Judicial Power

Chapter Four Judicial Power

Part 1 General Provisions

Article 81: Independent Courts

Judicial power is exercised by independent courts on behalf of the Republic.

Article 82: Judges

1. Judges are independent in the execution of their function. Their impartiality must not be threatened by anyone.

2. A judge cannot be dismissed or transferred to another court against his or her will; exceptions, primarily in disciplinary responsibility, are stipulated by law.

3. The discharge of the function of a judge is incompatible with the office of the President of the Republic, Member of Parliament, or any other function in public administration; other activities incompatible with the discharge of the function of a judge are determined by law.

Part 2 Constitutional Court

Article 83: Function

The Constitutional Court is a judicial body for the protection of constitutionality.

Article 84: Composition

1. The Constitutional Court is composed of 15 judges appointed for a term of ten years.

2. The judges of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the President of the Republic with the consent of the Senate.

3. Any citizen of integrity, eligible for election to the Senate, having a university education in law and at least ten years of experience in legal profession may be appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court.

Article 85: Oath

1. A judge of the Constitutional Court assumes his or her function upon taking an oath before the President of the Republic.

2. A judge of the Constitutional Court takes the following oath:

 "I pledge on my honor and conscience that I will protect the inviolability of the natural rights of the individual and the rights of any citizen, abide by constitutional laws, and make decisions according to my best conviction, independently, and impartially."

3. If a judge refuses to take the oath or if he or she takes it with reservations, he or she is regarded as not appointed.

Article 86: Immunity

1. A judge of the Constitutional Court cannot be criminally prosecuted without the consent of the Senate. If the Senate declines to give its consent, criminal prosecution is rendered impossible forever.

2. A judge of the Constitutional Court may be detained only if caught while committing a criminal act or immediately thereafter.

The respective authority is obliged to immediately notify the Chairman of the Senate of the detention. If the Chairman or the Senate fails to give his consent to passing the detainee to court within 24 hours, the respective authority is obliged to release him. The Senate shall make a definitive decision about whether or not criminal prosecution is admissible at its first following session.

3. A judge of the Constitutional Court has the right to deny testimony on matters about which he or she learnt while discharging his or her function, and, as well, after he or she ceased to be a judge of the Constitutional Court.

Article 87: Competencies

1. The Constitutional Court resolves:
  1. the nullification of laws or their individual provisions if they are in contradiction with a constitutional law or an international agreement under Article 10,
  2. the nullification of other legal regulations or their individual provisions if they are in contradiction with a constitutional law, legislation, or international agreement under Article 10,
  3. constitutional complaints by bodies of territorial self-administration against unlawful interference by the state,
  4. constitutional complaints against authorized decisions and other interference by bodies of public power with fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution,
  5. legal remedies against decisions on matters of the verification of election of a Deputy or a Senator,
  6. doubts concerning a loss of eligibility of a Deputy or a Senator and incompatibility of the discharge of his or her function according to Article 25
  7. a constitutional indictment by the Senate against the President of the Republic according to Article65 (2),
  8. a proposal by the President of the Republic to repeal a resolution by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate according to Article 66,
  9. measures necessary to effect a decision by an international court which is binding for the Czech Republic, if it cannot be effected otherwise,
  10. the congruency of a decision to dissolve a political party or other decisions concerning the activities of a political party with constitutional laws and other acts,
  11. controversies on the scope of powers of state bodies and bodies of territorial self-administration, if, according to law, these do not fall under the jurisdiction of another body.
2. The law may stipulate that instead of the Constitutional Court the Supreme Administrative Court shall pass decisions on:
  1. the annulment of legal regulations or their individual provisions, if they are at variance with law,
  2. controversies concerning the scope of powers of state bodies and bodies of territorial self-administration, if, according to law, these do not fall under the jurisdiction of another body.

Article 88: Initiative, Independence

1. The law specifies who and under what conditions is entitled to table a proposal to initiate proceedings and other rules on proceedings before the Constitutional Court.

2. In decision-making, judges of the Constitutional Court are bound only by constitutional laws and international agreements under Article 10 and by laws under Paragraph (1).

Article 89: Binding Effect

1. A decision of the Constitutional Court becomes executable as soon as it is promulgated in the manner determined by law if the Constitutional Court did not decide about its execution otherwise.

2. Executable decisions of the Constitutional Court are binding for all bodies and persons.

Part 3 Courts

Article 90: Purpose

The task of courts is above all to provide protection to rights in the manner determined by law. Only a court can decide on the guilt and penalty for criminal acts.

Article 91: Court Hierarchy

1. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, high, regional, and district courts. Legislation may determine other terms for them.

2. The jurisdiction and organization of courts is stipulated by law.

Article 92: Highest Court

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in matters falling under the jurisdiction of courts with the exception of matters decided by the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Administrative Court.

Article 93: Appointment of Judges

1. Judges are appointed by the President of the Republic for an unlimited term. They assume the office on taking an oath.

2. Any citizen of integrity, having a university education in law, can be appointed judge. Other requirements and procedures are stipulated by law.

Article 94: Bench

1. The law stipulates cases in which judges decide as a bench and the composition of the bench. In other cases they decide as single judges.

2. The law may stipulate in which matters and in what manner also other citizens, in addition to judges, participate in court decision-making.

Article 95: Courts Bound By Law

1 In decision-making, judges are bound by law; they are entitled to judge congruency of another legal regulation with the law.

2 If a court arrives at the conclusion that a law which is to be applied in decision-making is in contradiction with a constitutional act, it shall pass the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Article 96: Equality Before Court, Publicity

1. All parties in legal proceedings have equal rights before the court.

2. Proceedings in the court are verbal and open to public; exceptions are specified by law. The verdict of the court is always publicly declared.