Strasbourg, 16 January 2007
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire for 2007 CCJE opinion concerning the Councils for the Judiciary: Reply submitted by the delegation of Cyprus
In response to the questionnaire approved by the C.C.J.E. on the theme of “Councils for the Judiciary” kindly find hereinbelow the following reply of the Cyprus delegation, following the same numbering and order of questions.
Part I – General Context concerning the judiciary
1. No - There is complete separation of powers under the Constitution.
2. No - but it is Parliament that enacts legislation on, e.g. telephone tapping, police activities – investigations, custody matters, etc.
4. N/A – Only the President of the Republic has authority under the Constitution to appoint the judges of the Supreme Court and its President.
5. The President of the Court.
6. To distribute the work between the judges and to report to the Supreme Court if necessary on their work.
Part II – General concerning Councils to the judiciary
8. Supreme Council of Judicature.
9. The Constitution.
10. Created in 1960 upon the declaration of independence of the Republic of Cyprus – it is contained in Article 153.8 and Article 157 and was set up to deal with matters of appointment, promotion, transfer, termination of appointment, dismissal and disciplinary proceedings, of judges.
Part III – Composition
11. The Council is composed exclusively by the 13 judges of the Supreme Court – No other person may be a member of the Council.
12. All the members of the Supreme Court of the time form automatically the Supreme Council of Judicature.
13. The President of the Supreme Court automatically acts as the President of the Council. There is no vice-president.
14. The members are permanent until the age of retirement at 68.
15. No – except for reasons that would necessitate the removal of the member as a judge of the Supreme Court under Art. 153.7(3) and (4) on the ground of misconduct or mental and physical infirmity.
Part IV – Resources
16. The Council has the same funds as the Supreme Court designated in the Annual Budget.
17. The staff is the same as that of the Supreme Court.
18. As above.
19. Approximately 80.
20. Registrars, general staff personnel and stenographers.
22. To prepare the material for any proceedings; no other evaluation is made.
Part V – Tasks
23. The Council is responsible for the appointment and promotion of all judges including the Administrative Presidents of the Courts, their location, transfer and discipline. As regards discipline, the matter is decided upon by the Council sitting as a full Chamber and there is no appeal. It may act upon a complaint made against a judicial officer which will be fully investigated or on its own initiative. It fully respects all the provisions of Article 6 of the ECHR as the trial is akin to the proceedings of a summary criminal trial. The judge under disciplinary proceedings has the right to be represented by a lawyer, to call witnesses and cross-examine witnesses.
The other functions mentioned in this question fall under the responsibility of the Supreme Court, which is also invariably asked to give its opinion in all matters relating to the passing of new legislation on evidence and court administration but does not partake in the law-drafting process. As stated before, the Supreme Court is responsible to advance before Parliament its views and explain its necessities on budgetary matters. Once the judicial budget is approved, its allocation falls within the exclusive power of the Supreme Court.
24. The Council may investigate any complaint against a judge before commencing disciplinary procedures. In so doing its follows the Disciplinary Rules of 2000 enacted specifically for this purpose and appoints a judge to act as an investigating judge into the conduct complained of, take evidence and report to the Council, which then proceeds to press charges against the judge under complaint, if so satisfied. The trial that follows has all the attributes of a summary criminal trial with full procedural and substantial safeguards for the judge.
25. As the members of the Council are also the members of the Supreme Court, the question does not anse.
26. Those are done by the Supreme Court and not the Council.
27. The functions and responsibilities are prescribed in the Constitution and the Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Law No. 33 of 1964, as amended.
28. The formulation is general and leaves detailed matters to be decided upon by the Council in enabling regulations.
29. There is no specific code of ethics, but judges are expected to follow the high norms of their profession and calling, being of high moral character, a precondition for appointment.
30. These are done by the Supreme Court.
Part VI – Assessment of the Self-governance
and the independence of the judiciary
32. No influence at all.
33. The Council is completely independent from any other state entities.
34. The Ministry of Justice has nothing to do with the Council. The Ministry belongs to the Executive and the Council is a completely autonomous and independent body of the judiciary.
35. As stated before, the Council has a different function from that of the Supreme Court and there is no division of responsibility and powers between the Council, the Supreme Court and the Presidents of the Courts.
36. No, there is no connection.
38. Courts are not influenced by any Council decisions. Individual judges who come under the promotion, transfer and disciplinary control of the Council cannot appeal from its decisions as the Council sits as full chamber finally adjudicating the case. There is, however, the right of appeal to the ECHR.
39. The Council follows the provisions of the Constitution and of Law 33 of 1964 in disciplinary matters. All other functions mentioned here are the responsibility of the Supreme Court.
Part VII – Future Trends of Councils for the judiciary
42. No. Any relation takes place between the Supreme Court and the Judges Association or Bar Council.
43. Yes. Co-operation is made possible between court organizations internationally and there is a fruitful exchange of views.
44. The Council in Cyprus has the limited function as specified before, i.e. it deals only with appointments, promotions, transfers, termination and discipline of judges.
Part VIII – Countries without a Council for the judiciary.