Georgia – annual report 2020

Participants at the online conference on “Professional ethics and professional challenges of mediation” on 20 October 2020 in Tbilisi
Participants at the online conference on “Professional ethics and professional challenges of mediation” on 20 October 2020 in Tbilisi

Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point 

Many reforms have already been initiated in the judicial field on the basis of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia. Georgia nevertheless faced considerable challenges in 2020 as well. Political agreement on electoral law reform was not reached until early March 2020 after protracted discussions. This was preceded by protests after the planned introduction of full proportional representation in November 2019 had initially failed in parliament. The agreement still provides for a mixed electoral system, but in future only 30 (instead of the previous 73) of the 150 members of parliament will be elected in Georgia based on a direct mandate. In consequence, the major parties will no longer be favoured quite as much as before in the allocation of parliamentary seats due to the greater likelihood of winning direct mandates. The parliamentary election was held on this basis in late October 2020. Nevertheless, the Georgian Dream Party again emerged victorious from the elections and will govern with an absolute majority for the third time in a row.

But the ongoing development of domestic politics – and organisation of the elections themselves – were dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic immediately after the breakthrough in March 2020. Georgia introduced a comparatively strict and early lockdown based on a broad, bipartisan consensus and was initially successful in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, Nino Kadagidze was appointed to the position of President of the Supreme Court in March 2020, finally bringing to an end the vacancy that had persisted for one and a half years. She was also selected to chair of the High Council of Justice, the self-regulatory body of the judiciary.

Overall Concept

IRZ added other legal areas to the priority of criminal law during the reporting year, especially in the area of civil and commercial law and the administration of justice. Close cooperation exists, in particular with the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Committee on Legal Affairs at the Georgian Parliament. Legal harmonisation and technical exchange of experience are the main priorities.

Cooperation was also intensified with the professional associations in 2020, first and foremost with the Georgian Bar Association. Newly established professional associations, among them the Mediators Association of Georgia, were also included in the professional exchange with a view to the adoption of a mediation law.

Cooperation with Georgia is rounded off by two regular publications aimed at bilateral academic exchange between the country and Germany.

Focus of Activity in 2020

Constitutional Law, Human Rights and their Enforceability 

  • Online moot court on constitutional law for law students

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Online roundtable discussion and preparation of draft legislation on “Commercial litigation before the chamber of commercial matters” with the Georgian Bar Association in cooperation with the German Federal Bar
  • Two online seminars with the Georgian Ministry of Justice on implementation of the “Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”, the “Hague Child Protection Convention” and on mediation in child custody proceedings
  • Advisory measures for the Committee on Legal Affairs in the preparation of new draft legislation on consumer protection
  • Online seminar in cooperation with the Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession (GLIP) on consumer protection
  • Online conference on labour law and technical support for the Supreme Court on aspects of civil law by a German expert
  • Technical publication “German-Georgian Journal of Comparative Law”

Administration of Justice

  • Online expert talk “Professional ethics and professional challenges of mediation” in cooperation with the German Federal Bar and the Mediators Association of Georgia
  • Online seminar on lawyers’ remuneration with the State Bar of Georgia in cooperation with the German Federal Bar

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Online workshop on commentaries for the Georgian Criminal Code
  • Online seminar for the Prosecutor General’s Office on EU standards in connection with investigative measures and pre-trial detention
  • Online seminar in cooperation with the Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession (GLIP) on the topic of “Covert investigations”
  • Online training with Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University “Drafting first instance criminal judgements and handing down sentences”
  • Online seminar with ALFG (Association of Law Firms of Georgia) “Changing the legal viewpoint in criminal proceedings”
  • Technical publication “German-Georgian Journal of Criminal Law”

Project funded by the European Union 

EU Technical Assistance Project: “Support to the Independence, Accountability and Efficiency of the Judiciary in Georgia”

IRZ contributed as partner in this 41-month project in Georgia from October 2016 until the end of February 2020. It supported the High Council of Justice, the Constitutional Court and various courts in increasing the independence, efficiency and impartiality of the Georgian judiciary. The project was extended by a further twelve months until February 2021 and now exclusively addresses the High Council of Justice.

Included in the project is a review of the internal procedural rules at the High Council of Justice to ensure their compatibility with national legislation and international standards, as well as the development of further necessary regulations.

The fourth wave of judicial reforms in Georgia introduced new obligations and clear procedures to be followed by the High Council of Justice and other bodies:

  • timely publication of information about sessions
  • publication of draft regulatory legal acts
  • updated rules for the selection of members
  • new rules for the selection and appointment of the chairperson
  • extended scope for the “conflict of interest” clause

The project is closely coordinated with the members of the High Council of Justice to develop capacities and improve processes. Sessions preparation is just one example. There are plans in this regard to add statistics, analyses and studies where necessary to all major initiatives on the agenda. To achieve this goal, the team is cooperating with short-term experts in working groups, in exchange of practices with similar bodies in the EU Member States, and in training courses and workshops with the beneficiary.


Cooperation is scheduled to extend beyond the current priority of criminal law in 2021. New topics may be added to the work with the Georgian Ministry of Justice in particular. Moreover, a German expert will provide advice to the Supreme Court and will be available as a permanent contact person for technical questions.

Following the parliamentary election in 2020, the parliamentary Committee on Legal Affairs will again receive targeted support in 2021 for legal reforms and draft legislation, for example in consumer protection law. Likewise, the various legal professional associations will be accompanied in the form of targeted exchange of expertise in regard to concrete legislation projects and initiatives.

Furthermore, IRZ is also considering a closer cooperation with the High School of Justice and the universities to support the basic training of lawyers in a sustainable way.