Lt

On returning part of a petition and refusing to consider part of the petition

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF THE KLAIPĖDA CITY LOCAL COURT, THE PETITIONER, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 4, PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 2 OF ARTICLE 346 AND PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 2 (ACCORDING TO THE PETITIONER, WORDING OF 11 SEPTEMBER 2006) OF ARTICLE 350 OF THE CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, AS WELL AS REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE COMPLIANCE OF THE PLANNING SCHEME (GENERAL PLAN) OF CURONIAN SPIT NATIONAL PARK AS APPROVED BY THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1269) “ON THE PLANNING SCHEME (GENERAL PLAN) OF CURONIAN SPIT NATIONAL PARK” OF 19 DECEMBER 1994 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, WITH PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 6 APRIL 1993) OF ARTICLE 1, ITEM 4 (WORDING OF 6 APRIL 1993) OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 2 AND PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 6 APRIL 1993) OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW “ON THE PROCEDURE OF THE PUBLICATION AND ENTRY INTO FORCE OF LAWS AND OTHER LEGAL ACTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA”, WITH ARTICLE 2 (WORDING OF 7 JULY 2005), ITEM 4 (ACCORDING TO THE PETITIONER, WORDING OF 7 JULY 2005) OF PARAGRAPH 1 OF ARTICLE 3 AND PARAGRAPH 1 (WORDING OF 7 JULY 2005) OF ARTICLE 9 OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON THE PROCEDURE OF THE PUBLICATION AND ENTRY INTO FORCE OF LAWS AND OTHER LEGAL ACTS

 

5 July 2007

Vilnius

 

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

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its procedural sitting, considered the petition (No. 1B-21/2007) of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether:

Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 (according to the petitioner, wording of 11 September 2006) of Article 350 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with, according to the petitioner, Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of this law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, considered a civil case. By its ruling of 15 February 2007, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether:

Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 (according to the petitioner, wording of 11 September 2006) of Article 350 of the Code of Civil Procedure (hereinafter also referred to as the CCP) are not in conflict with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution;

the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park (hereinafter also referred to as the Scheme) as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 (hereinafter also referred to as government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994) is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with, according to the petitioner, Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of this law.

This petition of the petitioner was received at the Constitutional Court on 23 April 2007.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. Under Paragraph 2 of Article 110 of the Constitution, in cases when there are grounds to believe that the law or other legal act which should be applied in a concrete case is in conflict with the Constitution, the judge shall suspend the consideration of the case and shall apply to the Constitutional Court requesting it to decide whether the law or other legal act in question is in compliance with the Constitution.

2. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, provided that there are grounds to consider that a law or other legal act applicable in a concrete case is in conflict with the Constitution, the court shall apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition to decide whether the said law or other legal act is in compliance with the Constitution.

3. In its ruling of 28 March 2006, the Constitutional Court held that, under the Constitution, a court of general jurisdiction or a specialised court established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution may apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into, and a decision on, whether not any constitutional law (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, but only such constitutional law, which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any law (part thereof) (as well as the Statute of the Seimas (part thereof)) is not in conflict with the Constitution and constitutional laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any substatutory legal act (part thereof) of the Seimas is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws as well as the Statute of the Seimas, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, also whether not any act (part thereof) of the President of the Republic is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court, as well as whether not any act (part thereof) of the Government (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws, but only that which must be applied in the corresponding case considered by that court. These principled provisions were also repeated in the Constitutional Court’s decision of 22 May 2007.

The Constitutional Court’s decision of 22 May 2007 (while construing Paragraph 2 of Article 110 of the Constitution and Paragraph 1 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court) held that under the Constitution and the Law on the Constitutional Court, a court does not have locus standi to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether the law (part thereof) or the other legal act (part thereof) which should/could not be applied in the case considered by the said court, is not in conflict with the Constitution. In the said Constitutional Court’s decision it was also held that if a court has applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into whether a law (part thereof) or other legal act (part thereof), which should/could not be applied in the case considered by the said court, is not in conflict with the Constitution (thus, when the court does not have locus standi), it should be decided, while taking account of all the entirety of the arguments substantiating such a petition, whether the reasoning of the petition of the petitioner applying to the Constitutional Court is a lawful one.

These doctrinal provisions set forth in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 and its decision of 22 May 2007 should be construed as meaning that the court which considers a case shall have the powers to apply to the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance of the law (part thereof) or other legal act (part thereof) with a legal act of higher legal force, inter alia (and first of all), with the Constitution, also in the cases when that legal act is not directly designed to regulate the relations concerning which a decision must be adopted in the corresponding case, but the fact that one takes account of that law or other legal act (part thereof), according to the court, does not allow it to administer justice in the corresponding case.

4. The Law on the Constitutional Court establishes general requirements, concerning the content, form and attachments, of petitions presented to the Constitutional Court, requesting an investigation into the compliance of legal acts with the Constitution (Article 66), as well as special requirements concerning rulings of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, of regional, and local courts by which one applies to the Constitutional Court (Article 67). These requirements are concretised in Section 1 of Chapter VI of the Rules of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania.

5. Under Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition for the investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution must contain the precise title of the impugned legal act, its number, the date of its adoption, and other data which are necessary for identification thereof, as well as the source of its publication (if it was published), and, under Item 8 thereof, it must contain the position of the petitioner concerning the compliance of an appropriate act with the Constitution and legal support of such position containing references to laws. Under Item 9 of this paragraph, a petition for the investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution must contain a formulated petition to the Constitutional Court.

6. Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court establishes what must be specified in a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a law or other legal act (paragraph thereof) with the Constitution, when courts apply to the Constitutional Court with such petition. Under Paragraph 2 of this article, the court ruling, by the means of which the court applies to the Constitutional Court requesting an investigation into whether the legal act is not in conflict with the Constitution, must include the legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of a law or other legal act with the Constitution (Item 5), as well as the formulated petition of the court to the Constitutional Court (Item 6).

The general requirements, concerning the content, form and annexes, of petitions presented to the Constitutional Court, requesting an investigation into the compliance of legal acts with the Constitution and the special requirements concerning rulings of courts by which one applies to the Constitutional Court, which are established in the Law on the Constitutional Court and the Rules of the Constitutional Court, are also applicable to the rulings of specialised courts, which are provided for in Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution, by which one applies to the Constitutional Court (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 31 March 2005, 10 October 2006 and 11 October 2006).

Under the Law on the Constitutional Court, including the cases when the impugned legal acts (parts thereof) were amended and/or supplemented, when applying to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of the legal act (part thereof) with the legal act of higher legal force, inter alia, the Constitution, courts must precisely specify in their ruling the wording of the legal act (part thereof) whose compliance with the legal act of higher legal force is impugned (the Constitutional Court’s decisions of 10 October 2006 and 11 October 2006).

7. The requirement to specify the legal arguments presenting the opinion of the court on the conflict of a law or other legal act with the Constitution arising from Item 5 of Paragraph 2 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, means that the courts that apply to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into whether the law or other legal act (part thereof) is not in conflict with the Constitution, while arguing their opinion presented in the petition that the law or other legal act (part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution, may not confine themselves to general reasoning or statements that the law or other legal act (part thereof), in their opinion, is in conflict with the Constitution, but must clearly indicate which impugned articles (paragraphs, items thereof) and to what extent, in their opinion, are in conflict with the Constitution, and to reason their position on the compliance of every impugned provision of the legal act (part thereof) with the Constitution with clearly formulated legal arguments (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 12 December 2005, 16 January 2006, 17 January 2006, and its decision of 17 January 2006).

8. Under Item 1 of Paragraph 3 of Article 66 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a duplicate of the whole text of the impugned legal act shall be attached to the petition (for the Constitutional Court), and under Paragraph 5 of this article, 30 copies of the duplicate shall be submitted to the Constitutional Court. In addition, under Item 2 of Paragraph 3 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the duplicate of the whole text of the impugned legal act shall be attached to the court ruling (by which one applies to the Constitutional Court), and under Paragraph 4 of this article, 30 duplicate copies of the impugned legal act shall be submitted to the Constitutional Court.

Under Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts, the official announcement of the laws shall be their announcement in the official publication “Valstybės žinios”. Under Item 15 of Section 1 of Chapter 6 of the Rules of the Constitutional Court, the text of the legal act which is announced in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” should be considered such a duplicate (if the said legal act is announced in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 27 June 2007)).

In this context, it needs also to be noted that, under Article 3¹ (wording of 16 January 2007) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts, in the cases when the resolutions of the Seimas, government resolutions and the legal acts adopted by the heads of other institutions of state governance and collegial institutions include annexes (drawings, tables, graphs, schemes, maps, etc.), to announce which in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” there are no technical possibilities, such legal acts are on the same day officially published: in the Internet website of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (www.valstybes-zinios.lt)—the legal act with annexes (Item 1 of Paragraph 1); in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”—the legal act without annexes (Item 2 of Paragraph 1); the legal acts specified in this article shall be officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” and in the Internet website of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” by the officials who signed them (Paragraph 2). The Constitutional Court has held that while establishing such legal regulation, the legislature also recognised the necessity to differentiate the procedure of the official publication of legal acts (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 June 2007).

9. Under Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, by a decision, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions to investigate the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the petition was filed by an institution or person who does not have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court.

10. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act (paragraph thereof) with a legal act of higher legal force which fails to comply with the requirements set forth in Articles 66 and 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, shall be returned to the petitioner. The return of a petition shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure after removal of the deficiencies thereof (Paragraph 2 of Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court).

II

1. The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether, inter alia, the Scheme is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with, according to the petitioner, Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of this law.

2. The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, impugns not what is established in government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994, i.e. not the contents of this government resolution and the Scheme approved thereby, but the way how this government resolution (part thereof) was published.

3. At the time when government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 was adopted, the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted by the Seimas on 6 April 1993 and which came into force on 10 May 1993, was effective.

This law was designed to regulate the relations linked to the publication and entry into force of the laws and other legal acts. It determined, inter alia, what the official publication of the legal acts was, which text of the legal act was official, it also established which legal acts had to be published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” and which legal acts could be not published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, as well as it determined the time for the entry into force of these legal acts and established in what cases and what legal acts could be published not in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, but in other publications.

The Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” provided for the only official, under this law, the source of publication of the government resolutions to be published—the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”.

It needs to be noted that at the moment when government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 was adopted and published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, the Law On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” was set forth in its original wording—the wording of 6 April 1993, i.e. without the amendments and supplements.

4. The Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” was amended and/or supplemented more than once, and Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted by the Seimas on 10 December 2002 and which came into force on 1 January 2003, set it forth in a new wording and, upon amending its title, it was called the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

Later, the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts has been amended and supplemented more than once.

In the context of the considered petition, it needs to be mentioned that Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending and Supplementing Articles 1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 12 and 13 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts, which was adopted by the Seimas on 7 July 2005 and which came into force on 21 July 2005, amended Paragraph 1 (wording of 10 December 2002) of Article 2 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts and set it forth in a new wording, Article 4 thereof amended Article 9 (wording of 10 December 2002) of the said law and set it forth in a new wording, and Article 7 thereof amended Article 13 (wording of 10 December 2002) of the said law and set it forth in a new wording.

It needs also to be mentioned that Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending Articles 3 and 12 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts and Supplementing the Law with Article 3¹, which was adopted by the Seimas on 16 January 2007 and which came into force on 30 January 2007, amended Item 4 (wording of 10 December 2002) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

The petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Scheme is not in conflict with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” should be regarded as a petition requesting an investigation into whether the Scheme is not in conflict with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts which are set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005.

It should also be noted that, at the time when the ruling of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, was adopted (15 February 2007), whereby it applied to the Constitutional Court, Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts which are specified by the petitioner in fact were set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005, however, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of this law, which was specified by the petitioner, was set forth in the wording of 16 January 2007 (up to then Paragraph 1 of Article 3 was set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005, and Item 4 thereof—in the wording of 10 December 2002); it was never set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005, which is specified by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner.

Thus, it should be held that the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, in its petition addressed to the Constitutional Court erroneously specified the wording of one article (paragraph thereof) of the law, namely of Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts, in the aspect of which the compliance of the Scheme is impugned.

5. The compliance of the Scheme with the Constitution, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (the title that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993 with subsequent amendments and supplements) has been referred to since 1 January 2003) was impugned also in the constitutional justice case subsequent to the petition of a group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, with Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993), Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (wording of 7 July 2005), as well as subsequent to the petitions of the Klaipėda Regional Administrative Court, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania and the Klaipėda Regional Court, the petitioners, requesting an investigation into whether the said government resolution is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993), with Article 2, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (wording of 7 July 2005), in which, on 27 June 2007, the Constitutional Court adopted the Ruling “On the Compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania’ (wording of 6 April 1993) and the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1269) ‘On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park’ of 19 December 1994 (wording of 19 December 1994) with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

On 30 June 2007, the said Constitutional Court’s ruling was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2007, No. 72-2865) and has been valid as from that day.

6. In the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 June 2007, it was ruled, inter alia, that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1993, No. 12-296), to the extent that it did not prescribe that the legal acts (parts thereof) of especially large size and complex structure, inter alia, such which include graphic parts of especially large size, regarding the publication of which very big technical problems would occur, could officially be published not in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, but in other sources and/or in other ways, as well as to the extent that it did not prescribe that the said legal acts (parts thereof) of especially large size and complex structure, even if it is required to officially announce them in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, could be officially published in special editions of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law; it was also held that the provisions of Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) reflected the deficiency and constitutional unreasonableness of the overall legal regulation which is established in this law.

Upon holding that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993), to the extent that it did not prescribe that the legal acts (parts thereof) of especially large size and complex structure, inter alia, such which include graphic parts (drawings, tables, graphs, schemes, maps, etc.) of especially large size, regarding the publication of which very big technical problems would occur, could officially be published not in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, but in other sources and/or in other ways, as well as to the extent that it did not prescribed that the said legal acts (parts thereof) of especially large size and complex structure, even if it is required to officially announce them in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, could be officially published in the special editions of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, the circulation of which, taking account of various circumstances, could be smaller than the usual circulation of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, and whose size could differ from the usual size of the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”, was in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, as well as upon stating that the provisions (because of which the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 was impugned) of Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of this law reflected the deficiency and constitutional unreasonableness of the overall legal regulation which was established in the same law, the Constitutional Court did not investigate in that constitutional justice case whether the said government resolution was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993). The Constitutional Court held that if the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 with Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) were investigated, one would deny the concept of the hierarchy of legal acts, at whose top is the Constitution itself, which is entrenched in the Constitution, and the essence of constitutional justice itself would be distorted.

Due to the same reasoning, the compliance of government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 (the Scheme approved thereby) with Paragraph 1 of Article 1, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Paragraph 1 of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) should not be investigated also subsequent to the considered petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner.

7. It has been held in this decision of the Constitutional Court that the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Scheme is not in conflict with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” should be regarded as a petition requesting an investigation into whether the Scheme is not in conflict with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts which are set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005; it has also been held that at the time when the ruling of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, was adopted, whereby it applied to the Constitutional Court, Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of this law specified by the petitioner was set forth not in the wording of 7 July 2005 which is specified by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner (this item has never been set forth in such wording), but in the wording of 16 January 2007 (as mentioned before, up to then Paragraph 1 of Article 3 was set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005, and Item 4 thereof—in the wording of 10 December 2002), thus, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, in its petition addressed to the Constitutional Court erroneously specified the wording of Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

8. While deciding whether the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Scheme is not in conflict with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” may be accepted at the Constitutional Court for consideration, a circumstance is of essential importance that the compliance of the Scheme with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (the title that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993 with subsequent amendments and supplements) has been referred to since 1 January 2003) was already impugned in the former constitutional justice case, namely in the case in which the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 June 2007 was adopted.

In the said ruling of the Constitutional Court it was held that under the Constitution, the legal acts must be officially published following the procedure of their official publication, which is established namely at the moment when they are issued.

Thus, even though in that constitutional justice case the Constitutional Court was requested to investigate whether government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 (the Scheme approved thereby), under the procedure of its publication, is not in conflict not only with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993), but also with the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (the title that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993 with subsequent amendments and supplements) has been referred to since 1 January 2003) set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005, the Constitutional Court did not investigate whether government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 (the Scheme approved thereby) was not in conflict with the articles (paragraphs thereof) (set forth in the wording of 7 July 2005) of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

Due to the same reasoning, the compliance of government resolution No. 1269 of 19 December 1994 (the Scheme approved thereby) with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (according to the petitioner, the wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts should not be investigated subsequent to the considered petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, either.

9. In its ruling of 27 June 2007, the Constitutional Court established, inter alia, that the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 (wording of 19 December 1994), under the procedure of its publication, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

10. The question of the compliance of the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 (and the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park as approved thereby)), whose compliance is doubted by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, with the Constitution (as well as the question of the relation of the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993) and of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts (the title that the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania” (wording of 6 April 1993 with subsequent amendments and supplements) has been referred to since 1 January 2003) specified by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner) has been decided in the aforesaid Constitutional Court’s ruling.

11. Under Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, by a decision, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions to investigate the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the compliance of the legal act with the Constitution specified in the petition has already been investigated by the Constitutional Court and the ruling on this issue adopted by the Constitutional Court is still in force.

12. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one should refuse to consider the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park as approved by the Government Resolution (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (according to the petitioner, wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

III

1. The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into whether, inter alia, Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 (according to the petitioner, wording of 11 September 2006) of Article 350 of the CCP are not in conflict with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

2. Even though, as mentioned before, a duplicate of the whole text (30 copies) of the impugned legal act must be attached to the court ruling (whereby it is applied to the Constitutional Court), the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, did not submit the duplicates of the texts of the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP whose investigation is requested to the Constitutional Court.

3. Even though the articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP which was approved by Article 1 of the Law on the Approving, Entry into Force, and Implementation of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania that was adopted by the Seimas on 28 February 2002 have been amended and/or supplemented more than once, Articles 4, 346 and 350 of the CCP, which are specified in the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, have not been amended and/or supplemented; at the moment, they are also set forth in the wording of 28 February 2002. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP have never been set forth in the wording of 11 September 2006 which is specified by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner.

Thus, it needs to be held that in its petition to the Constitutional Court, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, erroneously specified the wording of one of the impugned articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP, namely the wording of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP.

4. It needs also to be noted that the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, inter alia, requests an investigation into the compliance of the articles (paragraphs thereof) (which were specified by the petitioner) of the CCP with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held in its acts more than once that the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law may not be construed as those entrenched only in the Preamble of the Constitution, nor identified only with the striving for an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law proclaimed in the Preamble of the Constitution, and that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is inseparable from the imperative of justice and integrates various values, entrenched in and protected and defended by the Constitution, as well as those that are expressed by the said striving. In the acts of the Constitutional Court it has also been held more than once that an investigation into the compliance of legal acts (parts thereof) with the striving for an open, just and harmonious civil society and state under the rule of law proclaimed in the Preamble to the Constitution implies an investigation into their compliance with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5. It is obvious from the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, that the petition requesting an investigation into whether Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP with the Constitution are not in conflict with the Constitution was determined by the fact that one of the respondents in the civil case considered by this court—the Neringa municipality—doubted the compliance of the specified articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP and requested to apply to the Constitutional Court. The arguments which reason this petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, are specified in the petition of the Neringa municipality—the respondent in the civil case considered by the said court, as specified in the petition to the same court.

6. The doubts of the Neringa municipality regarding the constitutionality of whether Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP are based on these arguments, inter alia, on the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine (which are set forth in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006) which construe the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

6.1. In the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006, it was held, inter alia, that:

the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law implies continuity of jurisprudence;

– “the instance system of courts of general jurisdiction established in the Constitution must function so that the preconditions are created to form the same (regular, consistent) practice of courts of general jurisdiction”;

– “when ensuring the uniformity (regularity, consistency) of the practice of courts of general jurisdiction, which arises from the Constitution, thus, also the continuity of the jurisprudence, the following factors <…> are of crucial importance: the courts of general jurisdiction, when adopting decisions in cases of corresponding categories, are bound by their own created precedents—decisions in the analogous cases; the courts of general jurisdiction of lower instance, when adopting decisions in the cases of corresponding categories, are bound by the decisions of the courts of general jurisdiction of higher instance—precedents in the cases of the same categories; the courts of general jurisdiction of higher categories, while revising decisions of the courts of general jurisdiction of lower instance, must assess these decisions by always following the same legal criteria; these criteria must be clear and known ex ante to the subjects of law, inter alia, to the courts of general jurisdiction of lower instance”;

– “the practice of courts of general jurisdiction in cases of corresponding categories has to be corrected and new court precedents <…> created only when it is unavoidably and objectively necessary; such correction of practice <…> must in all cases be properly <…> argued”;

– “the fact that the courts of general jurisdiction <…> are bound by decisions of the courts of general jurisdiction of higher instance <…> inevitably implies that the said courts have to follow such concept of the content of corresponding provisions <…> of law, also of the application <…>, which was formed and which was followed when applying these provisions <…> in the previous cases <…>. Disregarding this maxim <…> which arises from the Constitution, would <…> mean disregarding the provisions of the Constitution on administration of justice, that of the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, justice, equality of people before the court <…>”.

6.2. Under Article 346 of the CCP, which establishes the basis of the review of effective court decisions and rulings under cassation procedure, cassation is possible only in the case when there are the bases named in this article (Paragraph 1); the bases of review of a case under cassation procedure shall be the following: violation of substantive and procedural law which is of essential importance for the same construction and application of law if this violation could influence the adoption of an unlawful decision (ruling) (Item 1); if in the decision (ruling) appealed under cassation the court deviated from the practice of the application and construction of law formed by the Supreme Court of Lithuania (Item 2); if the practice of the Supreme Court of Lithuania on the impugned legal issue is not the same (Item 3).

Under Paragraph 1 of Article 350 of the CCP, in which the procedure of acceptance of the cassation appeal is regulated, the question of accepting a cassation appeal shall be decided by the selection college consisting of three justices which has been composed by the President of the Supreme Court of Lithuania or the Chairperson of the Civil Cases Division of this court; the cassation appeal shall be considered as accepted if at least one member of the selection college voted in favour of it; the question of accepting the cassation appeal shall be decided by adopting a ruling under the procedure of written proceedings; the participation of the justice in the selection college while deciding the question of accepting a certain cassation appeal does not prevent him from the consideration of the case subsequent to the said cassation appeal under cassation procedure. Under Paragraph 2 of this article, one shall refuse to accept the cassation appeal in the following cases: if it is submitted after the deadline for submission of the cassation appeal and there is no request to renew the missed deadline or if the request to renew it is not granted (Item 1); if it is in conflict with the requirements established in Article 341 of the CCP (Item 2); if it does not meet the requirements of Article 346 of the CCP (Item 3); if it does not meet the requirements of Article 347 of the CCP (Item 4); if it is not signed or if it is not signed by an authorised person or submitted by a person, who does not have the right to initiate the cassation process (Item 5); if it is submitted repeatedly after the case has already been considered under cassation procedure (Item 6); if it is submitted without paying a fixed stamp duty and there is no request to partially exempt from this fee or to postpone it, or if the request of the cassator to partially exempt from this fee or to postpone it is not granted (Item 7).

6.3. In the opinion of the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the legal regulation established in Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP does not comply with the specified doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006.

7. It needs to be held that the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, grounds its petition not on its arguments, but on the arguments of the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by this court, which are set forth in the petition addressed to the said court. The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, did not analyse or assess these arguments, it just restricted itself to the statement that “while seeking to elucidate” whether Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP are not in conflict with Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution and with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, it is “expedient to apply” to the Constitutional Court “regarding the adoption of the ruling on the said issue”.

It needs also to be held that the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, did not set forth its position regarding the compliance of the impugned articles (paragraphs) of the CCP with the Constitution and did not provide any legal arguments grounding that position.

Thus, it is not clear from the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, whether it had doubts regarding the compliance of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP with the Constitution itself, or the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, only granted the corresponding petition of the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by this court.

8. In this context, it needs to be noted that as it is specified in the ruling of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, by which it was applied to the Constitutional Court, the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by this court, requested that the Klaipėda City Local Court apply to the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP not only with the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law, which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, but also with Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, however, Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution are not mentioned in the resolution part of the ruling of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner. Even though, as mentioned before, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, states that “while seeking to elucidate” whether these articles (paragraphs thereof) are not in conflict with Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law, which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, it is “expedient to apply” to the Constitutional Court “regarding the adoption of the ruling on the said issue”, the Constitutional Court is requested to investigate the compliance of the corresponding articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP only with the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law.

Thus, it is not clear from the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, why it, while granting the petition of the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by this court, requesting the application to the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP with the Constitution in one aspect, namely regarding the compliance of the corresponding legal regulation with the constitutional principles of justice and a state under the rule of law, which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, at the same time did not grant its petition requesting the application to the Constitutional Court regarding the compliance of the specified articles (paragraphs thereof) of the CCP with the Constitution in another aspect, namely regarding the compliance of the corresponding legal regulation with Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution. The Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, did not provide any arguments regarding this position.

9. In this context, it needs to be mentioned that, as the Constitutional Court held in its ruling of 28 March 2006, while construing Paragraph 2 of Article 6, Paragraph 1 of Article 30, Paragraph 1 of Article 109 and Article 110 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, “each party of the case considered by a court, which has doubted on the compliance of the law or other legal act (part thereof) that may be applied in that case and the investigation into the compliance of which with the Constitution (other legal act of higher legal force) is assigned to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court <…>, has the right to apply to the court of general jurisdiction or a corresponding specialised court established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution which considers the case and to request such a court to suspend the consideration of the case and to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition, requesting an investigation into, and a decision on, whether the legal act (part thereof) passed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic or the Government or adopted by referendum and which is applicable in the said case, is not in conflict with a legal act of higher legal force, inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution”; “the constitutional imperatives that only courts administer justice, that law cannot be not public, as well as the requirement arising out of the Constitution to consider the case justly, also imply that every final act of the court must be based on legal arguments (reasoning); the argumentation must be rational; the requirement of legal clarity, which arises out of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law means, inter alia, that a final act of the court cannot contain any concealed arguments, nor any non-specified circumstances, which are important for the adoption of a just final act of the court; final acts of the court must be clear to the persons participating in the case as well as other persons”; “the said requirements on the argumentation of court decisions are applicable also to decisions of courts of general jurisdiction or specialised courts established under Paragraph 2 of Article 111 of the Constitution to apply or (even though it is requested by a certain party of the case considered in the court) not to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into, and a decision on, whether the legal act (part thereof) applicable in that case whose verification as to the compliance with legal acts of higher legal force (inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution) is assigned not to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court but to that of administrative courts, is not in conflict with the Constitution (other legal act of higher legal force)”.

In the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 21 September 2006, it was held that “a final court act cannot be ambiguous; it must be clear and comprehensible already at the time when the decision on merits regarding the considered issue is adopted and publicly pronounced, but not such an act, which would make the parties and other participants of the proceedings guess why and due to what reasoning precisely that and not different court decision was adopted”. This requirement should also be applied for the court rulings by which the request of the parties of the case considered by the court to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of the legal act (part thereof) with the legal act of higher legal force, inter alia, with the Constitution, is granted or when such a request is refused.

10. While impugning the compliance of Article 4 of the CCP with the Constitution, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner (restating the arguments of the Neringa municipality, which is the respondent in the civil case considered by the Klaipėda City Local Court), states that, under this article, while applying law, the courts must take account only of the interpretations of application of law which are present in the rulings adopted under cassation procedure.

It needs to be noted that Article 4 of the CCP provides: “While applying law, the courts shall take account of the interpretations of application of law which are present in the rulings adopted under the cassation procedure established in the Law on Courts.”

Thus, Article 4 of the CCP does not include the word “only”, i.e. the word which is especially important, essential in the arguments (which are restated by the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner) of the Neringa municipality, the respondent in the civil case considered by the Klaipėda City Local Court, in which it was decided to apply to the Constitutional Court.

Thus, the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 4 of the CCP with the Constitution is based on the provision that the impugned legal regulation is enshrined in this article not explicitly but implicitly. In other words, the said petition is based on the corresponding interpretation of Article 4 of the CCP that under this article, while applying law, the courts must take account only of the interpretations of application of law which are present in the rulings adopted under cassation procedure and do not have the duty to take account of those court decisions (rulings) which are announced not under cassation procedure. However, the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, does not contain any arguments which would base namely such interpretation of this article.

11. While requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP with the Constitution, the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, did not explain of which court (or courts) and of which decision (or decisions) it should take account while considering a civil case, in which it was decided to apply to the Constitutional Court, however, the provisions of the CCP, whose investigation it requests, do not permit doing so, as well as why and in particular how they do not permit doing it.

Thus, it is not clear from the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, what is the legal situation in which this court, as a court of lower instance, while adopting the decision in the corresponding civil case regarding the legal regulation established in Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP, may not follow the precedent (or precedents) of the court (or courts) of higher instance which is binding on it and, thus, not violate the imperative of the continuity of jurisprudence and not ensure that its decision in that case would fulfil the requirement of the uniformity (consistency, non-discrepancy) of the case law of the courts of general competence. Thus, it is also not clear, how Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP, whose investigation is requested, do not permit the said court to follow the doctrinal provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 28 March 2006 specified by it.

12. It needs to be held that it is not obvious from the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court whether it (in the case considered by it) has locus standi in order to apply to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 350 of the CCP with the Constitution.

13. Taking account of all the circumstances set forth, it needs to be held that the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 (according to the petitioner, wording of 11 September 2006) of Article 350 of the CCP are not in conflict with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution, and does not meet the requirements of Items 6 and 8 of Paragraph 1, Item 1 of Paragraph 3 and Paragraph 5 of Article 66, Item 5 of Paragraph 2, Item 2 of Paragraph 3 and Paragraph 4 of Article 67 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, and, under Paragraph 1 of Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court should be returned to the petitioner.

It has been mentioned that, under Paragraph 2 of Article 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the return of a petition shall not take away the right to apply to the Constitutional Court according to the common procedure after removal of the deficiencies thereof.

Conforming to Article 1, Paragraph 2 of Article 25, Articles 66, 67 and 70 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

1. To return the petition requesting an investigation into whether Article 4, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 346 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 (according to the petitioner, wording of 11 September 2006) of Article 350 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with the principles of justice and a state under the rule of law which, according to the petitioner, are consolidated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, back to the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner.

2. To refuse to consider the petition of the Klaipėda City Local Court, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park as approved by the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1269) “On the Planning Scheme (General Plan) of Curonian Spit National Park” of 19 December 1994 is not in conflict with Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, with Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 1, Item 4 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Paragraph 1 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 (wording of 6 April 1993) of Article 8 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts of the Republic of Lithuania”, as well as with Article 2 (wording of 7 July 2005), Item 4 (according to the petitioner, wording of 7 July 2005) of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 and Paragraph 1 (wording of 7 July 2005) of Article 9 of the Law on the Procedure of the Publication and Entry into Force of Laws and Other Legal Acts.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:              Toma Birmontienė

                                                                                   Egidijus Kūris

                                                                                   Kęstutis Lapinskas

                                                                                   Zenonas Namavičius

                                                                                   Ramutė Ruškytė

                                                                                   Vytautas Sinkevičius

                                                                                   Stasys Stačiokas

                                                                                   Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis