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On the qualification requirements for judges

Case No. 19/05

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN LAW FOR THE PERSONS WHO WISH TO HOLD, UNDER PROCEDURE ESTABLISHED BY LAW, THE POSITION OF A JUDGE AS APPROVED BY THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1568) “ON APPROVING THE QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN LAW FOR THE PERSONS WHO WISH TO HOLD, UNDER PROCEDURE ESTABLISHED BY LAW, THE POSITION OF A JUDGE” OF 4 OCTOBER 2002 WITH PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDINGS OF 24 JANUARY 2002, 18 MAY 2004, 1 JUNE 2006) OF ARTICLE 51 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON COURTS AND PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 5 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE ENTRY INTO FORCE AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LAW ON AMENDING THE LAW ON COURTS

 

20 February 2008
Vilnius

 

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

The court reporter—Sigutė Brusovienė

Algis Baležentis, Deputy Head of the Division of International and EU Affairs’ Coordination of the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority (who, prior to the appointment of constitutional justice case No. 19/05 for the consideration at the judicial hearing of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, was the Head of the Service of Legal Representation of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania), acting as the representative of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 1 February 2008, considered constitutional justice case No. 19/05 subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002, to the extent that, according to the petitioner, “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for”, are not in conflict with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Supreme Administrative Court, the petitioner, was considering an administrative case subsequent to the claim of E.G., the claimant, against the National Courts Administration, the respondent, regarding the rescission of an order; by means of the said order one refused to enter the name of the claimant on the list of aspirants to vacant positions of judges of a local court on the grounds that she did not have the required legal education—the degree of bachelor of law (although she possessed the degrees of master of law and doctor of law). By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge (hereinafter also referred to as the Qualification Requirements), inter alia, Item 3 thereof, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002 (hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002), to the extent that, according to the petitioner, “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for”, are not in conflict with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

II

The petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. When one construes, in a systemic manner, the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts, the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, as well as the provisions of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Higher Education that higher education is education acquired after the completion of undergraduate or integrated studies in a higher education establishment of Lithuania, or equivalent studies in a foreign higher education establishment (Paragraph 1), that master studies are university sequential studies of the second cycle leading to a person’s higher professional and research qualification (Paragraph 8), and that undergraduate studies are the first cycle of university sequential studies or non-university studies (Paragraph 16), it is obvious that a person, who aspires to become a judge of a local court, must possess both the qualification degree of bachelor of law and the qualification degree of master of law, save the cases when this person has single-cycle university education in law (which, under Paragraphs 1 and 26 of Article 2 of the Law on Higher Education, is acquired when the first-cycle and second-cycle university studies are related by sequence).

2. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge shall be established by the Government by taking account of an opinion of the schools of higher education awarding the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer. Such qualification requirements were approved by government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002.

Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements provides as to which subjects must be studied and accounted for by the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, and, also, the number of credits for each of the said subject is pointed out. However, neither this item nor entire government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 prescribes that the university studies must be sequential and that they must include both the main field of studies (law), upon finishing which the qualification degree of bachelor of law is awarded, and the studies designed for increasing the professional and scientific qualification of a lawyer, upon finishing which the qualification degree of master of law is awarded.

3. Under Item 6 of the Qualification Requirements, the provisions of Item 3 of these requirements are not applied to the persons who, until 2006 (and including that year) finished university studies in the field of law and who acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, which amounts to the former. Therefore, according to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, while settling the dispute in the case in which it was decided to apply to the Constitutional Court, Item 3 of the Qualifications Requirements should not be applied directly. However, other provisions of these requirements must be applied in settling this dispute, meanwhile, while construing the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, which should be applied directly in the case, the provisions of Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements are also “significant”.

III

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations were received from the representative of the Government, the party concerned, who was A. Baležentis, in which it is requested that the Constitutional Court refuse to consider the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, whereby it requested an investigation into the compliance of the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof (to the extent specified by the petitioner) with the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, which were specified by the petitioner. The position of the representative of the Government, the party concerned, is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, the persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts, while, under Item 2 of the Qualification Requirements, these requirements are applied to the persons who finished university studies in the field of law and who acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law), which amounts to the former. According to the representative of the Government, the party concerned, if compared to Paragraph 1 (which provides for the requirement of university higher education in law for the persons appointed as judges of a local court) of article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 (in which the said requirement is detailed by comprehensively setting forth the qualification degrees confirming such education) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002, which implements the latter of the said laws, does not indicate either other groups of persons, or other qualification degrees of higher education, while university higher education in law is defined by consistent use of the same terms. The Qualification Requirements cannot establish any such education requirements for aspirants to become judges of a local court, or any such qualification degrees, which would compete with those established in the law.

2. It is clear from the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, that it raises the question of compatibility of the Law on Courts and the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, but not that of the compliance of the Qualification Requirements with the provisions of the laws, also, it is clear that the petitioner had doubts regarding the explicitness and clarity as well as the construction and application of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, but not regarding the compliance of the Qualification Requirements with the provisions of the laws. This is confirmed by the acknowledgment of the petitioner that in the course of settling the dispute in the corresponding case Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements is not applicable directly.

3. Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements provides as to which subjects must be studied and accounted for by the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, however, it does not specify the qualification degrees possessed by the person or the cycles of studies that he has covered. In the opinion of the representative of the Government, the party concerned, the position of the petitioner concerning the alleged conflict of Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements with the laws due to the fact that “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for” is groundless either in the aspect of logic, or that of the legal technique, or that of the requirements for the content of a legal act, since the legislature did not establish a duty for the Government to provide for cycles of university studies or qualification degrees of higher education in Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements, nor did the legislature commission the Government to necessarily relate the established qualification requirements for higher education in law with the qualification degrees of higher education and/or cycles of university studies. It is clear from Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements that the Government related the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge with the studies of various subjects of branches of law, as substantive and procedural law, public and private law, while the knowledge acquired during these studies should secure the required qualification of the judge.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the judicial consideration, written explanations were received from R. Žakaitienė, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania, P. Koverovas, State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, and P. Ragauskas, Deputy Director of the Institute of Law.

According to P. Koverovas, the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts mean that the persons who aspire to become judges required to have acquired both the qualification degree of bachelor of law and the qualification degree of master of law (or he must have single-cycle university education in law). According to P. Ragauskas, according to these paragraphs, if they are construed linguistically, a person, who has acquired only either the qualification degree of master of law, or the qualification degree of a lawyer (who has single-cycle university education in law) may be appointed a judge of a local court. According to the Minister R. Žakaitienė, the formulations in these paragraphs are imprecise: the formulation “a judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a person who has acquired both the qualification degree of bachelor of law and the qualification degree of master of law, or who has the qualification degree of master of law which was acquired upon integrated studies or who has the qualification of equal value” would better correspond to the meaning of the said laws and such formulation would also be more precise.

V

At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the representative of the Government, the party concerned, who was A. Baležentis, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in his written explanations and also set forth his position that the Constitution raises higher requirements of higher education in law for the persons who aspire to become judges than to the lawyers who aspire to other positions; according to him, the laws demand that the aspirants to positions of judges have both the qualification degree of bachelor of law and the qualification degree of master of law, or have the qualification degree of master of law which was acquired upon integrated studies or who has the qualification of equal value.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 4 October 2002, the Government adopted the Resolution (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge”, whereby (as it is expressis verbis pointed out in this government resolution) pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge, were approved. This government resolution came into force on 10 October 2002. It has not been amended or supplemented.

2. The Qualification Requirements provide:

1. Those persons, who wish to hold the position of a judge, must meet the qualification requirements of higher education in law.

2. The qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge <…> shall be applied to citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, who finished university studies in the field of law and who acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law), which amounts to the former.

3. The person who wishes to hold the position of a judge is required to have studied and accounted for the following subjects:

3.1. administrative law and administrative procedure law—not less than 6 credits;

3.2. criminal law—not less than 10 credits;

3.3. criminal procedure law—not less than 6 credits;

3.4. civil law—not less than 10 credits;

3.5. civil procedure law—not less than 6 credits;

3.6. labour law—not less than 4 credits;

3.7. constitutional law—not less than 4 credits;

3.8. legal theory—not less than 4 credits;

3.9. international public law—not less than 3 credits;

3.10. European Union law—not less than 3 credits.

4. The citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who have studied in schools of higher education of foreign states and who acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, which amounts to the former, and who wish to hold the position of a judge, must continue their studies in schools of higher education of the Republic of Lithuania according to an individual programme of studies, formed and approved by the head of the school of higher education, and pass the examinations of the subjects specified in Item 3 of these Requirements.

5. The subjects (or some parts thereof) specified in Items 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10 of these Requirements, for which the person accounted for in foreign schools of higher education, may be accepted into the scope of the subjects under procedure established in legal acts.

6. The provisions of Item 3 of these Requirements are not applied to the persons who, until 2006 (and including that year) finished university studies in the field of law and who acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, which amounts to the former.”

3. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, to the extent that, according to the petitioner, “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for”, are not in conflict with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

4. The Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, does not point out directly as to the wording of the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts (it requests an investigation into the compliance (to the corresponding extent) of the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, with the said provision), however, it is clear from the petition of the petitioner, as well as from the material of the case in which it was decided to apply to the Constitutional Court, that the petitioner had doubts whether the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the provision set forth in Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts with the wording of 18 May 2004—Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts was set forth precisely in this wording when the dispute occurred which must be settled in the case considered by the said court that decided to apply to the Constitutional Court.

On the other hand, the same provision was in Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts, which was set forth in its wording of 24 January 2002; this paragraph was set forth in this wording at the time when government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 was adopted; the same provision is in the same paragraph set forth in the present wording thereof, i.e. 1 June 2006.

5. The petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania points out Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts. In the opinion of the petitioner, the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, are in conflict (to the corresponding extent) with the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts; at the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, the said paragraph is set forth in its initial wording, i.e. that of 14 March 2002.

6. While ascertaining the meaning of the formula “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for” employed in the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, whereby the impugned legal regulation is defined, it needs to be held that the fact that the Qualification Requirements prescribe that those citizens of the Republic of Lithuania who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge are required to have finished university studies in the legal field, however, there is not an explicit requirement that the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law are also required to have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of law, which is awarded upon completing the study programme of the first-cycle university studies in law, since Item 2 of the Qualification requirements points out expressis verbis only the qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) and the qualification degree of a master of law as equal alternatives, raised doubts to the petitioner (regarding the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with certain provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts). In the opinion of the petitioner, such absence of the establishment of an explicit requirement that the persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law are also required to have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of law means that, under the Qualification Requirements, also a person, who has not got the qualification degree of bachelor of law and who acquired only the qualification degree of master of law, provided he has studied the ten subjects of studies (administrative law and administrative procedure law, criminal law, criminal procedure law, civil law, civil procedure law, labour law, constitutional law, legal theory, international public law, and European Union law) specified in Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements and has accounted for them and has not less credits for each of the said subject than it is specified in the aforementioned item, is eligible to become a judge in a local court. Bearing in mind the fact that the general minimum number of the credits (the collection of which is necessary and which are collected in the course of accounting for respective subjects) for the subjects specified in Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements is 56, it should be held that in case the interpretation of the petitioner became true, then, under the Qualification Requirements it may be considered that a person meets the qualification requirements for higher education in law raised to the aspirants to the position of a judge even when the legal studies of the person continued for a couple of years or even less.

7. Alongside, it needs to be emphasised that although the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, indicates directly that it impugns Item 3 of the Qualification Requirements, the petitioner does not impugn the list of subjects established in this item nor the minimum number of credits established for these subjects (inter alia, it does not impugn this in the aspect of its compliance with legal acts of higher legal force).

In this context it needs to be mentioned that, under Paragraph 23 of Article 2 of the Law on Higher Education, a study credit is a unit for measuring the scope of studies, equalling forty conditional student work (academic, laboratory, independent, etc.) hours, i.e., one week of his work. Article 41 (wording of 21 March 2000) of the same law established, inter alia, the duration of university undergraduate studies (4 study years—160 credits), the duration of non-university undergraduate studies (not less than 3 study years—120 credits) (Paragraph 2), the duration of integrated studies (not less than 5 study years (200 credits) and not more than 6 study years (240 credits), the duration of master studies (not less than 1.5 study years (60 credits) and not more than 2 study years (80 credits)) (Paragraph 5); studies of the first four years (160 credits) are assigned to the first cycle of undergraduate studies, and studies of the remaining 1-2 years (40-80 credits) are assigned to the second cycle of sequential studies (Paragraph 3). Article 41 (wordings of 21 December 2001 and 22 April 2003) of the Law on Higher Education establishes not only the duration of the studies expressed in credits, but also the minimum and maximum university undergraduate studies and non-university undergraduate studies as expressed in credits, as well as the duration of university undergraduate studies which is smaller by 20 credits: “the volume of university undergraduate studies shall be not less than 160 credits and not more than 180 credits, and volume of non-university undergraduate studies shall be not less than 120 credits and not more than 160 credits” (Paragraph 2); the minimum volume of integrated studies in cases when professional qualification is awarded is reduced from 200 to 180 credits; it is also established that the average volume of one-year full-time studies shall be 40 credits. The volume and duration of sequential undergraduate studies shall be established by the guidelines for fields of studies (Paragraph 1 of Article 41 of the Law on Higher Education), however, schools of higher education cannot deviate from the number of credits in university and non-university undergraduate studies, the bottom and top limits of the number of credits in integrated studies, the bottom and top limits of the number of credits in master studies, as well as the average volume of one-year full-time studies, which is specified in the Law on Higher Education.

It should also be mentioned that the provisions of the Law on Higher Education regarding study credits are concretised and detailed in substatutory legal acts (the analysis of which would overstep the limits of the constitutional justice case at issue). In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, under the Law on Higher Education and various substatutory acts, in which the provisions of the said law are concretised and detailed, schools of higher education were permitted to establish by themselves, inter alia, the volume of study programme expressed by credits, the number of subjects studied in one semester, as well as the number of credits assigned to the independent work of a student or his laboratory work; although the duration of forms of studies (full-time, part-time, correspondence) expressed in years could be different, the volume of the study programme in credits had to be the same to all forms of studies.

8. The provision of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts, which is pointed out by the Supreme Administrative Court, the petitioner, and to which reference is made in Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, consolidates expressis verbis the requirement of university higher education in law only for aspirants to judges of local courts, however, it does not contain any explicit provisions, which would consolidate the same requirement for aspirants to judges of other courts, namely, of courts of general jurisdiction of higher levels (of higher standing), or administrative courts (which are specialised courts, established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution). The petitioner requests an investigation into the compliance of the Qualification Requirements (to the corresponding extent), inter alia, Item 3 thereof, namely with certain provisions of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, i.e. those provisions which expressis verbis consolidate the requirement of university higher education in law only for aspirants to judges of local courts. Still, neither the Law on Courts, nor the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts contained or contain any provisions, which would permit making an assumption that, purportedly, lower requirements of university higher education in law could be raised for the aspirants to judges of courts of general jurisdiction of higher levels (of higher standing) or administrative courts than for aspirants to judges of local courts; it needs to be noted that neither these, nor other laws contained or contain any special provisions designed for the requirements of higher education in law for aspirants to judges of regional courts, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the Supreme Court of Lithuania, regional administrative courts or the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania. Taking account of this, as well as of the fact that, as mentioned before (in Item 2 of Section II of the fact-establishing part of this ruling of the Constitutional Court), under Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge shall be established by the Government by taking account of an opinion of the schools of higher education awarding the degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, it should be held that the legislature commissioned the Government to establish the qualification requirements of higher education in law not only to the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge of a local court, but also to all aspirants to the position of a judge, and it is of no importance as to the judges of which court they aspire to become. It also needs to be held that the Qualification Requirements (as well as government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 in general) does not indicate that corresponding requirements should be established only to the persons who wish to become judges of local courts: such requirements are established to aspirants to judges of courts of all systems and levels (standing).

Thus, when deciding, subsequent to the petition of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, whether the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, to the extent that, according to the petitioner, “the compulsory university sequential studies under the first-cycle study programme of legal studies for the qualification of bachelor degree are not provided for”, are not in conflict with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, one has to assess the impugned legal regulation not only in the aspect of the qualification requirements of university higher education in law for aspirants to judges of local courts, i.e. the requirements that should be established (subsequent to Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts), i.e. not only to the extent whereby the requirement that the persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master are also required to have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor is not explicitly consolidated for aspirants to judges of local courts in the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, but also in the aspect of the qualification requirements of university higher education in law, which, under the Constitution and laws, may be established to aspirants to judges of other courts, i.e. the of courts of general jurisdiction of higher levels (higher standing) and administrative courts, i.e. to the extent that the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, do not consolidate such requirement explicitly also to aspirants to judges of other courts.

9. Item 4 of the Qualification Requirements is designed for regulation of the relations linked with the acquisition of higher education in law (the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer) in schools of higher education of foreign states, when the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, who have acquired such degrees, wish to hold the position of a judge: it is established that such citizens of the Republic of Lithuania must continue their studies in schools of higher education of the Republic of Lithuania according to an individual programme of studies, formed and approved by the head of the school of higher education, and pass examinations of the corresponding subjects.

It is clear from the arguments of the Supreme Administrative Court, the petitioner, and from the administrative case in which it was decided to apply to the Constitutional Court, that the petitioner does not request the Constitutional Court to investigate the compliance of the legal regulation established in the Qualification Requirements with the provisions specified by the petitioner in this aspect as well. Thus, the legal regulation which is established in the Qualification Requirements (and other legal acts) and which is related with the acquisition of higher education in law in schools of higher education of foreign states is not a matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

II

1. The legal profession is an inseparable part of the legal system. In a democratic state under the rule of law big requirements are raised to this profession, because it is possible to ensure such fundamental legal values as the rule of law, justice, rights and freedoms of persons, legal security and legal certainty, the right to a fair trial, legal assistance etc. only in a legal system, where lawyers have the necessary professional competence; only the lawyers who have the necessary professional competence can be entrusted with corresponding functions by securing that the rights and freedoms of persons be protected and defended by legal means, as well as with the functions in deciding cases (settling legal disputes) in courts. It can be said especially as regards the positions in institutions of public power, when professional lawyers are entrusted with discharging certain functions linked with the implementation of public power (first of all, state power), as, for instance, the function of administration of justice, also, as regards the professions controlled by the state (i.e. such professions, the persons engaged in which discharge the functions securing the public interest), the engagement in which is entrusted only to the persons who have the qualification of a lawyer, thus, also the education of a lawyer. The professional activity of lawyers, inter alia, judges, who are properly prepared and of high professional qualification, determines the trust of the public in the state and its legal system. It needs to be noted that the processes of globalisation and European integration (which do not bypass Lithuania as well) determine the fact that lawyers have to have good knowledge not only about the legal system of their own country, but also those of other countries, as well as about supranational law.

2. The legal profession is inseparable from higher education in law: higher education in law is conditio sine qua non of professional and efficient legal practice (both private and the one practised in institutions of public power). The legal profession is also inseparable from the activity of universities: one of the most characteristic features of the Western legal tradition, which was formed a great many centuries ago and to which Lithuania also belongs, is the fact that lawyers of the highest qualification are prepared namely in universities, and in the Western legal tradition the acquisition of the highest professional qualification of a lawyer is related namely with university higher education in law. In general, it does not mean that it would be impermissible to prepare lawyers also outside universities, or that it would be impermissible (also in schools of higher education) to prepare lawyers of lower qualification (or legal specialists of narrower legal profile, who seek to acquire knowledge only in a certain area of law) whose legal education is not regarded as the one amounting to the legal education awarded by universities, and who can virtually do the legal job of an application character, which does not require creativity (and, thus, is more simple); however, one follows the principled provision that in itself non-university education in law (as well as that acquired in schools of higher education) does not imply a possibility for the persons who have acquired it to seek to hold any positions belonging to the legal profession (inter alia, positions in institutions of public power) or to engage in any professional activity of a lawyer (inter alia, to engage in a profession controlled by the state). Therefore, in countries of the Western legal tradition the requirement of namely university higher education in law, but not simply higher education in law for certain professional activity as a lawyer, including the situations where the person could become a judge, is, in general, not impossible.

3. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that, as it has been held in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court more than once, the judiciary is the only branch of state power which is formed on professional basis (but not on political basis) (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 December 1999, 12 July 2001, its conclusion of 31 March 2004, its rulings of 28 March 2006, 9 May 2006, 6 June 2006, its decision of 8 August 2006, its ruling of 22 October 2007). It is universally recognised that the ultima ratio of the legal profession is securing the rights and freedoms of persons and upholding social harmony by legal means, while this would become impossible if one did not secure the possibility to courts (which have the powers to decide cases (settle legal disputes)) to administer justice. The Constitutional Court has also held that the principle of justice entrenched in the Constitution as well as the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 109 of the Constitution 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 court final 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 (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 September 2006, 24 October 2007, and 21 January 2008). Since, in a state under the rule of law, when cases are decided (disputes are settled) in which parties to the case are, as a rule (and in complex cases—virtually always), represented by professional lawyers, the last word always belongs to the court, then, it is not a coincidence that in countries of mature legal culture it is recognised that the activity of judges draws the guidelines to the entire legal profession and the legal practice in that country. Therefore, one should not doubt the fact that in a state under the rule of law (and the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania consolidates the striving for a state under the rule of law expressis verbis) the highest possible professional qualification requirements as well as those of legal education can and must be raised to the persons who seek to become judges (even if such highest professional qualification requirements are not raised to other representatives of the legal profession); if such highest professional qualification requirements were not raised to aspirants to judges, preconditions would be created for loss of efficiency of courts’ work and for deterioration of the quality of such work, as well as for violation of rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of persons and various values which are entrenched in, as well as defended and protected by the Constitution; in general, preconditions would be created for situations, where only formally administered justice by the courts, whose judges are persons without the necessary qualification, would not be the justice which is consolidated in, and protected and defended by the Constitution. Thus, under the Constitution, the legislature has the powers to consolidate also such a requirement in laws, whereby aspirants to judges are required to have acquired university higher education in law, which is related, in the Western legal tradition, with the acquisition of the highest professional qualification of a lawyer.

The jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court has revealed not only the meaning of higher education in law, but also of university higher education in law for legal practice. In this context, the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 10 July 1996 should be mentioned, which was adopted in a constitutional justice case in which subsequent to petitions of the Second Vilnius City Local Court, the petitioner, it was investigated whether the provision “a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania may be an advocate provided that he/she <...> has university higher legal education” of Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Bar was in compliance with Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution. It was held in that ruling of the Constitutional Court that the requirement of university higher education in law for advocates should be treated as the requirement of a qualification character for the persons who wish to work at the bar and as increased education qualifying requirement to lawyers of this profession, by which one seeks to secure the rendition of more qualified legal assistance and to strengthen the guarantees of protection and defence of human rights and freedoms; in the said constitutional justice case the impugned provision of Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law on the Bar was ruled to be in compliance with the Constitution. This legal position of the Constitutional Court (ratio decidendi) was reasoned, inter alia, by the fact that not only abundance of knowledge, but also versatility and fundamentality of the latter are characteristic of university education, since the persons who have university education acquire supplementary and universal knowledge which is necessary when adopting crucial decisions in various spheres of life, while other higher educational establishments perform a narrower function, viz., they grant higher education which is the foundation of professional activities in a particular field; the same legal position was also reasoned by the fact that the purpose of university legal education is preparation of specialists who have wide outlook and who are able to assess the entire legal system and decide difficult problems, while a much wider and diverged syllabus of university studies, the studies which take place a longer time period and which are more fundamental, a greater attention to general subjects of humanities, private law, etc., help to achieve this aim. Therefore, the education in law which was acquired in said other schools of higher education may not be unconditionally held as analogous to university education, even though the former is deemed to be higher education.

It has been held more than once in acts of the Constitutional Court that the Constitutional Court is bound by the precedents that it itself has created (in previous constitutional justice cases) and by the official constitutional doctrine that it itself has formed, which substantiates these precedents; it may be possible to deviate from the Constitutional Court precedents created while adopting decisions in cases of constitutional justice and new precedents may be created only in the cases when it is unavoidably and objectively necessary, constitutionally grounded and reasoned; also the official constitutional doctrinal provisions on which the precedents of the Constitutional Court are based may not be reinterpreted so that the official constitutional doctrine would be corrected when it is unavoidably and objectively necessary, constitutionally grounded and reasoned (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, decisions of 8 August 2006 and 21 November 2006, rulings of 22 October 2007 and 24 October 2007; as well as decisions of 13 November 2007, 6 December 2007 and 1 February 2008). Thus, the fact that the requirements of university higher education in law for advocates, which was established by the legislature, was ruled by the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 10 July 1996 to be in compliance with the Constitution, of its own accord substantiates the presumption that such legal regulation, established by the legislature, whereby it is required that persons who wish to become judges have university higher education in law, is in general in compliance with the Constitution. It is evident that there are no legal arguments which could substantiate the fact that lower requirements of higher education in law could be established to persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, than those established to advocates, all the more so that, as it has been mentioned, advocates do not settle judicial disputes, but represent a party in the case (judicial dispute) considered by a judge.

4. The Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof (in the constitutional justice case at issue, the petitioner impugns their compliance with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts), regulate the relations linked with university higher education in law only in the aspect that they consolidate the requirement for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge, that they have completed university studies in the field of law and have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, which amounts to the former, and it is established as to which subjects must be studied and accounted for by the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, and, also, the number of credits for each of the said subject is pointed out. The Qualification Requirements do not regulate any other relations linked with university higher education in law (and higher education in law in general), inter alia, the relations linked with the content and quality of university higher education in law; government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 whereby the Qualification Requirements were approved, among other things, is not designed for consolidation of a model or models of preparation of lawyers, i.e. a model of higher studies in the field of law (inter alia, a model of university higher studies in the field of law), or for regulation of the structure of such studies or the content thereof. Other legal acts are designed for these purposes.

On the other hand, even though the said government resolution, whereby the Qualification Requirements were approved, is not designed for consolidation of a model or models of preparation of lawyers, i.e. a model of university higher studies in the field of law (inter alia, a model of university higher studies in the field of law), or for regulation of the structure of such studies or the content thereof, these things are reflected in the Qualification Requirements: for instance, it is clear from the Qualification Requirements that in Lithuania higher education in law can be acquired in universities and outside universities (otherwise, the requirement for the aspirants to judges to have namely university higher education in law, but not ordinary higher education in law, would be meaningless), and it is also clear that in universities the higher education in law, which is necessary to a person so that he could be eligible to become a judge under established procedure, may be acquired in two ways: either by grating the qualification degree of a lawyer, or the qualification degree of master of law upon completion of the studies in the field of law under the model of single-cycle studies (such university higher education in law is referred to in Item 2 of the Qualification Requirements as “single-cycle university education in law”), or by awarding the qualification degree of master of law upon completion of the studies in the field of law under the model (study programme) or models (study programmes) of non-single-cycle studies, under which the qualification degree of master of law amounts to the said qualification degree of a lawyer, which is acquired in the course of studying under the model (study programme) of single-cycle studies in the field of law. It is not clear from the text of the Qualification Requirements (since they do not contain explicit provisions) as to which qualification degrees other than that of master of law there are or there could be, which are acquired upon completion of university studies in the field of law, as well as to what other, non-university studies in the field of law there are or there could be in schools of higher education of Lithuania. All this is clear from other legal acts, and one has to ascertain the content of the legal regulation which is established in those acts and which is designed for the said matters, so that the content of the legal regulation established in the Qualification Requirements impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue could be revealed.

5. While analysing and assessing (also in the aspect of the relation with the legal regulation established in legal acts of higher legal force) the legal acts passed by state institutions, in which the model or models of preparation of lawyers, i.e. university studies in the field of law, are entrenched, the structure and content of these studies are regulated, account should be taken of the fact that, under Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution, schools of higher education are granted autonomy, and that this autonomy, as it was held in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 June 1994, 14 January 2002 and 5 February 2002, includes the right of schools of higher education to establish their “study programmes” independently. Account should also be taken of the fact that a certain model (as well as a tradition) of preparation of lawyers had been formed even prior to the adoption (on 25 October 1992) and entry into force (on 2 November 1992) of the 1992 Constitution. It was a model of single-cycle university studies in the field of law, and it was only in 1991–1992 when some alternatives came into being, however, such alternatives did not deny the dominance of this model.

6. Alongside, it needs to be emphasised that after the adoption and entry into force of the Constitution, significant changes took place in the area of the training of lawyers: not only the list, the extent and content of study subjects underwent changes (it is understandable, since the studies in the field of law (and not only of law) could not fail to reflect the fact that in the restored independent State of Lithuania the fundamental reform of the legal system was taking place, law was developed on the basis of the Constitution (also, essential changes in social, economic and political systems and other spheres regulated by law were taking lace), in addition, norms of European Union law became a constituent part of the legal system of the Republic of Lithuania), also the preparation of lawyers (higher legal studies) were diversified in the aspects that, among other things: (1) preparation of lawyers was begun not only in universities, but also in schools of higher education (colleges), which did not have the status of universities; (2) preparation of lawyers began not only under the model of single-cycle university studies in the field of law, which had been dominating until then, but also under other models, which had not been applied in Lithuania until then, where the qualification degree of bachelor of law (the lower, or first-cycle qualification degree) and the qualification degree of master of law (the higher, or second-cycle qualification degree, may be awarded separately); (3) there are situations, when sometimes also the persons, who have not acquired the degree of bachelor of law, can acquire the qualification degree of master of law, besides, there appeared master study programmes of the field of law, which do not include all those subjects of legal areas that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones, and which limit themselves only with a certain area of law, however, the persons who finish their studies under such study programmes are awarded the qualification degree of master of law (but not of corresponding narrower area of law); (4) although certain bachelor and/or master study programmes of the field of law include all those subjects of legal areas that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones (the subjects which compose the greater part (module) of these studies), these programmes are named not as study programmes of bachelor and/or master of law—their names reflect an additional field (module) of studies, precisely that in such programmes the study of the subjects of legal areas that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones is linked with studying certain other study subjects (which are, as a rule, closely related with law), which comprise a comparatively big part (module) of a corresponding study programme, while the persons who finish their studies under these programmes are respectively awarded the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and/or master of law. The said diversification of preparation of lawyers (higher legal studies) and other changes should be explained while taking account of the wider context, namely of the fact that during the last decade of the 20th century in Lithuania new schools of higher education were established and most of the existing schools of higher education were reorganised (for example, most of state non-university schools of higher education were reorganised as universities), also of the fact that the system of higher education underwent essential changes related, inter alia, with the introduction of the qualification degrees of bachelor and master, the introduction of the credit system of studies, etc. While analysing and assessing the legal regulation (also in the aspect of the relation with the legal regulation established in legal acts of higher legal force), consolidating the requirements to the persons who aspire to become judges (as well as to the persons who seek to hold any other position (inter alia, a position in institutions of public power), which is categorised as belonging to the legal profession, or to engage in certain professional activities of a lawyer (inter alia, in a profession, which is under control of the state), one must have in mind also the changes in the model of preparation of lawyers which have been taking place since 1991–1992 and which have been pointed out herein.

It needs to be emphasised that in itself the said diversification of preparation of lawyers (higher legal studies) may not be interpreted as not permitting the legislature to stipulate, by means of a law and while paying heed to the Constitution, the requirement that the persons who seek to engage in certain professional activity of a lawyer, also seeking to hold the position of a judge, have namely university higher education in law, and not ordinary higher education in law.

7. Therefore, while ascertaining the content of the legal regulation established in the impugned Qualification Requirements (as well as relating the said content with the legal regulation established in other legal acts), one has to take account of the fact how in Lithuania lawyers have been and are prepared, inter alia, the lawyers who are eligible to become judges, also, what model or models (inter alia, university higher studies in the field of law) of preparation of lawyers there are, what legal basis of these models is, and whether these models are based on laws.

8. As mentioned before, in Lithuania, the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law was applied for preparation of lawyers.

8.1. In Lithuania, until the last decade of the 20th century lawyers were prepared in universities under the model of single-cycle university studies in the field of law. The sources of this model are traced as far back as 1567, when the training of lawyers-practitioners was begun in Vilnius Academy, who were meant to work either as a prokurator or an instygator in courts and other establishments. In the Principal School of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Vilnius Academy was reorganised as the Principal School in 1781) law studies took 4 years, while in Vilnius University (the Principle Schools was reorganised as a university in 1803) compulsory and uninterrupted law studies took 3 years. After the tsarist Russian government closed Vilnius University in 1832, Lithuania was left with no school providing higher education in law. After the independent State of Lithuania was restored in 1918, the University of Lithuania was opened in Kaunas in 1922 (in 1930 it was renamed as Vytautas Magnus University). In that university law studies took 8 semesters; it was required that one studied not less than 15 law subjects (law encyclopaedia, history of law philosophy, history of Lithuanian law, public law of foreign states (basics), public law of Lithuania, international law, administrative law, finance law, civil law, commercial law (together with exchange law), history and dogmatics of Roman law, civil procedure, criminal law, criminal procedure, and forensic science) and to account for them. During the Soviet period lawyers were prepared in the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University under the model of single-cycle studies in the field of law, and such studies (with a small exception) took 5 years, while the persons who finished the studies under this programme (in which, as well as in other study programmes of schools of higher education, there also used to be some ideology-driven subjects of studies which were imposed by the political regime of that time, while the subjects of the study in the field of law were substantially indoctrinated) were awarded the qualification of a lawyer (alongside full-time studies, there were studies of correspondence, and for some time there also used to be part-time studies).

8.2. For some time this model of preparation of lawyers, i.e. that of single-cycle university studies in the field of law, virtually had no alternatives also in 1990, when the independent State of Lithuania was restored (while, as mentioned before, the alternatives that came into being in 1991–1992 did not deny the dominance of the model of single-cycle university studies in the field of law): for some time studies in the field of law continued to be of single-cycle, while those who finished them were awarded the qualification of a lawyer. At present the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University provides single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law (full-time and correspondence studies). Of course, attempts have been made to correct the model of studies in the field of law established in this faculty; for instance, higher education study programmes of the field of law were registered on provisional basis, whereby those who finished the single-cycle studies had to be awarded the degree of bachelor of law (the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science (No. 565) “On Registering Higher Education Study Programmes” of 19 May 1997), however, this legal regulation was promptly changed and it was established that those who finished legal studies under these programmes are awarded not the degree of bachelor of law, but the professional qualification of a lawyer (the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science (No. 359) “On a Partial Amendment of Order No. 565 of 19 May 1997” of 27 February 1998).

The discussed single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law take four to five years. In this context it needs to be mentioned that, under Paragraphs 1 and 3 (wordings 21 March 2001, 21 December 2001, and 22 April 2003) of Article 41 of the Law on Higher Education, integrated studies must continue for more than 4 years.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that on 12 February 1991 the Supreme Council adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Science and Studies. In this law one established an opportunity to divide higher education (as well as higher education in law) into first- and second-cycle studies (by respectively awarding the qualification degrees of bachelor and master of law): it was established in Article 27 of this law that “studies of one or more cycles shall be recognised in Lithuania. Upon the completion of such studies, a bachelor degree, a master degree, or another degree of qualification may be conferred”, while “qualification requirements for these degrees shall be approved by the Government <…> on the recommendation of the Lithuanian Council of Science”. These provisions were not amended in any way until 11 June 2002, when the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on Science and Studies (which with a certain exception came into force on 1 October 2002), by Article 1 whereof the Law on Science and Studies was set forth in its new wording. The Law on Science and Studies gave no definition as to what was meant by the qualification degree of bachelor and that of master. This was done by the Government, when on 14 October 1993 it adopted the Resolution (No. 768) “On Approving the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education and the Regulations for Establishing and Certification of Schools of Higher Education” (which came into force on 21 October 1993; hereinafter referred to as government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993) by Item 1 whereof the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education were approved; inter alia, the following was established in these regulations: after the undergraduate studies are finished either the qualification degree of bachelor or the qualification degree of studies, which amounts to the former degree, and/or professional qualification are acquired (depending upon the programme of the studies) (Item 2); upon finishing the specialised professional studies, the professional qualification is acquired (Item 3); the degree of bachelor denotes specialised higher education in a certain field of science or art of a person and his preparedness for further studies within this field (Item 9); the degree of master denotes specialised higher education in a certain field of science or art of a person and his preparedness for further doctoral studies (Item 10); diplomas of bachelor or master degrees shall specify the area or field of studies of science or art (Article 11), while a diploma of master shall also specify the fields of the specialisation of studies (Item 12); the study programme of master studies shall be formed by the school of higher education; the programme shall specify the area or the field for which the degree of master is awarded upon finishing these studies (Item 19).

Thus, although the Law on Science and Studies (and the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented the provisions of Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies) also consolidated an opportunity to divide higher education (as well as higher education in law) into first- and second-cycle studies (by respectively awarding the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law), the aforementioned university education in law that had been acquired until then (in the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University) by studying under the model of single-cycle university studies in the field of law did not change: those who finished the studies in the field of law under this model of studies could be awarded the professional qualification of a lawyer.

8.3. The opportunity to divide higher education (as well as higher education in law) into first- and second-cycle studies (by respectively awarding the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law) is also consolidated in the Law on Higher Education (wording of 21 March 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements).

On 21 March 2000, the Seimas adopted the Law on Higher Education, and it came into force (with a certain exception) on 1 September 2000. This law assigns both bachelor studies and master studies to sequential studies, which are defined as “studies, after the completion of which higher education is acquired and/or a qualification is awarded” (Paragraph 15 of Article 2). The qualification degree of bachelor is acquired upon finishing undergraduate studies and bachelor degree is defined as “qualification degree awarded to a person who has completed a study programme of the first cycle of university sequential studies” (Paragraph 3 of Article 2), while undergraduate studies are defined as “first cycle of university or non-university sequential studies” (Paragraph 16 of Article 2). It was established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 42 of the Law on Higher Education that the programme of undergraduate studies shall be intended to provide the theoretical basis to a profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work, and that graduates of undergraduate university studies shall be awarded a professional qualification and/or a bachelor degree, and graduates of non-university undergraduate studies—a professional qualification; the same provisions stayed after this provision was set forth in its wording of 18 July 2006, save the fact that it was established that graduates of non-university undergraduate studies shall be awarded a professional bachelor degree and/or a professional qualification (and not only a professional qualification, as it had been until then). Since higher education is defined as “education acquired after the completion of undergraduate or integrated studies in a higher education establishment of Lithuania, or equivalent studies in a foreign higher education establishment” (Paragraph 1 of Article 2), it needs to be held that the qualification degree of bachelor means that a person has higher education in the corresponding field. However, this law also provides for master studies—university sequential studies of the second cycle leading to a person’s higher professional and research qualification (also special professional studies, which are university sequential studies of the second cycle intended for acquiring a higher professional qualification, and residency, which is designed for the persons who finished medical studies for preparation of independent medical practice), also doctoral studies, which are studies of the third (highest) cycle which are linked with scientific research and the preparation of a dissertation and which are intended to prepare scientists, as well as art postgraduate studies. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that the Law on Higher Education defines the qualification degree of master as “a qualification degree awarded to a person who has completed the master study programme” (Paragraph 9 of Article 2), i.e. this qualification degree is awarded to a person who finished masters studies, which, in their turn, are defined as “university sequential studies of the second cycle leading to a person’s higher professional and research qualification” (Paragraph 8 of Article 2); it is established that “a master study programme shall be intended to prepare for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required”, and that “master studies shall be carried out at universities where research corresponding to a subject area is conducted” (Paragraph 5 of Article 42).

Alongside, it needs to be emphasised that after an opportunity to divide higher education (as well as higher education in law) into first- and second-cycle studies (by respectively awarding the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law) was entrenched, the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies (as well as those in the field of law) was not denied; the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies is consolidated in the Law on Higher Education (wording of 21 March 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements). Integrated studies are therein defined as “studies intended for acquiring a higher professional qualification, when university studies of the first and second cycles are being harmonised” (Paragraph 26 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 2).

8.4. It needs to be mentioned that, on 14 June 2002, the Minister of Education and Science issued the Order (No. 1093) “On Registering Higher Education University Study Programmes”, under which those who finished the single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law at the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University are awarded the qualification degree of master of law.

8.5. The characteristic feature of the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in law is that under this model the study programme encompasses all the subjects of areas of law, which are traditionally and generally recognised as most important ones, and that it does not limit itself only to a certain area of law. Thus, it is not enough that the persons, who seek to acquire university higher education in law under such study programme, hear only the study subjects of certain areas of law—one or several modules of studies in the field of law—and account for them: they must hear precisely such subjects of studies in the field of law and account for precisely such subjects of studies without which one should not reasonably recognise the qualification of a lawyer to them, since it would be impossible to reasonably regard such persons as ones having proper professional theoretical preparation and practical abilities necessary for an independent legal work. Under the established tradition and concept of university higher education in law, such main subjects of studies (known in English as the core curriculum, in French—tronc commun, and in German—Hauptlehrplan) are: legal theory, history of law, constitutional law, administrative law and administrative procedure law, finance law, criminal law and criminal procedure law, civil law and civil procedure law, labour law, international public law; after the norms of European Union law became part of the legal system of the Republic of Lithuania, also European Union law became a subject of the said studies. Of course, the list of the main subjects of studies in the field of law is subject to change. In addition, it may have various peculiarities in various schools of higher education, since the subjects of studies included into such a list, for, inter alia, practical reasons, may be joined or divided, also their extent and names may differ too. However, in general, in countries of the Western legal tradition (especially, of the Continental legal tradition) the core of university higher studies encompassing the said main subjects of studies which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, is universal and more or less stable; it does not mean that it is not subject to evolving. On the other hand, as a rule, only these main subjects of studies in the field of law are not sufficient: in order that the qualification of a lawyer would reasonably be recognised for a person, this person is required (especially in countries of the Continental legal tradition) to have studied additional legal disciplines, as for example, Roman law, comparative legal science, international private law, ecology law, agrarian law, criminology etc. (as a rule, there is a possibility of choosing several study subjects from a much longer list, however, quite often some of the study subjects specified herein are also compulsory ones). It also needs to be noted that, in general, the fact is characteristic of law that legal regulation (it does not matter which social relations are regulated) is subject to constant change (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 November 1997); the legal regulation of certain social relations, which earlier used to be only episodic and fragmentary, may become more intensive, and the legal regulation which earlier used to be non-systematised may become systematised. Due to this, new areas (branches) of law may come into being. Universities may start studying them as new, individual subjects of studies in the field of law (as, for instance, transport law, healthcare law, mass media law) because in general new areas of legal regulation (as, for instance, biotechnology law, electronic communications law) come into being. Eventually, higher legal studies would not be university studies, if they did not include (as an inseparable part) certain (philosophical, humanitarian) subjects of studies in a non-legal field from the areas of philosophy, economy and other realms of knowledge.

8.6. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Law on Higher Education, which at the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue was set forth in its initial wording of 21 March 2000, there may be state schools of higher education and non-state schools of higher education. In this context it needs to be noted that university (the titles of schools of higher education with the status of university not necessarily have to contain the word “university”) is only one type of the two types of schools of higher education consolidated in the Law on Higher Education—the other type of schools of higher education which do not have the status of university is college (the titles of colleges may not contain the words “university” or “academy”). It should also be noted that only a small number of non-state schools of higher education have the status of university—most of such schools are colleges, but not universities (academies); only one non-state school of higher education can provide teaching according to university programmes of studies in the field of law under the model of single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law, which is the Business Law Academy of Vilnius; by the Order (No. ISAK-1195) “On Registering a Programme of Higher Education University Studies” of 26 August 2003, the programme of studies “Law” (of the length of five years for full-time studies, and of the length of six years for correspondence studies) of the Business Law Academy of Vilnius was registered, and the persons who completed it had to be awarded the degree of master of law.

9. The model of university two-cycle studies in the field of law, which is an alternative to the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law, became possible upon the entry into force of the Law on Science and Studies, which, as mentioned before, consolidated an opportunity to divide higher education (as well as higher education in law) into first- and second-cycle studies (by respectively awarding the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law). Under Paragraph 2 (wording of 12 February 1991) of Article 4 of this law, the form and content of studies had to be established by the institutions of science and studies themselves. It has been mentioned that while implementing the provisions of Article 27 of this law, whereby studies of one or more cycles shall be recognised in Lithuania, while upon the completion of such studies, a bachelor degree, a master degree, or another degree of qualification may be conferred, and the qualification requirements for these degrees shall be approved by the Government on the recommendation of the Lithuanian Council of Science, the Qualification Requirements were approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993.

9.1. On the grounds of the Law on Science and Studies, however, prior to the approval of the provisions of the Qualification Requirements by the Government, a different model of higher legal studies (which was an alternative to the single-cycle studies) began to be formed, under which the bachelor studies and master studies in the field of law were separated and the persons who finished them were correspondingly awarded the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law. For instance, under the Statute of the Police Academy of Lithuania (which was approved by the Resolution of the Supreme Council (No. I-1311) “On Approving the Statute of the Police Academy of Lithuania” of 14 May 1991 and which came into force, as indicated in Item 2 of this resolution of the Supreme Council, “as from the day of its adoption”), the students who finished the first cycle of higher education had to be awarded the qualification of a police officer, while those who finished the second and third cycles of higher education could be awarded correspondingly the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law (Item 4.4).

Later, this two-cycle model of higher (non-university) model of legal studies evolved to the model where the persons who finished the first cycle of studies in the field of law are awarded the qualification degree of bachelor of law, while the persons who finished the second cycle of studies in the field of law are awarded the qualification degree of master of law. This two-cycle model of higher studies in the field of law was further consolidated and developed after the Lithuanian Police Academy of Lithuania was reorganised as the Law Academy of Lithuania (1998), after the Law Academy of Lithuania was reorganised as the Law University of Lithuania (2000), and when the Law University of Lithuania was reorganised as Mykolas Romeris University (2004).

As from 1997, the Faculty of Law of Vilnius University has been admitting persons, who have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor in another field (not that of law), to study under a 4-year correspondence programme of studies in the field of law. After they finish these studies, these persons are awarded the professional qualification of a lawyer. These are single-cycle studies.

9.2. This process was taking place in parallel with the essential changes in the entire system of higher education of Lithuania: bachelor and master studies, upon completing which the persons are awarded the qualification degrees of bachelor and master correspondingly (which denote the professional qualification in a certain field of studies), were separated in most programmes (of non-legal fields) implemented in most schools of higher education. It needs to be held that at the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, the model of university two-cycle studies in the field of law, which is alternative to the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law and which was not characteristic of the preparation of Lithuanian lawyers a decade or so ago, has been completely formed.

9.3. This transformation of the model of preparation of lawyers—that of the system of higher education in law—is hardly the grounds or a stimulus to abandon the core of university higher studies in law (which was discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court), which is generally recognised in the countries of the Western legal tradition (especially, in the Continental legal tradition), which corresponds to the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law: also, if the model of university two-cycle studies in the field of law is chosen, it is necessary to secure that the discussed main study subjects, as well as other subjects in legal and non-legal fields, be studied.

9.3.1. Since, according to the Law on Higher Education (and, prior to its entry into force, according to the Law on Science and Studies, which regulated corresponding relations, as well as according to the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented the provisions of Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies), the programme of undergraduate studies, upon completing which persons are awarded the qualification degree of bachelor, is intended to provide the theoretical basis to a profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work, while master studies and the qualification degree of master is related with acquisition of higher professional qualification and preparedness for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required, it is obvious that only those persons, who completed bachelor studies and who have the qualification degree of bachelor may be admitted to master studies (as mentioned before, the legal regulation which is established in legal acts and which is related with the acquisition of higher education in law in schools of higher education of foreign states is not a matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue). Besides, such legal regulation established in the Law on Higher Education in general, under certain conditions, does not prevent to admit those persons, who finished single-cycle (integrated) studies in a certain field and also have the qualification degree of master of studies in another field, to master studies in certain fields.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that, under Paragraph 5 of Article 42 of the Law on Higher Education, which, at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, was set in its primary wording of 21 March 2000, the Ministry of Education and Science shall approve the General Requirements for Master Study Programmes, while by the Order of the Minister of Education and Science (No. ISAK-1551) “On General Requirements for Study Programmes” of 22 July 2005, the Description of the General Requirements for Master Study Programmes (hereinafter referred to as the Master Study Description) was approved; it is established therein, inter alia, that only the persons who have acquired a degree which is not less than the qualification degree of bachelor or who are with university education amounting to the said degree, and who meet other requirements specified in the description for the master study programme, are admitted to master studies (Item 7); the description for the master study programme must specify the field (fields) of undergraduate studies, which are required to have been finished by the person who is admitted to the studies according to the study programme in question (Item 8).

9.3.2. In this context it needs to be noted that if one opts for the model of two-cycle studies in the field of law, the discussed subjects which compose the core of university studies in law and which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, should be studied in the first cycle according to the programme of university bachelor studies in the field of law; otherwise, one would deviate from the concept of higher education which is consolidated in the Law on Higher Education—higher education is therein defined as education acquired after the completion of, inter alia, undergraduate studies in a higher education establishment of Lithuania; one would also deviate from the provision, stemming from this concept, whereby the qualification degree of bachelor (also in the field of law) means that the person has higher education in the corresponding field (in the discussed case—the field of law). In addition, it goes without saying that only such student of law can pursue “higher professional qualification”, who has theoretical bases of the legal profession and the professional skills necessary for independent work; that only such student of law can pursue “deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities” who already has the basic scientific knowledge and abilities necessary in the corresponding area of law. Under the Law on Higher Education (also under the Law on Science and Studies, which used to regulate the respective relations before the entry into force of the Law on Higher Education, as well as the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies) master studies are not intended for rendering the theoretical bases of the profession and forming the professional skills necessary for independent work; thus, master studies in the field of law cannot be intended for hearing such subjects of studies in the field of law, and accounting for namely for such subjects without learning which the qualification of a lawyer could not be reasonably recognised for persons (namely, such subjects as legal theory, history of law, constitutional law, administrative law and administrative procedure law, finance law, criminal law and criminal procedure law, civil law and civil procedure law, labour law, international public law, European Union law and similar fundamental subjects).

9.4. It needs to be noted that the discussed model of two-cycle university studies in the field of law is characteristic of the fact that the purpose of the study programmes of bachelor in the field of law and those of master in the field of law is varied one.

9.4.1. For instance, as mentioned before, although certain bachelor and/or master study programmes of the field of law include all those subjects of areas of law that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones (the subjects which compose the greater part (module) of these studies), these programmes are named not as study programmes of bachelor and/or master of law—their names reflect an additional field (module) of studies, precisely that here the study of the subjects of legal areas that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones is linked with studying certain other study subjects (which are, as a rule, closely related with law), which comprise a comparatively big part (module) of a corresponding study programme; for example, bachelor and master study programmes of law and administration, law and police activities, law and penitentiary activities, bachelor study programmes of law and state border guard, law and customs activities have been registered and are implemented; the persons who finished their studies according to these programmes (some of such programmes are not only full-time, but also part-time and/or they are correspondence programmes) are awarded the qualification degrees (correspondingly) of bachelor of law and/or master of law.

9.4.2. Some programmes of master studies in the field of law are specialised, designed for extending the knowledge of the persons, who acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of law, in a certain area of law. For example, master study programmes of labour and social maintenance law, expertise research, information technology law, European Union law, and administrative law have been registered and are fulfilled; the persons who finished studies according to these programmes are awarded the qualification degree of master of law.

This is completely in line with the concept of master studies and the qualification degree of master, which is consolidated in the Law on Higher Education, and, prior to its entry into force—in the Law on Science and Studies, which regulated corresponding relations, as well as in the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies: as mentioned before, the degree of master had to denote specialised higher education in a certain field of science or art of a person and his preparedness for further doctoral studies, while under the Law on Higher Education, master studies are university sequential studies of the second cycle leading to a person’s higher professional and research qualification and a master study programme shall be intended to prepare for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required.

9.4.3. It has also been mentioned that one of the changes which occurred in Lithuania with regard to the model of preparation of lawyers—higher studies in the field of law—is that sometimes also persons, who have not acquired the degree of bachelor of law, can acquire the qualification degree of master of law.

It is completely obvious that is not in line with the concept of master studies and the qualification degree of master, which is consolidated in the Law on Higher Education, and, prior to its entry into force—in the Law on Science and Studies, which regulated corresponding relations, as well as in the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies. As mentioned before, the programme of undergraduate studies, upon completing which persons are awarded the qualification degree of bachelor, is intended to provide the theoretical basis to a profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work, while master studies and the qualification degree of master are related with acquisition of higher professional qualification and preparedness for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required. It was also mentioned that only such student of law can pursue “higher professional qualification”, who has theoretical bases of the legal profession and the professional skills necessary for independent work; that only such student of law can pursue “deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities” who has the basic scientific knowledge and abilities necessary in the corresponding area of law, also, that under the Law on Higher Education (also under the Law on Science and Studies, which used to regulate the respective relations before the entry into force of the Law on Higher Education, as well as the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies) master studies are not intended for rendering the theoretical bases of the profession and forming the professional skills necessary for independent work; thus, master studies in the field of law cannot be intended for hearing such subjects of studies in the field of law, and accounting for namely for such subjects without learning which the qualification of a lawyer could not be reasonably recognised for persons (namely, such subjects as legal theory, history of law, constitutional law, administrative law and administrative procedure law, finance law, criminal law and criminal procedure law, civil law and civil procedure law, labour law, international public law, European Union law and similar fundamental subjects). Therefore, the master studies in such a field of law, to which the persons who have not finished bachelor studies in the field of law and who do not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law can be admitted, may be justified (thus, their programmes may be registered under established procedure) only in the case when the persons who have the qualification degree of bachelor of another field of studies, but not that of bachelor of law, are awarded not the degree of master of law in general, but that of master of corresponding narrower area of law.

The provision of Paragraph 5 of Article 45 of the Law on Higher Education that a master study programme shall be intended to prepare for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required, should not be construed as completely prohibiting the admittance of persons who have the qualification degree of bachelor in a field other than law to master studies in the field of law. And there is not any basis (neither legal, nor educational, nor any other one) to maintain that, purportedly, also such university master study programmes of the field of law are impossible, to which persons, who have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of not the studies in the field of law, but in another field, are admitted. The integration of sciences and other objective processes even prompt such junction and interaction of various sciences and the development of such university master study programmes, which are oriented toward interdisciplinary studies.

In this context it needs to be noted that, according to the provisions of the Master Study Description (wording of 22 July 2005), master study programmes can be knowledge-deepening and knowledge-extending: a knowledge-extending master study programme is designed for extending the competence of a student in another field (if compared with the field of undergraduate studies) of studies, by purposively coordinating these studies with the competence acquired during the undergraduate studies and/or during the experience acquired during practical activities (Item 3), while in cases where the field of master studies does not coincide with the field of the finished first-cycle university studies, additional studies may be organised for those, who wish to join master studies (Item 9); in addition, not less than 80 percent of a knowledge-deepening master study programme and not less than 60 percent of a knowledge-extending master study programme must be composed of knowledge-deepening level subjects whose content is based on the subjects that were studied earlier, during the completed undergraduate study programme, or on the special subjects that are studied at the beginning of master studies (Item 17). After Item 9 of the Master Study Description was set forth in its wording of 12 June 2007, it was established expressis verbis that the additional studies, which are specified in this item, for the persons who wish to join master studies, not may, but must be organised for those persons, when the field of master studies does not coincide with the field of the completed first-cycle university studies; such additional studies are non-sequential studies which include the subjects of the undergraduate studies which were not studied by the persons who wish to join master studies, although these subjects are necessary in order that the student would have sufficient knowledge and abilities necessary for successful master studies; the subjects of additional studies may be studied independently, however, it is necessary to pass the examination under the programme approved by the university (Item 3 (wording of 22 July 2005)).

Thus, it needs to be held that, on the basis of this legal act, also those persons may be admitted to knowledge-extending master studies, who have finished undergraduate studies in another field, however, additional, so-called “levelling” studies must be organised for such persons before they begin their master studies. During properly organised additional studies (when the field of master studies does not coincide with the field of the completed first-cycle university studies) a student may acquire sufficient knowledge and abilities which are needed for the successful master studies in the field of law, which are specialised and designated for deepening the knowledge of the persons (who acquired the qualification degree of bachelor) only in a certain area of law. However, in itself it does not mean that such knowledge could be sufficient for such master studies in the field of law, which are not of narrow specialisation and which are oriented to a rather broad area (branch) of law, to several areas (branches) of law, let alone to the entire legal system. Therefore, it needs to be emphasised once again that the persons who have not finished bachelor studies in the field of law and who do not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law, after they finish the said master studies in the field of law, should be awarded not the qualification degree of master of law in general, but of corresponding narrower area of law.

9.5. As mentioned before, under the Law on Higher Education, there may also be non-state schools of higher education. The programmes of university two-cycle studies in the field of law, which are implemented by a non-state school of higher education—the European Humanities University—should be assigned to the model of the programme of university studies in the field of law; by the Order of the Minster of Education and Science (No. ISAK-583) “On Registering Programmes of University Higher Education Studies” of 28 March 2006, a 4-year programme of studies in the field of international law (full-time studies and studies by correspondence), implemented by this non-state school of higher education, has been registered, upon completing which a person is awarded the degree of bachelor of law, as well as a 2-year programme of studies of international law and European law (full-time studies and studies by correspondence), upon completing which a person is awarded the degree of master of law.

Without analysing the structure and content of the corresponding programmes of master studies in the field of law (and this is not the matter of jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court), it is hardly possible to decide only from their titles whether these programmes of studies are oriented only to the subjects of studies specified in their titles and limit themselves only to the named area of law, or whether they include all traditionally and generally recognised areas of law—the main subjects (disciplines) of studies in the field of law, which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law.

10. Later, one more model of university studies in law came into being. As from 1995, the Institute of Law of Vytautas Magnus University began to provide higher education in law. This university admits the persons, who finished bachelor studies in the field of other than law, thus, the persons who have the degree of bachelor not of the studies in the field of law, but in another field. In addition, some programmes of studies in the field of law implemented in this university did not include all areas of law, which are traditionally and generally recognised as the main ones, and were limited only to a certain area of law, however, the persons who finished studies according to these programmes are awarded the qualification degree of master of law, but not of corresponding narrower area of law. For instance, the qualification degree of master of law is granted under registered programmes of master studies of administrative law, international law, commercial law.

Such programmes of studies, which are limited only to a certain area of law, upon completing which persons are awarded the qualification degree of master of law, later appeared also in Mykolas Romeris University (for example, master study programmes of biolaw, maritime law).

10.1. It needs to be emphasised that provided the persons who have not finished bachelor studies in the field of law and who do not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law, could be admitted to these master studies in the field of law, these studies can be justifiable (their programmes can be registered under established procedure) only in such a case, where the persons, and who have the qualification degree of bachelor in the field not of law, but of the studies of another field, who finished the master studies in the field of law, are awarded not the degree of law in general, but the degree of master of corresponding narrower area of law.

In this case it should also be held that without analysing the structure and content of corresponding programmes of master studies in the field of law, as well as whether these programmes have been registered as knowledge-deepening or knowledge extending, it is hardly possible to decide from their titles alone whether they are oriented only to the subjects of studies specified in their titles and limit themselves only to the named area of law, or whether they include more traditionally and generally recognised areas of law—the main subjects (disciplines) of studies in the field of law, which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law.

10.2. As mentioned before, the programme of undergraduate studies, upon completing which the persons are awarded the qualification degree of bachelor, is intended to provide the theoretical basis to a profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work, while master studies and the qualification degree of master are related with acquisition of higher professional qualification and preparedness for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required; only such student of law can pursue “higher professional qualification”, who has theoretical bases of the legal profession and the professional skills necessary for independent work, while only such student of law can pursue “deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities” who has the basic scientific knowledge and abilities necessary in the corresponding area of law; master studies are not intended for rendering the theoretical bases of the profession and forming the professional skills necessary for independent work—master studies in the field of law cannot be intended for hearing such subjects of studies in the field of law, and accounting for namely for such subjects without learning which the qualification of a lawyer could not be reasonably recognised for persons, therefore, if the model of two-cycle studies in the field of law is chosen, the discussed subjects, which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, and which are the core of university higher studies in law, should be studied in the first cycle, under the programme university bachelor’s studies in the field of law. It was also mentioned that such master studies in the field of law, to which the persons who have not finished bachelor studies in the field of law and who do not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law are admitted, may be justified (thus, their programmes may be registered under established procedure) only in the case when the persons who have the qualification degree of bachelor in another field of studies, but not that of bachelor of law, are awarded not the degree of master of law in general, but that of master of corresponding narrower area of law.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it is obvious and should be especially emphasised that such master studies in the field of law (and, in general, studies in any field), where one studies something that should have been heard before joining the master studies in the field of law, namely, the subjects which compose the core of university studies in law and which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, completely distorts the concept of master studies and the qualification degree of master (in the discussed case—master studies in the field of law and the qualification degree of master of law), which is consolidated in the Law on Higher Education (also in the Law on Science and Studies, which used to regulate the respective relations before the entry into force of the Law on Higher Education, as well as the Qualification Regulations of Higher Education as approved by government resolution No. 768 of 14 October 1993, which implemented Article 27 of the Law on Science and Studies).

10.3. It needs to be emphasised that in general also such model of university studies in the field of law, where lawyers are prepared only at the second cycle of the studies—master studies in the field of law—is not impossible. Such model of preparation of lawyers is consolidated in the systems of higher education in law of some foreign states, inter alia, the United States of America.

In this case, the problem is not about the fact that such, far from impossible, model of preparation of lawyers for certain reasons could not be provided for in laws of the Republic of Lithuania, but about the fact that explicit and imperative provisions of laws of the Republic of Lithuania consolidate only two models of university studies in the field of law (and not exclusively in the field of law): the model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law, or such model of two-cycle university studies in the field of law, where lawyers are prepared both in the first and the second cycle of studies, besides, the subjects which compose the core of university studies in law and which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, should be studied in the first cycle according to the programme of university bachelor studies in the field of law. The problem is that the discussed model of preparation of lawyers, according to which lawyers are prepared only at the second cycle of studies—master studies in the field of law—is grounded on such a concept of master studies in the field of law and of the qualification degree of master of law, which does not stem from laws of the Republic of Lithuania. While the master studies in the field of law and of the qualification degree of master of law, which stems from laws of the Republic of Lithuania, directly denies the possibility of the discussed model of preparation of lawyers, according to which lawyers are prepared only at the second cycle of studies.

10.4. It needs to be mentioned that, in 2007, instead of the master study programmes of the field of law (i.e. programmes of administrative law, commercial law, international law) of the Institute of Law of Vytautas Magnus University, knowledge-extending master study programmes with the same titles were registered. Persons, who have finished bachelor studies in the field other than law, thus, who have the degree of bachelor in the field other than law, are continued to be admitted to these programmes; also, in 2005, a 3-year fully-time integrated study programme in the field of law was registered.

It needs to be noted that, as mentioned before, under Paragraph 3 (wordings of 21 March 2000, 21 December 2001, and 22 April 2003) of Article 41 of the Law on Higher Education, integrated studies must continue for more than 4 years, while the duration of the discussed integrated studies is 3 years. It is obvious that the said 3-year integrated study programme of the field of law does not meet the requirement of the Law on Higher Education.

Thus, it needs to be held that these so-called integrated studies in the field of law already cannot be categorised as belonging either to the traditional model of single-cycle (integrated) university studies in the field of law, or to the third discussed model of preparation of lawyers, according to which lawyers are prepared during master studies.

10.5. It needs to be emphasised that the state, while allowing the implementation of the programmes which cannot be implemented according to the laws passed by the Seimas—the legislature of this state—creates certain expectations to the persons who finished studies according to these programmes. It has been held more than once in acts of the Constitutional Court that the Constitution defends and protects legitimate expectations of the person.

In addition, the Constitutional Court has held that the constitutional protection of legitimate interests of the person should be construed inseparably from the entrenched-in-the-Constitution principle of justice, the entrenched-in-the-Constitution protection of the acquired rights, the necessity to ensure the trust of a person, who obeys law and follows the requirements of the laws, in the state and law; the trust of the person in the state and law as well as the protection of legitimate interests, as constitutional values, are inseparable from the constitutionality of legal acts and presumption of legitimacy; legal acts (parts thereof) are considered to be in compliance with the Constitution and legitimate until the moment, when, upon the established procedure, they are ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws); until the moment when legal acts (parts thereof), upon the procedure established by the Law on the Constitutional Court, are ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) or until the moment when, upon the established procedure, they are recognised as no longer effective, the legal regulation established therein is compulsory for respective subjects of legal relations; the person who obeys law, who follows the requirements of the laws, is protected and defended by the Constitution; failure to pay heed to this provision would mean a deviation from the principle of justice which is enshrined in the Constitution as well (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 December 2004).

On the other hand, the Constitutional Court has also held that there may be factual situations, where the person who meets the conditions established in legal acts, under the said legal acts acquired particular rights and therefore gained expectations, which could be considered by this person to be reasonably legitimate during the period of validity of the said legal acts, therefore, he could reasonably expect that if he obeys law, and fulfils the requirements of the laws, his expectations will be held legitimate by the state and will be defended and protected; even the legal acts which, on the basis and upon the procedure established in the Constitution and the laws, are later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws), may give rise to such expectations; there may also be factual situations, where the person has already fulfilled his rights and obligations arising from the legal act which was later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) in regard to other persons and after that, due to this, the aforementioned other persons gained particular expectations, the defence and protection of which by the state they could reasonably expect, as well; in certain cases quite a long period of time may pass from the moment of the appearance of such expectations and recognition of respective legal acts as being in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws); the imperative of the balance between the constitutional values, the constitutional requirements of legal certainty and legal security, the enshrined-in-the-Constitution protection of the acquired rights, and the presumption of constitutionality and legitimacy of legal acts pre-determines, inter alia, the fact that the Constitution generally does not prevent from protecting and defending in certain special cases also such acquired rights of the person arising from the legal acts later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws), which, if not defended or protected, would result in greater harm to the person, other persons, society or the state, than the harm inflicted in case of total non-defence or non-protection or partial defence or protection of the said rights; after the legal acts are ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—as being in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws) and, due to this, certain persons who have obeyed law, followed the laws and respected the state and its law before the said recognition can suffer negative consequences, the legislature bears the constitutional duty to evaluate all the circumstances related with this and, if necessary, establish such legal regulation, which would provide an opportunity in the aforementioned extraordinary cases to fully or partially protect and defend the acquired rights of the persons who obeyed law and followed the requirements of the laws, arising from the legal acts which were later ruled to be in conflict with the Constitution (substatutory legal acts—to be in conflict with the Constitution and/or the laws), so that the enshrined-in-the-Constitution principle of justice would not be deviated from, too (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 December 2004 and 13 May 2005).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be emphasised that whatever the studies in the field of law (after which the qualification degree of master of law is acquired) are finished by persons, the qualification degree of master of law acquired by them cannot be subject to question. The expectations of such persons, which appeared, inter alia, due to the activity of the state, may not be ignored, while the occurred disputes must be settled by heeding law and justice.

11. In this context, it should also be mentioned that by the Order of the Minister of Education and Science (No. 1238) “On Establishing the Register of Study and Training Programmes” of 19 November 1996 (which was not published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”), the Register of Study and Training Programmes was established and the Regulations for the Register of Study and Training Programmes were approved (the said order of the Minister of Education and Science was recognised as no longer valid by the Order of the Minister of Education and Science (No. 1233) “On Approving the Procedure for Registering Study and Education Programmes” of 10 December 1999). Under these regulations, programmes of higher studies which were in the Republic of Lithuania had to be registered in the said register (Item 3.1.1.1), while not less than once within a quarter of a year, an order of the Minister of Education and Science on registering, suspension of the validity of registration or annulment of registration of such programmes had to be published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (Item 8.3.2). Thus, the beginning of implementation of new study programmes, as well as those of the field of law, was not related with their registering at the Register of Study and Training Programmes. As a rule, new study programmes (and forms) of the field of law used to be introduced on the basis of government resolutions, statutes of schools of higher education and decisions of bodies of schools of higher education.

The Register of Study and Training Programmes was “once again” established by the Government Resolution (No. 294) “On Establishing the Register of Study and Training Programmes and Approving Regulations Thereof” of 9 March 1998 (which came into force on 14 March 1998); this government resolution approved the new (and of higher legal force) Regulations for the Register of Study and Training Programmes. Under these regulations a higher study programme may be provided by a school of higher education or its founder, ministries and establishments of the Government (Item 13); the initiator of the programme must submit a study programme, which meets the requirements for higher study programmes established by the Government (Item 13.1); the decision on registering a programme is formalised by an order of the Ministry of Education and Science (Item 18); the head establishment managing the register shall announce orders of the Ministry of Education and Science on registering the programmes, suspension of the validity of registration, or annulment of registration in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (Item 31). It needs to be mentioned that at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue the requirement regarding the announcement of registering the programmes, the suspension of the validity of registration, or the annulment of registration in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” is no longer established: under Item 32 (wording of 30 March 2006) of the said regulations, the data of the programmes are published on the Internet integral website Open Information, Counselling and Guidance System (AIKOS) of the Ministry of Education and Science.

12. Paragraph 1 of Article 44 of the Law on Education provides that in the Republic of Lithuania sequential studies shall be carried out in accordance with study programmes which are included in the Register of Study and Training Programmes; the programmes are registered in a manner prescribed by the Ministry of Science and Education. Thus, only such study programmes (inter alia, of the field of law) may be implemented, which are registered in the Register of Study and Training Programmes.

13. On 1 May 2002, i.e. at the time when the Law on Courts came into force in its new wording of 24 January 2002, Paragraph 1 of Article 51 whereof established that a judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania with university higher education in law (as mentioned before, this provision was (and is) also in this paragraph set forth in the wordings of 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006, and, that, in the opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, the Qualification Requirements, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, to the specified extent are in conflict with this provision), 6 programmes of the field of law were registered in the Register of Study and Training Programmes, upon completing which the qualification degree of bachelor of law is awarded, 13 programmes of the field of law upon completing which the qualification degree of master of law is awarded, as well as 2 programmes of the field of law upon completing which the professional qualification degree of a lawyer is awarded. From among these programmes, 8 programmes were implemented only in the form of full-time, 12 programmes were implemented both in the form of full-time and part-time, while 1 programme was implemented in full-time, part-time and correspondence forms.

Later, by orders of the Minister of Education and Science more programmes of university master studies (full-time, part-time and correspondence) in the field of law (international protection of human rights, international maritime law, administrative law, commercial law, international law, biolaw, law and activities of tax institutions and customs, intellectual property law, finance law, parliament and state institutions law, business law, law and governance, carriage law) were registered, under which the duration of studies is from 1.5 to 2 years; most of them are registered as knowledge-deepening, while some of them—as knowledge-extending master study programmes of the field of law (sometimes, the titles of knowledge-deepening and knowledge-extending master study programmes of the field of law coincide), however, a person, who finished studies under any of these programmes, is awarded the qualification degree of master of law.

At the time of the adoption of resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 whereby the Qualification Requirements impugned in the constitutional case at issue were adopted, there were 23 registered study programmes of the field of law implemented by university type schools of higher education (at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue there are 52 such programmes) and there were 6 registered study programmes of the field of law implemented by non-university type schools of higher education (at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue there are 9 such programmes).

14. As mentioned before, the Law on Higher Education consolidated two types of schools of higher education—universities and colleges. It was also mentioned that not all non-state schools of higher education have the status of university—most of such schools are colleges.

14.1. Under Paragraph 1 (which, at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue was set forth in its initial wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 7 of the Law on Higher Education, a college shall be a higher education establishment, where non-university studies prevail and the majority of students are those studying in accordance with non-university study programmes, applied research and/or development or professional arts are developed; it was established that one of the main objectives of the college is “to create conditions for all those who are capable of acquiring higher education and professional qualification conforming to the needs of the Lithuanian economy and the contemporary level of science and technology” (Item 1 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Paragraph 2 of Article 7; after this item was amended and set forth in its new wording of 18 July 2006, the word “professional” was crossed out and it was established that one of the main objectives of the college is “to create conditions for all those who are capable of acquiring higher education and qualification conforming to the needs of the Lithuanian economy and the contemporary level of science and technology”; it also was (and is) established that colleges shall be involved in preparing specialists of practical orientation, capable of working independently in the spheres of education, culture, economy and other spheres (Paragraph 3 (wordings of 21 March 2000 and 18 July 2006) of Article 7). Under Paragraph 1 (which, at the time of consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue was also set forth in its initial wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 4 of the Law on Higher Education, the study system shall consist of sequential university and non-university studies in higher education establishments according to the study programmes, included in the Register of Study and Training Programmes, as well as of non-sequential studies.

Thus, under the Law on Higher Education (wording of 21 March 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements) also non-university studies in law are possible, which are implemented in colleges (non-university studies in law may be implemented also in universities). In colleges such programmes of non-university studies last for 3-5 years. The persons who finish such studies are deemed to have higher education in the field of law, upon completion of such studies they are awarded the professional degree of bachelor of law, which, under Paragraph 30 (wording of 18 July 2006) of Article 2 of the Law on Higher Education, conforms to a qualification degree awarded to a person who has completed a study programme of sequential non-university studies in a school of higher education.

It needs to be noted that such professional degree of bachelor of law, regardless of the similarity in terminology, cannot be equalled to the qualification degree of bachelor of law, which is acquired under the programme of university studies in law, which is in conformity to the model of two-cycle university studies in law. The professional degree of bachelor of law which is acquired upon completion of non-university studies in law grants the right to the person to perform certain work related with law, however, only that in regard of which there is no established requirement to have university higher education in law.

14.2. The Description of the General Requirements for Master Study Programmes (wording of 22 July 2005) provides, inter alia, that the person who completed a non-university study programme may be admitted to master studies only when he, after additional (levelling) studies, either independent or organised by the university, acquires the qualification degree of bachelor (Item 12), and that additional studies are non-sequential studies, including the main study subjects, which have not been studied by the persons who wish to join master studies, since these subjects are necessary so that the student would have sufficient knowledge and abilities needed for successful master studies (Item 3). Item 12 (wording of 12 June 2007) of the Description established that a person, who has finished non-university studies, shall be admitted to master studies only if he has the experience of practical activity of the amount and character established by the university.

15. It also needs to be noted that it was established in Paragraph 3 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 39 of the Law on Higher Education that “forms of a concrete subject area of sequential studies, subjects taught and their ratio shall be established by guidelines for an appropriate subject area”; the same provision remained after this paragraph was set forth in its new wording of 18 July 2006. It was established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 41 of the said law that “volume and duration of sequential undergraduate studies shall be established by the guidelines for a field of studies”; the same provision remained after this paragraph was set forth in its new wording of 21 December 2001. It was established in Paragraph 2 of Article 42 of the same law that the Ministry of Education and Science approves the guidelines for a field of studies which shall establish all general requirements of study programmes of that area, the ratio of the basis of a sphere of general social sciences and humanities (or natural sciences and mathematics and informatics) or a sphere of arts and the subjects of special education of a science or art field, general requirements for the formation of practical skill, basic qualification requirements for the academic and professional staff; the same provision remained after this paragraph was set forth in its new wording of 30 June 2005.

However, the guidelines for the field of legal studies have not been approved.

16. Summing up, it needs to be held that, in Lithuania, both university-type schools of higher education and non-university-type schools of higher education (also, both state and non-state ones) may prepare lawyers and provide higher education in law according to registered study programmes of the field of law. Higher legal education may be acquired in varied manner: upon completing single-cycle studies in the field of law, upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field of law, upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field of law and master studies in the field of law, also upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field other than law and master studies in the field of law. Single-cycle (integrated) legal studies must last for not less than 4 years, undergraduate studies in the field of law—not less than 4 years, and master studies in the field of law—not less than 1.5 years.

It is clear from the case material (inter alia, the orders of the Minister of Education and Science, as well as the Open Information, Counselling and Guidance System (AIKOS) of the Ministry of Education and Science) that not all study programmes (both of bachelor and master) of the field of law are registered under precisely this title (i.e. precisely as programmes of legal studies)—some study programmes of bachelor of law and/or master of law are titled not as study programmes of law, but their titles reflect an additional field or specialisation of these studies.

Some study programmes of the field of law have been registered and are implemented by openly disregarding the requirements established in the Law on Higher Education: for instance, there are such master study programmes of the field of law, which last more than 3 years (although master studies may not last longer than 2 years), also, there are programmes of single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law, which last only 3 years (although single-cycle (integrated) studies must last more than 4 years).

Since the guidelines for the field of legal studies have not been approved so far, then not only the requirement clearly entrenched in the Law on Higher Education is not executed, but also the establishment of the general standards of higher legal education, which would be designed for all schools of higher education providing such university education in law, is virtually aggravated.

Thus, at present there are no grounds to speak about any consistent system of higher (as well as university higher) legal education which is provided in Lithuania. Higher university education in law is provided according to the three models described in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, however, there is considerable variety in each of the model.

In addition, there emerged such practice of registering study programmes of the field of law, where one ignores even very clear requirements of laws. This creates corresponding expectations of the persons who are engaged in studies, and such expectations cannot be substantiated by law, however, if one ignores such expectations, it would mean that the state does not assume the responsibility for the fact that it improperly fulfilled the constitutional duty to supervise the activity of educational establishments.

III

1. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 48 of the Constitution, each human being may freely choose a job or business. The constitutional freedom of each human being to choose a job or business is a necessary condition for satisfying the vital necessities of a human being, securing his proper position in society and implies the duty of the legislature to create legal preconditions for implementing this freedom; the legislature, while creating them, has the powers to establish, while taking account of the character of the job or business and paying heed to the Constitution, the conditions for the implementation of the right to freely choose a job (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 25 November 2002, 4 July 2003, 29 December 2004, 13 August 2007, and 7 January 2008). The human right to freely choose one or another type of a job or business is first linked to manifold natural requirements, i.e., to skills and capacities of every person; such requirements may be diverse: the possession of corresponding training, moral and other qualities (e.g. with regard to physicians, teachers, judges, public prosecutors, etc.), acquiring a specific license (e.g. with regard to drivers), etc. (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 15 March 1996). Requirements of certain qualifications, professional knowledge and skills for persons, who aspire to complex or obligated work, are held indisputable and, as a rule, universally recognised (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 10 July 1996).

2. The constitutional freedom of each human being to choose a job or business also implies the right to freely choose a profession and acquire it. This right is related with the right to education, which is often a necessary condition for acquisition of corresponding professional qualification. Higher education awarded upon completing corresponding studies of higher education is necessary for certain professions.

3. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to higher education according to his individual abilities. This constitutional human right is an important condition for implementation of his various rights and legitimate expectations and implies a duty of the state to create preconditions for implementation of this right (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 14 January 2002 and 7 June 2007). In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be especially emphasised that the constitutional right of a human being to seek higher education according to his individual abilities and his constitutional right to profession implies, among other things, a state duty to assure that the documents (diplomas of higher education), confirming the acquired higher education (completed studies of higher education and acquired qualification degree) which are issued by schools of higher education which operate on the basis of the legal acts which are grounded on the Constitution and laws, and which are passed by state institutions (thus, such schools of higher education operate legally and are recognised by the state), be recognised as a proof that a certain person has acquired higher education (profession) of a certain field and/or level, which is needed so that he could do a certain job or hold a certain position.

When the constitutional rights of a person to work, education and profession are construed in the context of the constitutional principles of legal certainty, legal security and transparency, it should be held that the state has a duty to assure that the requirements defining the education which is necessary for doing a certain job or holding a certain position be public and clear; the main requirements cannot be changed in an arbitrary and voluntaristic manner, otherwise, people would be unable to properly plan the choice of their profession and education.

4. The provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 41 of the Constitution, which entrench the right of a human being to seek higher education according to his individual abilities, should be construed by taking account of the provision of Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution whereby schools of higher education shall be granted autonomy and of the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 42 of the Constitution whereby science and research shall be free. It has been held in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court that, traditionally, the autonomy of a school of higher education is conceived as the right to independently determine and establish in the regulations or statute its organisational and governmental structure, its relations with other partners, the procedure of research and studies, academic syllabi, the procedure of students’ enrolment, to resolve other related questions, as well as that there are certain spheres of activities, independent from the control of the executive power (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 June 1994, 14 January 2002, and 5 February 2002). It was also held that the society is concerned with creating due conditions for institutions of higher education in order to ensure all-round education of the personality, and that schools of higher education enjoy freedom of teaching, of scientific research and creative activities (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 5 February 2002). On the other hand, the interests of schools of higher education and those of society must be coordinated; the principle of autonomy of schools of higher education must be coordinated with their duty to observe the Constitution and laws, with their responsibility and accountability before society (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 5 February 2002). Therefore, the autonomy of schools of higher education does not mean that the activity of such schools cannot be subject to state control; quite to the contrary, this activity, since it is related, inter alia, with the implementation of human rights and freedoms, as well as with the use of funds of the State Budget, must be subject to regulation and supervision; it stems from the provision of Paragraph 4 of Article 40 of the Constitution whereby the state shall supervise the activities of establishments of teaching and education. The Constitutional Court has held that, under the Constitution, the legislature is entitled to establish which state institution (or institutions) must supervise the implementation of the state education policy and what competent institution of the executive must approve the regulations for such supervision (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 June 2000); this is applicable mutatis mutandis to supervision of activities of schools of higher education. However, the right of the state to regulate external relations of schools of higher education may not limit the scientific and educational activity of schools of higher education (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 27 June 1994 and 5 February 2002).

It also needs to be mentioned that the autonomy of schools of higher education entrenched in the Constitution does not at all imply that the corresponding powers may be granted to all schools of higher education; quite to the contrary, the rights enjoyed by schools of higher education may be differentiated (by heeding the Constitution) according to various important criteria, inter alia, according to the fact as to what status of these schools of higher education is (i.e. whether they are universities or not), what level of higher education is provided by them to the persons that learn in them, what syllabi they implement, what their scientific potential is, etc. (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 1 February 2008).

5. The arising-from-the-Constitution guarantee of the recognition of higher education (profession) provided by legally operating schools of higher education implies the powers of the respective state institutions to control the quality of higher education and secure that the level of the provided higher education, which is denoted by various qualification degrees, would meet certain uniform standards of quality of higher education—both general standards and those concretising them, those defining the requirements for certain fields of studies. Such standards must be established by the state institutions which, within their competence, form the policy of higher education, organise and execute the supervision of activities of schools of higher education. The standards of quality of higher education which must be met by a person aspiring to hold a certain position or to be engaged in a certain professional activity must be established by law; the securing, and control of execution thereof may also be established by means of substatutory legal acts, as well as by means of legal acts of schools of higher education; the requirements for certain fields of studies may also be established by means of substatutory acts, the legal regulation establish wherein may not compete with that established in laws. The importance of such standards is especially evident for certain professions, inter alia, the professions controlled by the state, with the acquisition of which especially complex and responsible work is related, also for such positions in institutions of public power, while holding which certain functions related with implementation of public power (first of all, state power) are entrusted only to the representatives of a certain profession, who have especially high qualification; in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it needs to be noted that it is especially evident that the said standards are necessary for the legal profession (and not only for it).

6. It has been held in this Constitutional Court that in a democratic state under the rule of law big requirements are raised to the legal profession, which is an inseparable part of the legal system, because it is possible to ensure such fundamental legal values as the rule of law, justice, rights and freedoms of persons, legal security and legal certainty, the right to a fair trial, legal assistance etc., only in a legal system, where lawyers have the necessary professional competence; also, that the activity of the lawyers, inter alia, judges, who are properly prepared and of high professional qualification, determines the trust of the public in the state and its legal system. It was also held that the legal profession is inseparable from higher education in law, that lawyers of the highest qualification are prepared namely in universities, and also that in countries of the Western legal tradition the requirement of namely university higher education in law, but not simply higher education in law for certain professional activity of a lawyer, including the situations where the person could become a judge, is, in general, not impossible. It was also held that the activity of judges draws the guidelines to the entire legal profession and the legal practice in the country, therefore, in a state under the rule of law the highest possible professional qualification requirements as well as those of legal education can and must be raised to the persons who seek to become judges (even if such highest professional qualification requirements are not raised to other representatives of the legal profession); also, that, under the Constitution, the legislature has the powers to consolidate also such requirement in laws, whereby aspirants to judges are required to have acquired university higher education in law, which is related, in the Western legal tradition, with the acquisition of the highest professional qualification of a lawyer.

7. In this context, it needs to be noted that “higher education in law” is a constitutional notion; it is employed in Paragraph 3 of Article 103 of the Constitution, in which the requirements to candidates to justices of the Constitutional Court are described. The Constitution does not contain any explicit provisions defining the requirements to judges of the courts specified in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution (save the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 112 of the Constitution that, in Lithuania, only citizens of the Republic of Lithuania may be judges). If such legal regulation established in the Constitution is construed in the context of other provisions of the Constitution, inter alia, the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice, independence of judges and courts, the constitutional right of the person to apply to court, it should be held that the requirement of higher education in law to judges, thus, also to persons, who aspire to become judges, arises from the Constitution, it is applicable to all said aspirants, no matter the judges of which court these persons would aspire to become.

The requirement of higher education in law to aspirants to judges and the fact that laws may establish the requirement of namely university higher education in law to these persons, stems from the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine of the judiciary, as a state power, which alone is formed on the professional basis and which alone is entrusted with administration of justice; various aspects of this doctrine are broadly revealed in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 6 December 1995, 19 December 1996, 5 February 1999, 21 December 1999, 12 July 2001, its conclusion of 31 March 2004, its rulings of 16 January 2006, 28 March 2006, 9 May 2006, 6 June 2006, its decision of 8 August 2006, its rulings of 27 November 2006 and 22 October 2007, as well as in other acts of the Constitutional Court.

8. It has also been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that there are no legal arguments which could substantiate the fact that lower requirements of higher education in law could be established to persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, than those established to advocates (who represent a party in the case (judicial dispute) considered by a judge).

Alongside, it needs to be held that, under the Constitution, it is impermissible to establish any such legal regulation whereby lower professional requirements would be raised to the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, inter alia, one would require lower education and/or lower qualification to them than to the persons who intend to engage in other legal professions (advocate, prosecutor, notary, bailiff). Otherwise, preconditions would be created to deny not only the exceptional constitutional status of the judge, but also the constitutional concept of administration of justice.

9. The provision of the official constitutional doctrine that the autonomy of schools of higher education (which is granted to them under Paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution) includes their right to independently establish their study programmes, should be construed in the context of the constitutional obligation of the state to supervise the activity of educational establishments and the constitutional obligation to secure that the level of provided higher education, which is marked by corresponding qualification degrees, would comply with certain uniform standards of the quality of higher education.

9.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, taking account of the role of the legal profession in the state and its legal system, it should be held that, although schools of higher education establish their study programmes by themselves and due to this these programmes can be rather varied ones (since there is a great variety of jobs for the occupation of a lawyer, and it is characteristic of this occupation that different jobs need higher legal education that is of different level), the state has a duty to ensure that the level of higher education in law (which is denoted by corresponding qualification degrees) provided in different schools of higher education according to various programmes of studies of law, would comply with certain uniform standards of the quality of higher education in law. Of course, if need may be (taking account of various important factors, inter alia, of changes in the legal system and in the European legal space, as well as of the international practice), these standards may be corrected.

9.2. Taking account of the principles of legal certainty and legal security, which are consolidated in the Constitution, the fact that a person has completed university studies in the field of law makes one presume that such a person is eligible for a job for which university higher education in law is necessary (of course, if he meets all the conditions raised, which can be limited not necessarily only to the requirement of university higher education in law, but it can also include the requirements of the work period as a lawyer, the practice performed, etc.). The same can be said as regards, inter alia, the citizens, who prepare to aspire to become judges. Thus, the programmes of university studies in the field of law of schools of higher education must be such so that the theoretical preparedness and practical abilities (acquired during the time of the studies) of the persons who have completed these studies would raise no doubts, while the professional qualification acquired by them would allow them to aspire to positions (professions) in order to hold which (in order to engage in which) university higher education in law is needed.

Therefore, whatever forms of studies, the scope of a study programme designed for acquisition of the same qualification degree (professional qualification) must be not less than an established standard, while this standard, in its turn, must be oriented to the core of university higher studies in law, which is generally recognised in the countries of the Western legal tradition (especially, in the Continental legal tradition), which is discussed in this Constitutional ruling and which is, as mentioned before, universal and more or less stable, and the said standard must include all areas of law that are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones—the so-called main subjects of studies which have been discussed in this ruling of the Constitutional Court and which are in line with the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law, and the said standard may not limit oneself only to one area of law. Only in such a case will the qualification of a lawyer be reasonably recognised for persons who completed higher studies in law.

While characterising the model of single-cycle university studies in law in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, it was held that under this model the study programme encompasses all the subjects of areas of law, which traditionally and generally are recognised as most important ones, and that it does not limit itself only to a certain area of law; thus, it is not enough that the persons who seek to acquire university higher education in law under such study programme hear only the study subjects of certain areas of law—one or several modules of studies in the field of law—and account for them: they must hear precisely such subjects of studies in the field of law and account for precisely such subjects of studies without which one should not reasonably recognise the qualification of a lawyer to them, since it would be impossible to reasonably regard such persons as ones having proper professional theoretical preparation and practical abilities necessary for an independent legal work. It was also held that such main subjects of studies are legal theory, history of law, constitutional law, administrative law and administrative procedure law, finance law, criminal law and criminal procedure law, civil law and civil procedure law, labour law, international public law, European Union law; also, that, as a rule, there must be more legal disciplines and certain non-legal (social, humanitarian) subjects.

It has also been held that the occurred transformation of the model of preparation of lawyers—that of the system of higher education in law—is hardly the grounds or a stimulus to abandon the core of university higher studies in law, which is generally recognised in the countries of the Western legal tradition (especially, in the Continental legal tradition), which correspond to the concept of fully-fledged university higher education in law: also, if the model of two-cycle university studies in the field of law is chosen, it is necessary to assure that the discussed main study subjects in the field of law, as well as other legal subjects and certain subjects in non-legal fields, be studied.

Thus, the same professional standards (the same standards as for fully-fledged single-cycle studies in the field of law) are also applicable to university higher education in law, when the studies are conducted under the programmes assigned to other models of higher studies in law; the occurred diversification of preparation of lawyers and the coming of new models of higher (first of all, university) studies in law into being cannot serve as the grounds to diminish these standards or to negate them at all. Quite to the contrary, no matter what new models of studies, which have not existed in Lithuania before, came into being, the diversification of preparation of lawyers must be oriented to the standards (of qualification, professional knowledge, abilities) of the legal profession, which come from the Western legal tradition.

9.3. It has been mentioned that there also specialised study programmes of bachelor of law and/or master of law designed for deepening the knowledge of persons in a certain area of law, who have acquired the degree of bachelor of law, also there are such specialised study programmes of bachelor of law and/or master of law which include not only the subjects of legal areas which are traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones (which constitute the greater part (module) of these studies), but also other subjects (which, as a rule, are tightly related with law) composing a comparatively significant part (module) of the study programme.

It needs to be noted that the mere fact that studying the study subjects which include the legal areas traditionally and universally recognised as the most important ones is joined with studying some other subjects (which, as a rule, are tightly related with law) composing a comparatively significant part (module) of the study programme, also the fact that corresponding study programmes are named as programmes of non-legal studies, but their names reflect an additional field (module) of these studies, in themselves do not mean and may not be regarded as the grounds to assert that, purportedly, the persons who complete such studies are groundlessly awarded the qualification degree of bachelor of law or master of law (thus, also the qualification of a lawyer). The important thing is that these studies encompass the study subjects (disciplines) which compose the core of university higher studies in law, which is generally recognised in the countries of the Western legal tradition (especially, in the Continental legal tradition).

On the other hand, it was also held that also such university master study programmes of the field of law are possible, to study which such persons are admitted, who have acquired the degree of bachelor in the field other than law, however, the persons who complete such studies should be awarded not the degree of master of law in general, but that of master of corresponding narrower area of law; also, that, under the legal regulation valid at present, also such persons may be admitted to the so-called knowledge-extending master studies also such persons may be admitted, who have completed undergraduate studies in another field; additional, so-called levelling studies must be organised for such persons before they begin their master studies. Such legal regulation when the said additional studies are compulsory (although the extent thereof is different to various persons and depends on the education acquired by them) is not unreasonable.

In cases when a person, who has the degree of bachelor which was acquired upon finishing studies under non-university bachelor study programme of the field of law and who seeks master studies in the field of law, can begin such studies only after during the “levelling” studies he acquires the university type qualification degree of bachelor of law.

Thus, when the persons, who have the degree of bachelor which was acquired upon finishing studies under non-university bachelor study programme of the field of law, are admitted to university master studies in the field of law, the corresponding additional studies must be organised for such persons.

It needs to be noted that the discussed requirement of “levelling” studies is not applicable to the situations when a person, who has the qualification degree of bachelor in any field of studies, which was acquired at a university, is admitted to studies under a university integrated studies programme of the field of law, inter alia, such study programme upon completing which the qualification degree of master of law is granted.

9.4. In addition, higher studies in law (as any other studies) must be organised and continue inasmuch as there is enough time realistically to learn the theoretical subjects provided for in the study programme and to acquire practical abilities; no matter what form of studies (full-time studies, part-time studies, studies by correspondence, or another form of studies) there is, the time (expressed in study credits) assigned to the studies, including the professional practice, must be the same.

Heed should also be paid to the requirement arising from the Constitution to secure that the requirements defining the legal education necessary in order to work in a certain job or to hold a certain position, would be public and clear, that they would not be changed in an arbitrary and voluntaristic manner.

9.5. State institutions and schools of higher education within their competence must secure that the established standards of university higher education in law be followed.

10. Taking account of the importance of the profession of a judge in a state under the rule of law (inter alia, taking account of the fact that, as mentioned before, when cases are decided (disputes are settled) in which parties to the case are, as a rule (and in complex cases—virtually always), represented by professional lawyers, the last word always belongs to the court, and that the activity of judges draws the guidelines to the entire legal profession and the legal practice in that country), it should be held that it is not enough that the person, who is aspiring to the position of a judge, completed only the basic studies provided in legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, i.e. the first-cycle studies in the field of law designated for provision of only the theoretical grounds of the profession and forming the necessary professional skills; the requirement (which arises from the Constitution) for high professional qualification of a judge implies that the persons who seek to become judges are required to have acquired such university higher education in law, which can only be ensured by two-cycle university sequential studies in the field of law (i.e. the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law) or integrated studies in the field of law (both of which are provided for in legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania), when university first- and second-cycle studies are related by sequence.

11. On the other hand, although in themselves the first-cycle (undergraduate) studies in law cannot ensure the level of education sufficient for the work of a judge, these studies are necessary and may not be eliminated from the fully-fledged university higher education in law necessary for aspirants to judges, since, as it has been mentioned, namely the first-cycle studies in law are intended to provide the basis to the profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work. Different construction, namely that the first-cycle studies in law may be eliminated from fully-fledged university higher education in law necessary for aspirants to judges, not only would negate the constitutional concept of the profession of a judge, but also the concept of master studies in the field of law and of the qualification degree of master of law, which is entrenched in legal acts (first of all, laws) of the Republic of Lithuania, since, as mentioned before, master studies and the qualification degree of master is related with acquisition of higher professional qualification and preparedness for independent research or artistic activities or activities for which deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities are required, and only such student of law can pursue “higher professional qualification”, who has theoretical bases of the legal profession and the professional skills necessary for independent work, and that only such student of law can pursue “deeper scientific knowledge and stronger abilities” who has the basic scientific knowledge and abilities necessary in the corresponding area of law. Different construction would negate the meaning of the first-cycle (undergraduate) studies in the field of law and that of single-cycle studies in the field of law; it would mean that that persons with unequal legal education are allowed to compete for the position of a judge.

12. In the context of constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the requirement that the aspirants to judges have fully-fledged university higher education in law (that they are required to have finished single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law, where university first- and second-cycle studies are related by sequence, or to have the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law) is applicable to all persons who aspire to the position of a judge, as well as to those who have completed the third cycle of studies in the field of law—doctoral studies—which are provided for in legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, and who have acquired the scientific degree of doctor.

13. It has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, taking account of the principles of legal certainty and legal security, which are consolidated in the Constitution, the fact that a person has completed university studies in the field of law makes one presume that such a person is eligible for a job for which university higher education in law is necessary (if he meets all the conditions raised, which can be not necessarily limited only to the requirement of university higher education in law, but it also may include the requirements of the work period as a lawyer, the practice performed, etc.); the same can be said as regards, inter alia, the citizens, who prepare to aspire to become judges. It should also be held that the programmes of university studies in the field of law of schools of higher education must be such so that the theoretical preparedness and practical abilities (acquired during the time of the studies) of the persons who have completed these studies would raise no doubts, while the professional qualification acquired by them would allow them to aspire to positions (professions) in order to hold which (in order to engage in which) university higher education in law is needed.

Thus, it is impermissible to establish any additional verification with regard to the persons who aspire to become judges and who have acquired fully-fledged university higher education in law in order to ascertain whether these persons have really completed all the requirements raised before fully-fledged university higher education in law. Their diplomas of higher education testifying either single-cycle university education or the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law should be regarded as a sufficient proof that these persons have the university higher education in law which is necessary in order to hold the position of a judge.

14. It goes without saying, it does not deny an opportunity for the legislature to establish verification of the knowledge and abilities of the aspirants to the position of a judge (inter alia, by means of examination of these aspirants), which are necessary for the work of a judge.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that, as it was held in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006, the Constitution also does not prohibit establishing such procedure of formation of the corps of persons aspiring to become judges, where the persons who have university higher education in law and who aspire to become judges must pass a special examination or examinations, when it is checked whether the person has enough professional knowledge in order to hold the position of a judge.

The fact that such procedure of formation of the corps of judges may be established by means of a law, where the persons who have university higher education in law and who aspire to become judges must pass a special examination or examinations in the course of which their professional knowledge and abilities necessary for the work of a judge are checked, does not mean that there may not be any exceptions to this general procedure, however, all these exceptions must be constitutionally reasoned.

It was also held in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 9 May 2006 that even though the dominant principle of formation of the corps of judges of courts of higher level is the principle of professional career of judges (when the judges are promoted after they have been released from their previous office and appointed as judges of courts of higher level), under the Constitution, it is not permitted to establish any such legal regulation whereby only judges would be able to become judges of courts of higher level; establishment of such legal regulation and treating the principle of professional career of judges unreservedly would create preconditions for the system of courts to become too close, to become subjected to a routine, etc.

It needs to be emphasised that the requirements of legal education, which are of not lower level than those established to judges seeking promotion, are applicable to a person, who is not a judge, but who is aspiring to become a judge of a court of higher level (rank).

IV

1. In certain aspects the relations linked with higher (inter alia, legal) education are also a matter of legal regulation by international legal acts, as well as by European Union law. Account should also be taken of the reform of higher education which is taking place in Europe, i.e. of the so-called Bologna process.

2. Paragraph 4 of Article 13 of the United Nations International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966), which became effective for Lithuania on 20 February 1992, entrenched the liberty to establish educational institutions subject always to the requirement that the education given in such institutions shall conform to such minimum standards as may be laid down by the state.

3. Under Article 149 of the Consolidated Version of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, the Community, fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems, by its actions aims to encourage, inter alia, the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study.

Of 7 September 2005, the European Parliament and the Council adopted Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications, which covers the recognition of professional qualifications (inter alia, of lawyers) for the purpose of immediate establishment under the professional title of the host Member State; Paragraph 3 of Article 14 of this directive provides that for professions whose pursuit requires precise knowledge of national law and in respect of which the provision of advice and/or assistance concerning national law is an essential and constant aspect of the professional activity, the host Member State may stipulate either an adaptation period or an aptitude test.

Certain aspects of professional qualification of lawyers are regulated by the 22 March 1977 Directive 77/249/EEC of the Council of the European Communities to facilitate the effective exercise by lawyers of freedom to provide services, whereby it is attempted to create an opportunity for lawyers to work efficiently in providing services in the host Member State. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of this directive, the competent authority of the host Member State may request the person providing the services to establish his qualifications as a lawyer.

4. The reform of higher studies (inter alia, studies in the field of law) is induced by the so-called Bologna process, which began on 19 June 1999, when ministers from states (also, among them, the Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania), who were responsible for higher education, signed the Bologna declaration, whose main striving is to create the European higher education area. The purposes of the Bologna process are, inter alia, the creation of an easy-to-understand system of comparable degrees, a two-cycle system of studies, a credit system of studies similar to the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in Member States, inducement of mobility of students and teachers, inducement of European co-operation in the area of quality assurance, strengthening of European aspects in higher education, by paying much attention to syllabi. The London Communiqué (2007) underlined the importance of curricula reform leading to qualifications better suited, inter alia, to the needs of the labour market.

5. One should also mention the jurisprudence of the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ) which reveals certain aspects of professional qualification of lawyers as well. For instance, the ECJ in its 30 November 1995 judgment in the case Reinhard Gebhard v. Consiglio dell’Ordine degli Avvocati e Procuratori di Milano (arrêt de la Cour du 30 novembre 1995, Reinhard Gebhard / Consiglio dell’Ordine degli Avvocati e Procuratori di Milano, affaire C-55/94, Rec. 1995, p. I-4165) held that if the beginning and execution of a certain specific activity in the Host State depends on such conditions as holding a certain diploma, certificate or another document confirming the qualification, as belonging to a certain occupational body, compliance with certain rules, a citizen of another state, who wishes to engage in this activity, virtually has to meet the said conditions; however, the conditions which hinder or make less attractive the freedom of establishment must be non-discriminatory, they must be justified by imperative requirements in the general interest, and they must be suitable for securing the attainment of the objective which they pursue.

The ECJ in the 7 September 2006 judgment in the case Harold Price v. Conseil des ventes volontaires de meubles aux enchère publiques (arrêt de la Cour (première chambre) du 7 septembre 2006, Harold Price / Conseil des ventes volontaires de meubles aux enchère publiques, affaire C–149/05, Rec. 2006, p. I-7691), when discussing the professions regulated by national authorities, held that it may be assumed that the content of the education and training required in order to take up a regulated profession is governed by requirements connected to the practice of that profession. The content of the education and training required by a Member State which regulates that profession is therefore a criterion which is especially relevant in order to establish the requirements connected to the practice thereof.

6. Summing up, it needs to be noted that the State of Lithuania must assure that the provided higher legal education meet the minimum standards established by the state; the European Community fully recognises the responsibility of Member States for the content of education and organisation of education systems, thus, also for the content of higher education in law; a person who acquired education in law in a Member State of the European Union must prove his qualification as a lawyer, while this qualification must meet the standards established by the state where one intends to engage in the practice of a lawyer.

V

On the compliance of the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002 with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

1. It has been mentioned that the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether the legal regulation consolidated in government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 (in the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law, inter alia, in Item 3 of these requirements, as approved by this government resolution), namely the fact that there is not an explicit requirement that the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge, who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law, are also required to have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of law, is not in conflict with the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

2. Legal acts (as well as the provisions of the laws specified by the petitioner) contained in the past and contain at present various requirements (education, work record, impeccable reputation, passing examinations etc.) for the persons who aspire to hold the position of a judge. The questions raised in the constitutional justice case at issue are related with the requirements for the education the acquisition of which is required for the persons, who aspired to hold the position of a judge.

3. Article 14 of the Law on Courts, which was adopted by the Supreme Council on 6 February 1992 and which came into force (with certain exceptions) on 10 February 1992, prescribed, inter alia, that “a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania may be appointed as a judge of a local court, if he <…> has higher education in law”. It is noteworthy that at the time when this law was adopted, in Lithuania lawyers were prepared virtually only under the model of single-cycle studies in the field of law (save the exception provided for in the Statute of the Police Academy of Lithuania).

An analogous provision was also consolidated in Paragraph 1 (wording of 31 May 1994) of Article 22 of the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994) in which it was prescribed, inter alia, that “a person may be appointed as a judge of a local court, if he <…> has higher education in law”.

4. Paragraph 1 (wording of 31 May 1994) of Article 22 of the Law on Courts was supplemented by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 November 1994 and which came into force on 18 November 1994, and it was established that “a person may be appointed as a judge of a local court, if he <…> has university higher education in law”. Thus, one explicitly consolidated the requirement of namely university education in law for a person aspiring to hold the position of a judge of a local court.

The same provision persisted also when Paragraph 1 of Article 22 of the Law on Courts was set forth in its wording of 18 June 1996.

5. Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts, which was adopted by the Seimas on 8 April 1998 and which came into force on 22 April 1998, amended Article 22 (wording of 10 June 1997) of the Law on Courts and set it forth in its new wording. Paragraph 1 (wording of 8 April 1998) of Article 22 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, prescribed: “A person may be appointed as a judge of a local court, if he <…> has higher education in law that meets the qualification requirements set by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.” It was prescribed in Article 1 of the Law on the Entry into Force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts that until the qualification requirements of higher education in law established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania are implemented, which are provided, inter alia, in Paragraph 1 of Article 22 of the Law on Courts, the university single-cycle higher education in law will be equalled to such education; the single-cycle university higher education in law acquired prior to the implementation of the said qualification requirements had to be considered as meeting the qualification requirements raised to the persons who wished to become judges.

It needs to be held that the time when the provision “The single-cycle university higher education in law <…> acquired prior to the implementation of the qualification requirements of higher education in law established by the Government shall be considered as meeting the qualifications requirements raised to the persons who wished to become judges” of Article 1 of the Law on the Entry into Force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts depended on the entry into force of an act of lower legal force—a legal act of the Government. Thus, the legislature made its constitutional powers to establish the length of the validity of this provision of the Law on the Entry into Force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts that it itself passed dependent on a decision of another subject, i.e. the legislature made it dependent on the entry into force of a legal act of the Government.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that, in its ruling of 29 October 2003, the Constitutional Court held that, under the Constitution, the Government by its resolutions may not establish any such legal regulation, according to which the time when a government resolution comes into force or becomes no longer valid would depend on the entry into force of a legal act of lower legal force, which is adopted by another subject.

6. The Government Resolution (No. 75) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold the Position of a Judge or a Notary or to Work as an Advocate” of 22 January 1999 (which came into force on 28 January 1999; hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 75 of 22 January 1999) approved the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold the Position of a Judge or a Notary or to Work as an Advocate. It was established therein that: the persons who wish to hold the position of a judge or a notary, or to work as an advocate must have higher education in law, which meets the qualification requirements established in this resolution (Item 1); the structure and content of the programmes of studies in law are established by schools of higher education by providing that the subjects of the basics of the area of social sciences in the field of law and subjects of special education compose not less than 50 percent of the programme—in all, not less than 80 credits (Item 2.1); a study credit is a unit for measuring the scope of subjects studied, equalling 40 conditional student work (academic, laboratory, independent, etc.) hours, out of which not less than 20 hours are of academic work (Item 2.2); the students hear the following subjects in law and pass the examinations: legal theory—not less than 2 credits (Item 2.3.1), constitutional law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.2), administrative law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.3), civil law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 4 credits (Item 2.3.4), law of civil procedure of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.5), criminal law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 4 credits (Item 2.3.6), law of criminal procedure of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.7), labour law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.8), finance law of the Republic of Lithuania—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.9), European Union law—not less than 2 credits (Item 2.3.10), international public law—not less than 3 credits (Item 2.3.11); the students perform practice of legal work the total duration of which is not less than 2 months—not less than 8 credits (Item 2.4); the studies in law are completed by the final paper and the examinations in constitutional law of the Republic of Lithuania (Item 2.5.1) and civil law and civil procedure law of the Republic of Lithuania (or criminal law and criminal procedure law of the Republic of Lithuania) (Item 2.5.2); the higher education in law specified in Item 1 shall be recognised for citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, who completed their studies in law in schools of higher education of the Republic of Lithuania under a study programme, which meets the requirements of Item 2, and who acquired the qualification degree (of bachelor, master) in the legal science, or the corresponding professional qualification of a lawyer (Item 3.1); schools of higher education of the Republic of Lithuania, which train specialists who have the right to hold the position of a judge or a notary, and who have the right to work as an advocate, shall assure that the study subjects specified in Items 2.3 and 2.5, their scope and the examination results be included into the annex to a diploma issued by the school of higher education (Item 4).

Thus, a person, who had acquired the qualification degree (the qualification degree of bachelor of law, the qualification degree of master of law) in the legal science in a school of higher education and who fulfilled other qualification requirements of higher education in law established in the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law as approved by government resolution No. 75 of 22 January 1999, i.e. who have studied, under a study programme of the field of law with the corresponding proportion of the basics and subjects of special education, from which academic work constituted not less than a half of all the subjects studied, who heard the specified subjects of studies in law and passed the examinations, who finished the studies by a final work and specified examinations, was eligible to the position of a judge.

7. Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 22, 221, 28 and 77 of the Law on Courts and on Recognising Article 1 and Paragraph 2 of Article 8 of the Law on the Entry into Force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts as No Longer Valid, which was adopted by the Seimas on 9 February 1999 and which came into force on 24 February 1999, inter alia, Paragraph 1 of Article 22 (wording of 8 April 1998) of the Law on Courts was amended and set forth in its new wording; it was established in Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 February 1999) of Article 22 of the Law on Courts that “A person may be appointed as a judge of a local court, if he <…> has the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law).” Thus, the instruction to the Government to establish the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons appointed as judges of local courts was no longer there. Besides, if one compares Paragraph 1 (wording of 9 February 1999) of Article 22 of the Law on Courts with Article 1 of the Law on the Entry into Force of the Law on Amending and Supplementing the Law on Courts (wording of 8 April 1998), it is clear that not only a person who had single-cycle university education in law, but also a person, who had the qualification degree of master of law, could be appointed as a judge of a local court. In this context the notion “qualification degree of master of law” should be construed as the qualification degree in law which is of the same value as single-cycle university higher education in law; only such persons have higher education in law, which is of equal value to single-cycle university higher education in law, who have acquired not only the qualification degree of master of law, but also (prior to that)—the qualification degree of bachelor of law (such conclusion is prompted by the fact that in the course of deliberation at the Seimas one assented to the proposal to cross out the words “or bachelor of law” from the draft formulation “master of law or bachelor of law”, since they denoted insufficient requirement of education for the persons aspiring to hold the position of a judge; thus, the mere master studies in the field of law, which take place for a shorter period of time than bachelor studies, and during which one does not acquire the theoretical basics of education in law, were recognised as those which should not be regarded as complying with the requirement of sufficient education in law). Thus, the formula “has the qualification degree of master of law” means that such person has university higher education in law, that he has acquired both the qualification degree of bachelor of law and the qualification degree of master of law.

8. Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on Courts, which was adopted by the Seimas on 24 January 2002 and which came into force (with a certain exception) on 1 May 2002, the Law on Courts (wording of 31 May 1994 with subsequent amendments and/or supplements) was amended and set forth in its new wording. Paragraph 1 (wording of 24 January 2002) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts, inter alia, prescribed: “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law”.

The same provision persisted after Paragraph 1 of Article 51 of the Law on Courts was set forth in the wordings of 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006.

Paragraph 1 (which, at the time of the consideration of the constitutional justice case at issue, is set forth in its initial wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, inter alia, provides: “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts.”

9. The notions “university higher education in law” and “qualification degree of master of law” of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts should be revealed in the context of the provisions of the Law on Higher Education.

10. At the time of the adoption and entry into force of government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002 whereby the impugned Qualification Requirements were approved, as well as the Law on Courts and the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts (in the opinion of the petitioner, the Qualification Requirements (to the specified extent), inter alia, Item 3 thereof, are in conflict with the provisions of the said laws) the Law on Higher Education (wording of 21 March 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements) was in force, which established, inter alia, the system of studies upon completing which the person is recognised as having higher education in the Republic of Lithuania.

As mentioned before, under Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 4 of the Law on Higher Education, the study system shall consist of sequential university and non-university studies in higher education establishments according to the study programmes, included in the Register of Study and Training Programmes, as well as of non-sequential studies; under Paragraph 15 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 2 of the same law, sequential studies are studies, after the completion of which higher education is acquired and/or a qualification is awarded, and doctoral or art postgraduate studies. University sequential studies are divided into cycles; it was established in Paragraph 2 (wording of 21 March 2000) of Article 39 of the said law that university sequential studies shall have the following cycles: (1) undergraduate studies (first cycle), (2) master studies, residency, special professional studies (second cycle); doctoral studies, art postgraduate studies (third cycle). Thus, the Law on Higher Education consolidated the system of three-cycle university sequential studies (which is also valid at present): undergraduate studies (first cycle), master studies (second cycle), doctoral studies and art postgraduate studies (third cycle).

11. After Paragraph 2 of Article 39 of the Law on Higher Education was amended and set forth in its new wording (of 21 December 2001), it was established that university sequential studies shall have the following cycles: (1) undergraduate studies (first cycle); (2) master studies, special professional studies (second cycle); (3) integrated studies (the first and second cycles harmonised); (4) residency, art postgraduate studies (third professional cycle); (5) doctoral studies (third cycle). Thus, although the legal regulation was modified, one did not abandon the division of university studies into three cycles.

12. After Paragraph 2 of Article 39 of the Law on Higher Education was once again amended and set forth in its wording of 22 April 2003, it was established that not only doctoral studies, but also residency and art postgraduate studies (which until then used to be referred to as the third cycle of professional studies, which is not mentioned in Paragraph 2 (wording of 22 April 2003) of Article 39 of the Law on Higher Education) belong to the third cycle of studies.

13. It has been mentioned that, under the Law on Higher Education (wording of 21 March 2000 with subsequent amendments and supplements), after the completion of undergraduate or integrated studies in a higher education establishment of Lithuania, or equivalent studies in a foreign higher education establishment one acquires higher education (Paragraph 1 of Article 2); the programme of undergraduate studies shall be intended to provide the theoretical basis to a profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work, and that graduates of university undergraduate studies shall be awarded the qualification degree of bachelor and/or a professional qualification (Paragraph 1 (wordings of 21 March 2000 and 18 July 2006) of Article 42); integrated studies are studies intended for acquiring a master’s and/or professional qualification, when university studies of the first and second cycles are harmonised (Paragraph 26 (wording of 22 April 2003) of Article 2). Thus, under the Law on Higher Education, a person, who has not completed undergraduate studies (of the first cycle) or integrated studies in a school of higher education of Lithuania, or equivalent studies in a foreign school of higher education, could not (and cannot at present) be regarded as one having university higher education.

14. It was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that, in Lithuania, both university-type schools of higher education and non-university-type schools of higher education (also, both state and non-state ones) prepare lawyers and provide higher education in law according to registered study programmes of the field of law. Higher legal education may be acquired in varied manner: upon completing single-cycle studies in the field of law, upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field of law, upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field of law and master studies in the field of law, also upon completing undergraduate bachelor studies in the field other than law and master studies in the field of law.

15. When ascertaining as to what person who has acquired university higher education in law should be regarded as the one who has acquired the university higher education in law which is established in the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and in the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, it needs to be noted that, as it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court, under the Constitution:

it is not enough that the person, who is aspiring to the position of a judge, completed only the basic studies provided for in the legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania, i.e. the first-cycle studies in the field of law designated for provision of only the theoretical grounds of the profession and forming the necessary professional skills; the persons who seek to become judges are required to have acquired such university higher education in law, which can only be ensured by the two-cycle university sequential studies in the field of law (i.e. the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law) or the integrated studies in the field of law (both of which are provided for in legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania), when university first- and second-cycle studies are related by sequence;

although in themselves the first-cycle (undergraduate) studies in law cannot ensure the level of education sufficient for the work of a judge, these studies are necessary and may not be eliminated from fully-fledged university higher education in law necessary for aspirants to judges, since namely the first-cycle studies in law are intended to provide the basis to the profession and to form professional skills necessary for independent work; different construction, namely that the first-cycle studies in law may be eliminated from fully-fledged university higher education in law necessary for aspirants to judges, would negate the constitutional concept of the profession of a judge, the concept of master studies in the field of law and of the qualification degree of master of law, which is entrenched in legal acts (first of all, laws) of the Republic of Lithuania, the meaning of the first-cycle (undergraduate) studies in the field of law and that of single-cycle studies in the field of law, and it would mean that that persons with unequal legal education are allowed to compete for the position of a judge.

16. Therefore, the provision “A judicial vacancy at a local court may be filled by a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania <…> with university higher education in law” of Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002, 18 May 2004 and 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and the provision “The persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law) shall be considered as persons having university higher education in law provided for in Article 51 of the Law on Courts” of Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts should be construed as meaning that only such person, who has completed university studies in the field of law and who has acquired the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law, or who has completed university integrated studies in the field of law and who has acquired the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law), is eligible to the position of a judge of a local court (or of any other court); under these provisions, a person, who has only the qualification degree of bachelor of law and who does not have the qualification degree of master of law, or who has only the qualification degree of master of law and does not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law, is not eligible to the position of a judge of a local court (or of any other court).

Only when the said provisions of laws are construed in this way, even though they do not contain an explicit requirement that the persons who have acquired the qualification degree of master of law are required also to have acquired the qualification degree of bachelor of law, they are in compliance with the constitutional concept of the profession of the judge, the concept of master studies in the field of law and the qualification degree of master of law, which are consolidated in legal acts (first of all, laws) of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with the meaning of first-cycle (undergraduate) studies in the field of law and single-cycle (integrated) studies in the field of law.

17. It has been mentioned that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts, the Government, by taking account of an opinion of the schools of higher education awarding the degree of master of law or the professional qualification degree of a lawyer, had the powers to establish the qualification requirements of higher education in law for the persons who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge.

18. On the grounds of the arguments which are analogous to those upon which it was held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that only such a citizen who has completed university studies in the field of law and who has acquired the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law, or who has completed university integrated studies in the field of law and who has acquired the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law), is eligible to the position of a judge of a local court (or of any other court), and that a person who has only the qualification degree of bachelor of law and who does not have the qualification degree of master of law, or who has only the qualification degree of master of law and does not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law, is not eligible to this position, it needs to be held that, also, according to the Qualification Requirements as approved by government resolution No. 1568 of 4 October 2002, only such person, who has completed university studies in the field of law and who has acquired the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and master of law, or who has completed university integrated studies in the field of law and who has acquired the professional qualification degree of a lawyer (single-cycle university education in law), is eligible to the position of a judge; a person, who has only the qualification degree of bachelor of law and who does not have the qualification degree of master of law, or who has only the qualification degree of master of law and does not have the qualification degree of bachelor of law, is not eligible to this position.

19. Taking account of the arguments set forth, the conclusions should be drawn that the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge, inter alia, Item 3 thereof, as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002, to the extent that it is not established expressis verbis that persons, who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge, and who do not have single-cycle university higher education in law, are required to have acquired both the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and of master of law:

were not in conflict with Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002 and 18 May 2004) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts;

are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 (wording of 14 March 2002) of Article 5 of the Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

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

ruling:

1. To recognise that the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge (inter alia, Item 3 thereof) as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 97-4288), to the extent that it is not established expressis verbis that persons, who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge, and who do not have single-cycle university higher education in law, are required to have acquired both the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and of master of law, were not in conflict with Paragraph 1 (wordings of 24 January 2002 and 18 May 2004) of Article 51 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts.

2. To recognise that the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge (inter alia, Item 3 thereof) as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1568) “On Approving the Qualification Requirements of Higher Education in Law for the Persons Who Wish to Hold, under Procedure Established by Law, the Position of a Judge” of 4 October 2002 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 97-4288), to the extent that it is not established expressis verbis that persons, who wish to hold, under procedure established by law, the position of a judge, and who do not have single-cycle university higher education in law, are required to have acquired both the qualification degrees of bachelor of law and of master of law, are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 (wording of 1 June 2006) of Article 51 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Courts and Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Entry into Force and Implementation of the Law on Amending the Law on Courts.

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
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Vytautas Sinkevičius
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis