Via Iuris: Keeping Minimum Age for Constitutional Judges Is Positive Change

Constitutional Court judges. (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 11 (TASR) – Leaving the minimum age limit for candidates for Constitutional Court judges at 40 years would be a positive change, said lawyer Peter Wilfling of Via Iuris in a reaction to an amending proposal approved by the parliamentary constitutional committee.

Committee chairman Robert Madej (Smer-SD) almost unanimously asserted a change that this minimum age limit should not be increased to 45 years, as okayed by the Government, but that it should remain at the current 40 years.
“If this amending proposal is approved by the entire Parliament, too, it would be a positive change. A useless and harmful hurdle would thus be dropped that would prevent a lot of layers who studied law after 1989 from running for constitutional judges, thus uselessly limiting the number of suitable candidates,” claims Wilfling.
Meanwhile, an amending proposal by MP Miroslav Beblavy (Independent) that constitutional judges are elected and replaced continuously, so that each parliament only elects one third of constitutional judges, failed to make it through, although it gained support also from some coalition MPs, for example, Peter Kresak (Most-Hid).
According to lawyer Marian Porvaznik of the Initiative for Better Advocacy, enacting continuous replacement of constitutional judges would be a really crucial improvement that might ensure much higher independence of the Constitutional Court in the future. “Continuous replacement of judges would guarantee that a single ruling majority cannot control the Constitutional Court for the whole of 12 years. If continuous replacement fails to be enacted, a single parliament and a single ruling majority will elect as many as 12 out of 13 constitutional judges in the next election of constitutional judges in 2031, which is a big threat to the Constitutional Court’s independence,” he said.
Porvaznik stated Wednesday’s discussions of the parliamentary constitutional committee showed that introducing continuous replacement of constitutional judges is an issue that the coalition and the Opposition might agree on, as Most-Hid senior representatives, including Justice Minister Gabor Gal, as well as almost the whole Opposition, supported the idea. Wilfling and Porvaznik are co-authors of the proposal for a comprehensive change of constitutional judges’ election, drafted by 38 lawyers.