Georgia has a number of legal provisions designed to ensure the judiciary's independence. However, in practice, the judiciary suffers from undue influence exerted by the Prosecutor's Office and the executive authority during the adjudication of criminal cases, as well as the cases where the political leadership's interests are at stake. The judiciary's inadequate level of independence has also undermined its ability to exercise oversight vis-a-vis the executive branch. On the positive side, the budget funding allocated to the judiciary has increased dramatically in recent years, resulting in major improvements in terms of salaries, infrastructure, equipment and staff. Bribery in courts has been eradicated and judges are believed to be independent in their handling of the majority of civil cases.
The table below presents the indicator scores which summarize the assessment of the judiciary in terms of its capacity, its internal governance and its role within the Georgian integrity system.The remainder of this section presents the qualitative assessment for each indicator.
Structure and Organisation
Under the Georgian Constitution, the country's judiciary is made up of the Constitutional Court and the general courts.
The Constitutional Court is the "supreme judicial body of constitutional control", responsible for ensuring compliance of laws, international agreements and the by-laws issued by different government bodies with the Constitution and adjudicating disputes between different state bodies over their competencies. There are nine judges in the Constitutional court: the president, parliament and the Supreme Court each appoint three judges.
General courts include district or city courts, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.The chairperson and judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by parliament upon the president's nomination.Judges of the district and city courts and the Court of Appeals are appointed by the High Council of Justice - a body responsible for appointment and dismissal of judges, organising qualifying examinations of judges and developing proposals for the reform of the judiciary. The High Council of Justice is led by the chairperson of the Supreme Court and has 15 members appointed by the judiciary, the president and parliament.The Conference of Judges is a self-governing body of judges that appoints the judiciary's representatives in the High Council of Justice.
To what extent are there laws seeking to ensure appropriate tenure policies, salaries and working conditions of the judiciary?
The legal provisions regulating the judiciary's access to different types of resources are robust. The biggest constraint is that the law does not guarantee the involvement of lower-level courts in the drafting of the judiciary's budget.
The salaries of the Constitutional Court judges and the judges of general courts are determined by dedicated laws: the Law on Remuneration of Constitutional Court Judges and the Law onRemuneration of General Court Judges.The two laws establish salary rates for all judges, safeguarding them against arbitrary reduction of their income. There is a further legal provision prohibiting reduction of a judge's salary during the tenure.At the same time, the laws establishing salary rates do not provide for automatic adjustment of salary rates to reflect inflation.
The legal framework provides for the participation of the judiciary in the process of determining annual allocations from the State Budget. The draft budget of general courts (excluding the Supreme Court) is to be presented to the government by the High Council of Justice and the draft budget of the Supreme Court is to be submitted by its chairperson.The draft budget of the Constitutional Court is presented to the Ministry of Finance by the court chairperson.The Constitutional Court cannot be allocated a smaller funding than it received the year before,while the funding apportioned to general courts can only be reduced (compared to the preceding year) with the consent of the High Council of Justice.
On the negative side, the law does not guarantee the participation of general courts (except for the Supreme Court) in the apportioning of their budgets. The draft budget for general courts is prepared by the Department of General Courts at the High Council of Justiceand the law does not expressly require it to consult with the courts during the process.
To what extent does the judiciary have adequate levels of financial resources, staffing, and infrastructure to operate effectively in practice?
The amount of resources available to the Georgian judiciary has increased considerably in recent years as a result of a dramatic growth in the budget since 2004. Judges' salaries are presently adequate and courts have proper infrastructure, equipment and numbers of support staff. At the same time, according to some sources, lower-level courts do not always receive enough funding because of their limited role in drafting their own budgets. Also, courts appear to be overburdened due to an insufficient number of judicial positions, suggesting that there might be a lack of qualified candidates.
The judiciary's overall budget grew every single year between 2003 and 2009 and almost quadrupled from GEL 11 million to 44 million (USD 6.6 million to USD 26.5 million). In 2010, the funding was reduced to GEL 39 million (USD 23.5 million) although the share of salaries in the budget increased from 60 to 73 percent.Similar reductions in the budgets of multiple ministries and other state institutions occurred in 2010 as a result of an overall tighter fiscal policy. Also, the higher budgets in preceding years reflected the cost of infrastructure renovation that was largely completed by 2010.
The increase in budget funds has produced a number of improvements in terms of the judiciary's access to various resources. Specifically, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), Georgian judges have an adequate number of secretaries, assistants and interns aiding them in performing their duties. The number of computers, photocopiers and fax machines has increased and judges and staff members have internet access. Legislation is indexed and available through an electronic database to all judges. Existing courthouses are being renovated and new ones are built, providing a "respectable environment and adequate infrastructure" for the judiciary.
Judicial salaries have increased significantly in recent years. According to ABA, salaries are sufficient for judges to support their families without seeking additional sources of income.While judicial salaries may be well below the earnings of the best-paid practicing lawyers,they are certainly sufficient for maintaining a normal standard of living and compare favourably to the salaries of senior civil servants.
Candidates for a judge's position have to complete a mandatory training course at the High School of Justice, which also provides continued legal education for incumbent judges. According to the school's chief, almost all of the 300 incumbent judges have at least five days of training per year.The pre-appointment training includes a mandatory course in judicial ethics and similar training is also provided to incumbent judges.
The Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court draft their own budgets and reportedly lobby parliament during the budgetary process.However, the same expert suggested that the budgetaryprocess is overly centralized and lower-level courts have little say.ABA has also noted that the Department of General Courts of the High Council of Justice (which is in charge of drafting the budgets of district and city courts and the courts of appeal) does not normally consult with these courts. As a result, they do not always receive adequate funding. Moreover, the process of procurement is also centralized. District and City courts have to submit requests to the relevant department of the High Council (rather than making purchases on their own) and, consequently, do not always have all the necessary supplies.These assertions were challenged by the judiciary representatives interviewed by TI Georgia, who said the Department of General Courts always consults with the general courts and reviews their requirements in detail.
Another problem facing the judiciary is the fact that, as noted by ABA, the current number of judicial positions appears to be inadequate and courts face a heavy caseload.The representatives of the judiciary interviewed by TI Georgia said, however, that the situation has been changing for the better in recent years. They emphasized that new judges cannot be employed by the judiciary until they complete the course at the High School of Justice. They noted that the Tbilisi City Court is presently the only Georgian court that can be described as overburdened.
To what extent is the judiciary independent by law?
The Constitution and a number of other laws contain provisions designed to safeguard the independence of judges. However, provisions regarding the tenure of judges and the composition of the High Council of Justice do not ensure full independence and several laws contain loopholes that erode the original intent of increasing judicial independence.
Independence of the Georgian judiciary is guaranteed by the Constitution which states that judges must remain independent in their activities and only be guided by the law. Pressure on judges and interference with their work are prohibited and are punishable offences.
The powers of both the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court are anchored in the Constitution and can only be changed through a constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds majority in parliament.
Judges enjoy immunity from criminal prosecution under the Constitution and can only be arrested if caught on the spot of a crime. In order to prosecute a judge or to keep an arrested judge in custody, the permission of the Supreme Court chairperson is required (the permission of the Constitutional Court in the case of a Constitutional Court judge or chairperson; and the permission of parliament in the case of a Supreme Court judge or chairperson).
Judges are prohibited by the Constitution from joining political parties or becoming involved in political activities. Nor can they hold any parallel positions or perform any paid work, except for teaching and academic activities.At the same time, judges are not prohibited from forming professional associations. Moreover, the law requires the establishment of a self-government body of the general court judges - the Conference of Georgian Judges - in order to reinforce the independence of the judiciary. The powers of the Conference include election of the secretary and the majority of members of the High Council of Justice.
Both politicians and professionals are involved in the appointment of judges. Politicians only play a leading role in the appointment of the Supreme Court Judges (all of whom are appointed by parliament) and the Constitutional Court judges (where two-thirds of members are appointed by parliament and president). The judges of other courts are appointed by the High Council of Justice: a body led by the chairperson of the Supreme Court. The law requires that a majority of the High Council's members be appointed by the Conference of Judges, thus granting judicial professionals control over the appointments process.However, as noted by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), the effectiveness of this safeguard is undermined by the legal provision that stipulates that the representatives of all three branches (legislature, executive and judiciary) in the High Council must consent to a judge's appointment and thus makes it possible for the presidential and parliamentary representatives to veto judicial appointments. GYLA has also criticized the fact that, while the majority of the High Council members are elected by the Conference of Judges, only the Supreme Court Chairman has the right to nominate candidates. The independence of the High Council may also be undermined by the provision allowing the president to recall his appointees at any time.
The law requires that candidates for judicial positions be selected through a competitive process and sets out professional criteria for candidates, who are required to have higher legal education and at least five years of relevant work experience.
The existing legal provisions protect judges from arbitrary dismissal. The chairperson of the Supreme Court can only be removed from the office by parliament through the impeachment procedure for violating the Constitution or committing a crime, while the judges of the Supreme Court and other general courts can be removed by the High Council of Justice. The law lists legitimate grounds for the dismissal of a judge, thus limiting the scope of discretion in this area.A member of the Constitutional Court can only be dismissed by the Court itself and only for one of the specific reasons listed in the relevant law.
Judges are presently not appointed for life in Georgia. Judges at all levels are appointed for a 10-year term.. As noted by the Venice Commission, life tenure (or tenure until retirement age) would be preferable in terms of ensuring independence of judges.Life tenure was introduced through a 2010 Constitutional amendment but the change will not take effect until 2013.
There are legal provisions designed to protect judges from undue influence. For the entire duration of court proceedings, interested persons, public servants and political officials are prohibited from engaging in any communication with general court judges that aims to influence the outcome of the process and undermine the independence and impartiality of a judge.
To what extent does the judiciary operate without interference from the government or other actors?
The judiciary is not independent in its handling of criminal cases (due to the influence exerted by the Prosecutor's Office), as well as other types of cases where the government's political interests are at stake (such as electoral disputes). On the positive side, it appears that the majority of civil and administrative cases are adjudicated by courts independently and according to the law.
The independence of Georgian judiciary has been repeatedly called into question in recent years. Most recently, the Public Defender said in a newspaper interview published in September in 2010 that "it is obvious that the judiciary is not independent."In a 2010 survey by the Caucasus Research Resources Centres, only 21 percent of the respondents said that the Georgian judiciary isimpartial (compared to the 47 percent who said it was not). In the same survey, 43 percent of the respondents "agreed" or "somewhat agreed" with the statement that Georgian courts are under the government's influence (compared to a mere 18 percent who "disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed").
According to the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer, the judiciary is one of the least trusted institutions in Georgia.It has been suggested that such public perception might stem from the judiciary's handling of some high-profile cases wherein defendants associated with the government appear to receive more favourable treatment than those linked with the opposition, as well as the extremely low acquittal rate in criminal cases (Out of the nearly 17,000 criminal cases received by the courts in 2010, only seven ended in a full acquittal).Indeed, it is widely believed that the Prosecutor's Office and the executive branch exert undue influence over the judiciary in criminal cases.In addition, courts have demonstrated a notable pro-government bias in adjudicating electoral disputes in recent years.
The European Court of Human Rights noted, in its recent ruling on an appeal concerning the 2006 murder of a banker by law enforcement officers in Tbilisi, that the Georgian judiciary did not adjudicate the case in an impartial and independent manner and, instead, acted in concert with the law enforcement agencies and the executive branch to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime were not punished adequately..
The judiciary's treatment of some disputes between the government and private businesses has raised further doubts regarding its independence. An expert interviewee told TI Georgia that whenever a tax-related dispute involves a very large amount of money and the government has a strong interest in winning the case, courts act jointly with the tax authorities and prosecutors to ensure the outcome desired by the government. The lawyer noted that courts are only allowed to act independently when no direct government interest is at stake, which is inconsistent with the concept of rule of law.
According to one expert, the process of judicial appointments is not transparent and it is therefore difficult to determine whether it is based on clear professional criteria as required by the law.It has also been suggested that subjective criteria may be applied during appointments.Moreover, the process of reorganization of courts whereby some judges are transferred or placed on a reserve list may further undermine the institution's independence. A GYLA representative noted that transfer to remote courts is used as a means of punishing judges who have passed decisions unfavourable to the government,while ABA noted concerns that some judges are not reappointed after the end of their term for similar reasons.The lack of a formal process for promotion also leaves room for subjective decisions.The judiciary's representatives have responded to these criticisms by emphasizing that the process of examination for prospective judges is public and NGOs are encouraged to attend. They also noted that judicial transfers are done in order to assist the courts that face a large caseload.
There are a number of legal provisions prohibiting parties, prosecutors and political officials from communicating with judges during trials that are designed to protect judges from undue influence but the effectiveness of these legal provisions is questionable in practice. Only a handful of individuals (none of them public officials) have been sanctioned on the basis of this law since its adoption in 2007. Further, GYLA suggests that improper influence is often exerted by the chairpersons of the respective courts, as they are not bound by the restrictions established by this law.
It is not clear whether there is an effective professional association of judges in Georgia at present. The Georgian Association of Judges was founded in 1999 but has become defunct in recent years. The Conference of Judges is the official self-governing body of judges but its activities appear to be limited to annual meetings.
On the positive side, Courts are usually independent in their handling of civil cases.A 2010 survey of court users showed that the majority of them were satisfied with the judiciary's operation.Judicial immunity is respected in practice,and early dismissal of judges has become rare in recent years.
To what extent are there provisions in place to ensure that the public can obtain relevant information on the activities and decision-making processes of the judiciary?
The legal framework contains a number of requirements designed to ensure transparency of court proceedings but, in some cases, creates unnecessary obstacles to access that are susceptible to abuse.
The Constitution states that court sessions are to be open, while closed sessions can only be held in cases where it is specifically permitted by the law.Court rulings must also be announced publicly.Courts arerequired to produce either detailed minutes or audio recordings ofsessions and make them available to parties upon request.Judges are required to submit annual asset declarations to the Civil Service Bureau.
At the same time, the legal framework does not contain any provisions requiring the courts or the High Council of Justice to proactively inform the public about some important aspects of their activities (judicial statistics, court hearing records/transcripts, etc). The High Council of Justice is required to announce judicial vacancies through an official newspaperbut there is no similar requirement for publicizing the information regarding appointments and dismissals. While the provisions whereby it is prohibited to take photos or to make video recordings in courtrooms or to broadcast sessions on television can be justified by the need to protect judges and witnesses, the fact even audio recordings or transcripts cannot be made without a judge's permission limits the ability of journalists to cover court proceedings.
To what extent does the public have access to judicial information and activities in practice?
Access to court sessions is ensured in practice but the lack of proper equipment in courtrooms and interference of court staff often makes it difficult for attendants to follow the proceedings and take notes. Judicial decisions are not always made available in a timely manner.
Courtroom proceedings are generally open to the public and the media and there is usually enough space to accommodate all interested individuals.In TI Georgia's experience, local and district court proceedings across Georgia have always been open and accessible to observation by external actors, although on two occasions TI Georgia's representatives were requested by the court staff to stop taking notes and were only allowed to continue when it was clear that the notes were not transcripts. It is also frequently difficult to hear the proceedings due to the distance between the audience and the judge and a lack of microphones - a small but significant problem that undermines the value of open proceedings.
The prohibition of filming in courtrooms that was introduced in 2007 has drawn some criticism,although this mechanism also protects the identity of defendants. The position of spokespersons (so-called "speaker judges") has been introduced to facilitate communication with the media. According to ABA, there are some problems with the operation of this mechanism in practice and it is yet to become a source of readily understandable information for journalists.
The Supreme Court and some other courts make audio records of trials but the majority of courts do not have the necessary equipment and instead produce handwritten or typed minutes summarizing the proceedings. It is not clear whether these are accessible to the public and it is likely that the practice varies from court to court.
There is mixed evidence regarding availability of court decisions. The Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court and some of the lower-level courts have websites where they publish their decisions (though this is sometimes done with significant delays).In other courts, according to ABA, decisions are usually made available upon request.At the same time, TI Georgia has found it difficult to obtain copies of court decisions in a number of cases (see below).
Information regarding the judiciary's budget and judicial statistics is accessible to the public through the Supreme Court website.In addition, the website of the High Council of Justice carries disciplinary statistics and information on the qualification examinations for judicial candidates.However, information on spending and judicial appointments, dismissals and transfers is missing.
Out of four Freedom of Information (FOI) requests sent to the Supreme Court as part of the NIS field tests, information was provided in all four cases, although one of the responses did not fully answer the question that was asked. The two complex questions requested data for 2009 on the number of people assigned to pre-trial detention who paid bail (515) versus those who did not (8,195); and data on thenumber of prosecutions (18,392) and acquittals (18).
However, in other FOI requests sent by TI Georgia to the judiciary in 2010 outside of the NIS field tests, the response rate was dismal. Five FOI requests to courts in the capital - the Tbilisi City Court, the Tbilisi Appellate Court and even the Supreme Court of Georgia - received exactly the same answer: the courts did not have sufficient administrative resources to respond and did not deem the mobilization of those resources essential to fulfilling its obligations as prescribed under the law. Some of these requests were for the decisions in a large number of cases, but other requests were for the results of no more than 20 or 25 cases.
To what extent are there provisions in place to ensure that the judiciary has to report and be answerable for its actions?
The legal framework contains extensive provisions regarding complaints and disciplinary sanctions against judges. Judges are required by the law to give reasons for their decisions. On the negative side, judges enjoy an excessively high level of immunity from prosecution that extends to all types of crimes.
There is a detailed formal procedure for complaints and disciplinary action against judges. Any individual has the legal right to submit a complaint against a judge. Such complaints can be submitted to the chairpersons of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, as well as the secretary or a member of the High Council of Justice. Following a preliminary inquiry, the chairperson of the relevant court or the secretary of the High Council of Justice is to decide whether to terminate proceedings or bring disciplinary charges against a judge and forward the case to the special adjudicating body: the Disciplinary Panel of Georgian General Court Judges. Judges found guilty of disciplinary violations may face various sanctions, including reprimand, severe reprimand and dismissal.The independence of the Disciplinary Panel could, to some extent, be undermined by the fact that half of its members are appointed by the High Council of Justice. As rightly noted by the Venice Commission, a body initiating a disciplinary procedure should have no influence on the composition of the adjudicating body.
The law requires judges to give reasons for their decisions in different types of cases. For example, the Code of Criminal Proceedings expressly states that both provisional and final decisions in criminal cases must be "substantiated".The Code of Administrative Proceedings also requires courts to provide reasons for their decisions.The Code of Civil Proceedings only allows judges to not give reasons for their decisions if the decision is not subject to an appeal or if the parties declare that they have no intention of challenging the decision in a higher court.
The accountability of judges can potentially be undermined by the fact that, as noted by the Venice Commission, they enjoy "near-total immunity from prosecution"which extends to all types of criminal offences, including corruption.
To what extent do members of the judiciary have to report and be answerable for their actions in practice?
The accountability of judges is not ensured adequately in practice as they frequently fail to give reasons for their decisions during court proceedings. The high number of complaints concerning judges' work suggests that they can be submitted easily in practice, though they are not always handled in a transparent manner.
Judges frequently fail to give reasons for their decisions in practice. The Public Defender has noted in his 2009 report to parliament that the failure of judges to substantiate their provisional and final decisions during court proceedings is "one of the most problematic issues in the judicial system".According to the Public Defender, judges often place suspects in pre-trial detention and reject requests submitted by defence lawyers without giving proper reasons and cite specific articles of the law without explaining how they apply to the case in question.Final decisions passed during court proceedings also often lack references to the evidence that they are based on. Moreover, the Public Defender has suggested that judges tend to use a single template of decision for different cases, simply replacing the names of the individuals involved.
As noted in the section on accountability provisions in the law, complaints can be submitted either to courts or to the High Council of Justice and may subsequently be forwarded to the Disciplinary Panel for adjudication. In practice, the High Council of Justice has been the main recipient of complaints. In 2009, only 22 of the 1,175 complaints (less than two percent) received by the Council resulted in the commencement of disciplinary proceedings against a judge in the Disciplinary Panel. These figures could be interpreted in various ways. Perhaps the High Council fails to properly discipline its judges, or perhaps the relative ease of submitting a complaint against a judge results in a high number of unjustified complaints. According to ABA, the disciplinary process lacks transparency and the grounds for sanctioning judges are sometimes ambiguous or subjective.
No information is available regarding any efforts made to protect the complainants. Since the law does not provide for such measures, it is unlikely that they take place in practice. At the same time, as there have been no reports about instances of harassment, it is safe to assume that safety of complainants is not a serious issue in Georgia at present.
To what extent are there mechanisms in place to ensure the integrity of members of the judiciary?
Georgia has extensive rules concerning the integrity of judges, although some of these rules are not specific enough and there are no regulations that would restrict judges from entering the private sector after resignation.
Parties can challenge impartiality of judges both in criminal and civil casesand judges are required to recuse themselves if a conflict of interest arises.
The Law on Public Service and the Law on Conflict of Interest and Corruption in Public Service (and consequently the integrity rules provided in these laws) apply to judges. They are thus required to submit annual asset declarations to the Public Service Bureau. Judges are prohibited from holding a position in any enterprise or engaging in any kind of paid activity except for scientific, pedagogic or creative work. The law establishes a cap on the total value of gifts that judges can receive within a single year (15 percent of their annual remuneration), as well as the maximum value of a single gift (5 percent of annual remuneration).
In addition to these laws, there are the Rules of Judicial Ethics adopted by the Conference of Georgian Judges. The document requires the judges, among other things, to remain impartial and to ensure that their decisions are not influenced by political interests or public opinion. Judges are forbidden to engage in any activities that could cast doubts over the independence and impartiality of courts and judges.
While the adoption of these rules is certainly commendable, they are somewhat ambiguous and do not stipulate which specific types of behaviour are prohibited. Also, there are no meaningful post-employment restrictions for judges...
Integrity Mechanisms (practice)
To what extent is the integrity of members of the judiciary ensured in practice?
Judges are aware of the existing integrity and ethics rules and bribery has been virtually eliminated in the judiciary in recent years. However, executive branch's excessive influence over the judiciary (discussed in greater detail in the section on judicial independence) could, at times, undermine the ability of judges to adhere to the integrity requirements.
According to one expert, judges receive training in the existing ethics/integrity rules and, as a result, all judges are aware of them. However, the expert noted that it is not clear whether or not adherence to these rules is monitored.ABA has also expressed doubt over whether the ethics rules are effective in practice.
The fact that corruption in the judiciary has become "extremely rare"in recent years could point to the success of the existing integrity rules. The government's general crackdown on corruption in 2004-05(which included arrests of judges and significant publicity) has made it very uncommon for judges to accept bribes from private citizens. However the judiciary's overall lack of independence (discussed in the section on judicial independence) raises concerns regarding the ability of judges to retain integrity vis-a-vis the Prosecutor's Office and the executive branch in general. An expert interviewee suggested in the interview with TI Georgia that, whenever the government has a strong interest in the outcome of court proceedings, judges are forced to make decisions that run against the law, which corrupts the entire judicial system.
Judges submit asset declarations as required by the law and they can be accessed through a special website established by the Civil Service Bureau.However, as is the case with other public officials, there is no dedicated mechanism for scrutinizing the content of the declarations and sanctioning violations.
To what extent does the judiciary provide effective oversight of the executive?
The judiciary has considerable legal powers to oversee the activities of the executive. However, these are not applied effectively in practice due to the government's strong influence over the judiciary.
The legal framework provides the judiciary with adequate powers in terms of executive oversight. The Constitutional Court can review the compliance of the president's and the cabinet's decisions with the Constitution.Furthermore, the Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to seek judicial remedy for the damages incurred through unlawful actions of government bodies, while the General Administrative Code grants every citizen the right to challenge the decisions of government bodies in court.
In practice, the judiciary's ability to effectively oversee the operation of the executive branch is undermined by its lack of independence.As noted by Freedom House, the judiciary continues to suffer pressure from the Prosecutor's Office in criminal and administrative cases.The virtual absence of acquittals in criminal cases in particular (see the section of this chapter of judicial independence) raises major doubts regarding the judiciary ability to stand up to the powerful Prosecutor's Office when necessary. The judiciary has also failed to address the violations committed during elections in recent years and to hold the perpetrators accountable.An expert interviewee told TI Georgia that businessmen involved in legal disputes with the state enjoy no protection from the judiciary.All of this reinforces another expert interviewee's suggestion that private parties are only likely to win their cases against the state when no powerful government agency or powerful political interest is involved.
Even when courts produce decisions against government bodies, their enforcement can be problematic, as noted by ABA.TI Georgia's own experience confirms this: the organization's appeal against the refusal by the Tbilisi Mayor's Office to provide public information was upheld by a court but the Mayor's Office is yet to issue the information in question a year on from the ruling.
There are valid doubts regarding the Georgian leadership's present commitment to strengthening the judiciary's supervisory role. A senior member of the government recently told the Economist that the executive branch is currently better equipped to administer justice than the courts since the tradition of an independent judiciary has not become entrenched in Georgian society yet.