibition on drawing up the arguments of a court decision (judgment, ruling) later, within the time period established in the law, after the court pronounces the operative part of the decision (judgment, ruling) consolidated in writing.

1.3. Such prohibition does not stem from the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter also referred to as the Convention), nor the practice of the European Commission of Human Rights, nor the jurisprudence of the European Commission of Human Rights; in themselves, abridged court judgments are not in conflict with the Convention, if the accused enjoys sufficient opportunities by means of appeal and cassation procedure to dispute all the evidence and the arguments upon which the accusation and the judgment of the court of first instance are grounded.

In addition, laws of criminal procedure of many foreign states provide for a possibility for a court of first instance to draw up the decision (judgment, ruling) with abridged reasoning, also a possibility for the court to draw up the reasoning of its decision (judgment, ruling) after its pronouncement; it is “the common practice” in the states which are the Parties to the Convention. According to M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the constitutional courts of European states have not construed that the pronouncement of a court decision (judgment, ruling), when the reasoning substantiating it are drawn up later, is in conflict with the constitutions of respective states.

1.4. The fact that under the impugned provisions of the CCP the court decision (judgment, ruling) must be set forth verbally when it is being pronounced deny the assumptions that, allegedly, a decision (judgment, ruling) is adopted first, and only later the reasoning is contrived. In the opinion of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, also the circumstance is of importance that under the CCP the participants of the process have the right to make an audio record of the court hearing, therefore, also to record the verbal reasoning substantiating the decision (judgment, ruling) and, thus, to guarantee that it is not changed.

1.5. The opinion that the drawing up of all the reasoning substantiating a court decision (judgment, ruling) not prior to the pronouncement of the court decision (judgment, ruling), but later (inter alia, upon request of the participants to the proceedings), could be substantiated by the following doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 16 January 2006 (Item 16.5 of Chapter I of the part of reasoning):

While construing Article 109 of the Constitution in the context of the requirements of legal clarity, legal certainty, and legal publicity, as well as the requirement to ensure human rights and freedoms, which arise from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that administration of justice implies also that a court judgment (or another final act of the court) is an integral legal act in which the operative part is grounded on the arguments set forth in the part of reasoning. This means, inter alia, that when the court judgment (or another final act of the court) is officially published, it must contain all the arguments upon which it is grounded, that the arguments (or part thereof) of a court judgment (or another final act of the court) cannot be submitted by the court after the official publication of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), and that after the official publication of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), the court may not change or otherwise correct its arguments.

In this context it needs to be noted that if a court judgment (or another final act of the court) was published officially, which is not grounded on legal arguments or which is grounded only on certain part of the arguments, and the remaining part of the arguments is made public after the official publication of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), justice would not be administered—there would always be a reasonable doubt that such arguments only seek to justify the court judgment (or another final act of the court) that was adopted a priori.”

However, according to M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the said doctrinal provisions in that ruling of the Constitutional Court adopted in the said constitutional justice case are set forth as obiter dicta and they do not carry such obligatoriness as ratio decidendi, therefore, if there are grounds, they may be particularised and corrected.

1.6. In the explanations one also questions the reasonableness of the doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 and Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP with the Constitution in the aspect that the possibility for a court to draw up a judgment within fourteen days allegedly depends not on the fact how much time, in the opinion of the judges, is necessary in order to draw up a reasoned judgment, but on the assent of other persons—the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division. In the opinion of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the said powers of presidents of courts and chairpersons of criminal cases divisions should be related not to dependence of the judges who administer justice, but to ensuring the organisation of work in courts, since these court officials not only administer justice as judges, but also they are responsible for the area of organisation of work in the courts, which is entrusted to them.

2. In the explanations of G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, it is maintained that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; to the extent pointed out by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner) of Article 285, Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286, Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85, and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases are not in conflict with the Constitution. Also an opinion is stated that the legal proceedings commenced in the part of the case regarding Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119, Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the same article, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be dismissed. The position of the representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, is based on the following arguments.

2.1. The compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85, and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases with the Constitution are grounded on the following arguments.

2.1.1. The Constitution does not establish any expressis verbis formal requirements which should be followed by a court, when it pronounces its final decision in a case. According to G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the doubt of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 and Paragraph 3 of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is substantiated by expansive interpretation of Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.1.2. The right of the person to a fair process is defined not by setting forth of court arguments in a certain (written) form, but making them public.

2.1.3. In the explanations attention is drawn to the same doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 16 January 2006, which are quoted in the explanations of M. Girdauskas, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, as well as to these doctrinal provisions of the same ruling of the Constitutional Court (Item 16.5 of Chapter I of the part of reasoning):

Under the Constitution, the legislature enjoys the powers to establish reasonable terms within which a reasoned court judgment (or another final act of the court) must be published, and, if necessary, to establish exceptions to the establishment of general rules.

It needs to be noted that the said requirements concerning the reasoning of the judgment (or another final act of the court), its publishing and terms are applicable mutatis mutandis not only to the criminal procedure, but also to other types of legal proceedings.”

In the opinion of G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 16 January 2006 should be interpreted as the ones which do not specify in an imperative manner as to in what form the court arguments should be set forth at the time when the court act is being officially pronounced. The legislature, after it has stipulated that the reasoning of a decision (judgment, ruling) is set forth “abridged in verbal form” in the course of the pronouncement of the decision (judgment, ruling), has ensured minimum implementation of the constitutional imperatives and did not exceed the powers established to him in the Constitution.

2.1.4. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is rational with regard to implementation of a great many principles of civil procedure law; such legal regulation established in the Code of Civil Procedure is also useful to the court, which, due to big workload, faces difficulties in ensuring that all the decisions adopted by it, which meet the requirements of Article 270 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, be “prepared” on the day of their pronouncement, and to the persons participating in the case, who are concerned to learn the operative part (“the most important one”, according to G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned) of the court decision as fast as possible. Such legal regulation does not seek to create any conditions for abuse in the course of administration of justice.

These arguments should also be applied mutatis mutandis when substantiating the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85, and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, with the Constitution.

2.2. In the explanations the compliance of the impugned Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure with the Constitution is grounded on the following arguments.

2.2.1. The purpose of the decision in absentia provided for in Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure is the ensuring of effective judicial defence of violated rights, by preventing a dishonest party from stalling the court proceedings or from abusing the proceedings otherwise. According to G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the institute of decision adopted in absentia (which is not a new one in Lithuanian law or unique from the standpoint of comparative law) is necessary in order to ensure the concentration, expedition, cooperation of the parties and other essential principles of the civil procedure.

2.2.2. The decision adopted in absentia provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure is not a procedural sanction to the party that does not perform the duties established in the law (inter alia, the duty to take care of stimulating the proceedings) and which has not made use of the available procedural opportunities, but further development of the proceedings (procedural effect) and a logical consequence of the strategy of the case chosen by the passive party.

2.2.3. The court may adopt a decision in absentia only upon request of the active party, but not on its own initiative. In addition, the court does not have to, but it enjoys the right to adopt a decision in absentia in corresponding cases; it can do so only if there are the conditions established in the Code of Civil Procedure, when a party does not submit its response within established term without valid excuse (Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 142), it fails to appear at the court hearing without valid reasons (Paragraphs 1 and 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 246) or it fails to appear at the preparatory court hearing after the party was properly informed (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 230). However, it needs to be emphasised that even if there are all the conditions established in the Code of Civil Procedure (and even the active party requests so), the court may decide not to adopt a decision in absentia.

2.2.4. By means of a decision in absentia one does not seek to establish the material truth. While in the cases where the court has a duty to ascertain the material truth (for example, in cases of “greater public interest” and those of special proceedings), also in cases of some other categories (for example, in documentary proceedings), the court is prohibited from adopting a decision in absentia at all.

2.2.5. The Code of Civil Procedure consolidates the model of limited appeal, which means that the appeal process is a mechanism of control over the lawfulness and reasonableness of a decision adopted by the court of first instance, but it is not a repeated consideration of the case in court. Thus, all circumstances, all evidence by which the parties substantiate their demands and replications must be submitted and assessed when the case is considered at the court of first instance. The prohibition on appealing against a decision adopted in absentia under appeal and cassation procedure logically stems from the model of limited appeal—such a prohibition is applied to the person in whose regard such decision was adopted (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303). It is prohibited that the appellant substantiate the appeal by the circumstances which have not been indicated in the court of first instance (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 306); it is prohibited that he express new substantive legal demands in the appeal (Article 312 (wording of 28 February 2002)); it is also prohibited that the appellant submit new evidence which might have been submitted at the court of first instance (save the cases when the court of first instance refused to accept it or when the necessity to submit this evidence appeared later) (Article 314 (wording of 28 February 2002)).

If the person in whose regard the decision in absentia was adopted had a possibility of appealing against that decision under appeal procedure, it would mean that one begins the consideration of the case on merits only at the court of appeal instance. This would be in conflict with the principle of economy of the proceedings and the functions of the court of first instance and the court of appeal instance would be mixed. This would also threaten the implementation of the principle of adversarial argument and the rights of the honest party (which took an active part in the proceedings in the court of first instance and had reasonable considerations as regards the sufficiency of the submitted court evidence).

In addition, the party in whose regard the decision was adopted in absentia has the right to submit a statement requesting review of the decision in absentia (Article 287 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure. Such statement is a complaint regarding not the essence of the adopted decision, but that on the procedural basis of the adoption of the decision in absentia, therefore, the court, after it considers this statement, may repeal the decision adopted in absentia and renew the consideration of the case on merits (Item 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Paragraph 3 of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure). After a new decision is adopted in the same case, also an appeal on general grounds is possible. While if the court of first instance adopts a ruling whereby one refuses to grant the statement requesting a review of the decision adopted in absentia, the party in whose regard the decision was adopted in absentia has the right to submit an individual complaint (Paragraph 6 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Thus, even if there was a decision in absentia, the party in whose regard this decision was adopted is not prevented to apply to the court of appeal instance: when a new decision is adopted in the same case, this party may apply to the court of appeal instance regarding the essence of the decision itself, while if one refuses to grant the statement requesting a review of the decision adopted in absentia, it may apply to the court of appeal instance on the procedural expediency and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia. Thus, the passive party enjoys sufficient procedural guarantees.

In the opinion of G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, when assessing whether the established prohibition for a person, in whose regard a decision in absentia was adopted, on appealing against that decision under appeal procedure and cassation procedure is not in conflict with the Constitution, the circumstance that under the Convention the right to appeal is not a constituent part of the right to judicial defence, is also of importance.

2.2.6. The prohibition for a person to appeal, under appeal and cassation procedure, against a decision adopted in absentia, which is adopted in regard to the said person, cannot be in conflict with Article 29 of the Constitution and the principle of the equality of persons before the court, which is established therein, since in itself the constitutional principle of the equality of persons does not deny the fact that the law may establish different legal regulation in regard of certain categories of persons which are in different situations. Thus, this constitutional principle is not violated also when the procedural rights of the person, who takes an active part in the court proceedings and who contributes to speedy and comprehensive consideration of the case, and the procedural rights of the person who behaves in the opposite manner, are differentiated.

2.3. The position of G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, that the legal proceedings commenced in the part of the case regarding the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119, Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the same article, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, with the Constitution should be dismissed, is grounded on the following arguments.

2.3.1. The Constitutional Court’s Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002), Paragraph 3 (wording of 21 January 2003), Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 56, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57, Paragraph 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 63, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 70, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 71, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 72, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 73, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 74, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 75, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 76, Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 77, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 78, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 79, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 81, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 90, Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119, Items 3 and 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 128 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts, of Item 13 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Paragraph 3 of Article 11, Paragraphs 1 and 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) and Paragraph 4 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Article 17, Paragraph 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) of Article 18 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘The Statute of the Supreme Court of Lithuania’ and of Article 1 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2048) ‘On Releasing a Judge of the Regional Court From Office’ of 10 February 2003 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 May 2006 recognised, inter alia, that

Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts to the extent that it prescribes that not only judges but also other persons compose the Council of Courts was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the provision “the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2.3.2. On 23 May 2006, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts whereby the articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Courts which had been ruled in conflict with the Constitution were amended, inter alia, the legal regulation was established whereby only judges may be members of the Council of Courts (who are elected and appointed by virtue of their office), while the President of the Council of Courts is elected from members of the Council of Courts.

2.3.3. Thus, in the opinion of G. Sagatys, a representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, in this part of the case regarding the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119, Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the same article, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, with the Constitution the matter of investigation is no longer present. Conforming to Paragraph 2 of Article 80 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the instituted proceedings in this part of the case should be dismissed.

3. It is maintained in the explanations of M. Vainiutė and Č. Atkočaitis, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, that the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 and the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, to the extent that it prescribes that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court, are not in conflict with the Constitution. It is clear from the explanations and annexes thereto—copies of the documents related to appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court, with the appointment of this person as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, as well as the prolongation of his powers in the capacity of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court—that the position of the representatives of the Seimas, a party concerned, is grounded on the following arguments.

3.1. By the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 472) “On Appointing Judges of Regional Courts” of 19 December 1994, inter alia, Konstantas Ramelis was appointed a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court (in the decree a different name of this person was indicated—Konstantinas). It was specified in the same decree of the President of the Republic that it “shall come into force as from the day of its signing”.

3.2. By the Order of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 542K) “On Appointing the Chairperson of a Division of the Vilnius Regional Court” of 20 December 1994 (hereinafter also referred to as the 20 December 1994 order (No. 542K) of the Minister of Justice) Konstantas Ramelis was appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court. It was established in this order of the Minister of Justice that it shall come into force “as from 1 January 1995” (in this context, it needs to be noted that under then valid Paragraph 4 (wording of 31 May 1994) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts the chairpersons of divisions of regional courts were appointed from among appointed judges by the Minister of Justice upon proposal of the President of a corresponding court).

3.3. On 18 June 1996, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56 and 59 of the Law on Courts, by Article 3 whereof Article 33 (wording of 8 November 1994) of the Law on Courts was supplemented with Paragraphs 5 and 6 and it was established, inter alia, that Presidents of regional courts and chairpersons of divisions of these courts are appointed for a 7-year term.

3.4. On 24 January 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on Courts (which came into force on 1 May 2002) whereby the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was set forth in a new wording.

Also, on 14 March 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts in Paragraph 1 of Article 6 whereof it was prescribed that until the entry into force of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts the appointed presidents and deputy presidents of courts of general jurisdiction and specialised courts, as well as chairpersons of divisions of these courts hold their office until the end of the term of office for which they were appointed.

3.5. On 28 October 2002, K. Ramelis submitted an application to the National Courts Administration requesting that he be entered on the register of the persons who seek a career as judges and expressed his wish to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (if possible, the chairperson of a division of this court).

3.6. By its Decision (No. 62) “On the Advice to the President of the Republic to Release K. Ramelis from the Office of a Judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of This Court and to Appoint Him a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 23 December 2002, the Council of Courts advised the President of the Republic to release K. Ramelis from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court and to appoint him a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. (The representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, did not submit any documents or their copies testifying that there was an application to the Council of Courts requesting such advice.)

3.7. By his Decree (No. 2015) “On Submitting that the Seimas Assent to the Appointment of A. Driukas and K. Ramelis as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 10 January 2003, the President of the Republic submitted that the Seimas assent, inter alia, to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.

3.8. By Article 1 of its Resolution (No. IX-1323) “On the Assent to Appointment of a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 28 January 2003 the Seimas, conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 of the Constitution and taking account of the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic, resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.

3.9. On 28 January 2003, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Article 57 of the Law on Courts by Article 1 whereof Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was amended. It was established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts that when a judge of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania and the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, a regional court and a regional administrative court reaches the age of 65, his powers may be prolonged by the institution which appointed him until he reaches the age of 70; in such cases the judge seeking a prolongation of his powers shall apply to the President of the Republic.

Thus, an opportunity was created to judges of regional courts and administrative regional courts to hold office until they reach the age of 70.

3.10. On 31 January 2003, K. Ramelis applied to the President of the Republic with a request in which it was indicated that on 12 March 2003 K. Ramelis would reach the age of 65, and he requested the prolongation of his powers as a judge and the chairperson of the division until he reaches the age of 70.

3.11. Upon assignment of the President of the Republic, the Council of Courts was applied to by means of letter No. 2D-797 of 3 February 2003 seeking advice to the President of the Republic regarding the prolongation of the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court until he reaches the age of 70.

3.12. By its decision No. 66 of 7 February 2003, the Council of Courts advised to the President of the Republic to prolong the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court, until he reaches the age of 70.

3.13. By his Decree (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003, the President of the Republic prolonged the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the same division this court until he reaches the age of 70.

3.14. When the term of powers of K. Ramelis as the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court was about to expire, upon assignment of the President of the Republic the Council of Courts was applied to with letter No. 2D-4175 of 30 May 2003 seeking advice to the President of the Republic regarding, inter alia, the appointment of K. Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court.

3.15. By its Decision (No. 108) “On the Advice to the President of the Republic to Appoint Presidents of Regional Courts and Chairpersons of the Divisions” of 6 June 2003, the Council of Courts advised the President of the Republic to appoint, inter alia, the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court Konstantas Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court.

3.16. By his Decree (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 (which came into force on 26 June 2003), the President of the Republic appointed, inter alia, the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court Konstantas Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court.

3.17. By issuing the decrees, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the President of the Republic was conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution in which the exceptional powers of the President of the Republic are entrenched related to appointment, promotion, transfer and release of judges and presidents of regional courts and he was following the requirements of the laws.

3.18. In order that a person be appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal, three competent institutions must adopt legal acts: the President of the Republic must issue a decree on presenting that the Seimas assent to the appointment of such a person as a judge of the Court of Appeal, the Seimas must adopt a resolution on assenting to the appointment of the judge of the Court of Appeal and, finally, the President of the Republic must issue a decree on appointing the person as a judge of the said court.

In the discussed case only two legal acts were issued: the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic and the Seimas resolution of 28 January 2003, while no decree of the President of the Republic was issued, whereby K. Ramelis should have been released from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Division of the said court and appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal.

In the opinion of M. Vainiutė and Č. Atkočaitis, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, the President of the Republic, after it has received the assent of the Seimas, was also permitted not to appoint K. Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal and to submit another candidature to the Seimas. M. Vainiutė and Č. Atkočaitis, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, substantiate their opinion, inter alia, by the doctrinal provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006 that “<…> in order to appoint or release a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, the President of the Republic must apply to the Seimas and, if he gets the assent of the Seimas, he may appoint the corresponding person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court or release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from his office, also, inter alia, if certain circumstances significant to such appointment or release from office become clear, he might decide not to appoint that person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, and submit the Seimas with another candidature, or not to release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from office (if it is not obligatory to release that judge from office under the Constitution)”.

According to Č. Atkočaitis and M. Vainiutė, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, the essential reason which determined the fact that K. Ramelis was not released from the office of the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division was that after the assent of the Seimas to appoint this person as a judge of the Court of Appeal was received, the Law on Amending Article 57 of the Law on Courts came into force which created an opportunity also to judges of regional and administrative regional courts to continue in office until they reach the age of 70. K. Ramelis changed his request and expressed his wish to continue to work as a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division and abandoned his aspiration to seek the career of a judge, i.e. to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal. No person can be appointed to hold certain office against his will.

3.19. In the opinion of Č. Atkočaitis and M. Vainiutė, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, neither the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic whereby it was submitted that the Seimas, inter alia, assent to the appointment of K. Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, nor the Seimas resolution of 28 January 2003 whereby the Seimas resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, caused any “direct” legal effects.

3.20. According to Č. Atkočaitis and M. Vainiutė, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, the validity of a legal act is terminated when a new legal act is issued which regulates the same legal relations differently. However, in the discussed case this rule cannot be directly applied, since in the legal acts which were issued at different time (i.e. decrees of the President of the Republic) the legal regulation of a different character is established. Thus, although the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic should not be regarded as no longer valid, the President of the Republic, before he issued his decree No. 2067 of 19 February 2003 and decree No. 128 of 18 June 2003, did not have to issue a separate decree whereby the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic should have been recognised as no longer valid (to the extent that is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner).

3.21. In the opinion of Č. Atkočaitis and M. Vainiutė, representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, the circumstance is also of importance that the President of the Republic, before he issued the impugned decrees, had received the corresponding advice of the special institution of judges provided for by law, which is specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution (which under the then valid law was the Council of Courts).

3.22. The impugned decrees of the President of the Republic, as well as the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic, cannot be treated as conflicting with one another or as the ones that were issued by disregarding formerly issued decrees of the President of the Republic by relating this to the termination of the powers of the President of the Republic under Article 88 of the Constitution, since the activity and decisions of the President of the Republic are grounded on the continuity of the activity of this institution.

IV

1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Seimas member Nijolė Steiblienė and the advocate Kęstutis Čilinskas, the representatives of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner and also submitted additional explanations.

The advocate Kęstutis Čilinskas, a representative of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, inter alia, expressed an opinion that after the Constitutional Court’s Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002), Paragraph 3 (wording of 21 January 2003), Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 56, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57, Paragraph 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 63, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 70, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 71, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 72, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 73, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 74, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 75, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 76, Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 77, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 78, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 79, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 81, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 90, Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119, Items 3 and 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 128 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts, of Item 13 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Paragraph 3 of Article 11, Paragraphs 1 and 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) and Paragraph 4 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Article 17, Paragraph 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) of Article 18 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘The Statute of the Supreme Court of Lithuania’ and of Article 1 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2048) ‘On Releasing a Judge of a Regional Court from Office’ of 10 February 2003 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 9 May 2006 recognised, inter alia, that Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts to the extent that it prescribes that not only judges but also other persons compose the Council of Courts and the provision “the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts were in conflict with the Constitution, therefore, it is not expedient to further investigate in this constitutional justice case the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 and Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, which are impugned by the petitioner, with the Constitution.

2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Seimas member J. Sabatauskas (representing the Seimas, a party concerned, in the part of the case subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner) submitted his explanations. According to this representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the court of appeal instance shall consider the case without overstepping the limits established in the appeal, with the exception when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Court, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

2.1. The position of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, whereby, allegedly, the impugned legal regulation might be in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution is subject to doubt, since the limits of consideration of an appeal, which are established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure, are valid to all participants of the procedure without exception, regardless of their political views, gender, nationality etc.

2.2. The exceptions when the court may overstep the limits of the appeal are related to certain areas of life and to such substantive legal relations which cannot be, nor are regulated only by private law, since they are not dispositive. Corresponding cases are called not dispositive ones.

For instance, in labour law there are elements of private and public law, it consolidates the dialogue between social partners (employers and employees), while both in substantive and procedural law the protection of the weaker party (employee) of the employment legal relation is bigger, therefore, the powers of the court to overstep the limits of the appeal in corresponding cases (analogous powers are enjoyed by the court of first instance as well) should not be regarded as a violation of the principle of the autonomy of the parties (which is one of the most important principles of private law). Also, in the Constitution special attention is paid to family relations (Articles 38 and 39 of the Constitution), although they are regulated by civil law, their regulation in the Civil Code is in most cases based upon the ius cogens norms; this specificity of family legal relations determines rather limited disposition of the parties. While in the course of consideration of cases of special legal proceedings, the role of the court generally has nothing in common with the implementation of the principle of the disposition of the parties: in this case the principle of formality is in operation, as the court does not settle the dispute, but rather it “administers” the norms of substantive law, it ensures their proper implementation in a concrete situation of life and virtually it performs the executive functions delegated to it by the state.

In addition, the duty of the court of appeal instance to verify, irrespective of the limits of the appeal, whether there have been any essential procedural violations in the court of first instance (whether there are any absolute grounds of non-validity of the decision) is also not related to the implementation of the principles of the disposition and autonomy of the parties. The civil procedure law is public law. The essential procedural violations specified in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure mean that the person was in general not guaranteed the right to apply to court or the right to due process, while this is violation of the constitutional principles as well. It is due to this that the procedural laws of virtually all European states consolidate the duty of the court of appeal instance to verify ex officio whether there were not any such violations in the course of consideration of the case in the court of first instance.

2.3. The civil procedure law “serves” to the substantive private law in which the most important principles of private law are valid and are protected. From the constitutional principles of inviolability of the person of the human being, the inviolability of the private life of the human being and the inviolability of property (respectively, Articles 21, 22 and 23 of the Constitution) the principle of the autonomy in private law is derived, which determines the basic principles of the civil procedure law—disposition and adversarial argument: the parties have the right to establish the content of their relations and their limits, as well as applicable rules, and decide on how these relations must be developed, but they also have a duty not to violate the interests of one another, nor the freedom of their self-determination. The fact that the court is bound by the limits of both the claim and the appeal (save the discussed situations) means that in the area of private law human rights are really much protected against the interference of the state. Should the powers of the court be renounced, unlimited possibilities would be created for the state through the court to interfere with all areas of private law regardless of the will of the parties, while this would deny the said constitutional principles and the essence of private law and would mean going back to the Soviet model of civil procedure law.

2.4. As it is indicated in the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, the fact that, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 353 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court of cassation may overstep the limits of the cassation appeal, if this is required by the public interests is compatible with Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned by the petitioner. However, the cassation procedure differs in essence from the appeal procedure: the court of first instance and the court of appeal instance are designated for the parties of the case, while the cassation procedure is virtually necessary in order to meet the demands of society—a public function is performed in the cassation procedure. In addition, in the cassation procedure only legal aspects of the case are considered; the court of cassation is bound by the factual circumstances of the case, which were established by the courts that had been considering the case, the last of which is a court of appeal instance, which has no right to assess those factual circumstances, nor to investigate new evidence. Therefore, according to Seimas member J. Sabatauskas, the representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, the powers of the cassation court to overstep the limits of the cassation appeal, if this is required by the public interest, virtually means a possibility for the court of cassation instance to more broadly apply the principle iura novit curia without interfering in the facts of the case. The court of cassation instance must ensure the formation of uniform court practice in the course of construction of law as well as the proper implementation of the principle of a state under the rule of law.

The discussed powers of the court of cassation instance do not violate the principle of autonomy of the parties, nor that of disposition. Meanwhile, the establishment of corresponding powers to the court of appeal instance would virtually deny the validity of the most important principles recognised in the countries of the western legal tradition in the civil procedure.

2.5. While deciding whether the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not allow the court of appeal instance to administer justice and, thus, Article 109 of the Constitution is violated (and the right of the person to fair trial), one should take account of the fact that not all cases can be considered in the court of cassation procedure. In the opinion of Seimas member J. Sabatauskas, the representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, in this case there are more doubts whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 341 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which establishes certain limits of the contested sum (value expression of the claim), in case which are not reached the cases may not be considered under cassation procedure, is in compliance with the Constitution.

3. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, M. Girdauskas and G. Sagatys, the representatives of a party concerned, the Seimas, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in the written explanations and also submitted additional explanations.

4. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, M. Vainiutė, a representative of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in her written explanations as well as those set forth in the written explanations of Č. Atkočaitis, another representative of the same party concerned, and submitted additional explanations. She also submitted additional evidence to the Constitutional Court—copies of the documents related with the appointment of K. Ramelis as the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

On the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 and Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. On 24 January 2002 the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on Courts by Article 1 whereof it amended the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements). The Law on Courts of this new wording has been amended and/or supplemented more than once.

2. The group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, inter alia, requests an investigation into whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Law on Courts was not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, prescribed:

The Council of Courts shall be composed of <…>:

1) by virtue of their office (ex officio)—the President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, an authorised representative of the President of the Republic, an authorised representative of the Speaker of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of Budget and Finances of the Seimas, the Minister of Justice or the Vice Minister authorised by him, the Minister of Finance or the Vice Minister of Finance authorised by him <…>.”

4. It was established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts:

The President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges. The Council of Courts shall elect the Deputy President and the Secretary of the Council of Courts.”

5. It is clear from the arguments of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, that it doubts as to the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts with the Constitution only to the extent that, under Item 1 of the said paragraph, the Council of Courts shall be composed of, by virtue of their office, an authorised representative of the President of the Republic, an authorised representative of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of Budget and Finances of the Seimas, the Minister of Justice or the Vice Minister authorised by him, the Minister of Finance or the Vice Minister of Finance authorised by him.

6. Although the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests an investigation into whether, inter alia, the entire Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts is not in conflict with the Constitution, it is clear from the arguments of the petitioner that he faced doubts only whether the provision “the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges” of the same paragraph is not in conflict with the Constitution.

7. In the constitutional justice case subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 3 of Article 57, Paragraph 2 of Article 73, Paragraph 2 of Article 79 and Paragraph 3 of Article 81 of the Law on Courts were not in conflict with Article 29, Paragraph 2 of Article 109 and Paragraphs 2 and 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, also petition of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Law on Courts that the issue in respect of prolongation of the judge’s powers shall be decided in accordance with the procedure for the appointment of a judge of an appropriate court as laid down in this law, was not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 5 of Article 112, Paragraph 2 of Article 109 and Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, to the extent that, according to the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, a petitioner, it prescribed that the President of the Republic of Lithuania may, by himself, refuse to satisfy the request of the judge to prolong his powers until he reaches the age of 70 and release that judge from office upon the expiry of his powers, without applying to the Council of Courts for advice, as well as whether the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2048) “On Releasing a Judge of a Regional Court from Office” of 10 February 2003, by which Jurgis Tautkevičius, a judge of the Panevėžys Regional Court, had been released from office upon the expiry of his powers, was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraph 2 of Article 109, and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as with Paragraph 1 of Article 45, with the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 57 that the issue in respect of prolongation of the judge’s powers shall be decided in accordance with the procedure for the appointment of a judge of an appropriate court as laid down in this law, and with Paragraph 2 of Article 70 of the Law on Courts, also the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 128 of the Law on Courts was not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 2 of Article 109 and Paragraph 1 of Article 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the Compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002), Paragraph 3 (wording of 21 January 2003), Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 56, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57, Paragraph 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 63, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 70, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 71, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 72, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 73, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 74, Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 75, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 76, Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 77, Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 January 2003) of Article 78, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 79, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 81, Paragraphs 3 and 7 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 90, Paragraphs 2 and 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119, Items 3 and 4 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 128 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts, of Item 13 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Paragraph 3 of Article 11, Paragraphs 1 and 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) and Paragraph 4 (wording of 4 July 1996) of Article 17, Paragraph 3 (wording of 18 April 1995) of Article 18 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘The Statute of the Supreme Court of Lithuania’ and of Article 1 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2048) ‘On Releasing a Judge of a Regional Court from Office’ of 10 February 2003 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” on 9 May 2006, whereby it recognised, inter alia, that Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts to the extent that it prescribes that not only judges but also other persons compose the Council of Courts was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and that the provision “the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts is in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The said ruling of the Constitutional Court is still in force.

8. Thus, the issue of the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) (inter alia, that of Item 1 thereof (to the extent impugned by the petitioner)) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts as well as that of the provision “the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Judges” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the same article was decided in the aforesaid Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006.

9. By a decision, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the compliance of the legal act with the Constitution specified in the petition has already been investigated by the Constitutional Court and the ruling on this issue adopted by the Constitutional Court is still in force (Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court). In the event that the grounds for refusal to consider a petition have been established after the commencement of the investigation of the case during the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a decision to dismiss the case shall be adopted (Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court).

10. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be held that there are grounds to refuse to consider the petition of a group of the members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether, inter alia, Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 and Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts were not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law. This part of the case must be dismissed.

II

On the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. The group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, inter alia, requests an investigation into whether Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 of the Law on Courts (wording of 21 January 2003) was not in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. It was established in of Article 120 (wordings of 24 January 2002 and 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts:

The Council of Courts shall:

1) elect the Vice President and the Secretary of the Council of Courts <…>.”

3. In the opinion of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the fact that under Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts the Council of Courts did not have the right to elect its President, since, under Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, the President of the Supreme Court ex officio had to be the President of the Council of Courts, was in conflict with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4. On 23 May 2006, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts by Article 2 whereof Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, was amended and set forth differently. The Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts came into force on 27 May 2006.

5. In Paragraph 5 of Article 4 of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts the notion “Council of Courts” which used to be employed in the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was replaced by the notion “Judicial Council”.

6. Article 120 (wording of 23 May 2006) of the Law on Courts, inter alia, provides:

The Judicial Council shall:

1) elect the President, Vice President and the Secretary of the Judicial Council <…>.”

7. In addition, by Article 1 of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, Article 119 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the Law on Courts was amended and set forth in a new wording. Under Paragraph 5 (wording of 23 May 2006) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, the Judicial Council shall, by secret ballot and by simple majority of votes of all members of the Judicial Council, elect the President, Vice President and the Secretary of the Judicial Council.

8. It should also be mentioned that Article 4 of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts provides, inter alia, that: upon entry into force of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, the powers of the President of the Council of Courts shall cease (Paragraph 1); upon entry into force of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, members of the Council of Courts shall temporarily become members of the Judicial Council, the first sitting of the Judicial Council shall be convened within seven days by the eldest member (judge) of this Judicial Council and shall preside over it, while the President, Vice President and the Secretary of the Judicial Council shall be elected in this meeting by the majority of votes of not less than half of votes of all members of the Judicial Council; the powers of this Judicial Council shall continue until a new Judicial Council is formed under the procedure established in the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts (Paragraph 2); within 30 days of its first sitting, the Judicial Council provided for in Paragraph 2 of the same article shall convene the General Meeting of Judges in which, under the procedure established in Article 119 of the Law on Courts, which is set forth in Article 1 of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, members of the Judicial Council are elected; in this meeting the members of the Judicial Council are elected according to the number of places established to the court (courts) subsequent to Article 119 of the Law on Courts set forth in Article 1 of the said law; within seven days the Judicial Council shall be convened to its first sitting by the eldest member of the Judicial Council and shall preside over it until the President of the Council of Courts is elected (Paragraph 3); under Paragraph 3 of the same article, the powers of the Judicial Council which is under the procedure established in Article 119 of the Law on Courts, which is set forth in Article 1 of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, shall continue until 31 December 2006 (Paragraph 4).

9. Thus, upon entry into force of the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts, the legal regulation that the Council of Courts (under the amended Law on Courts—the Judicial Council) did not have the right to elect its President, since the President of the Supreme Court ex officio had to be the President of the Council of Courts, i.e. the legal regulation which used to be consolidated expressis verbis in formerly valid Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts and, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in Article 120 (wordings of 24 January 2002 and 21 January 2003) and Item 1 thereof the Law on Courts, disappeared; as mentioned before, under Article 120 (wording of 23 May 2006) of the Law on Courts and Item 1 thereof the Judicial Council elects, inter alia, its President, i.e. the Law on Courts ((wording of 24 January 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements made also by the Law on Amending Articles 119, 120 and 121 of the Law on Courts) consolidates the legal regulation of the relations linked with the occupation of the office of the President of the special institution of judges provided for in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution is opposite to the one the compliance of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner.

In this context, it should also be mentioned that, as held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the part of the case regarding the compliance of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, which used to provide that the President of the Supreme Court shall be, by virtue of his office, the President of the Council of Courts, with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, must be dismissed.

10. The annulment of the impugned legal act shall be grounds to adopt a decision to dismiss the instituted legal proceedings (Paragraph 4 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court). In its acts the Constitutional Court has held more than once that the Constitutional Court, by taking account of the circumstances of the considered constitutional justice case, may dismiss the instituted legal proceedings on the ground provided for in Paragraph 4 (wording of 11 July 1996) of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court when it was applied to not by a court, but some other subject specified in Article 106 of the Constitution. This can be said also about the situations when the impugned legal act (part thereof) was not repealed, however, the legal regulation established in it was changed (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 March 2003, its decision of 14 March 2006 (case No. 3/05), and its rulings of 30 March 2006 and 14 April 2006).

11. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the part of the case regarding the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Law on Courts with Articles 5, 109, 112, and 114 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law must be dismissed.

III

On the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85, and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases with of Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. The group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, inter alia, requests an investigation into:

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the introductory and operative parts of the decision shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the consideration of an individual case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the introductory and operative parts of the decision or the ruling shall be drawn up and pronounced together with setting forth short reasoning after the consideration of a case, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. On 14 January 1999, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases which came into force on 1 May 1999. Later it was amended and supplemented.

3. On 19 September 2000, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases by Article 1 whereof it amended the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (wording of 14 January 1999 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and set it forth in a new wording. The Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases of the new wording came into force on 1 January 2001.

The Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (wording of 19 September 2000) was amended/or supplemented by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 2 and 26 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which was adopted by the Seimas on 26 June 2001, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 13, 21 and 46 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which was adopted by the Seimas on 12 March 2002, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 16 and 109 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which was adopted by the Seimas on 3 April 2003, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure (with amendments and supplements made by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 1 and 2 of the Fourth Chapter of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 16 September 2003), which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 April 2003, and the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 15, 18, 19 and 22 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which was adopted by the Seimas on 11 November 2004.

Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases the compliance of which (to the corresponding extent) with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the constitutional justice case at issue have not been amended and/or supplemented and at the time of the consideration of this constitutional justice case are in force.

Article 85 titled “Adoption of the Decision” (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the compliance of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, and which is set forth in Section Thirteen “Court Decisions” of Part I “General Proceedings of Administrative Cases” of Chapter II “Proceedings in the Court of the First Instance”, provides:

1. The decision in the case considered on the merits shall be rendered by the administrative court in the deliberation room by a majority vote of the judges. The judges shall have no right to refuse to vote or to abstain, also to disclose the opinions voiced during the deliberations in the deliberation room. The presiding judge shall be the last to vote. The decision rendered shall be signed by al the judges participating in the sitting.

2. The judge whose opinion of the case differs from that of the majority of the judges may write his dissenting opinion. The dissenting opinion shall not be pronounced publicly, but shall be attached to the case file.

3. The introductory and operative parts of the decision shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the consideration of an individual case. The parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning shall be drawn up no later than within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision.

4. If the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant, the court may present in the decision an abridged reasoning indicating: the circumstances determined by the court, the evidence upon which the conclusions made by the court are based, the laws by which the court was governed.

5. The decision in the cases regarding the legality of the administrative regulation and in other complex cases may be rendered and pronounced not on the same day, but not later than after ten days from the disposition of the case. The parties to the proceedings shall be notified of the date when the decision will be pronounced and a notice to the effect shall be made in the minutes of the court sitting. During the time when the decision is being drafted, the judges of the college may consider other cases. The decision or the ruling the passage and pronouncement whereof have been postponed may be pronounced by one of the judges who considered the case, other judges of the chamber not participating.

6. The decision of the administrative court shall be rendered and pronounced in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.”

Article 139 titled “Rendering and Pronouncement of the Decision or Ruling” of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (wording of 19 September 2000) the compliance of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, and which is set forth in Section Twenty One “Decisions of the Court of Appeal Instance” of Chapter III “Proceedings in the Court of Appellate Jurisdiction”, provides:

1. Where an oral hearing of the case is held, after the closing statements by the participants in the proceedings the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt the decision or ruling.

2. Having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling and inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up.

3. The complete text of the decision or ruling shall be presented in writing and signed by all the judges within seven days from the adoption thereof.

4. By way of exception, having regard to the complexity and scope of the case, the college of judges considering the case on appeal may, by virtue of a reasoned ruling, postpone the rendering and pronouncement of the judgment or ruling for not longer than a ten-day period. During the preparation of the judgment or ruling, the judges of the chamber may consider other cases.

5. The judgment or ruling the rendering and pronouncement whereof was postponed may be pronounced by one of the judges who considered the case, in the absence of other judges of the chamber.”

6. The doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (to the corresponding extent) with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law are substantiated by the fact that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, under theses paragraphs of the articles of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the administrative court adopts and publicly pronounces its final court act without drawing up a reasoning substantiating it—the reasoning is drawn up later.

7. Article 109 of the Constitution provides: in the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts (Paragraph 1); while administering justice, the judge and courts shall be independent (Paragraph 2); when considering cases, judges shall obey only the law (Paragraph 3); the court shall adopt decisions in the name of the Republic of Lithuania (Paragraph 4).

Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution provides that in all courts, the consideration of cases shall be public; a closed court hearing may be held in order to protect the secrecy of private or family life of the human being, or where public consideration of the case might disclose a state, professional or commercial secret.

It needs to be noted that the legislature must regulate the court proceedings by means of laws so that rational organisation of court work might be ensured.

8. When construing Article 109 of the Constitution in the context of other provisions of the Constitution, inter alia, that of the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice, due process of law, legal clarity, legal certainty and publicity of law, in its ruling of 16 January 2006 the Constitutional Court held:

The constitutional imperatives that only the courts administer justice, that law cannot be not public, as well as the requirement arising from the Constitution to consider the case justly, also imply that every court judgment (or another final act of the court) must be based on legal arguments (reasoning). The argumentation must be rational: the court judgment (or another final act of the court) must contain as many arguments so that it is sufficient to ground the court judgment (or another final act of the court). In this context it needs to be noted that the requirement of legal clarity, which arises from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law means, inter alia, that a court judgment (or another final act of the court) cannot contain any concealed arguments, nor any non-specified circumstances, which are important for the adoption of a just court judgment (or another final act of the court). Court judgments (other final acts of the court) must be clear to the persons participating in the case as well as other persons. If this requirement is disregarded, then this is not the administration of justice which is entrenched in the Constitution.

While construing Article 109 of the Constitution in the context of the requirements of legal clarity, legal certainty, and legal publicity, as well as the requirement to ensure human rights and freedoms, which arise from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that administration of justice implies also that a court judgment (or another final act of the court) is an integral legal act in which the ruling part is grounded on the arguments set forth in the part of reasoning. This means, inter alia, that when the court judgment (or another final act of the court) is officially published, it must contain all arguments upon which it is grounded, that the arguments (or part thereof) of a court judgment (or another final act of the court) cannot be submitted by the court after the official publishing of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), and that after the official publishing of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), the court may not change or otherwise correct its arguments.

In this context it needs to be noted that if a court judgment (or another final act of the court) was published officially, which is not grounded on legal arguments or which is grounded only on certain part of the arguments, and the remaining part of the arguments is made public after the official publishing of the court judgment (or another final act of the court), justice would not be administered—there would always be a reasonable doubt that such arguments only seek to justify the court judgment (or another final act of the court) that was adopted a priori.

Under the Constitution, the legislature enjoys the powers to establish reasonable terms within which a reasoned court judgment (or another final act of the court) must be published, and, if necessary, to establish exceptions to the establishment of general rules.

It needs to be noted that the said requirements concerning the reasoning of the judgment (or another final act of the court), its publishing and terms are applicable mutatis mutandis not only to the criminal procedure, but also to other types of legal proceedings.”

9. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be emphasised that no cited doctrinal provision of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 16 January 2006 may be construed as the one which constitutionally obligates the court not only to draw up its final act (decision, ruling) before it is adopted, but also to pronounce it in the courtroom by reading aloud the entire text of that final act (which sometimes might be very long).

Alongside, it needs to be noted that the legislature, while seeking to ensure rational organisation of the work of the court and by taking account of the peculiarities of individual kinds of proceedings, may provide, by means of a law, certain specially discussed exceptions when the final court act not necessarily should be read aloud in the courtroom; in such cases the final court act must be pronounced publicly in another way. It needs to be emphasised that when the said exceptions are established by means of a law, no preconditions may be created by which the rights and freedoms of the person and other constitutional values are violated.

Of course, while paying heed to the constitutional imperative of publicity of law, the introductory and operative parts of the adopted final court act which is signed by the judges cannot be not pronounced publicly by reading them aloud in the courtroom (save the said exceptions). As regards the reading aloud of other parts of a final court act in the courtroom, the legislature may also establish a different legal regulation; the legal regulation would most appropriately conform to various provisions of the Constitution (inter alia, the requirement of publicity of law) whereby the court is able to decide, at its discretion, as to which part or parts of its final act must be pronounced publicly by reading them aloud in the courtroom, save the introductory and operative parts, which must always be read aloud in the courtroom (save the said exceptions). If a final court act is adopted and signed by all judges who have considered the case, the non-reading aloud of this part of the act should not be regarded as a deviation from justice, publicity of law and other constitutional imperatives. The most important thing here is not that the entire final court act (inter alia, all the arguments substantiating it—the reasoning of its adoption) should be read aloud in the courtroom, but that it all would be drawn up before that final court act is adopted, i.e. before the judges vote on it and sign it and before the public pronouncement of the final court act, also that right after the court hearing in which the corresponding final court act is pronounced, immediately, i.e. within the reasonable and possibly shortest time, that final court act (its copy) would be accessible to the parties to the case as well as other participants of the proceedings to whom the final court act directly raises certain legal effects, as well as to the institutions which must execute corresponding court decisions.

10. By each final court act justice is administered in a corresponding case. The final court act adopted in a corresponding case is one act of application of law, whereby that case is finished. Thus, a final court act is one legal act, one document, but not several legal acts-documents, let alone not several legal acts-documents, which are drawn up and signed at different time. A final court act cannot be a not integral act. It, as an integral legal act, must be signed by all judges who have considered the case. A final court act cannot be ambiguous; it must be clear and comprehensible already at the time when the decision on merits regarding the considered issue is adopted and publicly pronounced, but not such an act, which would make the parties and other participants of the proceedings guess why and due to what reasoning precisely that and not different court decision was adopted.

It needs to be especially emphasised that the requirement for integrity of a final court act (by which justice is administered in a corresponding case) expresses the characteristic of such act, without which this act would not be an act of administration of the justice that is provided for in the Constitution, thus, under the Constitution, it would not be an act of administration of justice.

The requirement of integrity of a final court act which arises from the Constitution also means that the part of resolution of such act always must, without exceptions, be substantiated by the circumstances and arguments which are set forth expressis verbis in the recital and/or the reasoning (if, according to laws, there must be a separate part of recital or separate part of reasoning). Thus, a final court act may not, under any circumstances, be “stitched” from separate fragments, which were drawn up at different time.

It needs to be held that the requirement of integrity of a final court act which arises from the Constitution and the constitutional imperative that the court adopts decisions in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, that a final court act, regardless of whether it is pronounced in its entirety (by reading it aloud) in the courtroom, or whether only its introductory and operative parts are pronounced, or whether it is made public in another way (if this is one of the exceptions discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and which is constitutionally allowed), must always be signed by all the judges who have considered the case. If such court decision is not confirmed by the signatures of the judges (or if some its fragments as separate documents were signed by the judges, while other fragments were not or were signed not by all judges) it should not be regarded as a final court act and its reasonability and lawfulness may be questioned.

The law must establish the legal regulation which would effectively guarantee that that the decisions that have not been signed by the judges be not adopted or pronounced, and should they still be adopted, there should be an opportunity to challenge them.

11. The principle of justice entrenched in the Constitution as well as the provision that justice is administered solely by courts mean that the constitutional value is not the adoption of a decision in court, but rather the adoption of a just court decision. The constitutional concept of justice implies not only a formal and nominal justice administered by the court, not only an outward appearance of justice administered by the court, but, most importantly, such court decisions (other final court acts), which by their content are not unjust. The justice administered only formally by the court is not the justice which is consolidated in and protected and defended by the Constitution.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be specially emphasised that the drawing up of any final court act (decision, judgment, ruling) before its official adoption (i.e. when the judges vote on it and sign it) and its official pronouncement is not an end in itself, rather, it is a means permitting to ensure that all circumstances important to the case will be established precisely before a corresponding final court act is officially adopted and publicly pronounced, that all important arguments will be assessed and all of them weighed properly before that final court act is officially adopted, that legal acts will be properly applied, etc. The fact is of no less importance that the drawing up of a final court act before it is officially adopted and publicly pronounced is one of the means permitting to achieve the situation where all judges of the college (in cases when the case is considered not by one judge, but by a college of judges) will equally understand all the arguments substantiating the final court act (even if they will interpret and assess these arguments differently), because only after the arguments—the reasoning of its adoption—substantiating the final court act are drawn up, it is possible to verify and ascertain that they are not inconsistent, that they do not conflict with one another and are without other faults, and if this is so—to correct these arguments; therefore, it is necessary that they be drawn up before the final court act is officially adopted and pronounced.

Thus, the drawing up of a final court act before its official adoption and public pronouncement is one of legal guarantees that in a corresponding case justice will be administered; in contrary case, i.e. if the final court act is not substantiated by legal arguments or is substantiated only by certain part of the arguments, while the other part of the arguments is drawn up and made public later, after public pronouncement of the corresponding final court act, justice would not be administered, since there will always be a reasonable doubt whether these arguments drawn up later do not seek to justify the final court act adopted a priori, thus, there will also be a doubt whether the final court act is actually substantiated only by the arguments (reasoning) that are formally drawn up therein.

12. Alongside, it needs to be noted that the legislature enjoys the unquestionable powers to legislatively establish a structure of the final court act, inter alia, the fact that in the final court act there should be a separate part or parts where certain circumstances of the state, the arguments etc. must be set forth. In addition, the legislature, while taking account of the variety of kinds of considered cases, the peculiarities of the legal proceedings in consideration of cases of certain categories and other important factors, may legislatively establish also a different structure of the final court act to cases of certain categories and/or to certain courts.

However, under the Constitution it is not permitted to establish any such legal regulation whereby the court should or could adopt at its discretion, let alone adopt and publicly pronounce, its final acts not in their entirety, but only a certain part or parts thereof, inter alia, its operative part, which is not substantiated by the arguments drawn up, i.e. set forth expressis verbis, nor by the specified circumstances in that final act, and that these arguments could be drawn up and the circumstances could be specified after some time.

13. As mentioned before, a final court act must be clear ad comprehensible already at the time when the decision on merits regarding the considered issue is adopted and publicly pronounced, but not such an act, which would make the parties and other participants of the proceedings guess why and due to what reasoning precisely that and not different court decision was adopted.

In this context it needs to be mentioned that if a final court act is drawn up not in its entirety before it is officially adopted and publicly pronounced, especially when its operative part is pronounced before the arguments—the reasoning of adoption the final court act—substantiating it are drawn up, then during the whole time until these arguments (reasoning) are drawn up, there will always be a possibility that a certain judge or judges of the college that has considered the case and adopted the decision on merits (which was set forth in the operative part of the corresponding final court act), due to certain circumstances of life, from which no one is immune, which are always possible and may fall upon each human being (for example, sickness, accident, or even death), will not be able to continue its participation in drawing up the arguments substantiating the court decision (its operative part) that had already been adopted and publicly pronounced. Thus, in such cases the final court act in general will not be able to be drawn up, it, although publicly pronounced (i.e. although its operative part has been pronounced), will remain unfinished and not fully-fledged, or the said arguments will be drawn up (will be signed) not by all the judges of the college, but only some of them, in other words, the composition of the court will not be exactly the same. While if the case was investigated not by a college of judges, but by one judge, the said circumstances of life, should they occur, would lead to a situation where there would be no one who could draw up the arguments—the reasoning of adoption the final court act—substantiating it, after its operative part has been adopted and publicly pronounced. It is clear that in such cases justice would be administered only formally, thus, in reality, it would not be administered.

14. Summing up, it needs to be held that the Constitution does not tolerate any such legal and factual situation, where a final court act (decision, judgment, ruling) is officially adopted and publicly pronounced not in its entirety, inter alia, when the operative part (in which a decision on merits is set forth) is officially adopted and publicly pronounced, while the arguments—the reasoning of the adoption of the final court act—substantiating it (i.e. the court decision set forth in the operative part) are drawn up later, post factum.

Under the Constitution, such final court acts are not be regarded as acts of administration of justice, which, under the Constitution, are adopted in the name of the Republic of Lithuania; quite to the contrary, such final court acts themselves can create preconditions for violating the rights and freedoms of the person and other values entrenched in and defended and protected by the Constitution.

15. While deciding whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, are not in conflict (to the corresponding extent) with the Constitution, one should take into consideration the legal regulation established in other paragraphs of these articles, also Article 87 titled “Contents of the Decision” of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases Paragraph 1 whereof provides that the decision of the court shall consist of the introductory part, the recital, the reasoning and the operative part; Paragraph 2 whereof provides that the following shall be indicated in the introductory part of the decision: time and place of the rendering of the decision (Item 1); the title of the court which rendered the decision (Item 2); the composition of the court, the recording clerk of the court sitting, the parties, other participants in the proceedings (Item 3); the subject matter of the dispute (Item 4); Paragraph 3 whereof provides that the following shall be indicated in the recital of the decision: the claims of the claimant (Item 1); the replications by the respondent (Item 2); explanations by other participants in the proceedings (Item 3); Paragraph 4 whereof provides that the following shall be indicated in the part of the decision where the reasoning thereof is given: the circumstances of the case established by the court (Item 1); the evidence on which the judicial opinion is based (Item 2); the arguments based whereon the court finds certain evidence inadmissible (Item 3); the laws invoked by the court, references to specific norms that were applied (Item 4); Paragraph 5 whereof provides that the following shall be indicated in the operative part of the decision: the conclusion of the court to grant the application in full or in part, at the same time setting forth the contents of the allowed claim, or to dismiss the application (Item 1); the apportionment of legal costs (Item 2); the time limits and procedure of appeal against the decision (Item 3). One should also take account of Article 106 titled “Contents of a Ruling” of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases Paragraph 1 whereof provides that the following must be indicated in an ruling: the time and venue of the making of the ruling (Item 1); the title of the court, the composition of the court, also the recording clerk of the court sitting, if the decision is adopted in oral proceedings (Item 2); the participants in the proceedings and the subject matter of the dispute (Item 3); the issue in respect of which the ruling is made (Item 4); the reasoning on the basis whereof the judges have arrived at their conclusions and the laws invoked by the court (Item 5); court decision (Item 6); procedure and time limits of appealing the ruling (Item 7); Paragraph 2 whereof provides that the ruling adopted by the court without withdrawing to the deliberation room must contain the data specified in Items 4, 5 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of this article.

16. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

the decision of the administrative court of first instance is adopted and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case (which is called an “individual” one);

the drawn up introductory and operative parts of the decision of the administrative court of first instance must always be publicly pronounced (in the courtroom);

the recital and the reasoning of the decision of the administrative court of first instance may be drawn up later, but not later than within seven working days of the pronouncement of the decision.

16.1. Although some formulas of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases are worded as expressing certain imperative, but not dispositive provisions, this paragraph should be construed by way of application of not only the linguistic (verbal), but also other methods of construction of law, inter alia, the systemic and teleological ones, and also by taking account of the constitutional imperative of the integrity of a final court act, which stems from the Constitution, and the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania. Thus, it should be held that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases does not establish any prohibition for the administrative court of first instance to decide by itself, after it has considered a case, whether to adopt a decision, which would be composed of only the introductory and operative parts, and publicly pronounce it on the same day, while later (but not later than within seven working days of the pronouncement of the decision) to draw up the recital and the reasoning parts of its decision that was already pronounced, or on the same day to adopt a decision, which would be composed of not only the introductory and operative parts, but also the recital and reasoning parts, and, on the same day, publicly to pronounce the entire decision.

16.2. Thus, Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, establishes the legal regulation whereby a decision of the administrative court of first instance may be adopted and publicly (in the courtroom) pronounced by drawing up only its introductory and operative parts and without drawing up its recital and reasoning parts. This means that it is permitted to adopt and pronounce the decision of the administrative court of first instance without indicating: the demands of the claimant; the replications of the respondent; the explanations of other participants of the proceedings; the circumstances established by the court; the evidence upon which court conclusions are based; the arguments due to which the court rejects certain evidence; the laws invoked by the court, the indications to concrete norms which were applied. It is contented by the fact that the decision of the administrative court of first instance always indicates: the time and venue of the making of the ruling; the title of the court that has adopted the decision; the composition of the court; the recording clerk of the court hearing; the participants in the proceedings; the subject matter of the dispute; the conclusion of the court to grant the application in full or in part, at the same time setting forth the contents of the allowed claim, or to dismiss the application; the apportionment of legal costs; the time limits and procedure of appeal against the decision.

16.3. Such decision of the administrative court of first instance, which is composed only of the introductory and operative parts and which does not contain the recital and reasoning parts, and which is permitted by the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, especially when account is taken of what, under Article 87 (wording of 19 September 2000) of this law, should be specified in the recital and reasoning parts of the court decision, however, this not being specified in that court decision, should be regarded as a court decision without the arguments—the reasoning of its adoption—that substantiate it, since as long as the arguments that substantiate that court decision—the reasoning of its adoption—are not drawn up, they are not, nor can they be regarded as those set forth in any objective form, they are not, nor can they be accessible to other persons, nor are they adequately understood by these persons and (at best) they exist only in the mind (minds) of the judge (judges) who has (have) adopted that decision. They are not public.

16.4. Under Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the decision of the administrative court of first instance is adopted and pronounced “as a rule” on the same day after consideration of the “individual” case. By no means does this mean that the decision of the administrative court of first instance must be publicly pronounced necessarily on the same day when the case has been considered: it is established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that the decision in the cases regarding the legality of the administrative regulation and in other “complex” cases may be rendered and pronounced not on the same day, but not later than after ten days from the disposition of the case; in this paragraph this is referred to as “postponement” of the adoption and pronouncement of the decision (ruling). However, also in such cases the decision of the administrative court of first instance may be adopted by drawing up only the introductory and operative parts which are publicly pronounced, while its recital and reasoning parts may be drawn up later, but “no later than within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision” (Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases).

16.5. Alongside, it needs to be noted that, under Article 142 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, violation of the procedural legal norms or an error in applying the norms shall warrant the reversing of the judgment only when the violation could have been the cause of erroneous disposition of the case (Paragraph 1), while one of grounds of non-validity of a court decision is recognition that the decision or ruling is without reasoning. It also needs to be mentioned that, under Article 153 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, if a case has been disposed of by virtue of an effective court decision or ruling, the proceedings may be resumed on the grounds that, inter alia, the decision, ruling is without reasoning (Paragraph 1, Item 8 of Paragraph 2).

16.6. Under Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, if the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant, the court may present in the decision “abridged reasoning” indicating: the circumstances determined by the court, the evidence upon which the conclusions made by the court are based, the laws by which the court was governed.

It needs to be emphasised that the provision on drawing up “abridged reasoning” of Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases should be construed by taking account of the fact that, under the Constitution, the final court act must contain as many arguments as it is necessary to substantiate that final court act, it may not contain any suppressed arguments, nor any non-specified circumstances, which are of importance to the adoption of the final court act. The final court act must be clear to the persons who participate in the case as well as other persons.

If one compares the provision of Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that if the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant, the court may present in the decision “abridged reasoning“ indicating the circumstances determined by the court, the evidence upon which the conclusions made by the court are based, the laws by which the court was governed, with the provision of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 87 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that the recital of the decision indicates the claims of the claimant, the replications by the respondent and explanations by other participants in the proceedings and the provision of Paragraph 4 of this paragraph that the reasoning part of the decision specifies the circumstances of the case established by the court, the evidence on which the judicial opinion is based, the arguments based whereon the court finds certain evidence inadmissible, the laws invoked by the court, references to specific norms that were applied, it is clear that in cases when the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant, under Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the administrative court of first instance is permitted not to indicate, inter alia, the explanations of other participants of the proceedings; the fact that, along with this, it is formally permitted not to indicate the claims of the claimant nor the replications by the respondent, should be construed not as permission not to indicate them at all, but as permission not to set them forth very broadly, alongside, by indicating the essence of the claims of the claimant and the fact that the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant; if this were not indicated, there would not be any grounds to set forth the “abridged reasoning” in the court decision, which are provided for in Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, since such “abridged” setting forth of the arguments substantiating the decision of the administrative court of first instance, i.e. the reasoning of its adoption, is possible only after it is held that the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant, which, it goes without saying, must be set forth in at least a short form.

On the other hand, also in the cases provided for in Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the “abridged reasoning” may be drawn up already after the decision of the administrative court of first instance has been adopted and publicly pronounced. However, it needs to be emphasised that this provision is entrenched not in Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, but in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of this article, which is (to a corresponding extent) impugned by the petitioner.

16.7. In addition, it needs to be mentioned that Article 85 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, inter alia, Paragraph 3 thereof, even does not mention (does not explicitly establish) anything about the fact that the administrative court of first instance, when it pronounces its decision (which, as mentioned before, is composed of only the introductory and operative parts) should inform the participants of the proceedings in any manner (at least verbally) about the reasoning of that decision.

16.8. In this context, it should also be mentioned that Paragraph 5 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (the compliance of which with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner) provides, inter alia, that during the time when the decision is being drafted, the judges of the college may consider other cases. In addition (it is also established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases), the decision or the ruling the passage and pronouncement whereof have been postponed may be pronounced by one of the judges who considered the case, other judges of the college not participating.

16.8.1. The clause “during the time when the decision is being drafted, the judges of the college may consider other cases” expresses the intention of the legislature not to put restrictions on the judges by the time of adoption and public pronouncement of the court decision adopted in a certain case: before that court decision is adopted and publicly pronounced they can also consider other cases. Such provision seeks to ensure, inter alia, the rational organisation of the work of the court, its rhythm and consistency, as well as that the consideration of cases is not delayed or otherwise procrastinated.

16.8.2. It needs to be emphasised that the clause “during the time when the decision is being drafted, the judges of the college may consider other cases” cannot be interpreted that, purportedly, during the time when “the decision is being drafted”, the judges of the college who consider other cases can stay away from the drafting of precisely that court decision, that they can stay away from establishing all the circumstances that are important to the case (and to leave it to be done by the Chairperson of the college and/or the judge-rapporteur), or that they can go less deep into the matter, that they can stay away from the assessment of all evidence and all arguments of the participants of the proceedings, and that they are allowed not to ascertain whether these arguments (reasoning) are not inconsistent, whether they do not conflict with one another and whether they have not any other shortcomings.

In this context, it needs to be noted that the Constitution does not tolerate any formal and nominal participation of judges in drafting a court decision (including that of the administrative court of first instance). The constitutional concept of justice and the obligation of a court to administer justice, which stems from the Constitution, as well as other provisions of the Constitution, permit no judge not to participate in drafting of a final court act in the case that has been considered by him or together with other judges of the college, by giving a reason that he has to consider other cases.

17. It needs to be held that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that an adopted and publicly pronounced decision of the administrative court of first instance may be composed of only the introductory and operative parts, while the recital and reasoning parts may be drawn up later (no later than within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision) creates preconditions for such situations to occur, where, if, before it adopts and publicly pronounces its decision, the administrative court of first instance draws up only its introductory and operative parts, while it postpones the recital and operative parts for some time later, the said court decision might be adopted and publicly pronounced without establishing all the circumstances which are important to the case and/or without going deep into them properly, without assessing all the evidence and arguments of the participants of the proceedings, as well as without indicating all the laws and/or other legal acts, which the court should follow and which it has to apply in the course of consideration of a corresponding case; should it come to light that one did not properly assess the arguments upon which the already adopted and publicly pronounced decision was based and that one did not go deep into them properly, and due to this the said court decision, which was adopted a priori and publicly pronounced is unjust (thus, unlawful), the administrative court of first instance which has adopted the decision cannot, already after the adoption and public pronouncement of the corresponding decision, review and, having drawn up somewhat different arguments, decide the corresponding case differently from what was done in the court decision that has been already adopted and publicly pronounced. While this means that such legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases also creates preconditions for the administrative court of first instance, which has already solved the case and publicly pronounced the decision in that case, to formulate, by drawing up the reasoning substantiating it, the reasoning of its adoption so that the decision adopted and publicly pronounced would be justified, thus, not to logically derive the adopted court decision from the circumstances of the case and other arguments, but, vice versa, to select the drawn up arguments and to formulate and establish the sequence of the reasoning in conformity with the court decision that has already been adopted and publicly pronounced (and which already cannot be changed by the court itself). In other words, such legal regulation creates preconditions for the court to match up the arguments drawn up later with the already adopted and publicly pronounced court decision.

18. Summing up, it needs to be noted that the legal regulation established in Article 85 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, inter alia, in Paragraph 3 thereof, gives priority to the speediness of adoption and public pronouncement of the decision of the administrative court of first instance over the quality of this decision, thus, also over administration of justice in the corresponding case. Alongside, preconditions are created for violating the rights and freedoms of the person and other values entrenched in and defended and protected by the Constitution.

19. Thus, it needs to be noted that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

20. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21. The other legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases with the Constitution should be assessed differently.

21.1. As mentioned before, it is established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that only the introductory and operative parts of a decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom).

21.1.1. In its decision of 8 August 2006, the Constitutional Court held that legal situations are also possible, where the elimination of the provisions conflicting with provisions of legal acts of higher legal force, inter alia, the Constitution, by means of a ruling of the Constitutional Court from the legal system, with respect to the application of law virtually amounts to changing the overall legal regulation, i.e. the establishment of a different overall legal regulation that contains no gaps.

21.1.2. After it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and after it has recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (thus, under the Constitution, after this ruling of the Constitutional Court comes into force, it will not be permitted to apply it), another provision of this paragraph, whereby the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom) acquires a different meaning: now it regulates the relations related with only the pronouncement of the decision of the administrative court of first instance by reading it aloud, but not with its drawing up or its content, it no longer implies that the decision may be composed of only the introductory and operative parts and that it could be without the recital and the reasoning parts.

21.1.3. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the Constitution does not require from the court that it draw up its final act (decision, ruling) before it is adopted, nor that it pronounce it in the courtroom by reading aloud the entire text of that final act (which sometimes might be very long): the most important thing here is not the fact that the text of the entire court act (inter alia, all the arguments substantiating it—all the reasoning of its adoption) is read aloud in the courtroom, save the introductory and operative parts, which must always be pronounced in the courtroom aloud (save the exceptions discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court), but that it all should be drawn up before that final court act is adopted, i.e. before the judges vote on it and sign it and before the final court act is publicly pronounced, also that right after the court hearing in which the corresponding final court act is pronounced, immediately, i.e. within the reasonable and possibly shortest time, that final court act (its copy) should be accessible to the parties to the case as well as other participants of the proceedings to whom the final court act directly raises certain legal effects, as well as to the institutions which must execute corresponding court decisions.

Thus, only the reading aloud of the introductory and operative parts of a final court act (inter alia, of a final act of the administrative court of first instance) in the courtroom and exposition of the arguments substantiating that final court act—setting forth the reasoning of its adoption—although very short, in itself, should not be regarded as violating the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law, nor as deviating from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

21.1.4. After it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in itself the other provision of this paragraph whereby only the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom) does not create any preconditions for violating Article 109 of the Constitution, or the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, and may not be ruled in conflict with the aforesaid norms of the Constitution.

21.1.5. Alongside, it needs to be held that there are no legal arguments permitting to assert that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom) would deviate also from the requirement of publicity of consideration of cases in courts entrenched in the Constitution.

21.1.6. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom) is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21.2. As mentioned before, Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases provides, inter alia, that the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance (which, as mentioned before, is composed of only the introductory and operative parts) is pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case.

21.2.1. After it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and after it was recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (thus, under the Constitution, after this ruling of the Constitutional Court comes into force, it will not be permitted to apply it), another provision of this paragraph whereby the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance is pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case, acquires a different meaning: now it only regulates the relations linked with the time of adoption and pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, but not with the drawing up, nor the content of this decision; in addition, taking account of the institute of “postponement” of adoption and pronouncement of a decision (ruling) consolidated in Paragraph 5 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and taking account of the word “as a rule” employed in the formula “shall be drawn up and pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after the hearing of an individual case”, the discussed provision of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases should be regarded as the one which is not imperative, but as establishing a corresponding time mark, thus, virtually as of a recommendation character. It no longer implies that the said decision of the administrative court of first instance may be composed of only the introductory and operative parts and that it can be without the recital and reasoning parts.

21.2.2. Thus, after it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and after it was recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in itself another provision of this paragraph that the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance is pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case, does not create any preconditions for violate Article 109 of the Constitution, or the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, and it may not be ruled in conflict with the aforesaid norms of the Constitution.

21.2.3. On the other hand, after this ruling of the Constitutional Court comes into force, the legal regulation which is consolidated in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases where the law imperatively requires that only the introductory and operative parts of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, which was adopted and signed by judges, be publicly pronounced in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts, even though drawn up, should be not pronounced, although there might be serious reasons to make them public at once (for example, when the case has big public resonance), is not faultless. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the legal regulation would most appropriately conform to various provisions of the Constitution (inter alia, the requirement of publicity of law) whereby the court is able to decide, at its discretion, as to which part or parts of its final act must be pronounced publicly by reading them aloud in the courtroom, save the introductory and operative parts, which must always be read aloud in the courtroom (save the exceptions discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court). The legislature should take account of this when it amends Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases which to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, has been ruled in this ruling of the Constitutional Court to be in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21.2.4. Alongside, it needs to be held that there are not any legal arguments, which would permit asserting that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that a decision of the administrative court of first instance is, as a rule, adopted and officially pronounced on the same day after the consideration of the case, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21.2.5. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance is pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

22. Having held that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in this constitutional justice case the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is not in conflict (to the corresponding extent) with Article 117 of the Constitution.

23. The legal regulation established in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is essentially analogous to that established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases.

24. Alongside, it needs to be noted that under Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, after a decision or ruling is adopted and after the court returns to the courtroom, the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out not only the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, but also briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling.

It needs to be held that such short verbal setting forth of the arguments substantiating the decision (ruling) of the administrative court of first instance—the reasoning of its adoption—provided these arguments have not been drawn up in the decision (ruling) adopted and signed by the judges before its public pronouncement, does not guarantee that before the official adoption of the corresponding final act of the administrative court of first instance one properly assessed all important arguments and that one went deep into them properly, that legal acts were properly applied, that all the judges of the colleges equally understood all the arguments substantiating that final court act (but, as mentioned before, they need not necessarily interpret and assess them in the same manner). Thus, the said short verbal setting forth of the arguments substantiating the decision (ruling) of the administrative court of first instance—the reasoning of its adoption—in the courtroom does not guarantee that in a corresponding case justice will not be administered only formally, it does not, nor can it remove the doubt that by such arguments, which are drawn up later, one does not seek to justify the final court act adopted a priori, and whether the final court act is actually substantiated only by the arguments (reasoning) that are formally drawn up therein.

25. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it needs to be held that also the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

26. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article are in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

27. Having held this, in this constitutional justice case the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article are not in conflict with Article 117 of the Constitution.

28. The provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (to the extent indicated by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner) should be assessed differently.

28.1. As mentioned before, the Constitution does not require from the court that it draw up its final act (decision, ruling) before it is adopted, but also to pronounce it in the courtroom by reading aloud the entire text of that final act (which sometimes might be very long), that the most important thing here is not the fact that the text of the entire court act (inter alia, all the arguments substantiating it—all the reasoning of its adoption) is read aloud in the courtroom, save the introductory and operative parts, which must always be pronounced in the courtroom aloud (save the exceptions discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court), but that it all should be drawn up before that final court act is adopted, i.e. before the judges vote on it and sign it and before the public pronouncement of the final court act, also that right after the court hearing in which the corresponding final court act is pronounced, immediately, i.e. within the reasonable and possibly shortest time, that final court act (its copy) should be accessible to the parties to the case as well as other participants of the proceedings to whom the final court act directly raises certain legal effects, as well as to the institutions which must execute corresponding court decisions. It was also mentioned that only the reading aloud of the introductory and operative parts of a final court act (inter alia, of a final act of the administrative court of first instance) in the courtroom and exposition of the arguments substantiating that final court act—setting forth the reasoning of its adoption—although very short, in itself, should not be regarded as violating the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law, nor as deviating from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

28.2. After it has been held and recognised in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article are in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (thus, under the Constitution, after this ruling of the Constitutional Court comes into force, it will not be permitted to apply it), the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article acquires a different meaning: now it regulates the relations linked with only the pronouncement of a decision or ruling of the administrative court of first instance, but not with drawing up of the decision or ruling itself. It no longer implies that the said decision or ruling of the administrative court of first instance can be composed of only the introductory and operative parts, and that it may be without the recital and the reasoning parts.

28.3. Thus, after it has been held and recognised in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article are in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of the same article in itself does not create any preconditions for violating Article 109 of the Constitution, or the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, and it may not be ruled in conflict with the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution.

28.4. On the other hand, it should also be mentioned that, as held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the legal regulation would most appropriately conform to various provisions of the Constitution (inter alia, the requirement of publicity of law) whereby the court is able to decide, at its discretion, as to which part or parts of its final act must be pronounced publicly by reading them aloud in the courtroom, save the introductory and operative parts, which must always be read aloud in the courtroom (save the exceptions discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court).

28.5. Alongside, it needs to be held that there are not any legal arguments, which would permit asserting that the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases deviates from the requirement of publicity of consideration of cases in court, which is entrenched in the Constitution, so that in this ruling of the Constitutional Court it might be sufficient grounds to state its conflict with a corresponding constitutional principle.

28.6. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

IV

On the compliance of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, Paragraphs 5 And 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as on the compliance of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 and Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP with Article 29 of the Constitution.

1. The group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests, inter alia, an investigation into:

whether Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the judge shall draw up and pronounce the judgments with the reasoning substantiating it only in the cases on the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the CC are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of first instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment, specify the reasoning of the adoption of the judgment only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment; that the entire reasoned judgment is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they provide that the court of appeal instance must, prior to the time of pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, specify the reasoning of its adoption only when the court thinks that the case is not too complicated or big, while in other cases the court has the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, to pronounce them and verbally to explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling; that the entire reasoned judgment or ruling is drawn up and signed later after its pronouncement and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the judgment or the ruling, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that the court of cassation instance shall adopt the ruling without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and the ruling is supplemented with it later after the pronouncement of the ruling, and that the judges who have considered the case have the right to draw up and sign the ruling, with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division, within 14 days, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109, 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in cases concerning newly emerged circumstances, in regard of all persons save the convicts who must be released from the places of confinement, a ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within three days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in cases concerning renewal of a case upon the adoption of a corresponding judgment of the European Court of Human Rights the ruling is adopted and pronounced without reasoning, while the reasoning is drawn up and signed by the judges later, within ten days of the adoption of the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. On 14 March 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Approval, Entry into Force and Implementation of the Code of Criminal Procedure by Article 1 whereof it approved the Code of Criminal Procedure. Under Paragraph 2 of this law, the date of entry into force of the Code of Criminal Procedure had to be established by a separate law.

On 29 October 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation the Criminal Code which was confirmed by 26 September 2000 Law No. VIII-1968, the Code of Criminal Procedure which was confirmed by 14 March 2002 Law No. IX-785 and the Penitentiary Code which was confirmed by 27 June 2002 Law No. IX-994, in which it established, inter alia, that the Code of Criminal Procedure shall come into force “as from 1 May 2003” (Article 1) and that after the new Code of Criminal Procedure comes into force, the “old” Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (wording of 26 June 1961 with subsequent amendments and supplements) shall be no longer valid (Paragraph 2 of Article 47).

3. The new CCP (wording of 14 March 2002) was amended and/or supplemented by the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure (with amendments and supplements made by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 1 and 2 of the Fourth Chapter of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 16 September 2003), which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 April 2003; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 21, 48, 50, 52, 127, 142, 143, 151, 158, 161, 163, 165, 212, 217, 232, 233, 234, 237, 244, 254, 255, 256, 266, 276, 287, 303, 318, 319, 322, 323, 326, 327, 329, 332, 342, 351, 353, 362, 375, 380, 397, 421, 440, 458, 459 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Approved by 14 March 2002 Law No. IX-785 and Supplementing the Code with Article 3621, which was adopted by the Seimas on 10 April 2003; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 151, 168, 186, 276, 407 and 409 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 19 June 2003; the aforesaid Law on Amending Articles 1 and 2 of the Fourth Chapter of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Legal Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 16 September 2003; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Supplementing and Amending Article 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 29 January 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 1, 51, 70, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 122, 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Supplementing the Code with Articles 171, 691, 711, 771 and an Annex, which was adopted by the Seimas on 27 April 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Amendment and Supplementing Articles 65, 94, 103, 109, 139, 151, 154, 158, 168, 181, 218, 220, 225, 232, 237, 239, 240, 306, 313, 346, 360, 364, 370, 377, 403, 409, 418, 421, 422, 425, 426, 429, 446, 456, 457, 458 and Amending the Title of Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 July 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 120, 121, and 126 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Supplementing It with Article 1321, which was adopted by the Seimas on 9 November 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 50, 51, 103, 104, 106, 118, 361 and 431 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 20 January 2005; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 210, 263, 269, and 277 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 22 November 2005; and by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Penitentiary Code and the Law on Pre-trial Detention, which was adopted by the Seimas on 1 June 2006.

Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraphs 5 And 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP the compliance of whose provisions with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, have been neither amended, nor supplemented and at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue are still in force.

Alongside, it needs to be mentioned that by Article 2 of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Penitentiary Code and the Law on Pre-trial Detention, which was adopted by the Seimas on 1 June 2006, Article 308 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP, the compliance of Paragraph 2 of which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, was supplemented with Paragraph 6. At the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, Article 308 of the CCP is set forth in the wording of 1 June 2006, however, the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, impugns Paragraph 2 of the same article in its wording of 14 March 2002.

It also needs to be mentioned that by Article 24 of the Law on the Amendment and Supplementing Articles 65, 94, 103, 109, 139, 151, 154, 158, 168, 181, 218, 220, 225, 232, 237, 239, 240, 306, 313, 346, 360, 364, 370, 377, 403, 409, 418, 421, 422, 425, 426, 429, 446, 456, 457, 458 and Amending the Title of Chapter XXXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 July 2004, Paragraph 8 of Article 377 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP was amended (the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, impugns the compliance of Paragraph 9 of this article with the Constitution). At the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, Article 377 of the CCP is set forth in the wording of 8 July 2004, however, Paragraph 9 of the same article, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is set forth in the wording of 14 March 2002.

4. Article 306 titled “Abridged Recital of the Judgment” (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXIII titled “Adoption of the Judgment” of Part V titled “The Proceedings of Cases in the Court of First Instance”) the compliance of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. While drawing up the judgment of conviction, the judge of a local court is permitted not the set forth the circumstances provided for in Items 2, 3 and 4 of Paragraph 1 and Paragraph 5 of Article 305 of this Code, save the cases on the crimes provided for in Paragraph 1 of Article 135, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 149, Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 of Article 150, Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 180, Paragraph 2 of Article 182 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 260 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. The participants of the consideration in court, who may, under this Code, appeal against this court judgment, shall have the right, after they submit written requests, to receive a copy of the judgment containing the non-abridged recital. Such request must be submitted to the court within seven days of the adoption of the judgment.

3. If the written request provided for in Paragraph 2 of this Article is submitted or the judgment is appealed in the court of appeal instance or the court of cassation instance, the judge who adopted the judgment shall draw up the non-abridged recital of the judgment within three days of the reception of the request or appeal. The judge shall sign the newly drawn up recital and attach it to the already existing judgment.

4. If a judgment, in which the recital was drawn up in an abridged form and by which several persons were convicted or the convicts were recognised guilty of the commission of several criminal deeds, is appealed in the court of appeal instance, a non-abridged recital shall be drawn.”

5. Article 308 titled “Pronouncement of the judgment” (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXIII titled “Adoption of the Judgment” of Part V titled “The Proceedings of Cases in the Court of First Instance”) the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 8 July 2004) of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. At the time notified in advance the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the trial hearing or another judge shall pronounce the judgment.

2. When the case is too complicated or big, the court shall have the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment until the time of the pronouncement of the judgment. In this case the court shall pronounce the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and shall verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment. The entire reasoned judgment shall be drawn up and signed by the judges who have considered the case within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment.

3. All persons shall hear the judgment while standing.

4. When the judgment is pronounced, the accused, the prosecutor and the defender must be present in the courtroom.

5. After he has pronounced the judgment, the judge shall explain the participants to the court consideration the procedure and terms of appeal against the judgment, while to the accused—also the peculiarities of execution of imposed punishment.

6. When the judgment imposes factual punishment of arrest or confinement upon the accused, the chairperson of the trial hearing must ascertain whether the victim wishes to be notified about the future release of the convict. If the victim did not participate at the court hearing, this information must be ascertained within five days of the pronouncement of the judgment. It is not necessary to ascertain it, if the place of residence of the victim is not known. If there are several victims, it is sufficient to ascertain this information through the person (persons) who represent their interests. If the victim wishes that he should be notified about the future release of the convict, the chairperson of the trial hearing shall draw up a note. After the judgment comes into effect, this note, together with a copy of the judgment, shall be sent to the penitentiary institution under the procedure established in Article 342 of this Code. The convict and his defendant shall not be permitted to acquaint with the content of the said note.”

6. Article 324 titled “Consideration of the Case in the Hearing of the Court of Appeal Instance” (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXV titled “The Appeal Proceedings” of Part VI titled “The Proceedings of Cases in the Court of Appeal Instance”) the compliance of Paragraphs 12 and 13 of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. “The Chairperson of the college shall commence the hearing, announce the case, the appealing party and the court judgment appealed against. After that, the Chairperson of the college shall verify as to who has appeared in the hearing, whether the persons specified in Article 322 of this Code have been notified about the time of consideration of the case. The witnesses who are present are taken out of the courtroom. After that the Chairperson of the college shall announce the names and surnames of the judges who are considering the case, of the prosecutors who participate in the hearing, of defenders, representatives, specialists, interpreters and the secretary of the hearing and shall ask the persons who are present at the hearing whether they have any statements of removal. Such statements shall be considered by the court under the procedure established in Articles 57–59 and 61 of this Code. The court shall decide whether it is possible to consider the case, if someone from the participants of the proceedings have not appeared in court. This decision is adopted while following the rules established in Article 266 of this Code.

2. The Chairperson of the college shall explain the rights and duties to the persons who appeared in the hearing and shall ask whether they have any requests. These persons may ask that the court summon witnesses, victims, experts, specialists or demand and obtain the material necessary for consideration of the case. The court shall adopt a reasoned ruling regarding the requests made. If additional time is necessary in order to grant the request, the court may announce adjournment of the consideration of the case.

3. The consideration of the case on merits is begun by a report of one of the judges, in which the essence of the case, the main conclusions of the judgment of the court of first instance, the reasons of the appeals and replications to them are set forth. The participants to the proceedings may request that the rapporteur supplement the report.

4. On the initiative of the court or at the request of the participants to the proceedings the judgment of the court of first instance as well as other judgments or rulings adopted in that case as well as the minutes or part thereof of the trial hearing of the court of first instance may be read.

5. When additional material is submitted to the court, the Chairperson of the college or another judge shall read it aloud and refer it to the participants of the proceedings, if they request so.

6. The court of appeal instance may conduct the investigation of the evidence. The investigation of the evidence is conducted and renewed according to the rules established in Chapter XXI of this Code. If necessary, the investigation of the evidence may be renewed also at the time of final speeches and while adopting the judgment or the ruling.

7. If at the time of pre-trial investigation one did not establish any such circumstances, which had not been established by the court of first instance, while if it is difficult to establish them at the hearing of the court of appeal instance, the court of appeal instance may oblige the judge of pre-trial investigation to carry out necessary investigation actions. Until these actions are carried out, if necessary, an adjournment may be ordered.

8. Final speeches shall commence by a speech of the person who lodged the appeal. If there are several appellants, including the prosecutor, the private accuser and the victim, the prosecutor shall speak first, followed by the private accuser and the victim. The convict or the acquitted and/or the defender shall speak last. After that the participants who made the final speeches shall have the right to replicate and make remarks on what has been said in the previous speeches. The defender shall replicate and make remarks last, while in the absence of the latter—by the convict or the acquitted. After the final speeches the convict or the acquitted shall be granted the last word.

9. After the final speeches and the final word, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt the judgment or the ruling.

10. The procedure of deliberation of the judges in the adoption of the judgment or the ruling shall be established by Article 299 of this Code.

11. After it has adopted the judgment or the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college or another judge shall pronounce the judgment or the ruling. When there are the conditions specified in Article 309 of this Code, the arrested person shall be released immediately.

12. When the case is complicated or big, the court shall have the right to draw up only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment or the ruling. In this case the court shall pronounce the introductory or operative parts and shall verbally explain the arguments of its adoption. The entire reasoned judgment or ruling shall be drawn up and signed by the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure within seven days, while upon the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment or the ruling.

13. Within five days of the pronouncement of the judgment or the ruling, while if only the operative part was pronounced—within the same time period of the signing of the judgment or the ruling—a copy of the judgment or the ruling must be sent to the arrested convict who has appealed against the judgment, or with whose interests the judgment or the ruling of the court of appeal instance is related. A copy of the judgment or the ruling is submitted to other appellants, if they request so.

14. The convict or the acquitted who have no command of Lithuanian shall either be sent or submitted a translation of the judgment or the ruling into his native language or a language which he understands.”

7. Article 377 titled “Consideration of a Cassation Case” (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXVII titled “The Proceedings of Cases in the Court of Cassation Instance” of Part VIII titled “The Proceedings of Cases in the Court of Cassation Instance”) the compliance of Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. The persons specified in Article 375 of this Code shall be guaranteed an opportunity to acquaint in court with the cassation appeal and the additionally collected material.

2. The court of cassation instance shall consider cases in public court hearings, save in the situations specified in Article 9 of this Code.

3. At the time appointed for the consideration of the case, the Chairperson of the college shall commence the court hearing and announce the case, the cassation appeal party and the court judgment or ruling appealed against under cassation. After that, the Chairperson of the college shall verify as to who has appeared in the hearing, whether the persons specified in Article 375 of this Code have been notified about the time of consideration of the case. After that the Chairperson of the college shall announce the names and surnames of the judges who are considering the case, of the prosecutors who participate in the hearing, of defenders, representatives, interpreters and the secretary of the hearing and shall ask the persons who are present at the hearing whether they have any statements of removal. Such statements shall be considered by the court under the procedure established in Articles 57–59 and 61 of this Code.

4. At the beginning of the hearing, the college, either on its own initiative or at the request of the participants of the proceedings, may discuss whether the cassation appeal is in line with the requirements of this Code and whether there are the bases of the appealing of the case and of its consideration under cassation procedure. Having heard opinions of the persons who have appeared in the court hearing, the court shall adopt a ruling on this issue. A court ruling not to consider the appeal and to dismiss the court proceedings shall be adopted in the deliberation room. This ruling is pronounced to the persons who have appeared in the hearing.

5. If there were no grounds to consider the issue on non-consideration of the appeal at the beginning of the hearing, or if in the course of its consideration it was decided to continue the hearing, the cassation appeal is considered on merits in court.

6. The Chairperson of the college shall ask the persons who appeared in the hearing whether they have any requests. The court shall adopt a ruling on the requests made.

7. One of the judges shall set forth the essence of the case in his report as well as the content of the judgment or the ruling as well as that of the cassation appeal.

8. After the report of the judge, the participants of the proceedings shall have the right to give verbal explanations. If there is an appeal submitted by the prosecutor, the victim or his representative, these persons shall speak first, and the first from among them—who has submitted his appeal first. In other cases the convict or the acquitted shall speak first, his defender or legal representative, and the first from among them—who has submitted his appeal first. After that the participants to the proceedings, who have not given their explanations, shall be given the floor. Later all the participants to the proceedings are granted the right to give additional explanations. The convict or the acquitted person or his defender or his legal representative shall give additional explanations last.

9. Having considered the case, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling. Having adopted the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college or another judge shall pronounce the operative part of the ruling and set forth the arguments of its adoption. The entire reasoned ruling shall be drawn up and signed by the entire college of judges within seven days, while with the assent of either the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within 14 days of the adoption of the ruling.

10. If after the consideration of the case under cassation procedure the convict must be released, the ruling must be drawn up in its entirety and referred to execution on the day of its adoption.

11. In the court hearing minutes shall be taken.”

8. Article 448 titled “The Procedure of Renewal of the Criminal Case Due to Newly Emerged Circumstances” (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXXIII titled “The Renewal of the Criminal Case Due to Newly Emerged Circumstances” of Part XI titled “The Renewal of the Criminal Case”) the compliance of Paragraph 7 of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. At the Supreme Court of Lithuania the issue of renewal of a case due to newly emerged circumstances shall be considered and decided by a college of three judges of the Criminal Cases Division, who did not participate in the consideration of this case (save the situation where the case was considered in the plenary session of the Supreme Court of Lithuania). This college shall be formed by the President of the Supreme Court of Lithuania or the Chairperson of its Criminal Cases Division. He appoints the rapporteur and confirms one of the judges as Chairperson of the college.

2. The college of judges shall consider the conclusion of the prosecutor and the investigation material. If necessary, it may demand and obtain the case in which the judgment or the ruling, which is possibly to be repealed, was adopted.

3. The prosecutor shall take part in the court hearing. The person who submitted an application to newly emerged circumstances and who is specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 446 of this Code shall be notified about the place and time of the court hearing, however, his failure to appear shall not hinder the consideration of the case.

4. At the appointed time the Chairperson of the college shall commence the court hearing, shall pronounce the conclusion of the prosecutor and the court judgment or ruling regarding which the case must be considered. After that the Chairperson of the college shall verify who is present at the hearing and announce the composition of the college. Should the issue of removal appear, the court shall decide it under procedure established in this Code.

5. The consideration of the case shall commence by the report of the judge in which he shall set forth the essence of the conclusion of the prosecutor and the content of the judgment or the ruling.

6. After the report of the judge, the prosecutor shall give explanations.

7. The court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling. Having adopted the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college shall pronounce the operative part of the ruling and shall set forth the arguments of its adoption. The entire reasoned ruling shall be drawn up and signed by the entire college of the judges within three days of the adoption of the ruling.”

9. Article 454 titled “Consideration of the Renewed Case” (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXXIV titled “The Renewal of a Criminal Case Due to Clearly Improper Application of A Penal Law” of Part XI titled “The Renewal of the Criminal Case”) the compliance of Paragraph 5 of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. During the consideration of a renewed criminal case, the prosecutor and the defender shall participate. The convict, his legal representative, the victim and his representative may be summoned to the court hearing. The latter persons’ failure to appear shall not hinder the consideration of the case, provided they have been properly notified about the place and time of the consideration of the case.

2. At the beginning of the consideration of the case the Chairperson of the college shall ask the participants of the consideration of the case whether they do not state removals of the judges, the prosecutor, the interpreter or the secretary of the court hearing. Stated removals shall be decided under the procedure established in Articles 57–59 and Article 61 of this Code.

3. In his report one of the judges shall set forth the essence of the case and the content of the court decisions which have been adopted in the case, as well as the content of the presentation regarding renewal of the criminal case.

4. After the report of the judge, the speeches of the persons who appeared at the hearing are heard. The person who submitted the request shall be given the floor first.

5. Having heard the speeches, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling. Having adopted the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the Chairperson of the college shall pronounce the operative part of the ruling and set forth the main arguments of its adoption. The entire reasoned ruling shall be drawn up within three days. If the convict must be released from the place of confinement, the entire reasoned ruling must be drawn up and referred for execution on the day of its adoption.

6. The ruling adopted by a three-judge college and that adopted by an extended seven-judge college shall be signed by all the judges, while the ruling adopted by the plenary session of the Criminal Cases Division shall be signed by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the rapporteur.

7. Minutes of the court hearing shall be taken in the court hearing.”

10. Article 460 titled “The Consideration of a Renewed Criminal Case” (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP (which is in Chapter XXXV titled “The Renewal of the Criminal Case Subsequent to Decisions of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights” of Part XI titled “The Renewal of the Criminal Case”) the compliance of Paragraphs 4 and 5 of which with the Constitution (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. A hearing of the college of justices of the Criminal Cases Division or the plenary session of the supreme Court of Lithuania for consideration of the renewed criminal case shall be arranged within the shortest possible time from the adoption of the ruling on renewal of the criminal case.

2. The person who submitted the request for renewal of the criminal case shall have the right to participate in the court hearing. The prosecutor and the defender shall participate in the hearing. The convict, the victim and their legal representatives shall be notified about the hearing. If the grounds of the renewal of the case are related to the issues solved in the cassation ruling, all the persons who had the right to participate in the consideration of the case under cassation procedure shall be notified about it. The persons’ failure to appear shall not hinder the consideration of the case, provided they have been properly notified about the place and time of the consideration of the renewed case.

3. At the beginning of the consideration of the case the judge who was appointed as the rapporteur shall set forth the essence of the case and the content of the court decisions which have been adopted in the case, as well as the content of the request or presentation regarding renewal of the criminal case. After the report of the judge the person who has submitted the request on renewal of the criminal case shall be given the floor. After that the court shall give the floor to other persons who participate in the consideration of the case. The person who submitted the request shall have the right to give additional explanations last.

4. Having heard the speeches and additional explanations of the persons who participate in the consideration of the case, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling. Having adopted the ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and shall pronounce its operative part and set forth the most important arguments of the adoption of the ruling.

5. The entire reasoned ruling shall be drawn up and signed within ten days of its adoption. It shall be signed by all the judges of the college or the Chairperson of the plenary session and the rapporteur.

6. If, upon the investigation of the renewed case, the convict must be released from the place of confinement, the ruling must be referred for execution on the day of its adoption.

7. Minutes of the court hearing shall be taken in the court hearing.”

11. The doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, and Paragraphs 4 and 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as regarding the compliance of Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, and Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP with Article 29 of the Constitution are substantiated by the fact that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court which considers a criminal case subsequent to these articles (parts thereof) of the CCP adopts and pronounces its judgment (ruling), i.e. a final court act, without drawing up the reasoning substantiating it—it is drawn up later.

12. While deciding whether Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004), Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308, Paragraphs 12 and 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324, Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377, Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448, Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454, and Paragraphs 4 and 5 of Article 460 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP are not in conflict (to the corresponding extent) with the Constitution, one should take account of the legal regulation established in other parts of these articles (the compliance of which with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner) and of that established in other articles (parts thereof) of the CCP. One should take account of, inter alia, these articles of CCP: Article 303 titled “Types of Judgments” (wording of 10 April 2003 of Article 303, in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that a court judgment can be either a judgment of conviction or a judgment of acquittal, and that by a judgment the criminal case may also be dismissed; Article 304 titled “The introductory Part of the Judgment” (wording of 14 March 2002), in which it is provided that in the introductory part of the judgment the following shall be indicated: that the judgment is adopted in the name of the Republic of Lithuania (Item 1); the time and place of the adoption of the judgment (Item 2); the title of the court that adopted the judgment, the names and surnames of the judges, the secretary of the hearing, the prosecutor, the defender, the victim, the civil claimant, the civil respondent and their representatives, the legal representative of the accused, and the interpreter (Item 3); the name, surname, the date and place of birth, the personal code, citizenship, nationality, place of residence, education, marital status of the accused, the data about the previous record and other data about him, which are of importance to the case (Item 4); the penal law providing for the criminal deed of the commission of which the accused is accused (Item 5); Article 305 titled “The Recital Part of the Judgment” (wording of 14 March 2002) in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that in the recital of the judgment of conviction the following shall be set forth: the circumstances of the criminal deed, which was declared as a proved one, i.e. the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances (Item 1); the evidence upon which the conclusions of the court are substantiated and the reasoning by following which the court has rejected other evidence (Item 2); the reasoning of the qualification of the criminal deed and conclusions (Item 3); the reasoning of the imposition of punishment, punitive sanction or educational sanction (Item 4); in Paragraph 2 of which it is provided that the recital of the judgment of conviction, by which the convict is exempted from serving the punishment, shall indicate the circumstances provided for in Items 1-3 of Paragraph 1 of this article, as well as if the convict is ill with any serious incurable disease due to which serving the punishment would be too difficult, that the illness of the convict must be confirmed by a note of the health institution or the conclusion of a commission of experts and that, provided a punitive sanction or an educational sanction is imposed by exempting from serving the punishment, the recital of the judgment must contain the reasoning of the imposition of such sanction; in Paragraph 3 of which it is provided that the recital of the judgment of acquittal shall set forth the essence of the charge due to which the case was referred for consideration in court (Item 1); the circumstances established by the court (Item 2); the reasoning of the assessment of the evidence (Item 3), the conclusions of the court regarding the acquittal of the accused (Item 4); in Paragraph 4 of which it is provided that the recital of the judgment whereby the criminal case is dismissed indicates the circumstances provided for in Items 1 and 2 of Paragraph 1 of this article, the qualification of the criminal deed, as well as the reasoning and bases of exemption from criminal liability, and that, provided a punitive sanction or an educational sanction is imposed by dismissing the criminal case, the recital indicates the reasoning of the imposition of the said sanction; in Paragraph 5 of which it is provided that the recital must indicate the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment for the damage inflicted by the criminal deed; in Paragraph 6 of which it is provided that the recital of the judgment may set forth also other important circumstances and the reasoning of the decisions; Article 307 titled “The Operative part of the Judgment” (wording of 14 March 2002) in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment of conviction shall indicate: the name and surname of the accused (Item 1); the decision to recognise the accused guilty (Item 2); the penal law subsequent to which the accused is recognised guilty (Item 3); decisions concerning the punishment, the punitive sanction or the educational sanction, as well as concerning the inclusion of the arrest or the coercive medical measure into the time of service of the punishment, when there are grounds for it (Item 4); the decision to recognise the accused as a dangerous recidivist, provided the court has recognised so (Item 5); the decision concerning the measure of custody until the judgment becomes effective (Item 6); in Paragraph 2 of which it is provided that in cases where the accused who is charged with commission of several criminal deeds is recognised guilty of committing some of the deeds, while not guilty of committing the other deeds, the operative part of the judgment must precisely specify as to due to the commission of which deeds he is convicted, and of which he is acquitted; in Paragraph 3 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment of conviction whereby the accused is exempted from serving the punishment shall indicate: the data and decisions specified in Items 1–3 of Paragraph 1 of this article, as well as the decision to impose the punishment and the decision to exempt the convict from serving it, the decision concerning the abolishment of the procedural coercive measures, the decision concerning the imposition of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction, when there are grounds for it; in Paragraph 4 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment of acquittal shall indicate: the name and surname of the accused (Item 1); the decision to acquit the accused and the grounds of the acquittal (Item 2); the decision on the abolishment of the procedural coercive measures (Item 3); in Paragraph 5 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment whereby the criminal case is dismissed shall indicate: the name and surname of the person who is exempted from criminal liability (Item 1); the decision to exempt the person from criminal liability (Item 2); the decision concerning the imposition of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction, when there are grounds for it (Item 3); the decision concerning the abolishment of the procedural coercive measures (Item 4); in Paragraph 6 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment must indicate the decisions on: payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed (Item 1); what should be done with physical evidence (Item 2); payment of the procedural expenses (Item 3); in Paragraph 7 of which it is provided that the operative part of the judgment of acquittal shall indicate the procedure and terms for appeal against the decision; Article 309 titled “Release from Arrest” (wording of 14 March 2002), in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that that the court shall immediately release the acquitted or convicted person from arrest in the courtroom: after a judgment of acquittal in regard of this person is pronounced (Item 1); after a judgment whereby the criminal case is dismissed and the person is exempted from criminal liability is pronounced (Item 2); after it pronounces a judgment of conviction by which one is exempted from serving the punishment (Item 3); after the court imposes the punishment of deprivation of public rights, the punishment of deprivation of the right to work in certain a job or to engage in a certain activity, the punishment of public works, a fine, or the punishment of restriction of freedom (Item 4); after the court imposes arrest or the punishment of deprivation of freedom the duration of which does not exceed the time of the time spent in pre-trial confinement (Item 5); after the court imposes the arrest which must be served during days-off (Item 6); after the court postpones the execution of the judgment or the punishment (Item 7); in Paragraph 2 of which it is provided that the court shall immediately release the arrested accused person from confinement in the courtroom also in the case where a ruling to dismiss the criminal case is adopted; in Paragraph 3 of which it is provided that the person upon whom the measure of suppression—confinement—is imposed in another criminal case will not be released from confinement; Article 310 titled “Handing In a Copy of the Judgment to the Acquitted Person or the Convict” (wording of 14 March 2002) in which it is provided that within five days of the pronouncement of the judgment, and when only the introductory and operative parts were pronounced—within the same period of time after the drawing up of the entire judgment—its copy must be handed in or sent to the acquitted person or the convict.

13. The legal regulation established in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, when it is related with, inter alia, the legal regulation established in Article 305 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the CCP, should be construed as that including the following provisions:

in certain situations, which are strictly defined, where a judge of a local court is considering a case, in which a person is accused of commission of the crimes specified in Paragraph 1 of the said article, the judge, when he draws up a judgment of conviction (inter alia, such whereby the convict is exempted from serving the punishment), must indicate in the recital of the judgment the circumstances (the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances) of the deed which was declared as a proved one, the evidence by which the conclusions of the court are substantiated and the reasoning by following which the court rejected other evidence, as well as the reasoning and conclusions of the qualification of the criminal deed, the reasoning of the imposition of the punishment, of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction (in case the convict is exempted from serving the punishment, that fact whether the convict is ill with any serious incurable disease due to which serving the punishment would be too difficult, and if, by exemption from serving the punishment, a punitive sanction or an educational sanction is imposed, then also the reasoning of the imposition of the said sanction), as well as the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed and, in addition, he can set forth other important circumstances and the arguments of the decisions;

in other situations, i.e. when a judge of a local court is considering a case in which a person is accused of commission of criminal deeds, which are not specified in Paragraph 1 of this article, the judge, while drawing up the judgment of conviction (inter alia, such whereby the convict is exempted from serving the punishment), may abridge the recital of that judgment—he must indicate in it only the circumstances (the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances) of the criminal deed which was declared as a proved one (in case the convict is exempted from serving the punishment, that fact whether the convict is ill with any serious incurable disease due to which serving the punishment would be too difficult, and if, by exemption from serving the punishment, a punitive sanction or an educational sanction is imposed, then also the reasoning of the imposition of the said sanction), in addition, he can set forth other important circumstances and the arguments of the decisions, however, he may avoid setting forth the evidence by which the court conclusions are substantiated, as well as the reasoning by following which the court rejected other evidence, the reasoning and conclusions of the qualification of the criminal deed, the reasoning of the imposition of the punishment, of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction, and the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed;

the judge of the local court, who adopted the judgment, draws up the non-abridged recital of the judgment within three days of the day of the reception of the request or appeal and, having signed it, attaches it to the existing judgment in cases when the participants of consideration in court, who can appeal against the court judgment under the CCP, within seven days of the day of the adoption of the judgment submit the court written requests to receive a copy of the judgment with the non-abridged recital, or when the judgment is appealed in the court of appeal instance or the court of cassation instance (inter alia, when the judgment whose recital was drawn up in an abridged version and whereby several persons were convicted or the convicts were recognised guilty of commission of several criminal deeds is appealed with the court of appeal instance).

Thus, Article 306 of the CCP (wording of 8 July 2004) which (to the corresponding extent) is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, establishes the legal regulation whereby a judgment of conviction adopted by a local court, when the case is considered by one judge, provided it does not exempt the convict from serving the sentence, may be drawn up and adopted without setting forth in the recital of the said judgment (save the cases in which persons are accused of commission of the crimes specified in Article 1 of this article) the evidence by which the court conclusions are substantiated, or the reasoning by following which the court rejected other evidence, or the reasoning and conclusions of the qualification of the criminal deed, or the reasoning of the imposition of the punishment, the punitive sanction or the educational sanction, or the reasoning substantiating the decision regarding the payment for the damage inflicted by the criminal deed. It is considered to be enough that the said part of the judgment of conviction sets forth the following: the circumstances of the criminal deed which was declared as a proved one—the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances of its commission. In addition, if the judge thinks that there are other important circumstances or arguments of the decisions, he may set them forth in the recital of the judgment of conviction.

13.1. It needs to be noted that under Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 July 2004) of Article 306 of the CCP, it is the judge considering the case who decides whether or not to set forth the aforesaid circumstances in the recital of the judgment of conviction, save the strictly defined situations defined in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 July 2004) of Article 306 of the CCP (where the judge of the local court is considering a case, in which the person is accused of commission certain crimes specified in Paragraph 1 of this article), as well as the situation specified in Paragraph 4 of the same article (where the judgment of conviction exempts the convict from serving the punishment).

13.2. In this context it needs to be mentioned that the crimes specified in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 July 2004) of Article 306 of the CCP due to which in the recital of the judgment of conviction it is necessary to indicate not only the circumstances of the criminal deed which was declared as a proved one—the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances of its commission—but also the evidence by which the conclusions of the court are substantiated and the reasoning by following which the court has rejected other evidence, the reasoning and conclusions of the qualification of the criminal deed, the reasoning of the imposition of the punishment, of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction as well as the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed. These crimes are: grave disturbance to health, if the one who sustained grave injury or was made ill was not a minor, not a human being in a helpless state, not the mother, father or child of that person, not a pregnant woman, not two or more people, also, if the accused has gravely injured the human being or made him ill not by torturing or not in other way, which was not gravely cruel and not dangerous to the life of other people, not by hooligan motivation, not because of the duties of service or of citizen performed by the victim, not by seeking to cover up other crime, not by seeking to get an organ or tissue of the victim for transplantation (Paragraph 1 (wording of 26 September 2000) of Article 135 of the CC); rape, if the one who was raped is not a minor (Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 (wordings of 26 September 2000 and 22 June 2006) of Article 149 of the CCP; sexual abuse, if corresponding actions were committed not in regard of a minor (Paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 (wordings of 26 September 2000, 5 July 2004, and 22 June 2006) of Article 150 of the CCP; robbery, if the accused committed robbery by invading the premises or if he employed a non-fire arm, knife or other item which had been made fit specially for injuring a human being, or if he employed a fire weapon or an explosive, or if by the robbery he seized property of big value, or if he committed robbery by taking part in an organised group (Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 4 July 2003) of Article 180 of the CCP); fraud, where the accused acquired other person’s property of big value or property right for his benefit or the benefit of other persons, avoided the property liability or eliminated it by deception (Paragraph 2 (wordings of 26 September 2000 and 5 July 2004) of Article 182 of the CCP); unlawful disposal of narcotic or psychotropic substances with the purpose of their distribution, or unlawful disposal of very big amount of narcotic or psychotropic substances, the accused unlawfully produced, processed, acquired, kept, transported or sent a big amount of narcotic or psychotropic substances with the purpose of their sale or distribution in other manner, or sold or otherwise distributed a very big amount of narcotic or psychotropic substances, or unlawfully produced, processed, acquired, transported or otherwise distributed a very big amount of narcotic or psychotropic substances (Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wordings of 10 April 2003 and 5 July 2004) of Article 260 of the CC).

13.3. Such abridged recital of the judgment of the local court provided for in Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 July 2004) of Article 306 of the CCP, especially when one takes account of the fact as to what, under Article 305 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, should be indicated in the recital of the court judgment of conviction, however, also as to what might be not indicated in that court judgment, should be regarded as a court judgment without the arguments—the reasoning substantiating it—of its adoption.

13.4. In this context, it should be mentioned that regardless of the similarity of the terminology, the abridged recital of the judgment of conviction provided for in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP may not be equalled with the “abridged reasoning” provided for in Paragraph 4 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases (which has not been ruled in conflict with the Constitution to any extent), which can be drawn up by the administrative court of first instance in its decision in cases, when the respondent fully allows the claims of the claimant.

14. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania are deviated from by the legal regulation established in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP whereby:

the judge of the local court, when he draws up a judgment of conviction (inter alia, such whereby the convict is exempted from serving the punishment), must indicate the following: the circumstances (the place, time, manner, consequences and other important circumstances) of the deed which was declared as a proved one, the evidence by which the conclusions of the court are substantiated and the reasoning by following which the court rejected other evidence, as well as the reasoning and conclusions of the qualification of the criminal deed, the reasoning of the imposition of the punishment, of the punitive sanction or the educational sanction (in case the convict is exempted from serving the punishment, that fact whether the convict is ill with any serious incurable disease due to which serving the punishment would be too difficult, and if, by exemption from serving the punishment, a punitive sanction or an educational sanction is imposed, then also the reasoning of the imposition of the said sanction), as well as the reasoning substantiating the decision on payment of the damage inflicted by the criminal deed—only in certain cases which are strictly defined, i.e. when the judge of the local court is considering the case in which the person is accused of commission of certain crimes specified in Paragraph 1 of the said article;

in other situations, i.e. when the judge of the local court is considering a case in which a person is accused of commission of criminal deeds, which are not specified in Paragraph 1 of the said article, the judge, while drawing up the judgment of conviction (inter alia, such whereby the convict is exempted from serving the punishment), may abridge the recital of that judgment in the way as it is specified in Paragraph 1 of this article, and that in such situations a non-abridged recital of the judgment is drawn up (within three days of the reception of the request or appeal) and is signed by the judge who has considered the case and attached to the existing judgment only in cases when the participants of consideration in court, who can appeal against the court judgment under the CCP, within seven days of the day of the adoption of the judgment submit the court written requests to receive a copy of the judgment with the non-abridged recital, or when the judgment is appealed in the court of appeal instance or the court of cassation instance (inter alia, when the judgment whose recital was drawn up in an abridged version and whereby several persons were convicted or the convicts were recognised guilty of commission of several criminal deeds is appealed with the court of appeal instance).

15. It needs to be held that after these provisions which are in conflict with the Constitution are removed from the legal system by this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the other legal regulation established in Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP cannot be regarded as having an independent content or any potential for regulation. It is inseparably related with the said provisions of the Constitution which have been ruled in conflict with the Constitution and should also be removed from the legal system.

16. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

17. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Articles 29 and 117 of the Constitution.

18. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as that including the following provisions:

when the case is too complicated or big, the court of first instance which is collegially considering it may, before adopting the judgment, draw up and publicly pronounce only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment;

in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the recital of the adopted and publicly pronounced judgment may be drawn up and the entire judgment signed even still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment.

19. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it needs to be held that also the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP that when the case is too complicated or big, the court of first instance which is collegially considering it may, before adopting the judgment, draw up and publicly pronounce only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

20. In this context it needs to be mentioned that the provision “in this case the court shall pronounce the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and shall verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP implies the legal situation which is essentially different from those implied by the provision of Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced publicly (in the courtroom) and the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the chamber or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, which, when one takes account of the meaning that they will acquire after this ruling of the Constitutional Court comes into force, are not ruled in conflict with the Constitution: the said provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP (when account is taken of, inter alia, the words “in this case” employed therein) is related with only one legal situation, namely such, where the recital of the court of first instance is drawn up after the court judgment which is composed of only the introductory and operative parts has already been adopted and publicly pronounced, and it cannot be related with such legal situation where the judgment, which was adopted and publicly pronounced by the court of first instance, is composed of not only the introductory and operative parts that were drawn up before it was adopted, but also the recital part drawn up at the same time, i.e. when that judgment of the court of first instance is one document, a single act of application of law. Thus, the said provision is inseparable from other elements of the provisions of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP that when the case is too complicated or big, the court of first instance which is collegially considering it may, before adopting the judgment, draw up and publicly pronounce only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment; if these elements were ruled in conflict with the Constitution by this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the said provision not only would not change its meaning, but, as it does not have any independent content, would not have any regulatory potential.

21. Having held that the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP that when the case is too complicated or big, the court of first instance which is collegially considering it may, before adopting the judgment, draw up and publicly pronounce only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment and verbally explain the arguments of the adoption of the judgment in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment—deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it also needs to be held that also the provision of the same paragraph that in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the recital of the adopted and publicly pronounced judgment may be drawn up and the entire judgment signed even still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment—also deviates from the aforesaid provisions of the Constitution.

22. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

23. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Articles 29 and 117 of the Constitution.

24. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

when the case is too complicated or big, the court of appeal instance which is considering it may, before it adopts a judgment (ruling), draw up only its introductory and operative parts in the deliberation room and pronounce them in the courtroom and verbally explain the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment or ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment;

in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the recital part of the adopted judgment (ruling) which was publicly pronounced may be drawn up and the entire judgment or ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment.

25. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that the provision of Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP that when the case is too complicated or big, the court of appeal instance which is considering it may, before it adopts a judgment (ruling), draw up only its introductory and operative parts in the deliberation room and pronounce them in the courtroom and verbally explain the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital may be drawn up and the entire judgment or ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure later—within seven days of the adoption of the judgment—also deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

26. The provision of Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP that in certain cases, namely, when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the recital part of the adopted judgment (ruling) which was publicly pronounced may be drawn up and the entire judgment or ruling is signed by the judges who have considered the case under appeal procedure still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment—is virtually analogous to the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP that in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the recital of the adopted and publicly pronounced judgment may be drawn up and the entire judgment signed even still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment—which, as it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

27. Taking account of the arguments set forth, as well as of the argument on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it needs to be held that also Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

28. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP (to any extent) is not conflict with Articles 29 and 117 of the Constitution.

29. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including, inter alia, the provision that after the court of appeal instance, pursuant to Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the same article (which, as it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice), has drawn up in the deliberation room only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment (ruling) and pronounced it publicly in the courtroom (from which only the operative part is mentioned expressis verbis in Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP), a copy of the judgment or the ruling must be sent to the arrested convict who has appealed against the judgment, or with whose interests the judgment or the ruling of the court of appeal instance is related.

30. Such provision of Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP is inseparably related with the legal regulation established in Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the same article, which, as held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice: this provision of Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP models the legal situation which is the continuation of the legal situation existing under Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP and which is in conflict with the Constitution.

31. Having held that Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it should also be held that the provision of Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP that after the court of appeal instance, pursuant to Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the same article, has drawn up in the deliberation room only the introductory and operative parts of the judgment (ruling) and pronounced it publicly in the courtroom, a copy of the judgment or the ruling must be sent to the arrested convict who has appealed against the judgment, or with whose interests the judgment or the ruling of the court of appeal instance is related, is also in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

32. Alongside, it needs to be noted that there are no legal arguments which would permit asserting that the other legal regulation established in Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP might be in conflict with the Constitution; in addition, its compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either. Therefore, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not investigate whether the other legal regulation established in Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP is not in conflict with the Constitution.

33. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “while if only the operative part was pronounced—within the same time period of signing of the judgment or the ruling” of Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

34. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 324 of the CCP (to any extent) is not in conflict with Articles 29 and 117 of the Constitution.

35. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

having considered the case, the court retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling;

the court of cassation instance which is considering a case can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only its operative part, by setting forth verbally the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital and even the introductory parts can be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the ruling;

in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the introductory and recital parts of the adopted and publicly pronounced ruling may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the ruling.

36. It is evident that there are no legal arguments permitting one to assert that the provision “having considered the case, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt the ruling” of Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP could be in conflict with the Constitution, in addition, its compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either.

37. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that the provision of Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP that the court of cassation instance which is considering a case can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only its operative part, by setting forth verbally the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital and even the introductory parts can be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the ruling—also deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

38. The provision of Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP that in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the introductory and recital parts of the adopted and publicly pronounced ruling may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the ruling—is analogous to the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP that in certain cases, namely when the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division gives his assent, the introductory part of the adopted and publicly pronounced judgment adopted by the court of first instance may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case still later—within fourteen days of the adoption of the judgment—which, as it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

39. Taking account of the arguments set forth, as well as of the arguments on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the CCP is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the court of cassation instance which is considering a case can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only its operative part, by setting forth verbally the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital and even the introductory parts can be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the ruling—while with the assent of the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within fourteen days of the adoption of the ruling, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

40. Having held this, the Constitutional Court will not investigate in the constitutional justice case at issue whether Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Article 117 of the Constitution.

41. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including, inter alia, the following provisions:

having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to newly emerged circumstances, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling;

the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania which is considering the issue of renewal of the case due to newly emerged circumstances can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it, while in the courtroom the Chairperson of the college verbally sets forth the arguments of its adoption, while the recital and even introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling can be signed by the judges later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling.

42. It is evident that there are no legal arguments permitting one to assert that the provision “the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling” of Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP could be in conflict with the Constitution, in addition, its compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either.

43. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that the provision of Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP that the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania which is considering the issue of renewal of the case due to newly emerged circumstances can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it, while in the courtroom the Chairperson of the college verbally sets forth the arguments of its adoption, while the recital and introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling can be signed by the judges later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—also deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

44. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision of Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP that the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania which is considering the issue of renewal of the case due to newly emerged circumstances can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it, while in the courtroom the Chairperson of the college verbally sets forth the arguments of its adoption, while the recital and introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling can be signed by the judges later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

45. Having held this, the Constitutional Court will not investigate in the constitutional justice case at issue whether Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 448 of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Article 117 of the Constitution.

46. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session), retires to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling;

having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session) may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, the Chairperson of the college setting forth verbally the main arguments of its adoption, while the recital and even the introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling;

if the convict must be released from the place of confinement, the entire reasoned ruling must be drawn up and referred for execution on the day of its adoption.

47. It is evident that there are no legal arguments permitting one to assert that the provisions “having heard the speeches, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling” and “if the convict must be released from the place of confinement, the entire reasoned ruling must be drawn up and referred for execution on the day of its adoption” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP could be in conflict with the Constitution. In addition, their compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either.

48. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that also Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that, having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session) may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, when the Chairperson of the college setting forth verbally the main arguments of its adoption, while the recital and even the introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

49. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that, having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session) may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, when the Chairperson of the college setting forth verbally the main arguments of its adoption, while the recital and even the introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

50. Having held this, the Constitutional Court will not investigate in the constitutional justice case at issue whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Articles 29 and 117 of the Constitution.

51. Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP whereby the ruling on the renewal of a criminal case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, which is adopted by the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania and that adopted by an extended seven-judge college of the same division shall be signed by all the judges, while the ruling adopted by the plenary session of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be signed by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the rapporteur is inseparably related with Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP which, as it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, to the extent that it prescribes that, having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session) may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, the Chairperson of the college setting forth verbally the main arguments of its adoption, while the recital and the introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

51.1. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that a final court act must be signed by all the judges who have considered the case; in case this has not been done, such a final court act, under the Constitution, is not an act of justice administered, nor even can it be regarded as an officially adopted act; it was also held that laws must establish such procedure for disputing and repeal of final court acts, which would effectively guarantee that such final acts, should they be adopted, would be repealed.

It needs to be noted that the fact that a certain judge voted for or against a corresponding final court act, also whether he expressed a dissenting opinion or not, is of no importance to the signing of the final court act.

The legal regulation permitting a certain judge who has considered a certain case (in the most general meaning of this word) not to sign a final court act (which has also the operative part) which is publicly pronounced may in no way be constitutionally justified.

51.2. Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP precisely establishes such legal regulation, i.e. a provision that the ruling on renewal of a criminal case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law adopted in the plenary session of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania is signed by the Chairperson of the session and the rapporteur; the other judges who adopted the ruling do not sign it.

51.3. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the ruling adopted in the plenary session the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which considers the issue of renewal of a criminal case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, is signed by the Chairperson of the session and the rapporteur and not all the judges who have considered the case (regardless of whether they voted for or against such ruling), is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

52. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP, which is (to the corresponding extent) impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

a three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, after it has considered a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights, as well as the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, after it had considered such a request in the plenary session, after they have heard the speeches and additional explanations of the persons who participate in the consideration of the case, retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling;

the three-judge college of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which is considering a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, by verbally setting forth the main arguments of its adoption.

53. It is evident that there are no legal arguments permitting one to assert that the provision “having heard the speeches and additional explanations of the persons who participate in the consideration of the case, the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt a ruling” of Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP could be in conflict with the Constitution. In addition, their compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either.

54. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, one needs to hold that also Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the three-judge college of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which is considering a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, by verbally setting forth the main arguments of its adoption, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

55. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the three-judge college of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which is considering a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, by verbally setting forth the main arguments of its adoption, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

56. Having held this, in this constitutional justice case the Constitutional Court will not further investigate whether Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP is not in conflict (to the corresponding extent) with Article 117 of the Constitution.

57. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, should be construed as including the following provisions:

the introductory and recital parts of a ruling on renewing a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights, which is adopted by a three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania and the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, may be drawn up not prior to the adoption and public pronouncement (in the courtroom) of the corresponding ruling, but later, within ten days of the adoption of that ruling;

if the said ruling is adopted by the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, it is signed by all judges of the college;

if the said ruling is adopted by the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania in its plenary session, it is signed by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the judge-rapporteur.

58. The provision of Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP that the introductory and recital parts of a ruling on renewing a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights, which is adopted by a three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania and the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, may be drawn up not prior to the adoption and public pronouncement (in the courtroom) of the corresponding ruling, but later, within ten days of the adoption of that ruling, is inseparably related with the legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of the same article, which, as it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, to the extent that it prescribes that the three-judge college of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which is considering a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, by verbally setting forth the main arguments of its adoption, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice: this provision of Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP models a legal situation which is the continuation of the legal situation shaped by Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP, which is in conflict with the Constitution.

59. It is clear that there are no legal arguments which would permit asserting that the provision “it is signed by all judges of the college” of Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP could be in conflict with the Constitution; in addition, its compliance with the Constitution is not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, either.

60. The compliance of the provision of Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP that that if a ruling subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights is adopted by the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania in its plenary session, this ruling is signed by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the judge-rapporteur should be assessed differently.

Taking account of the arguments on the grounds whereof it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the extent that it provides that the ruling adopted by the Criminal Cases division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which in the plenary session considers the question of the renewal of the criminal case due to the clearly inappropriate application of the criminal law, shall be signed by the chairperson and the judge rapporteur of the plenary session and not by all the judges who have adopted that ruling is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it should be held that also Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that if a ruling subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights is adopted by the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania in its plenary session, this ruling is signed by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the judge-rapporteur and not all the judges who have adopted the ruling, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

61. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the introductory and recital parts of a ruling of a three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania and of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania regarding renewal of a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may be drawn up not before a corresponding ruling is adopted and pronounced publicly (in the courtroom), but later—within ten days of the adoption of the ruling—also, that if the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania in it plenary session adopts a ruling on renewal of a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights and this ruling is signed only by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the judge-rapporteur, but not by all the judges who have adopted the case, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

62. Having held this, the Constitutional Court will not investigate in the constitutional justice case at issue whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 460 of the CCP is not in conflict (to any extent) with Article 117 of the Constitution.

V

On the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. A group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests, inter alia, an investigation into:

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it provides that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced while the remaining part, which substantiates the decision, is drawn up later, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, they prescribe that in the course of deciding a case in a court of first instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the decision are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning parts—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it prescribes that in the course of deciding a case in a court of cassation instance, only the introductory and operative parts of the ruling are adopted, drawn up and pronounced, while the remaining parts—the recital and the reasoning parts—shall be drawn up and pronounced later, within twenty days of the adoption of the decision or the ruling, is not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. On 28 February 2002 the Seimas adopted the Law on Confirmation, Entry into Force and Implementation of the Code of Civil Procedure, Article 1 whereof confirmed the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania. In Article 2 of the Law on Confirmation, Entry into Force and Implementation of the Code of Civil Procedure it was prescribed that the Code of Civil Procedure shall come into force “as from 1 January 2003”; after the new Code of Civil Procedure came into force, inter alia, the formerly valid Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (wording of 7 July 1964 with subsequent amendments and supplements; hereinafter also referred to as the formerly valid Code of Civil Procedure) became no longer valid (Paragraph 2 of Article 13).

3. The new Code of Civil Procedure was amended and/or supplemented by: the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure (with amendments and supplements made by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 1 and 2 of the Fourth Chapter of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 16 September 2003), which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 April 2003; the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Competition, on the Recognition of the Law on Monitoring State Aid to Economic Subjects as No Longer Valid and on Amending Article 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was adopted by the Seimas on 15 April 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 1, 42, 62, 801 and 803 of the Code of Civil Procedure, on Amending the Titles of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Sections of Chapter LX, on Supplementing Chapter LX with Seventh Section and Supplementing the Code with an Annex, which was adopted by the Seimas on 27 April 2004; the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 57, 83, 99 and 225 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was adopted on 20 January 2005 and the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Article 663 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was adopted on 22 June 2006.

Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of the provisions of which (to the specified extent) with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, have not been amended or supplemented and are still in effect at the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue.

4. Article 268 titled “The Procedure of the adoption of the Decision and its Setting Forth” (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is in the First Section titled “Court Decisions” of Chapter XV titled “Court Rulings and Decisions” of Part II titled “Procedure in the Court of First Instance”, the compliance of Paragraph 3 (to the corresponding extent) of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. The decision is adopted immediately after the case has been considered, save the cases provided for by this Code.

2. The judge alone (when the case is considered by one judge) or the majority vote of judges shall adopt court decisions. The decision shall be set forth in writing and signed by all the judges who have considered the case.

3. The decision shall be adopted by drawing up its introductory and operative parts and pronounced immediately after the consideration of the case, save the cases provided for by this Code, briefly verbally setting forth reasons of the decision. The recital and the reasoning parts shall be drawn up not later than within five days of the adoption of the decision.

4. The form and contents of the court decision must be in line with the requirements established in Article 270 of this Code.

5. When the respondent allows the claim fully or partially, the judge may draw up an abridged reasoning. If the claim is allowed only partially, the abridged reasoning may be drawn up only in the part wherein the respondent allows the claim. In the abridged reasoning the arguments due to which the court rejects some evidence shall not be specified.

6. A judge, who had another opinion, may set forth a dissenting opinion in writing.

7. The dissenting opinion shall not be pronounced publicly, but shall be attached to the case file and it shall be informed that such an opinion exists.

8. Corrections in the text of the decision must be discussed and signed by the judges.”

5. Article 325 titled “Adoption and Publishing of a Decision or Ruling” (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is in the First Section titled “Appealing Against Court Decisions That have not Come into Force” of Chapter XVI titled “Procedure of Cases in the Court of Appeal Instance” of Part III titled “The Forms of Control over the Lawfulness and Reasonableness of Court Decisions and Rulings and the Renewal of the Procedure”, the compliance of Paragraphs 2 and 3 (to the corresponding extent) of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. Where an oral hearing of the case is held, after the speeches by the participants in the proceedings and the final speeches the court shall retire to the deliberation room to adopt the decision or ruling.

2. Having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or another judge shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, shall verbally set forth the reasoning of the decision or ruling and inform when the full text of the decision or ruling will be drawn up.

3. The complete text of the decision or ruling shall be set forth in writing and signed by all the judges within fourteen days from the adoption thereof.

4. Also in the cases provided for in Paragraph 5 of this Article, the persons participating in the case shall be informed about the decision or ruling of the court of appeal instance adopted under the procedure of written process.

5. By way of exception, having regard to the complexity and scope of the case, the court considering the case on appeal may, by a ruling, postpone the adoption of a decision or ruling for not longer than a fourteen-day period. In such case the decision or ruling shall be pronounced by the college of judges or one of the judges. During the preparation of the decision or ruling, the judges of the college may consider other cases.”

6. Article 358 titled “Adoption of the Court Ruling” (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is in Chapter XVII titled “The Procedure of Cases in the Court of Cassation” of Part III titled “The Forms of Control over the Lawfulness and Reasonableness of Court Decisions and Rulings and the Renewal of the Procedure”, the compliance of Paragraph 3 (to the corresponding extent) of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

1. The court ruling shall be adopted by the majority vote, in line with the requirements of this Code. The judge of the Supreme Court of Lithuania who has the least work record shall be the one to speak the first, and the chairperson of the sitting shall be the one to speak the last. In case of a tie in the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division, the vote of the chairperson of the sitting shall be decisive.

2. The ruling adopted by the court shall be set forth in writing and signed by all judges. The ruling of the plenary session of the department shall be signed by the chairperson and the rapporteur of the session sitting.

3. Having considered the case, a court ruling shall be adopted, which shall be composed of the introductory and operative parts, while the ruling which is in line with the requirements of Article 361 of this Code shall be drawn up within twenty days from the adoption thereof.

4. Where an oral hearing of the case is held, the court ruling shall be pronounced in the courtroom. The chairperson of the sitting of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division, the chairperson or a judge of the college of the judges shall read out the operative part of the ruling and shall set forth the reasoning of the ruling verbally.

5. The college of judges or the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division may by means of a ruling postpone the adoption of the court ruling for not longer than a twenty-day period. During that period the judges may consider other cases. Where an oral hearing of the case is held, the persons participating in the case shall be informed about the date of the adoption of the ruling during the court sitting. Where an oral hearing of the case is held, while pronouncing the ruling, the adoption and pronouncement of which had been postponed, other judges of the department of the plenary session and judges of the college of judges may also abstain from participation.”

7. The doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure (to the corresponding extent) with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law are substantiated by the fact that, according to the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, the court which considers a case subsequent to these articles (parts thereof) of the Code of Civil Procedure adopts and pronounces its decision (ruling), i.e. a final court act, without drawing up the reasoning substantiating it—the reasoning of its adoption: it is drawn up later.

8. While deciding whether the provisions of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268, Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure (to the extent, specified by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner), which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, are not in conflict with Articles 109 and 117 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, one should take account of the legal regulation established in other parts of these articles and of that established in other articles of the Code of Civil Procedure, inter alia: Article 270 titled “The Contents of the Decision”, in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that a decision (namely a decision of the court of first instance) shall be composed of an introductory, recital, reasoning and operative parts; in Paragraph 2—that the following shall be specified in the introductory part of the decision: the time and date of the adoption of the decision (Item 1); the title of the court that adopted the decision (Item 2); the composition of the court (name and surname of the judge (judges)), the secretary of the court hearing, parties and other persons participating in the case (Item 3); the subject of the dispute (Item 4); in Paragraph 3—that the recital part of the decision must include the following: the summary of the requirements and explanations of the claimant (Item 1); a summary of the replications and explanations of the respondent (Item 2); a summary of the explanations of other persons participating in the case (Item 3); in Paragraph 4—that the following must be specified briefly in the reasoning part of the decision: the circumstances of the case established by the court (Item 1); the assessment of the evidence on which the conclusions of the court are based (Item 2); the arguments, due to which the court has rejected some evidence (Item 3); the laws and other legal acts followed by the court, and other legal arguments (Item 4); in Paragraph 5—that the following must be specified in the operative part of the court decision: the conclusion of the court to fully or partially satisfy the claim and/or counterclaim together setting forth the contents of the satisfied claim or to reject the claim and/or the counterclaim (Item 1); in cases provided for by law—the size of the awarded interest and the time period within which they must be exacted (Item 2); reference to the distribution of the litigation expenses (Item 3); conclusions of the court regarding other questions decided by the decision (Item 4); and reference to the term and procedure of the appeal against the decision (Item 5); Article 291 titled “The Contents of the Ruling” (wording of 28 February 2002) in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that the following shall be specified in the ruling: the time and date of the adoption of the ruling (Item 1); the name and composition of the court, the secretary of the court hearing (Item 2); the persons participating in the case and the subject of the dispute (Item 3); the question regarding which the ruling was adopted (Item 4); the reasoning following which the court made the conclusions as well as the laws and other legal acts invoked by the court (Item 5); the ruling of the court (Item 6); and the procedure and term of the appeal against the ruling (Item 7); in Paragraph 2—that the data specified in Items 4, 5 and 6 of Paragraph 1 of this article must be specified in a verbal ruling; Article 331 titled “The Contents and Coming into Force of the Decision (Ruling) of the Court of Appeal Instance” (wording of 28 February 2002) in Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that a decision (ruling) of the court of appeal instance shall be composed of introductory, recital, reasoning and operative parts; in Paragraph 2—that the following shall be specified in the introductory part of the decision (ruling): the time and date of the adoption of the decision (ruling) (Item 1); the name and composition of the court that adopted the decision (ruling) (Item 2); the persons participating in the consideration of the case at the court of appeal instance (in the case of oral procedure) (Item 3); the appellant (Item 4); the appealed decision (ruling) of the court of first instance (Item 5); the parties and other persons participating in the case and the subject of the dispute (Item 6); in Paragraph 3—that the following shall be specified in the recital part of the decision (ruling): a brief setting forth of the circumstances of the case (Item 1); the essence of the appealed decision (ruling) (Item 2); the bases of the appeal and the arguments of the response to the appeal, which are significant to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the appealed decision (ruling) and the reference about joining to the appeal (Item 3); in Paragraph 4—that the following shall be briefly specified in the reasoning part of the decision (ruling): the circumstances of the case established by the court (Item 1); the evidence on which the conclusions of the court are based (Item 2); and the arguments due to which the court has rejected certain evidence (Item 3); the laws and other legal acts, as well as other legal arguments followed by the court while drawing conclusions (Item 4); in Paragraph 5—that the decision of the court of appeal must be specified in the operative part; in Paragraph 6—that the decision or ruling of the court of appeal instance shall come into force on the day of adoption thereof; Article 361 titled “The Contents of the Court Ruling” (wording of 28 February 2002) in, inter alia, Paragraph 1 of which it is provided that the ruling of the court of cassation shall be composed of introductory, recital, statement and operative parts, in Paragraph 2—that the following shall be specified in the introductory part of the ruling: the time and date of the adoption of the ruling (Item 1); the name and composition of the court that adopted the ruling (Item 2); the persons participating in the consideration of the case at the court of cassation (in the case of oral procedure) (Item 3); the appellant (Item 4); the appealed decisions (rulings) of courts (Item 5); the parties and other persons participating in the case and the subject of the dispute (Item 6); in Paragraph 3—that the following shall be specified in the recital part of the decision (ruling): a brief setting forth of the circumstances of the case (Item 1); the essence of the decision (rulings) (Item 2); the bases of the cassation appeal and arguments of the response to the cassation appeal, which are significant to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the appealed decision (ruling) and the reference about joining to the cassation appeal (Item 3); in Paragraph 4—that the following must be specified in the statement part of the ruling: the laws and reasons following which the court of cassation has drawn the conclusion (Item 1); and the rule for application and construction of law in the considered case, which is relevant for the practice of the court (Item 2); in Paragraph 5—that the decision of the court of cassation must be specified in the operative part of the ruling.

9. The legal regulation, established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the aspect specified by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is essentially analogous to the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, as well as to the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP which were discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and under which the corresponding final act of the court may also be adopted and pronounced publicly (in the courtroom), without drawing up its recital and reasoning parts.

10. It needs to be held in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue that in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it is established, inter alia, that a decision of a court of first instance may be adopted and pronounced after only the introductory and operative parts of the decision have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts may be drawn up later, within five days of the pronouncement of the decision.

11. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it needs to be held that also Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision of a court of first instance may be adopted and pronounced only after the introductory and operative parts of the decision are drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts may be drawn up later, within five days of the pronouncement of the decision, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law and from the constitutional concept of court, as the institution administering justice on behalf of the Republic of Lithuania.

12. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision of a court of first instance may be adopted and pronounced only after the introductory and operative parts of the decision are drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts may be drawn up later, within five days of the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

13. The legal regulation established in Paragraphs 2 and 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which are impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the aspect specified by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is also essentially analogous to the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, as well as to the articles (parts thereof) of the CCP which were discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and under which the corresponding final act of the court may also be adopted and pronounced publicly (in the courtroom), without drawing up its recital and reasoning parts.

14. It should be held in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue that in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it is inter alia, prescribed that a decision (ruling) of a court of appeal instance may be adopted and pronounced in the courtroom after only the introductory and operative parts thereof have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom.

It should also be held that in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is established, inter alia, that the recital and reasoning parts of the decision (ruling) of the court of appeal instance may be drawn up later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision (ruling).

15. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it needs to be held that also the following deviate from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law and from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution administering justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania:

Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision (ruling) of the court of appeal instance may be adopted and pronounced in the courtroom only after the introductory and operative parts thereof have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom,

Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that the recital and reasoning parts of the decision (ruling) may be drawn up later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision (ruling).

16. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision (ruling) of the court of appeal instance may be adopted and pronounced in the courtroom only after the introductory and operative parts thereof have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom and Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of this article to the extent that it prescribes that the recital and reasoning parts of the decision (ruling) may be drawn up later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision (ruling), are in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

17. The legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in the aspect specified by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is also essentially analogous to the legal regulation established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases, as well as to the articles (parts thereof) of the CCP which were discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, and under which the corresponding final court act may also be adopted and pronounced publicly (in the courtroom) without drawing up its recital and reasoning parts.

18. It should be held in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue that in Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it is established, inter alia, that a ruling of the court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts, and without drawing up the recital and statement parts.

19. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 85 of the Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, as well as Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000) of Article 139 of the same law, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law as well as from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, it needs to be held that also Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a ruling of a court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts, and without drawing up the recital and statement parts, deviates from the constitutional imperatives of justice and publicity of law and from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution administering justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

20. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a ruling of the court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts and without drawing up the recital and statement parts is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

21. The provision of Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure that a ruling of a court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts, and without drawing up the recital and statement parts, which is impugned (to the corresponding extent) by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is inseparably related with the following provisions of this article (which are not impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner):

the provisions of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the ruling adopted by the court of cassation instance shall be set forth in writing and signed by all judges, while the ruling of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division shall be signed by the chairperson and the rapporteur of the session sitting;

the provisions of Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure that where an oral hearing of the case is held, the court ruling shall be pronounced in the courtroom and that the chairperson of the sitting of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division, the chairperson or a judge of the college of the judges shall read out the operative part of the ruling and shall set forth verbal reasoning of the ruling.

21.1. On the grounds of the arguments analogous to those on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 454 of the CCP to the extent that it prescribes that the ruling adopted in the plenary session the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which considers the issue of renewal of a criminal case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, is signed by the Chairperson of the session and the rapporteur and not all the judges who have considered the case is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it should be held that also the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the ruling of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division of the court of cassation instance shall be signed only by the chairperson and the rapporteur of the plenary session and not by all the judges who have adopted that ruling is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

21.2. After it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and after it has recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it provides that a ruling of a court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts, and without drawing up the recital and statement parts, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, the provisions of Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure that where an oral hearing of the case is held, the court ruling shall be pronounced in the courtroom and that the chairperson of the sitting of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division, the chairperson or a judge of the college of the judges shall read out the operative part of the ruling and shall set forth verbally the reasoning of the ruling acquire a different meaning: now they regulate the relations related with only to the pronouncement of a ruling of the court of cassation instance by reading it aloud and not to the drawing up or contents thereof, it no longer implies that the said ruling may be composed of only the introductory and operative parts and that it may be without the recital and statement parts.

22. Having held that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision of a court of first instance may be adopted and pronounced only after the introductory and operative parts of the decision are drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts may be drawn up later, within five days of the pronouncement of the decision, that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it prescribes that a decision (ruling) of the court of appeal instance may be adopted and pronounced in the courtroom only after the introductory and operative parts thereof have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom and Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of this article to the extent that it prescribes that the recital and reasoning parts of the decision (ruling) may be drawn up later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision (ruling), and also that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure are in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, the Constitutional Court will not further investigate in the constitutional justice case at issue, whether these paragraphs (to any extent) are not in conflict with Article 117 of the Constitution.

VI

On the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Article 109 of the Constitution.

1. The Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the court of appeal instance shall consider the case without overstepping the limits established in the appeal, with the exception when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Article 109 of the Constitution.

2. As mentioned before, the new Code of Civil Procedure has been amended and/or supplemented more than once. Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of the provisions of which with the Constitution is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, has not been amended or supplemented and is still in effect during the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue.

3. Article 320 titled “The Limits of Consideration of a Case” (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of Paragraph 2 (to the corresponding extent) of which with the Constitution is impugned by the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, of the First Section titled “Appealing Against Court Decisions Which have not Come into Force” of Chapter XVI titled “The Procedure of Cases in the Court of Appeal Instance” of Part III titled “The Forms of Control over the Legitimacy and Reasonableness of the Decisions of Rulings of Courts and the Renewal of the Procedure” provides:

1. The limits of the consideration of cases under appeal procedure shall be composed of the factual and legal basis of the appeal and verification of the absolute grounds of non-validity of the decision.

2. The court of appeal instance shall consider the case without overstepping the limits established in the appeal, with the exception when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of this Code. The court of appeal instance shall also verify, irrespective of the limits of the appeal, whether there are any absolute grounds of non-validity of the decision, which are specified in Article 329 of this Code.”

4. The legal regulation impugned by the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, entrenches the general rule that the court of appeal instance may not overstep the limits established in the appeal and an exception to that rule: the limits may be overstepped only in certain cases established in this part, namely in the case when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure. In the course of consideration of cases of other categories the court of appeal instance is restricted by the limits of the appeal.

5. Such legal regulation established in Article 320 titled “The Limits of Consideration of a Case” (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure expresses and entrenches the universally recognised legal principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum. This principle means, inter alia, the fact that the court of appeal instance must verify and assess only the legitimacy and reasonableness of the appealed part of the decision of the court of first instance, and does not have to verify and assess whether the parts of the decision that were not appealed under the appeal procedure are legitimate and reasonable. Additionally, the court of appeal instance does not have to expand the list of the arguments of the appeal, nor to begin an analysis of the arguments that are not specified in the appeal on its own initiative. However, following the principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum, it may not be totally forbidden for the court of appeal instance to refer also to the arguments which are not specified in the appeal, in case these arguments are submitted by other participants of the procedure.

6. It is also universally recognised that the principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum is not absolute, inter alia, in the aspect that in certain cases the court of appeal instance not only can, but also must overstep the limits of the appeal. Such limits of this principle—the said exceptions to the general rule (which, by the way, are entrenched in the laws of civil procedure of many states) are usually related with the necessity to protect and defend the fundamental values—the public interest, the rights of the weaker party in the dispute, the legitimate interests and the legitimate expectations, etc. Usually such fundamental values are entrenched in, as well as protected and defended by the constitutions of democratic states under the rule of law.

Thus, the principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum does not imply in itself that the court of appeal instance must be restricted by the limits of the appeal when its decision could be essentially unjust and when it could violate the constitutional values.

7. In civil procedure law of the Republic of Lithuania, certain exceptions (they are provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 320 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure) to the general rule that the court of appeal instance may not overstep the limits established in the appeal are also explicitly provided for:

disregarding the limits of the appeal, the court of appeal instance shall verify whether there are any absolute grounds of non-validity of the decision specified in Article 329 of the Code of Civil Procedure (the compliance of this provision with the Constitution is not impugned by the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner)—in this case, the case may be returned to the court of first instance for new consideration only in the case where these violations may not be corrected by the court of appeal instance (Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 329 of the Code of Civil Procedure);

the limits established in the appeal may be overstepped when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that Chapter XIX titled “Peculiarities of Consideration of Family Cases” of Part IV titled “Peculiarities of Consideration of Cases of Individual Categories” of the Code of Civil Procedure regulates the relations which are related to the consideration of cases concerning the divorce, the dissolution of a marriage, legal separation (Second Section, Articles 381–386), the establishment of paternity (maternity) (Third Section, Articles 387–393), the contesting of the paternity (maternity) (Fourth Section, Articles 394–399), and the restriction of the power of parents (Fifth Section, Articles 400–409), in Chapter XX titled “Peculiarities of Consideration of Employment Cases at Law” (Articles 410–418) of this part—to the consideration of employment cases at law, in Part V titled “Special Legal Proceedings”—to the consideration of cases at law of special legal proceedings (i.e. cases at law concerning the establishment of facts having legal significance, concerning the declaration of a natural person as dead or absent, concerning the recognition of a natural person as incapable or of limited capability and the recognition of a minor as capable (emancipated); concerning the adoption, concerning the guardianship and care, concerning the appeal against actions of bailiffs and notaries, concerning registration of acts on civil condition, concerning the restoration, amendment, supplementing, correction or annulment of the registers, concerning the restoration of rights according to the lost security document which should be presented (unilateral legal proceedings), concerning substantive laws, save the cases considered under the rules of the legal proceedings of the dispute, concerning legal relations of the family (save the cases considered under the rules of the proceedings of the dispute according to Chapter XIX of Part IV of the Code of Civil Proceedings, on legal relations of hypothec (hypothec of movable property), concerning the restoration of a disappeared court case or an execution case, on the renewal of the missed term established by law, concerning the issuance of court permissions, confirmation of statements or facts, concerning the administration of property, concerning the application of succession procedures (appointment of the inheritance administrator, composition of the description of property, declaration of the will, etc.) and other cases at law which, under the Civil Code and other laws, are considered under the simplified procedure for proceedings) (Articles 442–582)).

8. While deciding subsequent to the petition of the Vilnius Regional Court, a petitioner, whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure (to the corresponding extent) is not in conflict with the Constitution, it needs to be noted that the general rule itself that the court of appeal instance may not overstep the limits established in the appeal (which expresses the principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum), may not be regarded as groundless or unjust, as it ensures not only the speed of the civil procedure but also the fact that there will be no intervention of the court into such areas of life, wherein there is no dispute among private persons or such a dispute has already been solved in a court of first instance and the decision was not appealed under the procedure established by law. There are no arguments that would allow to state that this general rule could in any aspect be in conflict with any provision of the Constitution, inter alia, with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 or Article 109 of the Constitution. It is just to the contrary, this rule helps to ensure the autonomy of the individual, in particular, of the private person when the court administers justice as well as that the legitimate expectations and interests of the person will not be denied.

9. The exception to the rule established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the court of appeal instance may not overstep the limits established in the appeal (which expresses the principle tantum devolutum quantum appellatum)—the fact that the said limits may be overstepped only in certain cases established in this paragraph, namely, when this is required by the public interest in the course of consideration of the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure should be assessed differently.

10. The Constitution consolidates the state as the common good of the entire society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 25 May 2004 and 19 August 2006). The purpose of the state as a political organisation of the entire society is to ensure human rights and freedoms and to guarantee the public interest (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 December 2003, 13 December 2004, 29 December 2004, and 16 January 2006). Each public interest may only be based on the fundamental values of the society which are entrenched in, as well as protected and defended by the Constitution; the entrenchment and guarantee, as well as defence and protection of such an interest are constitutionally reasoned. It has been held in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court that the implementation of the public interest, as an interest of society, which is recognised by the state and is protected by law, is one of the most important conditions of the existence and evolution of society itself (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 May 1997 and 13 May 2005). On the other hand, the public interest, as a common interest of the state, the entire society or part of the society, must be coordinated with autonomous interests of the individual, because not only the public interest, but also the rights of the person are constitutional values (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 May 1997 and 13 December 2004). These values—protection and defence of person’s rights and legitimate interests, and the public interest—which are entrenched in the Constitution, may not be confronted against one another. The just balance must be ensured in this sphere.

It also needs to be noted that not any legitimate interest of a person or a group of persons should be regarded as a public interest, but only such, which reflects and expresses the fundamental values which are entrenched in, as well as protected and defended by the Constitution; these are, inter alia, openness and harmony of society, the rights and freedoms of the person, the supremacy of law, etc. It is such interest of society or part thereof, which the state, while implementing its functions, is obliged to ensure and satisfy, inter alia, through courts that decide cases at law under their competence.

Thus, every time when the question arises whether a certain interest should be considered as a public one, it must be possible to reason that without satisfying a certain interest of a person or a group of persons, certain values entrenched in, as well as protected and defended by the Constitution, would be violated. While in the situations where the decision on whether a certain interest has to be considered as public and defended and protected as a public interest, must be adopted by the court, which considers a case, it is necessary to reason it in the corresponding act of the court. Otherwise, there would arise a grounded doubt that what is protected and defended by the court as a public interest, actually is not a public but a private interest of a certain person.

11. It should be emphasised that the public interest is dynamic and subject to change (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 8 July 2005). On the other hand, it is a very varied one. It is essentially impossible to say a priori in which areas of life, concerning which legal disputes may arise or wherein the need may arise to apply law, threats for the public interest may occur or the need may arise to ensure the public interest by means of interference by the public power institutions or officials.

12. In the doctrine of the European human rights (inter alia, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights) there is a prevalent attitude that while regulating social relations, the legislature is entitled to establish the limits of public interest, and the decisions on the definition of the public interest and means of its satisfaction must be realistically grounded and legitimate (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 May 1997 and 22 February 2001). While construing this provision, the Constitutional Court has held that without violating the Constitution, laws may established in what cases and under which procedure the authorised institutions or authorised officials may defend the public interest under the judicial procedure (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 February 2001). It needs to be mentioned that the corresponding powers are expressis verbis entrenched in the Constitution (under Paragraph 2 of Article 118 of the Constitution, the prosecutor shall defend the rights and legitimate interests of the person, society and the state).

However—it needs to be particularly emphasised in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue that, under the Constitution, it is not possible to establish any such legal regulation that the public interest would not be able to be defended by the court, to which it was applied, as well as that the court, while deciding a case, would be forced to adopt such decision, by which the public interest would be violated, thus, also any value (inter alia, a right or freedom of person), established in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution. If the court adopted such decision, that decision would be unjust. It would mean that the court, on behalf of the Republic of Lithuania, administered not the justice, which is entrenched by the Constitution, thus, under the Constitution, it administered non-justice. Thus, also the constitutional concept of the court, as the institution which administers justice on behalf of the Republic of Lithuania would be denied.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that it is impossible to establish by law any final list of the cases, wherein the court (also of the appeal instance) is permitted to defend the public interest (inter alia, overstepping the limits of the appeal) or of the cases, wherein the court is not permitted to defend the public interest (inter alia, overstepping the limits of the appeal).

On the other hand, it should be emphasised that the arising-from-the-Constitution possibility of the court of appeal instance to overstep the limits of the appeal while defending the public interest may not be interpreted as its purely discretionary right: this court may overstep the limits only when there is a constitutional basis for it, i.e. when without overstepping them, any value established in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution would be violated and thus, the decision adopted by the court of appeal instance in the corresponding case would be unjust. In all cases, this court must provide reasons for that.

13. In this context, it should be noted that under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 353 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court of cassation instance may overstep the limits established in the cassation appeal in all cases when this is required by the public interest.

14. It has been mentioned that under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court of appeal instance may overstep the limits established in the appeal only in certain cases established in this paragraph, namely, when this is required by the public interest when, under the appeal procedure, the court considers the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure, and when cases of other categories are decided, the court of appeal instance is restricted by the limits of the appeal.

Thus, this exception to the general rule established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure that the court of appeal instance may not overstep the limits established in the appeal means that the court of appeal instance is not permitted to protect the public interest while deciding cases of certain categories, which are not specified in this paragraph. This creates preconditions for the court of appeal instance in such cases to adopt a decision, which would not be a just one and by which the values established in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution would be violated.

15. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it entrenches that the court of appeal instance, considering other than the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure may not overstep the limits established in the appeal, though this is required by the public interest, and without overstepping them, the decision (ruling) of this court would be unjust and, thus, the values established in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution would be violated, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

16. Having held this, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will no longer investigate whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict (to any extent) with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

VII

On the compliance of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision, as well as Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286, and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. The group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests an investigation into:

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that, according to the petitioner, the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure which are impugned by the petitioner regulate the relations linked with the adoption of a decision in absentia—an institute of civil procedure law, which was not consolidated in Lithuanian civil procedure law for a long time.

3. After the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania and in the course of reorganising the system of Lithuanian law, civil procedure law was also reformed. While seeking to ensure justice, the right to judicial defence, the right to due process, procedural equal rights, the right to be heard, adversarial argument, publicity of the proceedings, direct participation in the proceedings and to implement other principles in the civil procedure, in the Code of Civil Procedure which was in force then, corresponding amendments and/or supplements were made; later, as mentioned before, the new Code of Civil Procedure was adopted and came into force.

4. Although, as mentioned before, the Code of Civil Procedure has been amended and/or supplemented more than once, however, Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285, Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of the provisions of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, have not been either amended or supplemented and at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue are in force.

5. If compared with the formerly effective Code of Civil Procedure, in the new Code of Civil Procedure the principles of civil procedure law have been developed by consolidating expressis verbis not only the principles of the right to apply to court for judicial defence, publicity of the court hearing, adversarial argument, the independence and impartiality of judges and courts, the language of the proceedings, equality of rights, and justice, which is administered only by courts, which were consolidated also in the formerly effective Code of Civil Procedure, but also the principles of co-operation, directness, continuity of consideration of the case, publicity of the case material, disposition, concentration and economy of the proceedings, and the legal aid guaranteed by the state. The procedure of consideration of civil cases, of the adoption of decisions in civil cases and their execution was correspondingly regulated, the institutes of civil procedure law consolidated in the formerly effective Code of Civil Procedure were amended and new institutes were introduced (the group claim was consolidated, the procedure of removal of the judge was amended, the institute of cassation proposal was abandoned, written proceedings were introduced, the process of execution was reformed in essence, etc.).

In this context it needs to be mentioned that, under Article 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, “the objectives of the civil procedure are to protect the interests of the persons whose substantive-subjective rights or whose interests protected by law have been violated or are impugned; to properly apply laws when the court considers civil cases, adopts decisions and in the course of their execution; to restore the legal peace between the parties of the dispute as soon as possible; also to construe and develop law”.

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the institute of the adoption of a decision in absentia, which is consolidated in the Code of Civil Procedure, should be construed while taking account of the principles of concentration and economy of the proceedings consolidated in the Code of Civil Procedure, meaning that the court resorts to measures established in the Code of Civil Procedure in order to prevent procrastination of the proceedings and seeks to attain that that case be considered in one court hearing, if this does not harm for proper consideration of the case, also that the effective court decision be executed within the shortest time possible and in the most economical way (Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure), also meaning that the persons participating in the case must make use of their procedural rights in good faith and not abuse them, they must take care of a speedy consideration of the case, by taking account of the course of the proceedings, carefully and in time to submit to the court the evidence and the arguments by which their claims or replications are substantiated (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Thus, the institute of the adoption of a decision in absentia in the civil procedure seeks to create legal preconditions in the civil proceedings to implement, inter alia, the principle of economy and concentration.

It also needs to be mentioned that the institute of the adoption of a decision in absentia in general is not a novel either in Lithuanian civil procedure law, nor in the Lithuanian legal system: this institute (in addition, it was also known in Roman law) was consolidated in the laws of the interwar Lithuanian civil procedure laws. This institute is also characteristic of law of a great many European states (however, in various national legal systems it has certain peculiarities).

7. The adoption of a decision in absentia is a specific way of settling disputes in civil cases, when after one of the party to the proceedings keeps away from participation in consideration of the civil case (for example, when either the respondent or the claimant fail to appear at the hearing of the court, in which the civil case must be considered, or when the respondent fails to submit a response to the claim) this case is considered and a decision is adopted without participation of that party.

8. The relations linked with the adoption of a decision in absentia are regulated in various articles (items and paragraphs thereof) of the Code of Civil Procedure.

8.1. Under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 626 of the Code of Civil Procedure, in the cases and procedure provided for, the court which is considering the case shall have the right to adopt a decision in absentia.

8.2. Article 285 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of Paragraph 2 of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, provides:

1. A decision in absentia may be adopted in the cases when one of the parties, which was properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing and no statement was received from it as regards the consideration of the case in its absence, fails to appear at the court hearing, while the party that is present requests the adoption of such a decision, as well as in other cases provided for in this Code. A decision in absentia may also be adopted regarding one or several claimants or respondents, when they, under the said conditions, fail to appear at the court hearing in the case in which there are several claimants or respondents. If the party present at the court hearing disagrees to the adoption of a decision in absentia, the court shall invoke Article 246 of this Code.

2. A decision in absentia concerning the respondent who failed to appear may be adopted only in connection of the demands of the claim about which the respondent was informed according to the procedure established in this Code. The court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision.

3. The court shall not grant a request of the party present at the court hearing to adopt a decision in absentia and shall postpone the consideration of the case, if:

1) the party which failed to appear was not properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing;

2) a request to postpone the consideration of the case was received from the party which failed to appear, by indicating and substantiating the reasons of failure to appear at the court hearing, provided the court has recognised these reasons as valid.

4. The refusal by the court to adopt a decision in absentia must be a reasoned one.

5. The party which failed to appear, in whose regard the decision in absentia was adopted, may not appeal against this decision either under appeal procedure, or under cassation procedure.

6. The adoption and pronouncement of a decision in absentia may not be postponed.

7. A copy of a decision in absentia shall be sent to the party which failed to appear within three days of its adoption.”

8.3. Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure the compliance of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, provides that the object of appeal cannot be a court decision in absentia, if such appeal is lodged by the person in whose regard such decision is adopted.

8.4. The Code of Civil Procedure also provides for other cases when the court may adopt a decision in absentia: if within the established term the respondent fails to submit his response to the claim, the court has the right, in case there is a request of the claimant, to adopt a decision in absentia (Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 142 of the Code of Civil Procedure); at the request of the party that is present, the court which is considering the case shall adopt the decision in absentia under procedure established in the Code of Civil Procedure with regard to the party which was properly notified but failed to appear at the preparatory hearing (Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 230 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

8.5. Under Item 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 135 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the claim must contain the opinion of the claimant regarding the adoption of a decision in absentia, if the respondent does not submit his response to the stated claim or no preparatory procedural document is submitted (Item 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 135 of the Code of Civil Procedure), while under Item 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Paragraph 2 of Article 142, in the response to the stated claim the opinion of the respondent regarding the adoption of a decision in absentia, if the claimant does not submit the preparatory procedural documents.

8.6. In Article 286 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure, the compliance of Paragraph 1 of which with the Constitution is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, in this constitutional justice case, the requirements for the content of the decision in absentia are entrenched: such decision is composed of the introductory and operative parts and abridged reasoning (Paragraph 1); the introductory part of the decision, along with general requirements to this part of the decision, must specify that the decision has been adopted in absentia (Paragraph 2); together with the general requirements for operative part of the decision adopted in absentia, this part of the decision must indicate the terms and procedure for submitting an application for reviewing this decision (Paragraph 3).

8.7. Some elements of the institute of the adoption of a decision in absentia are entrenched in Article 246 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure. It provides:

1. When the claimant who has not been properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing fails to appear at the court hearing, and when he has no representative, the court shall postpone the consideration of the case. The consideration of the case is postponed also in the case when the claimant conducts his case through a representative, however, the claimant and his representative have failed to appear at the court hearing, when the representative of the claimant has not been properly notified about the place and time of the court hearing. The consideration of the case may be postponed at the request of the claimant or his representative if he, prior to the beginning of the court hearing, submits documents, justifying his absence, and if the court recognises the failure to appear as valid (as a rule, failure to appear due to sickness, vacation, business trip, participation of the representative of the party in other cases at law, other business and other similar cases are not regarded as valid reasons). In other cases the court, at the request of the respondent and under procedure established in this Code shall adopt a decision in absentia. Where the respondent does not request the adoption of a decision in absentia, the claim shall be left unconsidered by the court.

2. When the respondent who has not been properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing fails to appear at the court hearing, and when he has no representative, the court shall postpone the consideration of the case. The consideration of the case may be postponed also in the case when the respondent conducts his case through a representative, however, the respondent and his representative have failed to appear at the court hearing, when the representative of the claimant has not been properly notified about the place and time of the court hearing. The consideration of the case may be postponed at the request of the respondent or his representative if he, prior to the beginning of the court hearing, submits documents, justifying his absence, and if the court recognises the failure to appear as valid (as a rule, failure to appear due to sickness, vacation, business trip, participation of the representative of the party in other cases at law, other business and other similar cases are not regarded as valid reasons). In other cases the court, at the request of the claimant and under procedure established in this Code shall adopt a decision in absentia. Where the claimant does not request the adoption of a decision in absentia, the court shall have the right to postpone the consideration of the case or to consider the case on merits according to the general rules of the legal proceedings of disputes.

3. When postponing the consideration of the case, the court shall have the right to impose a fine of up to LTL 1000 upon the party which failed to appear, when laws establish a duty for the said party to participate at the court hearing or where the court recognises the participation of the party in the court hearing as necessary and that it is impossible to adopt a decision in absentia. When the representative of the party fails to appear at the court hearing without valid reasons and due to this the court postpones the consideration of the case, the court shall have the right to impose a fine of up to LTL 1000 upon him, as well as upon the head of the legal person because of whose fault the representative failed to appear at the court hearing.

4. If there are no data about the reasons of the failure of the parties to appear or if they fail to appear at the court hearing without valid reasons and if no requests were received from any of them to consider the case in their absence, the claim shall be left unconsidered by the court

5. The participation of the representative of the party who failed to appear at the court hearing shall be regarded as proper participation of the party, save the cases when the court recognises the personal participation of the party in the court hearing as necessary. If the court recognises that the participation of the party is necessary and the party fails to appear at the court hearing, the court shall adopt a decision in absentia.”

8.8. One should also mention the provision “the claim shall be left unconsidered by the court: <…> (5) if the respondent does not request the adoption of a decision in absentia in the case specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 246 of this Code” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 296 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

8.9. Articles 287, 288 and 289 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure regulate the relations linked with reviewing a court decision adopted in absentia and with a repeated adoption of a decision in absentia.

8.8.1. Article 287 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

1. The party which failed to appear at the court hearing shall have the right to submit the court that adopted the decision in absentia an application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia (hereinafter referred to as the application) within twenty days of the adoption of this decision.

2. The application must contain the following:

1) the title of the court that adopted the decision in absentia;

2) the name of the party which is submitting the application;

3) the circumstances testifying the validity of the reasons for the failure to appear at the court hearing and for the failure to inform the court prior to the court hearing, as well as the evidence substantiating these circumstances;

4) the circumstances which could be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision, as well as the evidence confirming these circumstances;

5) the request of the party which is submitting the application;

6) the list of material attached to the application;

7) the signature of the party submitting the request and the date of drawing up of the application.

3. The court is submitted with the number of copies of the application and of its attachments, which corresponds to the number of the other parties and the third persons.

4. The shortcomings of the application are removed under the established procedure for removal of shortcomings of a claim.

5. If an appeal and an application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia are lodged in the same case, the application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia must be considered first and the court ruling adopted in regard of this application must become effective.”

8.9.2. Article 288 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

1. After it has accepted the application, the court sends copies of the application and of its attachments to the parties and the third persons and informs them that within fourteen days of its sending the parties must, and the third persons have the right to, submit written responses to the application.

2. The court shall consider the submitted application according to the procedure of written proceedings within fourteen days of the day on which the term of submission of the response expires.

3. After it has considered the application, the court shall have the right:

1) not to grant the application;

2) to rescind the decision adopted in absentia and to renew the consideration of the case on merits.

4. After it has considered the application, the court shall repeal the decision adopted in absentia and shall renew the consideration of the case on merits, if it holds that the party failed to appear at the court hearing due to valid reasons about which it was unable duly to inform the court, while the evidence indicated in its application can be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia.

5. A copy of the ruling shall be sent to the parties and the third persons within three days of its adoption.

6. An individual complaint may be lodged as regards the ruling which refuses to grant the application.”

8.9.3. Article 289 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

1. If the court renews the consideration of the case on merits on the grounds provided for in Paragraph 4 of Article 288 of this Code, however, the party in whose regard the decision in absentia was adopted fails to appear at the court hearing without valid reasons, the court shall have the right to adopt a decision in absentia at the second time, provided that party was properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing.

2. In the case specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article, an application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia may not be lodged.”

In this context it needs to be mentioned that the stamp duty of LTL 50 is paid for an application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed (Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 80 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

8.10. The Code of Civil Procedure also consolidates prohibitions (limitations) on the adoption of decisions in absentia when cases of certain categories are considered.

8.10.1. The court has no right to adopt a decision in absentia when it considers cases under Articles 381–409 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Article 378 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure). In this context it needs to be mentioned that Articles 381–409 of the Code of Civil Procedure regulate the consideration of cases on the dissolution of a marriage or its recognition as invalid, separation of spouses, the establishment of fatherhood (motherhood), disputing fatherhood (motherhood), an limitation on parental power.

8.10.2. Paragraph 9 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 443 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that the court when it considers cases under special proceedings has no right to adopt a decision in absentia.

8.10.3. Under Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 430 of the Code of Civil Procedure, it is prohibited to adopt a decision in absentia in regard of the claimant in the documentary proceedings, if the claimant does not submit his response to objections of the respondent.

9. To sum up the legal regulation established in the cited articles (items, paragraphs thereof) of the Code of Civil Procedure, it should be held that the adoption of a decision in absentia, if compared with the adoption of other decisions in a civil case, has certain peculiarities. These peculiarities are linked with, inter alia, the conditions and content of the decision, with the assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, as well as with the reviewing of and appealing against such decision.

10. Strict conditions for the adoption of a decision in absentia are established in the Code of Civil Procedure. It needs to be emphasised that such a decision can be adopted only when there are all the conditions provided for, i.e. the entirety of certain conditions provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure.

10.1. A decision may be adopted in absentia when one of the parties to the proceedings fails to appear:

when one of the parties, which has been properly notified about the time and place of the court hearing, fails to appear;

when no request to postpone the consideration of the case was received from the party which failed to appear, wherein the reasons of the failure to appear would be indicated and substantiated, which would be recognised by the court as valid;

when the party which is present requests the adoption of a decision in absentia.

In this context, it should be noted that, under the Code of Civil Procedure, the participation of the representative of the party which failed to appear at the court hearing is regarded as proper participation of the party, save the cases when the court recognises that the personal participation of the party is necessary; if the court recognises that the participation of the party is necessary, but it fails to appear at the court hearing, the court adopts the decision in absentia.

10.2. In addition, a decision may be adopted in absentia, if:

the respondent did not submit his response to the claim within the established term or the claimant did not submit the preparatory procedural documents within the established term;

there are no valid reasons of the failure to submit the response to the claim or to submit the preparatory procedural documents;

there is a request (opinion) of the claimant or the respondent to adopt the decision in absentia.

10.3. It needs to be specially emphasised that the Code of Civil Procedure consolidates the legal regulation whereby even in the case that there are all the conditions for the adoption of a decision in absentia, the court, when following, inter alia, the principles of justice and reasonableness, has the powers to decide whether to adopt the decision in absentia, or not to adopt such decision.

11. Certain peculiarities of the assessment of the evidence submitted in the case as well as peculiarities related to the content of a decision adopted in absentia are also characteristic of the adoption of such decision, as a specific institute of civil procedure law:

to adopt a decision in absentia, the court must decide whether in case the content of the submitted evidence is confirmed there would be grounds for the adoption of such a decision; if the court is convinced that in case the content of the submitted evidence is confirmed there would be grounds for the adoption of a decision in absentia; such conviction of the court is referred to in the Code of Civil Procedure as “a formal assessment of the submitted evidence”;

the decision adopted in absentia is composed of the introductory and operative parts as well as abridged reasoning;

the decision with regard to the respondent who failed to appear may be adopted in absentia only as regards the demands of the claim about which the respondent was informed under the procedure established in the Code of Civil Procedure.

12. Still other peculiarities of the adoption of a decision in absentia as a specific institute of civil procedure law are related to the reviewing of and appealing against such decision; these peculiarities are determined by the objectives, essence and nature of this institute.

The party which failed to appear and in whose respect the decision in absentia was adopted has the right to submit, within twenty days of the day of the adoption of the decision, an application to the court that adopted the said decision requesting that the decision adopted in absentia be reviewed, however, it cannot appeal against this decision either under appeal, or cassation procedure. Such application of the party which failed to appear is considered in court under the procedure of written proceedings. Having considered the application, the court enjoys the powers to repeal the decision adopted in absentia and to renew the consideration of the case on merits only in the case when it holds that there is a whole of certain conditions (circumstances) provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure, namely, that the party failed to appear at the court hearing due to valid reasons, that the party that failed to appear at the court hearing could not inform the court due to valid reasons and that the evidence indicated in the application of the party could be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia. Having held that at least one of the aforementioned circumstances is absent, the court has no powers to repeal the decision adopted in absentia.

It also needs to be noted that if the court, having renewed the consideration of the case on merits, adopted a decision in absentia at the second time, an application on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia cannot be lodged.

13. When deciding, subsequent to the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, whether the impugned-by-the-petitioner articles (parts thereof) of the Code of Civil Procedure consolidating individual aspects of the adoption of a decision in absentia as a specific institute of procedural law, are not in conflict with the Constitution, it needs to be noted that, in general, no prohibition arises from the Constitution to establish the legal regulation of civil procedure whereby in cases when a party to the proceedings withdraws from the participation in the consideration of the civil case of its own will and refuses to cooperate in the consideration of the case, the court would enjoy the powers to consider the civil case and adopt a decision also when the party to the proceedings has withdrawn of its own will and which does not cooperate with the court. Quite to the contrary, the civil procedure must be regulated by law so that no preconditions would be created for procrastination of the consideration of cases, of adoption and execution of decisions, thus, the participants to the civil process (including the parties to the process) would be prevented from abusing their procedural and other rights, and the rights of, inter alia, the party to the process which participates in the consideration of the civil case in good faith would not be violated. By means of the adoption of a decision in absentia one precisely seeks, along with other objectives, to prevent the procrastination of the civil process and not to permit the parties to the process to abuse their procedural rights. Therefore, in itself, such an institute should not be regarded as anti-constitutional: by means of such institute constitutionally grounded objectives are sought.

14. Alongside, it needs to be noted that the legislature, when regulating corresponding relations by means of the law, must heed the Constitution, inter alia, the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, equality of rights, public and fair consideration of the case, impartiality and independence of judges. One must establish the legal regulation in laws whereby the jurisdictional institutions and other institutions which apply law would be independent, impartial, that they would seek to establish the substantive truth in the case and adopt all decisions on the grounds of law, that the constitutional right of the person to due process of law, which is derived from, inter alia, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and which is inseparably related with it, would be heeded.

Thus, under the Constitution, the relations of civil procedure must be regulated by means of the law so that the legal preconditions would be created for the court to investigate all circumstances important to the case and to adopt a just decision in the case. And, on the other hand, it is not permitted to establish any such legal regulation which would not permit the court, after it takes account of all important circumstances of the case and by following law, without transgressing the imperatives of justice and reasonableness which arise from the Constitution, to adopt a just decision in the case and, thus, to administer justice. Otherwise, the powers of the court to administer justice, which arise from, inter alia, Article 109 of the Constitution, would be limited or even denied, and one would deviate from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

15. Under the Constitution, when the relations of civil procedure are regulated, the right of a party to the proceedings the participate in the consideration of the case directly or through a representative cannot be denied, either, providing it itself has not self-removed from such participation. The party to the proceedings must be properly notified about the consideration of the case, while the court, at the beginning of the consideration of the case, must ascertain whether it has been informed about any valid reasons due to which the party to the proceedings is not participating (it has not submitted its position in writing as regards the dispute, it does not request the prolongation of the term for submission of its position, it fails to appear at the court sitting, etc.).

The constitutional obligation of the court to solve the case justly implies that if the court thinks that if after one party to the proceedings has self-removed from participating in the consideration of the case, it will not be able to consider that case justly, nor to adopt a just decision, it must resort to all possible measures so that the participation of such party in the consideration of the case is ensured.

16. It also needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, the legal regulation of the relations of civil procedure must be such so that the participants, which have the same legal status, to the proceedings would be treated equally. Thus, they should have the same rights and duties, unless there are the differences between them of such a character and extent that the unequal treatment would be objectively justified. Otherwise, one would deviate from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and equality of persons.

17. The Constitution also implies certain requirements which must be heeded by the legislature when it regulates appealing against court decisions adopted after the case is considered.

For instance, in its ruling of 16 January 2006 the Constitutional Court held that under the Constitution a legal regulation must be established by means of a law, whereby one would be able to lodge an appeal with at least a court of higher instance against a final act of the specialised court of first instance established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that when the relations of civil procedure are regulated by means of a law, also the legal regulation must be established whereby one would be able to lodge an appeal with at least one court of higher instance against any final act which was adopted in a case by a court of first instance. It needs to be emphasised that the law must establish not only the right of the party to the proceedings to lodge an appeal with at least one court of higher instance against any final act which was adopted in a case by a court of first instance, but also it must establish a procedure of such appeal, which would permit the correction of possible mistakes made by the court of first instance. Otherwise, one would deviate from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and the constitutional right of the person to due process of law would be violated.

Alongside, it needs to be noted that the Constitution does not prevent regulating the civil procedure so that no legal preconditions are created, which could permit the parties to the proceedings to abuse their right to appeal against a decision adopted in their case and, thus, to procrastinate the proceedings.

18. Under the Code of Civil Procedure, the courts must heed the principles and norms of civil procedure law. It needs be underlined that this duty of the court may not be interpreted as permitting one to raise the principles and norms of civil procedure law or those of civil law above the principles and norms of the Constitution, or as permitting one to construe the principles and norms of civil procedure law or those of civil law so that the meaning of the provisions of the Constitution would be distorted or ignored.

19. While deciding whether Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision, is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that this provision should be construed not only verbatim, but also by taking account of the objectives, essence and nature of the specific institute of the adoption of a decision in absentia, which are related with the adoption of a decision in absentia, as well as by taking account of the overall legal regulation in the Code of Civil Procedure and of the principles and objectives of the civil procedure.

19.1. Thus, it is not permitted to construe the provision “the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure cannot be construed as it, purportedly, means that the court need not comprehensively investigate the evidence submitted in the case, that it can investigate it only superficially and without going deep into the evidence. Nor can this provision be construed as obligating the court to adopt a decision in absentia even in the case when, in its opinion, there are not enough evidence in the case in order to adopt a just decision in that case.

In this context it needs to be mentioned that, as held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, the constitutional concept of justice implies not only a formal and nominal justice administered by a court, but, and, most importantly, such court decisions (other final court acts), which in their content are not unjust, also that the justice administered by a court only formally is not the justice which is entrenched in and protected and defended by the Constitution.

It has been mentioned that even in the case when there are all conditions provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure in order to adopt a decision in absentia, a court, while following, inter alia, the principles of justice and reasonableness, has the powers to decide whether to adopt the decision in absentia, or not to adopt such a decision.

When the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is understood in such a way, the provision “the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision” of the said paragraph does not violate the constitutional right of the person to due process of law, it does not limit, nor does it deny the empowerments of the court to administer justice, which arise from the Constitution, inter alia, Article 109 thereof, nor does one deviate from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution that administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania and from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

19.2. In this context, it should also be mentioned that, under the Code of Civil Procedure, it is not impossible to review the court decision adopted in absentia, when a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case is conducted.

19.3. It needs to be noted that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure is applicable to all parties to the proceedings, whose dispute is settled in the civil case by way of the adoption of a decision in absentia. Thus, such legal regulation neither discriminates nor grants privileges to any persons who have the same legal status, thus, the principle of the equality of persons entrenched, inter alia, in Article 29 of the Constitution is not deviated from.

19.4. The provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regulates the relations of a different character than those regulated in Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution. Thus, the legal regulation established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure does not violate the principle of publicity of consideration of cases, which is entrenched in, inter alia, Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution.

20. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it provides that “the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision” is not in conflict with Articles 29 and 109, Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

21. While deciding whether Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 107 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that although the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requests an investigation into whether entire Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not in conflict with the Constitution, it is clear from the arguments of the petition that the petitioner doubts only whether the provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure that abridged reasoning is set forth in the decision adopted in absentia is not in conflict with the Constitution.

22. While deciding whether the provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure that abridged reasoning is set forth in the decision adopted in absentia is not in conflict with Articles 209, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it should be held that this provision may not be construed as meaning that, purportedly, in a decision adopted in absentia the court does not have to enumerate all the arguments (reasoning) substantiating it. It does not deny the duty of the court to point out as much reasoning as it would be enough for substantiating the adopted decision, while the formula “abridged reasoning” of this provision includes only the minimum of the reasoning which is necessary in order to substantiate the decision adopted in absentia.

When the legal regulation established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure is understood in such a way, it needs to be held that the provision that abridged reasoning is set forth in a decision adopted in absentia does not violate the constitutional right of the person to due process of law, it does not limit, nor does it deny the empowerments of the court to administer justice, which arise from the Constitution, inter alia, Article 109 thereof, nor does it deviate from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution that administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania and from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

23. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure that abridged reasoning is set forth in the decision adopted in absentia is not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution as well as the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

24. While deciding whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not in conflict with Articles 209, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, it needs to be noted that under Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the party in whose regard a decision in absentia was adopted is prohibited from appealing against this decision either under appeal procedure, or under cassation procedure.

24.1. This legal regulation should be construed in the context of other provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, inter alia, those designed for the grounds and procedure of renewal of the proceedings, as well as those designed for reviewing a decision adopted in absentia.

As mentioned before, under the Code of Civil Procedure, it is not impossible to review the court decision adopted in absentia, when a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case is conducted. For instance, under Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure, after it has considered the application on reviewing a decision adopted in absentia, the court shall rescind the decision adopted in absentia and shall renew the consideration of the case on merits only if it holds that the party failed to appear at the court hearing due to valid reasons about which it was unable duly to inform the court, while the evidence indicated in its application can be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia. Thus, in general, the court may repeal a decision adopted in absentia and it may renew the consideration of the case on merits; however, first, it must assess the reasons of the failure of the party to appear at the court hearing in which the decision in absentia was adopted and, second, after it has recognised them as valid ones, it must assess and hold that the evidence indicated in its application can be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia. It needs to be noted that the court may repeal the decision adopted in absentia and renew the consideration of the case on merits only if there are both said conditions. Thus, if the court recognises that the reasons of the failure of the party to appear at the court hearing in which the decision in absentia was adopted as not valid ones, then even if it holds that the evidence indicated in its application can be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia, it enjoys no powers to renew the consideration of the case on merits.

24.2. It needs to be noted that when one takes account of the objectives, essence and nature of the adoption of a decision in absentia as a specific institute of civil procedure law, and especially of the fact that by means of such institute one seeks to prevent procrastination of the proceedings and the situations when the parties abuse their rights and to create legal preconditions for, inter alia, the protection of the rights and legitimate interests of the honest party to the proceedings, certain limitations on reviewing the decision adopted in absentia are possible. Such limitations may be justifiable when a party to the proceedings withdraws from the participation in the consideration of the civil case of its own will and when the court that is considering whether to review a decision adopted in absentia is not submitted with the evidence confirming that the decision adopted by the court is clearly unjust.

However, also such legal situations are possible where a court, which is deciding whether to review a decision adopted in absentia, is submitted such evidence, which confirms that that decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person were clearly violated. However, under Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court, if it has recognised that the reasons of the failure of the party to the proceedings to appear at the court hearing were not valid, has not any powers in any case to rectify the mistake made by the court, nor to defend the violated rights of the persons, nor to administer justice.

24.3. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, under the Constitution, the relations of civil procedure must be regulated by means of the law so that the legal preconditions would be created for the court to investigate all circumstances important to the case and to adopt a just decision in the case and that it is not permitted to establish any such legal regulation which would not permit the court, after it takes account of all important circumstances of the case and by following law, without transgressing the imperatives of justice and reasonableness which arise from the Constitution, to adopt a just decision in the case and, thus, to administer justice. It was also held that, otherwise, the powers of the court to administer justice, which arise from, inter alia, Article 109 of the Constitution, would be limited or even denied, and one would deviate from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

The legal regulation established in Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure disregards the said constitutional imperatives.

24.4. In this context it needs to be mentioned that an individual complaint can be lodged against a ruling of the court of first instance, which refuses to grant the application requesting that the decision adopted in absentia be reviewed (Paragraph 6 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Such appeal is lodged with the court of appeal instance separately from the court decision (Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 334 of the Code of Civil Procedure). However, also the court of appeal instance, when it decides whether to grant the individual complaint, must, inter alia, follow the provisions regarding repeal of a decision adopted in absentia, which are consolidated in Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure, i.e. if it has recognised that the reasons due to which the party to the proceedings failed to appear at the court hearing were not valid, it has no powers to repeal the ruling of the court of first instance which had refused to grant the application regarding reviewing the decision adopted in absentia even in the cases when the court is submitted the evidence that confirms that the said decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person had been clearly violated.

24.5. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that the court is not permitted to review a decision adopted in absentia also in such cases when the court is submitted the evidence that confirms that the said decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person had been clearly violated is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

25. As mentioned before, under Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 289 of the Code of Civil Procedure, no application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed may be lodged, which was adopted after the court had renewed the consideration of the case on merits under already indicated grounds provided for in Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

25.1. Thus, preconditions are created also for such legal situations where even when there are the grounds for repealing a decision adopted in absentia, which are established in Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure, i.e. when the party failed to appear at the court hearing due to valid reasons about which it was unable to duly inform the court, while the evidence indicated in its application can be influential to the lawfulness and reasonableness of the decision adopted in absentia, the repeat court decision adopted in absentia may not be repealed, nor an application may be lodged requesting that the decision adopted in absentia be reviewed. Thus, neither does the court enjoy the powers to review such a decision adopted in absentia, in which evident mistakes by the court were made, nor can it adopt a just decision in the case while following law and the principles of justice and reasonableness which arise from the Constitution. Thus, the powers of the court to administer justice which stem from the Constitution, inter alia, Article 109 thereof, are denied and one deviates from the constitutional concept of the court as the institution which administers justice in the name of the Republic of Lithuania as well as from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

25.2. On the grounds of the arguments on the grounds of which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that the court is not permitted to review a decision adopted in absentia also in such cases when the court is submitted the evidence that confirms that the said decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person had been clearly violated is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it should also be held that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 289 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that it provides that an application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed also in such cases when the court is submitted such evidence that confirms that the decision was clearly unjust deviates from the aforesaid imperatives as well.

25.3. Taking account of the arguments set forth, it should be held that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 289 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent the court is not permitted to accept an application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed also in such cases when the court is submitted such evidence whereby a clear mistake was made by the court in adopting the decision in absentia, also when the court is submitted such evidence that confirms that the decision was clearly unjust, is in conflict with Article 109 the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

26. While deciding whether Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not in conflict with Articles 29, 109 and 117 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, one should also take account of how the Code of Civil Procedure regulates the renewal of the proceedings.

26.1. Article 365 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

1. The proceedings in the case which was finished by an effective court decision (ruling) may be renewed according to the grounds and procedure established in this Chapter. The parties and third persons as well as persons not included into the consideration of the case may file a request to renew the proceedings, if the effective decision or ruling violates their rights or the interests which are protected by law.

2. Under procedure established in this Chapter, seeking to defend the public interest, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania may file requests on renewal of the proceedings.”

26.2. Article 366 (wording of 28 February 2002) of the Code of Civil Procedure provides:

1. The proceedings may be renewed, if there are the following grounds:

1) after the European Court of Human Rights has recognised that decisions or rulings of courts of the Republic of Lithuania in civil cases are in conflict with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and/or its additional Protocols a Party to which is the Republic of Lithuania;

2) new and essential circumstances of the case have come to light, which were not and could not be known to the petitioner at the time of the consideration of the case;

3) by an effective court judgment knowingly deceitful explanations of a party or of the third person and the testimony of the witness, a knowingly deceitful conclusion of the expert, a knowingly incorrect translation, forgery of documents or physical evidence are established, due to which an unlawful or unreasonable decision was adopted;

4) by an effective court judgment criminal deeds of the persons participating in the case or of other persons or judges are established, which were committed in the course of the consideration of the case;

5) a court decision, judgment or another state or municipal act of an individual character, which served as the grounds for the adoption of that decision or ruling, is repealed as unlawful or groundless;

6) if one of the parties was legally incapable at the time of the proceedings and it was not represented by a legal representative;

7) if in the decision the court decided on the rights or duties of the persons who have not been included in the consideration of the case;

8) if the case was considered by a court of unlawful composition;

9) if a clear mistake of application of a legal norm was made in the decision (ruling) of the court of first instance and the decision (ruling) was not reviewed under appeal procedure. The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania shall also have the right to lodge requests to renew the proceedings according to the grounds provided for in this Item also as regards the court decisions (rulings) which have not been reviewed under appeal procedure.

2. In the cases provided for in Items 6 and 8 of Paragraph 1 of this Article, the proceedings shall not be renewed, if the person who has lodged the request was able to invoke these grounds in the appeal or the cassation appeal.

3. The request to renew the proceedings is not permitted on issues of effective court decisions on recognition of a marriage as invalid or those of dissolution of a marriage in cases when at least one of the party after the entry of this decision into effect concluded a new marriage or registered a new partnership.”

26.3. Having renewed the consideration of the case, the court repeatedly considers the case according to the general rules of the Code of Civil Procedure, however, without overstepping the limits defined by the grounds of renewal of the proceedings; if at the time of the court hearing in which the proceedings have been renewed it becomes clear that additional preparation for consideration of the case in court is not necessary, the court, with the assent of the persons participating in the case, begins the consideration of the case on merits (Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 370 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

Under Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 371 of the Code of Civil Procedure, after it has considered the case, the court shall have the right: to reject the request on amendment of the court decision (ruling) or its repeal (Item 1); to amend the court decision or ruling (Item 2); to repeal the court decision (ruling) and adopt a new decision (ruling) (Item 3).

The court decision (ruling) adopted after the court renewed the proceedings and after it considered the case may be appealed against at the court of higher instance.

27. Thus, Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, establish the legal regulation which, when construed together with the legal regulation designed for renewal of the proceedings, which is entrenched in the Code of Civil Procedure, means that the prohibition entrenched in the said paragraphs to the party in whose regard the decision was adopted in absentia to appeal against this decision either under the appeal procedure or the cassation procedure cannot be treated as that which, in itself, prevents such party to the proceedings from appealing against the court decision adopted in absentia, also at the court of higher instance, by making use of the institute of renewal of the proceedings.

27.1. Such legal regulation should not be regarded as violating the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, nor as limiting the constitutional powers of the court to administer justice only when one takes account of the fact that this ruling of the Constitutional Court:

has recognised that Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent that the court is not permitted to review a decision adopted in absentia also in such cases when the court is submitted the evidence that confirms that the said decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person had been clearly violated is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice;

has recognised that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 289 of the Code of Civil Procedure to the extent the court is not permitted to accept an application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed also in such cases when the court is submitted such evidence whereby a clear mistake was made by the court in adopting the decision in absentia, also when the court is submitted such evidence that confirms that the decision was clearly unjust is in conflict with Article 109 the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

27.2. Alongside, it needs to be held that the legal regulation established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, is applicable to all parties of the proceedings whose dispute is settled by adopting a decision in absentia in the case, and such legal regulation neither discriminates nor grants privileges to any persons who have the same legal status, thus, the principle of the equality of persons entrenched, inter alia, in Article 29 of the Constitution is not deviated from, either.

27.3. It also needs to be held that the provisions of Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which are impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regulate the relations of a different character than those regulated in Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution. Thus, the legal regulation established in Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure do not violate the principle of publicity of consideration of cases in courts, which is entrenched, inter alia, in Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution.

28. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusion should be drawn that Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 285 and Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure are not in conflict with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, Articles 29 and 109 and Paragraph 1 of Article 117 of the Constitution.

VIII

On the compliance of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 and the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 to the extent that it prescribes that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court, with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

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

the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law;

the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 to the extent that it prescribes that Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, is appointed Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court is not in conflict with Article 5 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. The 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

Article 1.

Conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, I shall prolong the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the same division, until he reaches the age of 70.

Article 2.

This decree shall come into force as from the day of its signing.”

The 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic, which is impugned by the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, provides:

Article 1

Conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, I shall appoint:

The judge Konstantas Ramelis of the Vilnius Regional Court the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court <…>.

Article 2.

This decree shall come into force as from 26 June 2003.”

3. The doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, as regards the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution are substantiated by the fact that, in the opinion of the petitioner, K. Ramelis was granted the powers of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court when the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2015) “On Submitting that the Seimas Assent to the Appointment of A. Driukas and K. Ramelis as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 10 January 2003 was in force, Article 1 of which submitted that the Seimas assent, inter alia, to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and when the Seimas Resolution (No. IX-1323) “On the Assent to Appointment of a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 28 January 2003 was in force, by Article 1 it was resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, thus, the will of two state power institutions—the Seimas and the President of the Republic himself—was disregarded.

4. In the course of elucidation of the content of the legal regulation established in the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic President and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic subsequent to the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, it is necessary to elucidate not only the circumstances related with the assent of the Seimas to the appointment of K. Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania and granting him the powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court, but also the legal regulation established in laws upon which the corresponding decisions of the President of the Republic and/or the Seimas were grounded, as well as changes in that legal regulation.

5. Under Paragraph 4 of Article 112 of the Constitution, judges and presidents of, inter alia, regional courts shall be appointed, and their places of work shall be changed by the President of the Republic, while under Paragraph 5 of the same article, a special institution of judges provided for by law shall advise the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges, or their release from office.

Under Item 11 (wording of 25 October 1992) of Article 84 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic shall appoint judges of the Court of Appeal, and from among them, provided the Seimas gives assent to their candidatures, the President of the Court of Appeal; the President of the Republic shall appoint judges and presidents of, inter alia, regional courts, and change their places of work and in cases provided for by law, and shall submit that the Seimas release judges from office.

At the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, Item 11 of Article 84 of the Constitution is set forth in the wording of 20 March 2003 (which is in force from 21 April 2003), however, the aforesaid provisions persisted in it and their content remained unchanged.

6. It was established, inter alia, in Paragraph 2 (wording of 8 November 1994) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts that the judges of regional courts shall be appointed by the President of the Republic upon submission by the Minister of Justice and upon the advice of the Judicial Council, while it was established, inter alia, in Paragraph 4 (wording of 31 May 1994) of the same paragraph that the chairpersons of divisions of regional courts shall be appointed by the Minister of Justice upon proposal of the president of the corresponding court.

Under Paragraph 2 (wording of 31 May 1994) of Article 36 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, judges of regional courts were appointed until they reach the age of 65.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements made by the Law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 20 October 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 November 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 December 1994) did not provide for the term (expiry) of the powers of chairpersons of divisions of regional courts.

It was established in Article 30 (wording of 31 May 1994) of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements made by the Law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 20 October 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 November 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 December 1994) that the Judicial Council shall advise the President of the Republic regarding the appointment, promotion, transfer or release from office of judges (Paragraph 1), it established the composition of the Judicial Council (Paragraph 2), also that the Judicial Council shall elect the President and the Secretary from among its members (Paragraph 3).

7. By his application of 14 December 1994, the then judge and President of the Švenčionys District Local Court K. Ramelis applied to the Minister of Justice requesting that he be entered on the list of candidates to judges of the Vilnius Regional Court.

8. By his Decree (No. 472) “On the Appointment of Judges of Regional Courts” of 19 December 1994, conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution and taking account of the presentation by the Minister of Justice, the President of the Republic appointed, inter alia, Konstantas Ramelis a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court (in the decree a different name of the said person is indicated—Konstantinas). It was indicated in the said decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania that it shall come into force “as from the day of its signing”.

9. It needs to be held that under the then legal regulation, the powers of K. Ramelis as a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, if he had not been removed from office earlier on the grounds established in Article 115 of the Constitution, had to expire on 12 March 2003, when he reached the age of 65.

10. It also needs to be held that at the time when the legal acts related with the appointment of K. Ramelis as a judge of the regional court, the Judicial Council, i.e. a special institution of judges provided for by law and specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, which advises the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges, or their release from office, was not formed: it convened to the first sitting on 10 February 1995.

It needs to be noted that after the entry in force of the Constitution, the system of courts was not reformed for some time yet. In 1995–1995, in the course of reforming the system of courts, along with establishing the Court of Appeal of Lithuania and regional courts which had to start their functioning from 1995, until the Judicial Council was formed, all judges of courts of the Republic of Lithuania were appointed, promoted, transferred and released from office without the advice of the special institution of judges provided for by law and specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, which, as mentioned before, was not formed at that time.

It needs to be noted that the fact that at the time when the system of courts was being reformed judges were appointed without the advice of the special institution of judges provided for by law and specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution does not at all mean that solely on these grounds it is possible to question the powers of judges, who were appointed at that time.

11. In the constitutional justice case of 21 December 1999, subsequent to the petition of a group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Articles 14, 251, 26, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40, 51, 56, 58, 59, 66, 69, 691, and 73 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts were in conformity with Part 2 of Article 5, Item 11 of Article 84, Part 2 of Article 109, Article 112 and Part 1 of Article 114 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the compliance of Articles 14, 251, 26, 30, 33, 34, 36, 40, 51, 56, 58, 59, 66, 69, 691, and 73 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” whereby it recognised, inter alia, that Paragraph 2 of Article 33 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts in the scope whereby the proposal of the Minister of Justice regarding appointment of judges of district and regional courts, Paragraph 3 of Article 33 of the same law in the scope whereby the proposal of the Minister of Justice regarding appointment of chairpersons of district and regional courts, Paragraph 2 of Article 34 of the same law in the scope whereby the proposal of the Minister of Justice regarding appointment of judges of the Court of Appeal and its Chairperson from among them, Paragraph 5 of Article 56 of the same law in the scope whereby the proposal of the Minister of Justice regarding the release of the Chairperson and other judges of the Court of Appeal from office, Paragraph 7 of Article 56 of the same law in the scope whereby the proposal of the Minister of Justice regarding the release of chairpersons and other judges of other courts from office is established, contradicted Paragraph 2 of Article 5, Item 11 of Article 84, Paragraph 2 of Article 109 and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution.

It needs to be held that Paragraph 2 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts, which was ruled by the said Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999 to be in conflict with the Constitution, is Paragraph 2 (wording of 8 November 1994) of Article 33 of the said law.

It needs to be noted that it does not at all mean that solely on these grounds it is possible to question the powers of judges, who were appointed at that time.

12. By his Order (No. 542K) “On Appointing the Chairperson of a Division of the Vilnius Regional Court” of 20 December 1994, the Minister of Justice, “while following Paragraph 4 of Article 6 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, the Establishment of the Territories of the Activities of Regional and Local Courts and on the Reform of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania’ and taking account of the submission by the President of the Vilnius Regional Court” appointed K. Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court (Item 1). This order of the Minister of Justice came into force on 1 January 1995 (Item 2).

13. It needs to be held that under the then legislative regulation the powers of K. Ramelis as the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court had to expire on 12 March 2003, when he reached the age of 65, provided he had not been released from office under the grounds established in laws.

14. By the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999 it was recognised, inter alia, that Paragraph 4 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts in the scope whereby deputy chairpersons or court division chairpersons shall be appointed by the Minister of Justice was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 109 and Paragraph 3 of Article 112 of the Constitution.

It needs to be held that Paragraph 4 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts which was ruled by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999 to be in conflict with the Constitution was Paragraph 4 (wording of 10 June 1997) of Article 33 of the said law. It also needs to be held that the provisions of Paragraph 4 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts which was ruled by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999 to be in conflict with the Constitution had been set forth also in the previous wording (i.e. that of 31 May 1994) of Paragraph 4 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts, which was in force at the time when said order No. 524K of 20 December 1994 was issued.

It needs to be noted that this does not at all mean that solely on these grounds it is possible to question the powers of corresponding vice-presidents of courts or chairpersons of divisions of courts, who were appointed at that time.

15. The Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements made by the Law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 20 October 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 November 1994, the Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” adopted by the Seimas on 8 December 1994) was amended and/or supplemented by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Amending the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts”, which was adopted by the Seimas on 14 February 1995, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Amending Article 51 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts”, which was adopted by the Seimas on 21 March 1995, and the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts, which was adopted by the Seimas on 18 June 1995.

16. By means of the last of the aforesaid laws (Article 3 thereof), which came into force on 26 June 1996, Article 33 (wording of 31 May 1994) of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was supplemented with, inter alia, Paragraph 6, which provided, inter alia, that presidents of regional courts and chairpersons of court divisions shall be appointed for 7 years.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that after the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts had been adopted, it was not established expressis verbis whether Paragraph 6 (wording of 18 June 1996) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts had to be applied only to the persons who were going to be appointed chairpersons of regional court divisions, or also to those chairpersons of regional court divisions who had been appointed under the formerly valid provisions of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and were holding that office at the time when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force. As mentioned before, the length (end) of the powers of chairpersons of regional court divisions had not been established in the Law on Courts of previous wording.

Such legal regulation, if it is also assessed in the context of the former legal regulation, is unclear and ambiguous. It needs to be underlined that, under the Constitution, the length of powers of chairpersons of regional court divisions must be clear already when the corresponding judge of a regional court is appointed chairperson of a regional court division. In addition, all decisions on appointing or releasing (also before the expiry of his powers) the chairperson of a regional court division may be made by means of only one type of legal acts—a decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania, issued under laws upon the advice of the special institution of judges provided for in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, i.e. by an act of application of law (laws) and this cannot be done by any other legal act—neither individual nor normative one—issued by any other institution.

Thus, after the President of the Republic has appointed a person the chairperson of a regional court division, the length of his powers may be neither prolonged, nor shortened by any legal act, even by means of a law passed by the Seimas, since, under the Constitution, appointing and releasing the chairperson of a regional court division is within exclusive competence of the President of the Republic.

As mentioned before, under Paragraph 4 (wording of 31 May 1994) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts, the chairpersons of divisions of regional courts were appointed from among appointed judges by the Minister of Justice upon proposal of the chairperson of a corresponding court. It was also mentioned that by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999, Paragraph 4 (wording of 10 June 1997) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts, in which (as well as in the previous wording (that of 31 May 1994) of Paragraph 4 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts it was established, inter alia, that chairpersons of regional court divisions shall be appointed by the Minister of Justice, was, inter alia, ruled to this extent to be in conflict with the Constitution.

The fact that, under the then valid legal regulation, although later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution, the Minister of Justice (but not the President of the Republic, as required by the Constitution) used to appoint chairpersons of regional court divisions upon proposal of presidents of corresponding courts, does not at all mean that, after the Minister of Justice had appointed a person the chairperson of a regional court division under the laws valid at that time, the length of his powers could, purportedly, be prolonged or shortened by means of certain legal acts passed by the Seimas, for example, by means of a law. Therefore, the length of powers of previously appointed chairpersons of regional court divisions could be neither prolonged nor shortened by the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts as well—it could be established anew only by means of decrees of the President of the Republic issued upon the advice of the Judicial Council that acted then under the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements), provided the laws established, while heeding the Constitution, the grounds of establishment such length of powers.

It is clear from the case material that the following practice came into being: there was universal unquestioned opinion that the chairpersons of regional court divisions who had been appointed under previously valid provisions of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and were holding this office at the time when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force, the length of powers used to be counted anew, i.e. from 26 June 1996, when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force.

On the other hand, when heeding the Constitution, inter alia, the provisions consolidating the independence of judges, the constitutional principles of protection of legitimate expectations, legal certainty and security, of the separation of powers and other provisions of the Constitution, it is impossible to construe the legal regulation established in Paragraph 6 (wording of 18 June 1996) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts as the one permitting to count the term of powers of the chairpersons of regional court divisions who had been appointed under the previously valid provisions of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and who were holding this office at the time when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force, i.e. from the date of 26 June 1996 so that the said term of powers was shorter than 7 years, i.e. the term specified in Paragraph 6 (wording of 18 June 1996) of Article 33 of the Law on Courts.

17. Thus, if counted in this manner, also the term of powers of the then Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis had to be over on 26 June 2003, provided he had not been released from office on other grounds established in laws.

Alongside, it needs to be held that, as held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, under the then legal regulation, the powers of K. Ramelis as a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court, and those of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court, provided he had not been removed from office earlier on the grounds established in laws, also provided he had not been removed from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court earlier on the grounds established in Article 115 of the Constitution, had to expire on 12 March 2003, when he reached the age of 65.

18. Later, the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was amended and supplemented more than once.

In addition, certain articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) were ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 December 1999.

19. On 24 January 2002, the Seimas adopted the Law on Amending the Law on Courts by Article 1 whereof it amended the Law on Courts and set it forth in a new wording. The Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002) came into force on 1 May 2002.

Later, the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002) was amended and supplemented more than once.

In addition, certain articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements) were ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006.

20. Under Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 74 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, the chairperson of a regional court division is appointed for five years.

On 14 March 2002, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, which came into force on 27 March 2002, in Paragraph 1 of Article 6 whereof it was prescribed that until the entry into force of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts the appointed presidents, deputy presidents, chairpersons of divisions of courts of general jurisdiction and specialised courts hold their office until the end of the term of office for which they were appointed.

It was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that after the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts, which had been adopted by the Seimas on 18 June 1996, came into force on 26 June 1996, by which it was established, inter alia, that presidents of regional courts and chairpersons of court divisions shall be appointed for 7 years (Paragraph 6 of Article 33 of the Law on Courts (wording of 18 June 1996)), the practice came into being whereby the chairpersons of regional court divisions who had been appointed under previously valid provisions of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and were holding this office at the time when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force, the length of powers used to be counted anew, i.e. from 26 June 1996, when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force.

Thus, the term of powers of the chairpersons of regional court divisions who had been appointed under the previously valid provisions of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and supplements) and were holding this office at the time when the Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 33, 34, 35, 56, and 59 of the Law on Courts came into force, was not changed by the Law on Courts of the new wording (24 January 2002)—the expiry of the term of such powers remained on 26 June 2003.

21. Thus, the term of powers of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis, provided he had not been removed from office earlier on the grounds established in laws, also provided he had not been removed from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court earlier on the grounds established in Article 115 of the Constitution, was not reduced—the expiry of his term of powers continued to be the date of 12 March 2003, when he reached the age of 65.

22. Under the Law on Courts of the new wording (24 January 2002), the special institution of judges provided for by law and specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution was the Council of Courts.

As mentioned before, it was established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts that the Council of Courts shall be composed of 24 members—by virtue of their office (ex officio)—the President of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, the President of the Supreme Administrative Court, an authorised representative of the President of the Republic, an authorised representative of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Seimas, the Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson of the Committee of Budget and Finances of the Seimas, the Minister of Justice or the Vice Minister authorised by him, the Minister of Finance or the Vice Minister of Finance authorised by him (Item 1); judges elected by the General Meeting of Judges: one from the Supreme Court, one from the Court of Appeal, one from the Supreme Administrative Court, one from each of the five regional courts, one from each local court within the territory of each regional court, and one from all regional administrative courts; the candidatures of judges are nominated to the General Meeting of Judges by the representatives of the corresponding courts (Item 2); the judge elected by the largest public organisation of judges (Item 3).

It was also mentioned that in its ruling of 9 May 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts to the extent that it prescribes that not only judges but also other persons compose the Council of Courts was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of the separation of powers, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It was also held in the said Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 may 2006 that the fact that to the extent that not only judges but also other persons compose the Council of Courts, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts was by that ruling of the Constitutional Court ruled to be in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 5, Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of the separation of powers and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law did not mean that the decisions of the Council of Courts, which was composed under the aforesaid articles (parts thereof) of the Law on Courts to advise the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office or any other decisions of such Council of Courts might be questioned only on these grounds.

23. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002), when, inter alia, a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania reaches the age of 65, his powers may be prolonged by the institution which appointed him until he reaches the age of 70; in such cases the judge wishing to have a prolongation of his powers shall apply to the President of the Republic; one had to decide on the prolongation of powers according to the procedure of appointment of a corresponding judge established in the said law.

By its ruling of 9 May 2006, the Constitutional Court recognised that Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was in conflict with Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

It was also held in the same Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006 that the fact that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was by that ruling of the Constitutional Court ruled to be in conflict with Constitution did not mean that the powers of the justices of the Supreme Court, or the judges of the Court of Appeal, regional courts, the Supreme Administrative Court or of the regional administrative courts that were prolonged under the then valid Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002) may be questioned only on these grounds and that these powers might discontinue or be discontinued only on the said grounds.

It needs to be held that the institute of prolongation of the powers of the judge who reached the age of 65 until he reaches the age of 70 was also consolidated in Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Law on Courts of the previous wording (that of 24 January 2002).

24. On 4 November 2002, the National Courts Administration received the 28 October 2002 application of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis requesting that he be entered on the register of the persons who seek a career as judges and expressing his wish to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (if possible, the chairperson of a division of this court).

25. By its Decision (No. 62) “On the Advice to the President of the Republic to Release K. Ramelis from the Office of a Judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of This Court and to Appoint Him a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 23 December 2002, while following Paragraph 2 of Article 72, Paragraph 7 of Article 81 and Items 3 and 4 of Article 120 of the Law on Courts, the Council of Courts advised the President of the Republic to release K. Ramelis from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court and to appoint him a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. (The representatives of the President of the Republic, a party concerned, did not submit any documents nor their copies testifying that there was an application to the Council of Courts requesting such advice.)

26. By his Decree (No. 2015) “On Submitting that the Seimas Assent to the Appointment of A. Driukas and K. Ramelis as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 10 January 2003, while following Item 11 of Article 84, Article 112 and Item 4 of Article 115 of the Constitution and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, the President of the Republic submitted that the Seimas assent, inter alia, to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (Article 1). Article 2 of this decree of the President of the Republic provides: “This decree shall come into force as from the day of its signing.”

27. By its Resolution (No. IX-1323) “On the Assent to Appointment of a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 28 January 2003, the Seimas, conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 of the Constitution and taking account of the 10 January 2003 decree (No. 2015) of the President of the Republic, resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (Article 1). Article 2 of the same Seimas resolution provides: “This Resolution shall come into force from the day of its adoption.”

28. On the same day (on 28 January 2003), the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Article 57 of the Law on Courts by Article 1 whereof Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was amended and newly set forth.

It was established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 24 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts that when, inter alia, a judge of a regional court reaches the age of 65, his powers may be prolonged by the institution which appointed him until he reaches the age of 70; that in such cases the judge wishing to have a prolongation of his powers shall apply to the President of the Republic; also that one had to decide on the prolongation of powers according to the procedure of appointment of a corresponding judge established in the said law.

It has been mentioned that, by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006, Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was ruled to be in conflict with Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 109 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law and also that this did not mean that the powers of, inter alia, judges of regional courts that were prolonged under the then valid Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002) may be questioned only on these grounds and that these powers might discontinue or be discontinued only on the said grounds.

29. As mentioned before, the powers of the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court K. Ramelis, provided he had not been removed from office earlier on the grounds established in laws, also provided he had not been removed from the office of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court earlier on the grounds established in Article 115 of the Constitution, had to expire on 12 March 2003, when he reached the age of 65.

On the same day (i.e. on 31 January 2003) when the Law on Amending Article 57 of the Law on Courts came into force, by Article 1 whereof Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of the Law on Courts was amended and an opportunity was granted to judges of regional courts, after a judge reaches the age of 65, to prolong his powers until he reaches the age of 70, the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis applied to the President of the Republic, requesting the prolongation of his powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division until he reaches the age of 70.

30. Thus, it needs to be held that the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis changed his wish that was expressed in his 28 October 2002 application submitted to the National Courts Administration requesting that he be entered on the register of the persons who seek a career as judges and his wish to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (if possible, the chairperson of a division of this court), and, having changed his mind, on 31 January 2003 he applied to the President of the Republic, requesting the prolongation of his powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division until he reaches the age of 70.

The President of the Republic did not issue any decree whereby K. Ramelis would be appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania.

31. In this context, it needs to be mentioned that, as it was held by the Constitutional Court in its ruling of 9 May 2006, “in order to appoint or release a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, the President of the Republic must apply to the Seimas and, if he gets the assent of the Seimas, he may appoint the corresponding person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court or release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from his office, also, inter alia, if certain circumstances significant to such appointment or release from office become clear, he might decide not to appoint that person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, and submit the Seimas with another candidature, or not to release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from office (if it is not obligatory to release that judge from office under the Constitution)”.

32. Alongside, it needs to be noted that in such cases when the President of the Republic has already applied to the Seimas for assent in order to appoint a certain person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court or to release a certain a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from office, and if he received such assent, however, he did not appoint such person to this office or released him from office during the appropriate time (inter alia, due to the fact that certain circumstances came to light, which are important to such appointment or release), he can appoint such person to this office or release him from office only after he once again applies to the Seimas for assent and provided such assent is received.

33. By the Letter (No. 2D-797) “On the Advice to the President of the Republic” of 3 February 2003, the assistant adviser of the President of the Republic on legal issues applied to the Council of Courts, requesting, upon commissioning by the President of the Republic, for advice to the President of the Republic on prolongation of the powers of the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division K. Ramelis until he reaches the age of 70.

34. It was held in the Constitutional Court in its ruling of 9 May 2006 (inter alia, when construing Article 85 and Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution) that the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic to apply to the special institution of judges provided for by law specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution for advice concerning the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office are implemented by issuing a corresponding decree of the President of the Republic; that in such decree of the President of the Republic, also the term during which the corresponding advice must be received may be specified; also, that if such term is specified in the corresponding decree of the President of the Republic, the special institution of judges provided for by law specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution must observe this term.

It also needs to be held that prior to the ruling of the Constitutional Court which construed for the first time that the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic to apply to the special institution of judges provided for by law specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution for advice concerning the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office are implemented by issuing a corresponding decree of the President of the Republic, there used to be the practice where such decrees would not be issued, but advisors or assistant advisors, upon commissioning by the President of the Republic, used to apply to the said institution of judges.

35. By its decision No. 66 of 7 February 2003, while following Paragraph 3 of Article 57 and Item 3 of Article 120 of the Law on Courts, the Council of Courts advised to the President of the Republic to prolong the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court, until he reaches the age of 70.

36. By his Decree (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003, Conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution and Paragraph 3 of Article 57 of the Law on Courts and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, the President of the Republic prolonged the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the same division this court until he reaches the age of 70 (Article 1). Article 2 of this Decree of the President of the Republic provides: “This decree shall come into force as from the day of its signing.”

37. Article 1 of the said decree of the President of the Republic contains the formula “I shall prolong the powers of Konstantas Ramelis, a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the same division, until he reaches the age of 70”.

37.1. This formula is imprecise and ambiguous, since, when it is construed only verbatim (linguistically), an impression may be created that, allegedly, not only the powers of K. Ramelis as a judge of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court, but also the powers of the Chairperson of this division are prolonged.

37.2. On the other hand, the said formula of Article 1 of the decree of the President of the Republic of 19 February 2003 should be construed by taking account of the fact that, under Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 90 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the Law on Courts, the judge is released form office when the term of judge’s powers expires or he reaches the pensionable age established in laws, while under Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 81 (wording of 24 January 2002) of the same law, the chairperson of a court division is released from office after the term of appointment for this office expires, provided he has not been appointed for a new term of office.

It needs to be noted that such legal regulation established in the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002 with subsequent amendments and supplements) used to be interpreted as the one implying that in cases where the powers of a judge of a court (including a regional court) who was the chairperson of a corresponding division of the same court used to be prolonged under the said law, these powers of the chairperson of the court division would not be terminated—it used to be interpreted that his powers of the chairperson of the corresponding court division had to continue until the term of his appointment to this office is over.

Such construction is not constitutionally justified, since, as mentioned before, the institute of prolongation of the powers of a judge who reached 65 until he reaches 70 itself, which was consolidated in the Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2004 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was in conflict with the Constitution.

It needs to be noted that, under the Constitution, the chairperson of a division of a court (that of a regional court inclusive), after the term of powers of the corresponding chairperson of a court division expires, must be appointed anew and, due to this, the President of the Republic, after he has received advice from the special institution of judges provided for by law and specified in Article 112 of the Constitution, must issue a decree.

38. It is clear from the case material that K. Ramelis whose powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court were prolonged after he reached the age of 65 on 12 March 2003 also continued to hold the position of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court.

39. As mentioned before, the term of powers of the then Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis had to be over on 26 June 2003, provided he had not been released from office on other grounds established in laws.

40. On 16 May 2003, K. Ramelis submitted an application to the National Courts Administration, requesting that he be entered on the list of candidates to the post of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the said court for a new five-year term of office.

In this application K. Ramelis also asserted that, in his opinion, the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic, upon the advice of the Council of Courts, prolonged his powers as the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division until he reaches the age of 70.

41. By the Letter (No. 2D-4175) “On Advice to the President of the Republic” of 30 May 2003, the adviser of the President of the Republic on legal issues applied to the Council of Courts, requesting, upon commissioning by the President of the Republic, for advice to the President of the Republic as regards the appointment of, inter alia, the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court.

42. By its Decision (No. 108) “On the Advice to the President of the Republic to Appoint Presidents of Regional Courts and Chairpersons of the Divisions” of 6 June 2003, while following Paragraph 1 of Article 74 and Item 4 of Article 120 of the Law on Courts, the Council of Courts advised the President of the Republic to appoint, inter alia, the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court Konstantas Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court.

43. By his decree No. 128 of 18 June 2003 (which came into force on 26 June 2003), conforming to Item 11 of Article 84 and Article 112 of the Constitution and taking account of the advice of the Council of Courts, the President of the Republic appointed, inter alia, the judge of the Vilnius Regional Court Konstantas Ramelis the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court (Article 1). Article 2 of the said decree of the President of the Republic provides: “This decree shall come into force as from 26 June 2003.”

44. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the decisions of the Council of Courts, which was composed under, inter alia, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts, on, inter alia, providing advice to the President of the Republic on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office might not be questioned only on the grounds that, to the extent that not only judges, but also other persons composed the Council of Courts, Paragraph 2 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 119 of the Law on Courts was ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution. It was also held that the powers of, inter alia, the judges of regional administrative courts that were prolonged under the then valid Law on Courts (wording of 24 January 2002) may not be questioned only on these grounds and that these powers might discontinue or be discontinued only on the grounds that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 January 2003) of Article 57 of the Law on Courts was ruled in conflict with Constitution.

It also needs to be held that corresponding decrees of the President of the Republic or corresponding decisions of to the special institution of judges provided for by law specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution on the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office could not be questioned only on the grounds that prior to the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006 in which it was construed for the first time that the constitutional powers of the President of the Republic to apply to the special institution of judges provided for by law specified in Paragraph 5 of Article 112 of the Constitution for advice concerning the appointment, promotion, transfer of judges or their release from office are implemented by issuing a corresponding decree of the President of the Republic, while there used to be the practice where such decrees would not be issued, but advisors or assistant advisors, upon commissioning by the President of the Republic, used to apply to the said institution of judges.

45. It has been mentioned that the doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, regarding the compliance of decree No. 2067 of 19 February 2003, and later—decree No. 128 of 28 June 2003, which were issued by the President of the Republic, with the Constitution are substantiated by the fact that K. Ramelis was granted the powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the same court when the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 2015) “On Submitting that the Seimas Assent to the Appointment of A. Driukas and K. Ramelis as Judges of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 10 January 2003, Article 1 whereof submitted that the Seimas assent, inter alia, to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and the Seimas Resolution (No. IX-1323) “On the Assent to Appointment of a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania” of 28 January 2003, by Article 1 it was resolved to assent to the appointment of Konstantas Ramelis as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania were in force, thus, the said powers were granted by disregarding the will expressed by two state institutions—the Seimas and the President of the Republic himself.

45.1. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, as the Constitutional Court held in its ruling of 9 May 2006, “in order to appoint or release a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, the President of the Republic must apply to the Seimas and, if he gets the assent of the Seimas, he may appoint the corresponding person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court or release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from his office, also, inter alia, if certain circumstances significant to such appointment or release from office become clear, he might decide not to appoint that person as a judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court, and submit the Seimas with another candidature, or not to release the corresponding judge of the Court of Appeal or the President of this court from office (if it is not obligatory to release that judge from office under the Constitution)”.

45.2. It was also held that the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of the Vilnius Regional Court K. Ramelis changed his wish that was expressed in his 28 October 2002 application submitted to the National Courts Administration requesting that he be entered on the register of the persons who seek a career as judges and his wish to be appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (if possible, the chairperson of a division of this court), and, having changed his mind, on 31 January 2003 he applied to the President of the Republic, requesting the prolongation of his powers of a judge of the Vilnius Regional Court and of the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division until he reaches the age of 70.

45.3. Thus, the quoted doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006 are also applicable to the legal situation related with K. Ramelis’ aspiration to be appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania and with his said changed wish, which, it goes without saying, had to be taken into consideration by the President of the Republic.

45.4. Thus, the doubts of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, upon which the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution are based are constitutionally groundless.

Alongside, it needs to be held that the constitutional issue raised in the arguments of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, upon which the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution are based was solved in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2003.

45.5. It also needs to be noted that the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, does not impugn the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution in any other aspects.

46. Thus, in this part of the constitutional justice case at issue regarding the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution the matter of investigation is no longer present.

Paragraph 2 of Article 80 (which regulates refusal to examine an inquiry in the Constitutional Court) of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that if in the course of the consideration of the inquiry the matter under consideration ceases to exist, the Constitutional Court shall dismiss the instituted legal proceedings on the grounds thereof.

It needs to be noted that this provision of the Law on the Constitutional Court is applicable mutatis mutandis also to consideration of petitions requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution (another act of higher legal force) and adoption of corresponding decisions.

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in the event that the grounds for refusal to consider a petition have been established after the commencement of the investigation of the case during the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a decision to dismiss the case shall be adopted.

47. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the part of the case regarding the petition of the group of members of the Seimas, a petitioner, requesting an investigation into the compliance of the 19 February 2003 decree (No. 2067) of the President of the Republic and the 18 June 2003 decree (No. 128) of the President of the Republic with the Constitution must be dismissed.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, 56, 69 and Paragraph 2 of Article 80 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 Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 85 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that the introductory and operative parts of the decision may be drawn up prior to the pronouncement of a decision of the administrative court of first instance, while the parts of the decision comprising the recital and the reasoning may be drawn up later, within seven working days after the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

2. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 85 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that only the introductory and operative parts of the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance are pronounced in public (in the courtroom) is not in conflict with of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

3. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 85 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases to the extent that it provides that the decision adopted by the administrative court of first instance is pronounced, as a rule, on the same day after consideration of the case is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

4. To recognise that the provision “the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall <…> inform when the full text of decision or ruling will be drawn up” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 139 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is in conflict with Article 109 the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

5. To recognise that the provision “having adopted the decision or ruling, the court shall return to the courtroom and the chairperson of the college or the judge rapporteur shall read out the introductory and operative parts of the decision or ruling, briefly define the reasoning of the decision or ruling” of Paragraph 2 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 139 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

6. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 19 September 2000; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2000, No. 85-2566) of Article 139 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Proceedings of Administrative Cases is in conflict with Article 109 the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

7. To recognise that Article 306 (wording of 8 July 2004; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2004, No. 115-4276) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

8. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) Article 308 (wording of 1 June 2006) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

9. To recognise that Paragraph 12 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) Article 324 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

10. To recognise that the provision “while if only the operative part was pronounced—within the same time period of the signing of the judgment or the ruling” of Paragraph 13 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) Article 324 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

11. To recognise that Paragraph 9 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 377 (wording of 8 July 2004) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that the court of cassation instance which is considering a case can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only its operative part, by setting forth verbally the arguments of its adoption in the courtroom, while the recital and even the introductory parts can be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within seven days of the adoption of the ruling—while with the assent of the President of the court or the Chairperson of the Criminal Cases Division—within fourteen days of the adoption of the ruling, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

12. To recognise that Paragraph 7 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 448 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it provides that the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania which is considering the issue of renewal of the case due to newly emerged circumstances can, before it adopts the ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it, while in the courtroom the Chairperson of the college verbally sets forth the arguments of its adoption, while the recital and introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling can be signed by the judges later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

13. To recognise that Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 454 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that, having considered the issue of renewal of the case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, the three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, or the extended seven-judge college of this division, or the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (which is considering such an issue in its plenary session) may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, when the Chairperson of the college sets forth verbally the main arguments of its adoption, while the recital and the introductory parts may be drawn up and the entire ruling may be signed by the judges who have considered the case later—within three days of the adoption of the ruling—is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

14. To recognise that Paragraph 6 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 454 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that the ruling adopted in the plenary session the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which considers the issue of renewal of a criminal case due to a clearly improper application of the penal law, is signed by the Chairperson of the session and the rapporteur and not all the judges who have considered the case (regardless of whether they voted for or against such ruling), is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

15. To recognise that Paragraph 4 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 460 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that the three-judge college of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, which is considering a request or presentation to renew a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may, before it adopts a ruling, draw up only the operative part of the ruling and pronounce it in the courtroom, by verbally setting forth the main arguments of its adoption is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

16. To recognise that Paragraph 5 (wording of 14 March 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 37-1341) of Article 460 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that the introductory and recital parts of a ruling of a three-judge college of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania and of the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania regarding renewal of a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights may be drawn up not before a corresponding ruling is adopted and pronounced publicly (in the courtroom), but later—within ten days of the adoption of the ruling—also, that if the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania in it plenary session adopts a ruling on renewal of a criminal case subsequent to a decision of the United Nations Human Rights Committee or the European Court of Human Rights and this ruling is signed only by the Chairperson of the plenary session and the judge-rapporteur, but not by all the judges who have adopted the case, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

17. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 268 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that a decision of a court of first instance may be adopted and pronounced only after the introductory and operative parts of the decision are drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom, while the recital and the reasoning parts may be drawn up later, within five days of the pronouncement of the decision, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

18. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it provides that “the court, when it adopts a decision in absentia, performs a formal assessment of the evidence submitted in the case, i.e. it ascertains that if the content of the evidence is confirmed, there would be grounds to adopt such decision” is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

19. To recognise that Paragraph 5 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 285 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

20. To recognise that the provision of Paragraph 1 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 286 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania that abridged reasoning is set forth in the decision adopted in absentia is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

21. To recognise that Paragraph 4 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 288 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that the court is not permitted to review a decision adopted in absentia also in such cases when the court is submitted the evidence that confirms that the said decision was clearly unjust and that by that decision the rights of the person had been clearly violated is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

22. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 289 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent the court is not permitted to accept an application requesting that a decision adopted in absentia be reviewed also in such cases when the court is submitted such evidence whereby a clear mistake was made by the court in adopting the decision in absentia, also when the court is submitted such evidence that confirms that the decision was clearly unjust, is in conflict with Article 109 the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

23. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 303 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

24. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 320 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it entrenches that the court of appeal instance, considering other than the cases of the categories provided for in Chapters XIX and XX of Part IV and in Part V of the Code of Civil Procedure, may not overstep the limits established in the appeal, though this is required by the public interest, and without overstepping them the decision (ruling) of this court would be unjust and, thus, the values established in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution would be violated, is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

25. To recognise that Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that a decision (ruling) of a court of appeal instance may be adopted and pronounced in the courtroom only after the introductory and operative parts thereof have been drawn up, briefly setting forth verbally the reasoning of the decision in the courtroom is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

26. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 325 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that the recital and reasoning parts of the decision (ruling) may be drawn up later, within fourteen days of the adoption of the decision (ruling) is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

27. To recognise that the provision of Paragraph 2 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania that the ruling of the plenary session of the Civil Cases Division of the court of cassation instance shall be signed only by the chairperson and the judge rapporteur of the plenary session and not by all the judges who have adopted that ruling is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

28. To recognise that Paragraph 3 (wording of 28 February 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 36-1340) of Article 358 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent that it prescribes that a ruling of a court of cassation instance may be adopted only by drawing up the introductory and operative parts and without drawing up the recital and statement parts is in conflict with Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

29. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 17-649) of Paragraph 2 of Article 119 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

30. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of Paragraph 5 (wording of 24 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 17-649) of Article 119 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

31. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of Item 1 (wording of 24 January 2002; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 17-649) of Article 120 (wording of 21 January 2003) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

32. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 2067) “On the Prolongation of the Powers of a Judge of a Regional Court” of 19 February 2003 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 19-813) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

33. To dismiss the part of the case regarding the compliance of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 128) “On Appointing Chairpersons of Divisions of Regional Courts” of 18 June 2003 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2003, No. 60-2717) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is 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

                                                                                 Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                 Egidijus Kūris

                                                                                 Kęstutis Lapinskas

                                                                                 Zenonas Namavičius

                                                                                 Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                 Stasys Stačiokas

                                                                                 Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis