Constitutional Court Suspends Provisions on Vetting of Judges

By 17 May 2022
Constitutional Court Suspends Provisions on Vetting of Judges

ZAGREB, 17 May 2022 - The Constitutional Court on Monday suspended vetting processes for judges until it adopts a ruling on two requests to establish whether the provisions for security vetting of judges, which have been recently introduced, can pass the test of constitutionality.

The Constitutional Court finds that the measure envisaging security vetting of judges every five years, which was adopted by the parliament in February as part of the package of laws on the judiciary, could cause disruptions in the performance of the judicial authorities.

The requests for the examination of the constitutionality of the security vetting provisions were filed  by the Supreme Court and the Association of Croatian Judges.

In early March, the Supreme Court stated that it would request the Constitutional Court to test the constitutional compliance of security vetting of judges every five years.

This is a novelty in the law on the Courts Act which the national parliament adopted on 11 February.

The law envisages that court presidents and senior state attorneys are expected to request via the Ministry of Justice the performance of security checks by the competent security and intelligence agencies.

The Supreme Court's application for the test of constitutionality also recommended a temporary suspension of procedures based on the disputed legislative provisions. The decision to submit the application was adopted unanimously at a Supreme Court  general assembly, which comprises the court's president and all its judges.

The Association of Croatian Judges finds it contentious that the new provisions enable the justice minister to adopt framework measures for the work of judges without prior opinions of the Supreme Court's General Assembly.

The Constitutional Court also notes that its decision on the suspension of the contested provisions does not prejudge the outcome of the procedure in which it would be established whether those provisions pass or fall the test of constitutionality.