REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA ASSEMBLY
No. 8436, dated 28.12.1998
FOR THE ORGANISATION OF JUSTICE IN THE REPUBLIC
Based on Articles 81 and 83 point 1 of the Constitution
of the Republic of Albania, on proposal of the Council of Ministers,
THE ASSEMBLY OF THE REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA DECIDED
The judicial power is exercised only by courts, in conformity
with the Constitution and powers given by law.
The courts have the power to examine all penal, military penal,
civil, administrative cases as well as any other case defined
in the law.
In the exercise of their functions judges are independent and
subject only to Constitution and the laws.
Prosecutors are organised and function as a centralised organ
at the judicial system in all its levels.
The organisation and functioning of the prosecutor's office,
as well as defence counsel, is regulated by specific laws.
ORGANISATION AND FUNCTIONING OF COURTS
Courts of first instance, courts of appeal and the High Court
exercise the judicial power.
The courts of first instance give judgements according to rules
provided in the codes of Procedures, where the composition of
the judging body is also defined.
The Courts of Appeal judge in the second level complaints against
decisions of the first instance court.
The Courts of Appeal judge with a judging body composed of three
Military courts are organised and function within the judicial
system according to powers defined in the law.
Military courts are composed of courts of first instance and
The Military Court of Appeal examines in the second level complaints
against decisions of the military courts of first instance. It
judges with a judging body composed of three judges.
The courts of first instance are organised and function in judicial
districts in all the territory of the country. The territorial
competencies and the centre for exercising the activity for each
one of them is defined by Decree of the President of the Republic,
on proposal of the Minister of Justice, after having received
also the opinion of the High Council of Justice.
The Courts of Appeal function in zones defined by the President
of the Republic, on proposal of the Minister of Justice, after
having received also the opinion of the High Council of Justice.
There can be created by law courts of first instance or of Appeal
also, for specific areas.
A Decree of the President of the Republic defines the total number
of judges of all judicial components, on proposal of the Minister
of Justice, after having also received the opinion of the High
Council of Justice.
The High Court is the highest judicial authority, which has initial
and reviewing jurisdiction.
The High Court has its seat in Tirana.
The organisation and functioning of the High Court is defined
in specific law based on the Constitution.
At the beginning of each year, the chairman of the court of appeal
and chairman of the court of first instance define the distribution
of judges in penal and civil houses of the court for the following
The house of civil cases includes also the judges of special
judgement sections. When the size of court does not allow the
organising of at least one civil house and one penal house, the
cases are distributed equally among all of the judges.
In all courts of first instance and of appeal, the head-secretaries
are also administrators who perform duties similar to those of
the Chancellor of the High Court, as well as managing the Court's
The division of judicial cases in all of the components of the
judicial system is done by lottery according to procedures defined
in the law.
Judicial decisions can be subject to examination only on the
basis of complaints or recourses in judicial way, according to
the definitions of the codes of procedures or specific laws.
The Inspector's Office is created at the High Council of Justice.
The High Council of Justice nominates the inspectors who have
the task to inspect courts of first instance and of Appeal in
order to verify complaints of citizens and institutions, the organisation
of judicial services, evidence the professional ability of judges
in the meaning of Article 45 of this law, the work-load, and the
courts' efficiency in general.
The Minister of Justice makes available his specialists to the
group of inspectors to assist in performing the above-mentioned
duties, except for those that concern the professional ability
Lawyers who fulfil the conditions to be appeal judges are nominated
inspectors of the High Council of Justice.
They receive the same salary and other rights as an appeal judge.
The organisation and functioning of the Inspector's Office at
Council of Justice are defined in the Regulation of the High
Council of Justice.
The judicial power has a separate budget that it administers
itself according to definitions provided for in specific law.
The High Council of Justice is a public juridical person and
its activity is financed by the state budget as a separate line.
CONDITIONS TO BE ACCEPTED A JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
AND OF APPEAL
Albanian citizens who meet the following criteria can be appointed
1- Full juridical capacity to act.
2- A law degree.
3- Graduated from the Magistrates School.
4- No criminal record and good reputation.
5- No less than twenty-five years of age.
The High Council of Justice can appoint as judges persons that
have not yet graduated from the Magistrates School if they meet
the other criteria defined in Article 19 of this law and meet
one of the following criteria:
1- They have been working for more than three years as lecturers
in the Law Faculty or the Magistrates School, members of parliament,
legal advisers to the Assembly, Presidency or Council of Ministers
or specialists in the Ministry of Justice, High Court or General
2- Hold a degree from a long-term post-graduate qualification
programme abroad that fulfils the requirements of the Albanian
legislation or international agreements.
3- Have been working for five or more years as judges, assistant-judges,
prosecutors, advocates, or notaries and have passed a professional
qualification exam organised according to this article. Persons
who are appointed judges according to point 3 shall be subject
to a compulsory theoretical and practical, written and oral exam
within six months from the day of appointment. The High Council
of Justice shall organise the exam in co-operation with the School
of Magistrates and Law Faculty of Tirana University.
The High Council of Justice must announce the vacancies for judges.
The High Council of Justice based on a competition appoints in
post the candidates for judges. The procedures for selection and
presentation of candidates are defined in the regulation of the
High Council of Justice. The university graduation results, work-experience
as lawyers, work-evaluations, post-graduate qualification, as
well as any other objective data that shows the superiority of
the candidate over other candidates is also considered in the
valuation of the candidates that fulfil the criteria provided
in Articles 19 and 20 of this law.
Before taking the post the judges make this vow:
"I vow solemnly that during the exercise of my duty I will
remain always faithful to the Constitution of the Republic of
Albania, to the laws in force and will respect the rules of professional
The newly appointed judges make the vow before the judges of
the organ where they are assigned to perform their task.
The High Council of Justice appoints the court of appeal judges
after they have been working for no less than five years in the
courts of first instance and have manifested high ethical, moral
and professional standards during the exercise of their duty.
The High Council of Justice appoints the chairmen and deputy
chairmen of the courts of first instance and of appeal from the
ranks of their judges.
The judges can remain in post up to the age of 65.
TH STATUS OF JUDGES
Judges enjoy immunity.
Judges of first instance and of appeal can be penally prosecuted
only with the approval of the High Council of Justice. The judge
can be detained or arrested only if caught committing the crime
or immediately after having committed the crime. The competent
organ notifies immediately the High Council of Justice. If the
High Council of Justice does not give approval within 24 hours
to send to court the arrested judge, the competent organ is obliged
to release him.
Judges cannot be removed from office except when:
2) reach the age of retiring;
3) are penally found guilty by means of a final decision of the
4) it is concluded that they are physically or mentally unable,
or according to the criteria defined in Articles 45 or 48 of this
law, it is reached the conclusion of their professional insufficiency;
5) the competent organ takes disciplinary measures according
to cases provided for by law;
6) carry out actions or keep functions that are contrary to Articles
29 to 35 of this law. In the case when criminal proceedings
are initiated with respect to a judge, he is suspended from post
until a final decision is made. In the cases when incrimination
is not proved by final decision of the court, the judge has the
right to return to his/her previous post and receive the full
salary from the time of suspension.
Promotion and transfer of the judge from his post is done only
with his/her approval except for cases provided for by this law.
In case a court does not function normally because of temporary
absence of judges or because of work overload, the High Council
of Justice, on proposal of the Minister of Justice, delegates
judges from one court to another for a period of no more than
three months in a year even without the consent of the judge.
At the end of this term, the judge returns to his/her previous
The High Council of Justice, on proposal of the Ministry of Justice,
can appoint a judge to give judgements on a number of cases in
another court of the same level, if judges are absent in this
Judges cannot belong to political parties or participate in activities
of political nature.
The function of a judge is incompatible with every elected mandate,
as well as every public or private function and other activity.
Judges cannot participate in the managing or direction of civil
or commercial companies personally or by means of representation.
Judges cannot be experts or arbitrators of parties in arbitrage.
The judge cannot make declarations related to cases, make known
opinions expressed during the hearings that have not yet received
the form of a decision, declare the content of official acts or
documents of a secret or of a personal nature.
Judges must respect the solemnity of judgement during the judgement
of cases and put on the special robes.
Judges must preserve their dignity not allowing actions that
compromise the profession, the organs of justice and their person
Judges are free to create associations or organisations to defend
their rights and interests as well as professional training.
Judges are not allowed to go on strike.
In order to guarantee order and security, a continuous police
service is organised at the courts, which acts according to the
rules of the judicial power.
No judge is accountable in a civil case, which is related to
the exercise of his professional duties, except for cases when
this is expressly provided for in a specific law.
Judges have the right to:
1- Have special protection for themselves, their families and
property when they require such a thing for serious circumstances,
or when it is deemed essential.
2- Have a free copy of the official gazette and legal journals.
Judges enjoy an annual paid holiday of thirty days. The annual
leave is taken in the months of July and August.
Judges who are performing urgent tasks during July and August,
take the annual holiday at another time with an additional five
DISCIPLINARY RESPONSIBILITY OF JUDGES
Judges have responsibility for disciplinary violations as well
as for committing acts and behaviour that seriously discredits
their figure and the authority of justice.
It is considered as violation of discipline:
1- Committing actions that are incompatible with the function
of a judge according to law.
2- Revealing the secret of investigation, counselling room or
other data of intimate nature.
3- Grave or repetitive failures to act in carrying out the duty.
4- Failure to respect the rules of solemnity.
5- Unreasonable absence from work.
6- Committing indecent or amoral acts during and outside working
7- Committing acts contrary to the regular carrying out of the
duty or failure to carry out compulsory procedural acts when it
does not constitute penal act.
8- Unreasonable failure to implement the disciplinary measure
These measures are taken for violation of discipline as well
as other discrediting acts and behaviour:
2- Objection with warning;
3- Salary reduction up to 25 % for a period of three-six months;
4- Suspension from office and transfer to a lower position within
the court for a period of six months to one year;
5- Transfer to another court;
6- Removal from office.
The High Council of Justice takes disciplinary measures against
judges on the basis of the valuation of type and nature of their
The Minister of Justice starts the disciplinary proceeding against
judges. The initiation of disciplinary proceeding can be
done within three years from the date the violation was made.
During the verification carried out by the inspectors, it is defined
whether a violation of discipline occurred as defined in the law,
type and importance of the violation, incrimination of the person,
as well as data on which the deducted conclusions are based.
In any case the judge who has committed the violation must be
heard. Verification of claims is compulsory.
The results of the verifications made, as well as documentary
data related, are presented in a final act, which is made known
to the judge who has committed the violation.
The materials are sent to the Minister of Justice and High Council
The High Council of Justice before making its decision must hear
in a hearing the claims of the parties. The full materials are
made available to the judge ten days prior to the hearing. He
has the right to defend himself or have a defense counsel during
The High Council of Justice, no less than once in two years,
makes an evaluation of professional ability of judges, based on
quality, work-load, speed of judgement, reputation and publication
of legal articles as follows:
1- Very well
The inspector of the High Council of Justice who has prepared
the draft-act of evaluation of professional ability communicates
this to the respective judge in a preliminary way, and the judge
has the right to present his claims within a term of eight days.
The judge has the right of complaint against the final act of
evaluation to the High Council of Justice within ten days from
notification. The High Council of Justice investigates the complaint
applying the rules provided in the last paragraph of Article 44
of this law.
The valuation "incapable" is a reason for dismissal
The judge when dismissed from office for one of the reasons provided
for in the Constitution, has the right to file a complaint to
the High Court within 10 days from notification of the decision
to the High Council of Justice. The United Panels judge the case.
In the case of dissolution of a court, the respective act of
the competent organ must provide also the possibility of employing
the judges in other posts within the justice system.
All judges of first instance who have been working as judges
for less than 10 years will take a theoretical and practical,
oral and written exam of professional qualification. The High
Council of Justice in co-operation with the Albanian Magistrates
School and Faculty of Law of the Tirana University will organize
It will be held no later that June 1, 1999.
Independently from the definition of Article 27 of this law,
judges that do not pass the exam are dismissed from office by
decision of the High Council of Justice. They enjoy the right
of complaint provided for by Article 46 of this law.
The notice and the topics for the exam shall be announced in
the two newspapers with the widest distribution and shall be posted
in the courts at least 6 months prior to the exam. Such modalities
will be applied also for Article 20. This exam can be organized
together with any exam provided in Article 20 of this law.
Law No. 8265, dated 18.12.1997 "On the Organization of Justice
in the Republic of Albania" is abrogated.
This law enters into force 15 days after publication in the Official