[DISCUSSION] European Court of Justice Reform
I would like to submit a formal discussion to determine Cllrs. thoughts pertaining to potential reform of the European Court of Justice. While maybe not necessarily being in a crisis that requires reform, the court's current system leaves much to be desired in my opinion. Constantly elections taking up financial and bureaucratic capital, typically for all the justices who elected to be nominated to be chosen.
I would like to propose the following reforms to the court, and I would like to take the temperature of my esteemed collagues before I work on an official amendment to the constitution.
- The Chief Justice shall remain the only elected justice, and will serve either an eight month term to match that of the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, or a year long term. They shall continue to serve as chief administrator, and judicial oversight in the court case system as currently described by European law.
- Court cases shall be decided by three justices, one of which shall be the Chief Justice.
- Instead of electing a court every so many months, nations shall be allowed if they wish to submit a single Justice into the circuit system of the European Court of Justice.
- Whenever a case arises either the Chief Justice shall accept the case, or if two justices not from any of the petitioning nations agree to accept the case on behalf the court.
- If a case is accepted, the Chief Justice shall randomly select two circuit justices from the justice pool. Any justice who would otherwise be forced to recuse shall be removed from the potential pool of justices for that case.
- Allow for a second level of appeal on cases, where a case may be revisited if new information or evidence shall be provided by a panel of five justices.
- The creation of a European Prosecutorial Team to help ensure nations are following European Law, and who could advise the Commission and Council on legal matters.
These were my main ideas surrounding judicial reform, and I believe these reforms would also more nations to participate in the court system, alleviate the need for constant elections which we struggle to fill at times. This would also relieve the issue of cases whenever the courts term comes to an end for the most part.
Please I would love to hear the thoughts of my fellow Councilors on the subject to see if there is support for such changes, or if there is other changes that some of you may want.
Councillor for the Archrepublic of Vayinaod
I'd like to thank the Honourable Member for Vayinaod on starting this discussion. I'm very much supportive of these reforms, and I must say that due to its similarity to the visions of Mr. Biden and the EURO, it is likely that my fellow Reitzmics are in support of this. However, I find that there are some issues that may arise from an ECoJ with 1 member per nation. I find that there are lots of justices sent by member-states to the ECoJ that base their decisions on their country's political stances, which I find very much unfair. So I hope that we could explore a system to ensure fair trials and fair decisions from the ECoJ Justices. Aside from that, I'm very supportive of appealing cases for reconsideration of the decision to prevent yet another situation where innocent people are tried and judged wrongly but cannot do anything as the decision may not be visited.
Councilor, Kingdom of Reitzmag
"Cllr Falk addresses an important issue, as ever, and she addresses it elegantly, as ever. I agree with her that the current Court system leaves much to be desired, and her proposed reforms address many of the issues I, too, feel are present in the current layout.
The Empire of Inimicus supports the Chief Justice remaining the only elected ECoJ judge. However, the Empire feels their term should match that of the Premier and Internal Affairs Commissioner; this would strike a finer balance between the constant election cycle we have for six positions currently and the increased stability which Cllr Falk clearly aims to achieve. Moreover, a shorter term would give more nations the opportunity to put forward candidates and more justices to build experience as the Union's most senior judge.
I feel that justices which are randomly picked to hear cases should also get the opportunity to refuse to hear that specific case. Moreover, there may be nations which do not wish to submit a justice for selection at all -- this, too, must be honoured in any reform. I would finally propose that justices which have heard a case be eliminated from the selection pool for the following case -- or even, for the remainder of the Chief Justice's term, to give all justices a chance to hear cases. Despite these objections and suggestions, the Empire agrees with Cllr Falk that this would be an effective way of handling court cases.
Allowing for appeals on cases is a procedure the Empire supports wholeheartedly, although I think we must define the selection procedure for these justices of appeal more thoroughly - what are Cllr Falk's thoughts on how these justices are picked? Does the Chief Justice still sit on appeal cases? The Empire suggests the Chief Justice defers to a randomly-selected panel of either three or five justices, who cannot have been involved in the initial case under appeal.
The Empire also supports the creation of the European Prosecutorial Team, but would ask Cllr Falk to give more detail on who would constitute this team and what it would, effectively, do."
Cllr Nicholas Benfield
Empire of Inimicus
I would like to address the points my fellow councillors have brought up very concisely, so I will number them in order of their appearance.
From Cllr Yahontov:
- I completely disagree with the assessment that Justices are politically biased, and fail to see one record of this unless the Councillor is going to dig up the dead horse that was the Spain Versus Reitzmag case. There has yet to be a case of this occurring, and I find it deplorable for it to be used as a reason to justify these changes.
- The point of the appeals process is to recognize that the ECoJ for the most part finds itself as a court of original jurisdiction and seldom if ever finds itself handling the appeals from lower level courts at the national level. There is not anything preventing an appeal right now in the court system, but I believe the process should be regulated.
From Cllr. Benfield
- I understand the wish for the Chief Justice to be rotated more often, but to myself at least I see the position more akin to the Speakership of the Council, or the Foreign Affairs Commission wherein the work benefits from consistent hands, and is more administrative and regulatory in terms of workload. This is why I would prefer to see a longer term, but would appreciate the thoughts of others on this.
- My intention when working the amendment was to allow justices to still recuse themselves, but that justices that would already be recognized as having conflicts of interest would be eliminated from the potential pool automatically. This would be cases like when the justice is from the same nation as the plaintiff or defendant. Nations would have the RIGHT to submit a justice into the circuit, not be required.
[OOC: Sidenote, for people with puppets this would be used for justification as to why one of their nations did not submit a justice. They would have to follow rules similar to how Cllrs work right now with puppet nations.]
On the topic of appeals once more, I believe the Chief Justice should sit on the increased panel of justices once again, but that if possible the other two previous justices would not be invited to return to offer judgement. I would not be opposed to a situation where instead there is a second three justice panel, where the Chief Justice appoints a Senior Justice to sit on the case, and work in their stead.
The European Prosecutorial Team would be made up of one Senior Prosecutor who when appointed would/should be the primarily flier for any cases involving breaches of European Law. Right now it tends to be a free for all in which nations sue their fellow compatriots and I feel there is a lot of conflict of interest due to that, as well as uneven application of the law. What nation wishes to sue Inquista or the Duxburian Union for example? One individual with no direct nation ties when fling these cases would alleviate that. Nations could still elect to bring cases forward, but should defer to the European Prosecutors if possible.
I hope these answers are satisifcatory to everyone, and I wish to hear more Cllrs. opinion on the subject before moving forward with a concrete proposal.
Carita Falk, Councillor
Archrepublic of Vayinaod
I thank the honourable Councillour for such a good act. We very much support this act in the Duchies as it addressed alot of the fundamental problems we have while also speeding up the court by having more justices. I do however believe the appeal shouldn't be dependent on new evidence so if an unjust decision is reached it can be appealed even on the same evidence. Could I suggest a possible rotational system of chief justices instead of an election so each country gets a 4 month term on the court to prevent issues with some nations constantly having control.
James Mizrachi-Roscoe, Councillour for United Duchies