Legislation on Administrative Offences in Georgia: Anticipating a Long Overdue Reform

26 Sep, 2018
Read the full version

This policy brief is prepared within the framework of the Open Society Georgia Foundation’s in-house project “Monitoring Implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement by the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations”.

Georgia continues to apply the unconstitutional Code of Administrative Offences – the only law inherited from the Soviet period (it was adopted in 1984) still in effect in the country today. Despite numerous promises, the government does not seem to be in a hurry to amend it.

The Code of Administrative Offences is a kind of anachronism that does not fit into the contemporary Georgian legal system. The Code of Administrative Offences establishes administrative sanctions, defines fining procedures for petty offenses and is independent of the Criminal Code. Therefore, the positive amendments introduced in criminal legislation are not reflected in the treatment of administrative offenses, which, due to their nature, should fall under the criminal legislative framework.

The Code of Administrative Offences stipulates mechanisms that no longer exist: for example, an administrative offense case can be deliberated by a non-existent body – the so-called “community court”, civil organizations or workers union. However, the main critique of this practice is the non-existence of procedural guarantees. The lack of guarantees enables the government to abuse the Code of Administrative Offences and punish citizens. This might be the real reason behind the government’s presumptive unwillingness to not adopt a genuine reform.