Get to Know Another Country’s Judiciary: Georgia

Government Type: semi-presidential republic

Legal System: civil law

Judge gavel and soundboard with national flag

The courts that have jurisdiction over cases concerning civil rights and liberties are called “common courts.” There are three types:

  • 34 first-instance courts (akin to our city or district courts). In city court, cases are heard by one judge. In district court, it’s three judges.
  • 2 appellate courts (one each for eastern and western Georgia)
  • 1 Supreme Court, which is the highest court of appeal, but…

… A separate Constitutional Court is the only institution that can declare a law unconstitutional.

How does one become a judge in Georgia?

  1. Get a law degree.
  2. Work as a lawyer for at least five years.
  3. Pass the judicial qualification examination.
    1. To be eligible just to take the exam:
      1. Must be at least 25 years old
      2. Have the “highest legal education”
  • Be fluent in Georgian language
  1. Once you’ve passed the exam, you must at least 30 years old to…
  2. Apply to the High Council of Justice (includes the Supreme Court Chairman).
  3. Be accepted into the High School of Justice, get good grades, and behave yourself.
  4. Ten months later, pass the graduation exam.
  5. Apply to the High Council of Justice for appointment and get at least 10 votes from the council’s 15 members.

Fun Fact: The Constitutional Court just ruled that marijuana use is protected by the right to “free development of one’s personality.”

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