Review of, and decision-making on, disciplinary cases by the Disciplinary Panel of the Judges of Common Courts

Disciplinary cases are dealt with by the Disciplinary Panel of Judges of Common Court. Members of the Disciplinary Panel are elected for a 2-year term.

The Disciplinary Panel consists of 6 members of the High Council of Justice; however, these members do not participate in the sessions and the decision-making process of the High Council of Justice concerning disciplinary matters.

Three members of the Disciplinary Panel, including the Chair of the Panel, are judges of common courts and the three other members are not judicial officers.

The Disciplinary Panel deals reviews cases as a collegiate body. The Panel is empowered to make decision if at least 4 of its members are attending its session.

The Disciplinary Panel will review a disciplinary case not later than within 2 months after it has received the case. The Panel is authorized to postpone the review of a case for no more than two weeks.

The person supporting the charging is confined to bringing and providing the reasoning of charges. He/she is not authorized to request the Panel to use a specific type of punishment or a specific measure of disciplinary effect against the judge.

The judge who has been charged under the disciplinary rule has the right to use a defense counsel’s assistance. The judge may invite any attorney, judge or other person as his/her defense counsel.

The Disciplinary Panel will decide on the case in a deliberation room, with a majority of votes. A member of the Panel who disagrees with the decision of the Panel in the given case shall formulate his/her dissenting opinion in writing; the dissenting opinion will be attached to the case materials.

The Disciplinary Panel may make one of the following decisions about a case in question:

(a) to suspend the proceedings in the case;

(b) to terminate the proceedings in the case;

(c) to find the judge guilty in commission of the disciplinary misconduct and to impose disciplinary liability and a disciplinary punishment upon the judge;

(d) to find the judge guilty in commission of the disciplinary misconduct, and to impose disciplinary liability upon and send a private recommendation letter to the judge;

(e) to acquit the judge.

Copies of the Disciplinary Panel’s decision, within five days after the decision has been adopted, will be sent to the judge in relation to whom the decision has been made, to the body or the official that brought disciplinary charges against the judge, the High Council of Justice and the Conference of Judges.

One copy of the Disciplinary Panel’s decision will be attached to the judge’s personal case file.

Publication of the Disciplinary Panel’s decision

The Disciplinary Panel is authorized to publish only the resolution part of its decision handed down in a disciplinary case against a judge; in particular, the part containing information about the imposition of disciplinary liability, disciplinary punishment and measures of disciplinary effect upon a judge.

It is prohibited to publish the circumstances that became a ground for imposing disciplinary liability, punishment and measures of disciplinary effect upon a judge, except in cases where a judge has been dismissed from judicial office.

The official seat of the Disciplinary Panel is the Supreme Court of Georgia.

The Disciplinary Panel reviews cases in hall specially allocated for this purpose. It is prohibited to conduct a hearing of a judicial disciplinary case in a courtroom.

Sessions of the Disciplinary Panel are closed and the information concerning the deliberation about a disciplinary case is confidential. Members of the Disciplinary Panel and the person bringing disciplinary charges are obliged to protect confidentiality of such information.