Appointment of judges

The independence of the courts is one of the necessary structural prerequisites of legal protection and the main principles of the fundamental provisions of a democratic rule of law.

The Chancellor of Justice’s task of the supervision of legality laid down in the Constitution significantly safeguards the independent and undisturbed operation of the courts and other legal protection bodies.

The Chancellor of Justice contributes to safeguarding the appropriate procedure in the appointment of judges and its use for purposes permitted under law. In addition to legal provisions, the supervision of legality by the Chancellor of Justice acts as a guarantee of independence in the appointment procedure for judges.

In the appointment of judges, the Government proposes an opinion on the appointment, and the President of the Republic makes the decision on the appointment. In practice, the opinion of the Government is based on a proposal by the Judicial Appointments Board, the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court nearly without an exception.

The Chancellor of Justice will ensure the legal accuracy and appropriateness of the proposals originating from the Judicial Appointments Board or the courts of law as well as the presentation by the Ministry as the Ministry of Justice presents its opinion to the Government.

The Chancellor of Justice inspects in advance the documents concerning the appointments to be processed at the government plenary session and at the presidential sessions. In connection with the appointment of judges, the Chancellor of Justice also ensures that the Government or the President of the Republic do not misuse their powers.

The Ministry of Justice may not intervene in the appointment on grounds that are inappropriate for the functioning of an independent judicial system or cause distrust in the objective, impartial and professional operation of the courts. If discretion is exercised in a problematic manner in a proposal for an appointment, there is a legitimate reason for the Ministry to reopen the matter for processing by the Judicial Appointments Board or a court of law. This enables the implementation of the recommendations by the European Council on the independence of the courts of law, under which the majority of those involved in decisive discretion on the careers of judges should be judges.

However, the Ministry may correct clear errors in the proposal for an appointment if these involve no suspicion of inappropriate exercise or contempt of discretionary powers by the Judicial Appointments Board and a supreme court. Rapporteurs at the ministries are responsible for ensuring the appropriateness of the proposal for an appointment. 

If the Ministry presents justified reasons for deviating from the proposal by the Judicial Appointments Board, the Supreme Court or the Supreme Administrative Court, the Chancellor of Justice aims to return the case for processing at the Judicial Appointments Board or the relevant court of law.

Read more general information about the supervision of appointments to office.