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On the reform of the judicial system

Case No. 27/1994

 THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF
THE REPUBLIC LITHUANIA

 R U L I N G

 On the compliance of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994 and the procedure for its adoption with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania

 22 December 1994, Vilnius

 The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed from the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Algirdas Gailiūnas, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zigmas Levickis, Vladas Pavilonis, Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius, Stasys Stačiokas, Teodora Staugaitienė, Stasys Šedbaras and Juozas Žilys

The court reporter—Rolanda Stimbirytė

Seimas member Kęstutis Skrebys, the petitioner, acting as the representative of a group of Seimas members

Seimas member Pranciškus Vitkevičius, Republic of Lithuania’s Justice Minister Jonas Prapiestis, the party concerned, acting as representatives of the Seimas

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic and Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its public hearing, on 13 December 1994, considered case No. 27/1994 subsequent to the petition submitted by a group of one-fifth of Seimas members requesting an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994 and the procedure for its adoption are in compliance with Articles 111, 115, 116 and Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1.

On 15 June 1994, the Seimas adopted the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1994, No. 50-932; hereinafter referred to as the impugned Law).

The norm of Article 2 of the impugned Law has been formulated in the following way:

“The present Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be liquidated and its activity and the powers of the judges of this Court shall be terminated on 31 December 1994.

The Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be established on 1 January 1995 for the implementation of other functions prescribed by law.”

The petitioner—a group of Seimas members—request the Constitutional Court to investigate into whether Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994 is in conformity with Articles 111, 115 and 116 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and, according to the procedure for the adoption of the impugned Law, with the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution.

2.

The petitioner in his request and his representative during the court hearing of the case submitted the following arguments.

  1. Concerning the establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania.
  2. The petitioner has noted that on 11 March 1990, after the promulgation of the Act on the Restoration of the Independent State of Lithuania, there was adopted the Law “On the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania” Article 2 of which approved the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania. Article 14 of this Law contains the underlying principles of the legal system and administration of justice, whereas the second paragraph of Article 113 prescribes: “The courts of the Republic of Lithuania shall be the Supreme Court of Lithuania and district (town) courts.” The Supreme Council, conforming to the Law on the Court System and Status of Judges of 13 February 1990 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1990, No. 8-185), on 2–3 April 1990 elected the Chairman and two deputy Chairmen of the Supreme Court, whereas on 3 May appointed judges and formed the Presidium of the Supreme Court. Taking all this into consideration, the petitioner maintains that the Supreme Court and local courts have been established in the independent Republic of Lithuania.

In the third paragraph of Article 113 of the Provisional Basic Law it was determined: “The procedures for the organisation and functioning of the courts of Lithuania shall be established by law.” The legislature presumed that courts, conforming to democratic principles established in new laws, would not be able to administer justice in compliance with the Law on the Court System and Status of Judges adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and this would necessitate the implementation of court reform.

  1. The petitioner specifies that, on 16 January 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On Amending and Supplementing Some Articles of the Provisional Basic Law” and formulated the second paragraph of Article 113 in the following way: “The courts of the Republic of Lithuania shall be the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, regional and local courts.” In the fifth paragraph of Article 114 it was determined that “the judges of the courts of the Republic of Lithuania shall be elected for a term of five years. Upon the termination of this period, they shall be appointed: women—until they are 60 years of age, men—until they are 65 years of age”. This Law entered into force on 1 February 1992.

In the petitioner’s opinion, judges of courts of Lithuania had been elected or appointed for a term of ten years prior to 1 February 1992, and for a term of five years—after the mentioned date.

On 6 February 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania, and, on 12 March 1992, passed the Law on the Establishment of Local Courts of the Republic of Lithuania, under which established local courts instead of district (town) courts. In Article 2 of this Law it is prescribed that “<...> judges of town and district courts, who have been elected until now, shall perform their functions within 5 years from their election day.”

On 29 October 1992 the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On the Establishment of District Courts, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the Supreme Court of Lithuania and Supplementing Article 15 of the Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania.” The petitioner draws the conclusion that the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and concrete regional courts have been established, however the Court of Appeal and regional courts as such have not been formed yet.

The petitioner, while invoking the provision of the first paragraph of Article 111 of the Constitution that “The court system of the Republic of Lithuania shall consist of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, regional courts, and local courts”, maintains that the Constitution itself presupposes the establishment and existence of said courts (e.g. the Constitutional Court, the President of the Republic, the Government and other institutions, the establishment of which was not based on the adoption of any separate laws as it was not necessary to do so), until the Constitution is amended or prescribes otherwise. Furthermore, the petitioner specifies that “the procedure for the formation of all these courts and above-mentioned institutions as well as their competence (but not their establishment, however) shall be provided by separate laws”. For instance, the formation and competence of courts shall be established by the Law on Courts of the Republic of Lithuania of 31 May 1994, those of the Constitutional Court—by the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania of 3 February 1993, of the President of the Republic—by the Law on the President of the Republic of 26 January 1993, of the Government—by the Law on the Government of the Republic of Lithuania of 19 May 1994. Besides, in the petitioner’s opinion, such conclusion is also confirmed by the second paragraph of Article 111 of the Constitution which provides that specialised courts may be established along with the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, regional and local courts that are prescribed by the Constitution itself. This constitutional norm was realised on 12 April 1994 by adopting the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Economic Court under which the Economic Court was established instead of the State Arbitration.

Pursuant to what has been said above, the petitioner draws the conclusion that there has been no and there is no basis in law for liquidating the present Supreme Court .

  1. Concerning the powers of the Supreme Court judges.

The petitioner specifies that, under the Provisional Basic Law and its amendment of 16 January 1992, in the period from 1990 to 1 February 1992 the Supreme Court judges were elected for a term of 10 years and after 1 February 1992—for a term of 5 years. Therefore, the powers of all the judges will be still valid on 31 December 1994, i.e. on the day of the liquidation of the present Supreme Court.

The petitioner specifies that the Supreme Court judges, pursuant to the laws that were in force at the time they were elected or appointed, have been lawfully elected or appointed, therefore, they may be dismissed from office only in the cases determined in Articles 115 and 116 of the Constitution that may not be given more extensive interpretation as the list of the enumerated cases is exhausted. According to the petitioner, the definiteness of the validity of powers of judges established in the Constitution as well as the prohibition to determine the powers on other basis than provided by the law shall be one of the underlying guarantees for the independence of judges.

Court judges of the Republic of Lithuania shall be dismissed from office according to the procedure established by law in the following cases:

1) of their own free will;

2) upon expiration of their powers or upon reaching pensionable age as determined by law;

3) for reasons of health;

4) upon appointment to another office or upon voluntary transference to another place or office;

5) if the behaviour discredits their position as judge; and

6) when judgement imposed on them by court comes into force.

If the Chairperson or judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal grossly violate the Constitution, breach their oath, or are found guilty of an offence, the Seimas may remove them from office according to impeachment proceedings.

Furthermore, the petitioner in the court hearing of the case emphasised that the Republic of Lithuania is a member of the United Nations. The General Assembly, in its resolution 40/146 of 13 December 1985 welcomed the Basic principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, and invited Governments to respect them and to take them into account within the framework of their national legislation and practice. Article 12 of said Principles runs: “Judges whether appointed or elected, shall have guaranteed tenure until a mandatory retirement age or the expiry of their term of office, where such exists.”

Pursuant to what has been said before, the petitioner holds that the cases when court judges shall be dismissed from office have been enumerated in Articles 115 and 116 of the Constitution and may not be subjected to broader interpretation, therefore, the provision of Article 2 of the impugned Law that “the powers of the judges of this Court shall be terminated on 31 December 1994” contradicts Articles 115 and 116 of the Constitution.

  1. Concerning the procedure for the adoption of the Law of 15 June 1994 “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania”.

The petitioner maintains that, though the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution prescribes that “the Seimas shall establish a list of constitutional laws by a three-fifths majority vote of the Seimas members”, this has not been done yet. Following the petitioner, the impugned Law should be considered constitutional, because it is concerned with the establishment of constitutional bodies. It was adopted by 54 votes of Seimas members in favour thereof, i.e. by less than a half of all the Seimas members. Thus, in the petitioner’s opinion, the procedure of its adoption has been violated and the Law may not be considered lawful.

The petitioner’s representative, during the court hearing of the case having presented the above-mentioned arguments and having summarised them, requests that Article 2 of the 15 June 1994 Law and the procedure for its adoption be ruled to be in conflict Articles 111, 115 and 116 as well as the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution.

3.

The representative of the party concerned explained during the preliminary investigation and court hearing of the case that, in their opinion, the petitioner’s request is not justified.

By way of answering to the petitioner’s statement that the Supreme Court has been liquidated and the new Supreme Court has been established unlawfully, they submitted the following arguments.

  1. The first paragraph of Article 111 of the Constitution runs that “the court system of the Republic of Lithuania shall consist of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, regional courts, and local courts.” This Article of the Constitution provides for the court system and court reform actually different from the existing one. The Supreme Court until now has worked in compliance with the soviet Law on the Court System and Status of Judges, whereas, upon the establishment of the Court of Appeal and regional courts, the Supreme Court loses some of its functions, e. g. it loses its right to investigate cases as the first instance, also to reconsider non-effective court decisions and judgements. Besides, the new Supreme Court will have a different cassation procedure. It may be started not by individual persons but by panels of three judges.

Apart from the functions, the structure of the Supreme Court shall change too: the Presidium and Plenary Meeting shall be superseded by the Judges’ Senate the structure and functions of which shall be changed as well: it will comprise all the Supreme Court judges likewise the Plenary Meeting, whereas all the other judges of the Republic may participate therein by the right of deliberative vote. According to the representative of the party concerned, Article 18 of the Law on Courts defining the competence of the Supreme Court prescribes that “the Supreme Court shall proclaim court decisions approved by the Judges’ Senate. Courts, state and other institutions, also other persons, while applying the same laws must take into consideration interpretations of the application of laws proposed in said court decisions”. This proves that the Supreme Court, the Judges’ senate shall be entitled to the powers that the present Supreme Court may not enjoy. Representatives of the party concerned maintain that the present Supreme Court must be liquidated and replaced by a new Supreme Court with different competence, other functions performed while administering justice in the country.

  1. By way of answering to the petitioner’s statement that the powers of judges have been terminated before the expiration of the term of office, the party concerned pointed out that in the fourth paragraph of Article 111 of the Constitution it is set forth that “<...> the formation and competence of courts shall be determined by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts.” This Law, which was adopted on 31 May 1994, in essence provided for a completely new Supreme Court. Upon the enforcement of this Law, all the other earlier valid laws concerning this issue, among them the laws that foresaw the duration of the powers of the Supreme Court judges, members of Presidium and Plenary Meeting, shall become null and void. In contrary case, not only the liquidation but even reorganisation of the Supreme Court would not be possible.

Articles 115 and 116 prescribe the procedure for dismissal from office of judges of existing courts. Otherwise, it would go counter to Article 111 of the Constitution and, on the whole, no reform of the courts and prosecutor’s office would be possible.

Neither the Law on Courts, nor Article 2 of the 15 June 1994 Law providing for the procedure for the enforcement of the aforesaid Law, nor the procedure for the adoption of said Article contradict Articles 111, 115 and 116 of the Constitution, because the Supreme Court is liquidated and on its basis a new Supreme Court with new structure and functions shall be formed.

The representatives of the party concerned argued that the judges of the present Supreme Court had been elected to other courts, i.e. to the Court of Appeal of Lithuania or regional courts, and they would be able to continue their work as judges.

  1. The representatives of the party concerned maintained that the laws of 31 May 1994 and of 15 July 1994 were not constitutional. They were adopted by the simple majority vote of Seimas members participating in the sitting, therefore, they may not be ascribed to constitutional laws that shall be deemed adopted if more than half of all the members of the Seimas vote in the affirmative. Thus, it may not be stated that the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution has been violated.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

  1. On the compliance of Article 2 of the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” with the Constitution.
  2. On 11 March 1990 the Supreme Court approved the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 113 of which prescribed that the courts of the Republic of Lithuania would be the Supreme Court of Lithuania and district (town) courts, and the procedure for organisation and activity of the courts of Lithuania would be established by the laws of Lithuania. Thus, at that time the old system (that had existed before the restoration of independence) of courts was left.

16 January 1992 may be considered the beginning of the reform of Lithuania’s court system, because on that day the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On Amending and Supplementing Some Articles of the Provisional Basic Law” which provided the following wording for the second paragraph of Article 113 of the Provisional Basic Law: “The Court of the Republic of Lithuania shall be the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, regional and local courts.”

The new court system had to be created on the basis of constitutional norms. On 6 February 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and the Resolution “On the Entry into Force of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts.” Under Item 3 of this Resolution, the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania was authorised, in co-ordination with the Supreme Court, to draft and submit for the Supreme Council certain draft laws and draft resolutions. It was also determined that chapters of the Law on Courts which regulated the activity of the new court system had to come into force on 1 November 1992.

On 12 March 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Establishment of Local Courts under which new local courts were established instead of then existing town and district courts.

On 29 October 1992, the Supreme Council adopted the Law “On the Establishment of District Courts, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, the Supreme Court of Lithuania and Supplementing of Article 15 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts” Item 5 of which prescribed that “the courts provided by this Law must be formed until the adoption of appropriate laws on amending and supplementing the codes of civil and criminal procedure that would mark the enforcement of Articles 3-5, 8-13, 18, 19, 49, 60, 62 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts.” The implementation of the provisions of this Law has been prolonged because said amendments and supplements of procedural laws were not adopted.

Taking all the chronological run of the implementation of Lithuania’s court reform and the essence of the contents of the adopted legal acts into consideration, the following two conclusions can be made: first, local courts were established on 12 March 1992 and have been functioning according to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Courts of 6 February 1992; second, other courts, the Supreme Court included, had to be formed conforming to the 29 October 1992 Law until the adoption of amendments and supplements to the codes of civil and criminal procedure.

Thus, the reform of the court system has actually been a long continuous process the run and duration of which has been determined by the material and financial abilities of the State as well as the creation of the system of appropriate laws.

  1. After the enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania on 2 November 1992, the contents of court reform had to be co-ordinated with the constitutional norms concerning the legal power, court system and the status of courts. The Seimas is commissioned to do this by the Constitution and the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.” In Article 2 of this Law it is established that laws, other legal acts, or parts thereof which were in effect on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective provided that they do not contradict the Constitution and this law, and shall remain effective until they are either declared null and void or co-ordinated with the provisions of the Constitution.

On 31 May 1994, by way of further implementing the reform of court system, the Seimas adopted a new Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and, on 15 June 1994, it adopted the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania”.

The petitioner’s statement that the norm of the first paragraph of Article 111 of the Constitution itself establishes that “the court system of the Republic of Lithuania shall consist of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal, regional courts, and local courts”, therefore, the adoption of a separate law on their establishment (e. g. the establishment of the Constitutional Court, the President of the Republic, the Government, etc.) is unnecessary, is not justified. The fourth paragraph of Article 111 directly prescribes that “the formation and competence of courts shall be determined by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts.” Therefore, the legislature, implementing this constitutional provision, exercised the prerogative to enact laws provided by the Constitution.

The Constitution and the Law “On the Procedure for the Enforcement of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” does not determine the way and methods the Seimas should employ in the implementation of the court reform. Thus, the Seimas is free to choose the ways and procedure for the implementation of this reform provided that they do not contradict the Constitution.

The functions and competence of the Supreme Court in the new four-level court system in essence differs from the functions and competence of the Supreme Court in the previous two-level system. The function of the previous Supreme Court to examine cases at the first instance and to reconsider non-effective court decisions and judgements was delegated to the newly formed regional courts and the Court of Appeal. In the new court system, the Supreme Court became exceptionally only the supreme instance of cassation. Besides, the law commissioned it to perform one more function—to form the unique judicial practice of courts applying laws. Taking all the above-mentioned circumstances into consideration, there are grounds to maintain that, in the new court system, the Supreme Court became an institution with a qualitatively new competence.

Namely in this light the provisions of Article 2 of the 15 June 1994 Law that “the present Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be liquidated” and “the Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be established on 1 January 1994 for the implementation of other functions prescribed by law” should be evaluated. The notion “to establish” used by the legislature etymologically means “to give a start”, “to set up”. The term “shall be established”, however is inseparable from the words “for the implementation of other functions prescribed by law”, which implies that the legislature presumed that new powers of the Supreme Court were determined.

The Constitutional Court also holds that the statement of the impugned Law “the present Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be liquidated” may be understood ambiguously, i.e. it may be stated that it implies encroachment upon an independent institution of state power. In the process of court reform when new courts are being established, the competence of the Supreme Court is subjected to changes, and the judicial authority is undergoing reorganisation, all this situation should be defined using other linguistic-legal concepts that would enable to precisely and clearly describe the dynamics and consequences of the legal relations emerging during this reform. The notion “liquidation” is usually employed in cases when an enterprise, institution or organisation is being liquidated in the procedure prescribed by law. Such cases are related to other legal consequences.

The notion “establishment” used in Article 2 of the impugned Law may be understood only in the sense of the determination of additional or adjusted spheres of competence of the Supreme Court and changing its inner structure, and not in the sense of establishing a new legal institution. This is confirmed by the norms of the Law “On the Enforcement of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Courts and the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania’” of 15 June 1994. Striving to ensure permanent implementation of the functions of the supreme judicial authority, in Article 3 of the Law it was set forth how non-examined cases would be handed over to other courts according to their jurisdiction, how cases in which adopted court decisions, judgments, orders and rulings are appealed against in supervision order would be further investigated. Said Law has resolved also other issues concerning the new powers of the Supreme Court as a supreme judicial authority.

  1. Article 115 of the Constitution prescribes: “Court judges of the Republic of Lithuania shall be dismissed from office according to the procedure established by law in the following cases:

1) of their own free will;

2) upon expiration of their powers or upon reaching personable age as determined by law;

3) for reasons of health;

4) upon appointment to another office or upon voluntary transference to another place of office;

5) if their behaviour discredits their position as judge; and

6) when judgement imposed on them by court comes into force.”

Furthermore, in Article 116 of the Constitution it is set forth that, if the Chairperson or judges of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal grossly violate the Constitution, breach their oath, or are found guilty of an offence, the Seimas may remove them from office according to impeachment proceedings. Consequently, the powers of judges may not be terminated prior to the expiration of their term of office, with the exception of cases provided by the Constitution. Such provision is also present in the United Nations General Assembly resolution 40/146 of 13 December 1985 which welcomed the Basic Principles on Independence of the Judiciary, and invited Governments to respect them and to take into account within the framework of their national legislation and practice. In Article 12 of said Principles it is specified that judges, whether appointed or elected, shall have guaranteed tenure until a mandatory retirement age or the expiry of their term of office, where such exists.

In the second paragraph of Article 109 it is established: “While administering justice, judges and courts shall be independent.” This means that the independence of judges as well as courts shall be safeguarded by constitutional provisions. The judge’s independence must be actually guaranteed together with the guarantees for the judge’s tenure.

Judges of the Supreme Court of Lithuania appointed in compliance with the Provisional Basic Law, also judges appointed under the Constitution, were designated for a concrete term of office. Their powers will still be valid on 31 December 1994.

The Seimas, taking into consideration the delegation of paragraph of the competence of the previous Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal and regional courts also the change in its procedural functions, could establish another than earlier number of Supreme Court judges. However, the termination of the powers of judges was possible only conforming to the principles determined in Article 115 of the Constitution. Therefore, the provision of Article 2 of the impugned Law that the Supreme Court judges shall be dismissed from office on 31 December 1994 contradicts Item 2 of Article 115 of the Constitution.

  1. On the compliance of the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994 with the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution according to the procedure of its adoption.

In the third paragraph of Article 69 of the Constitution it is set forth: “The Seimas shall establish a list of constitutional laws by a three-fifths majority vote of the Seimas members.” The Constitution does not prescribe another than said procedure for the establishment of constitutional laws. Consequently, only the laws included in the list of constitutional laws approved in this procedure may be interpreted as constitutional laws and only to these laws the procedure for their adoption and amendment provided by the Constitution shall be applied. This was stated in the Constitutional Court’s Ruling “On the Compliance of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law ‘On a Partial Amendment and Supplement to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Elections to the Seimas’ of 16 March 1993 with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 8 November 1993 and once again confirmed in the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 1 December 1994. The Seimas, while adopting the impugned Law, did not violate the procedure of its adoption.

Taking into consideration the interpretation of notions in question presented in the argumentation of this ruling, and conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania as well as Articles 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. 1. To recognise that concerning the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994:

(1) the provision of the first paragraph of Article 2 “the present Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be liquidated”, and the provision of the second paragraph “the Supreme Court of Lithuania shall be established on 1 January 1994 for the implementation of other functions prescribed by law” are consistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

(2) the provision of the first paragraph of Article 2 “the powers of the judges of this Court shall be terminated” contradicts Item 2 of Article 115 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

  1. To recognise that the Law “On the Establishment of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Court of Appeal of Lithuania, and Regional Courts, on the Determination of the Territories of Activity for Regional and Local Courts, also the Reformation of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania” of 15 June 1994 is, according to the procedure of its adoption, in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

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

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

Justices of the Constitutional Court:

Algirdas Gailiūnas                              Kęstutis Lapinskas                            Zigmas Levickis

Vladas Pavilonis                                Pranas Vytautas Rasimavičius            Stasys Stačiokas

Teodora Staugaitienė                         Stasys Šedbaras                                Juozas Žilys