Interaction of Political and Judicial Authorities According to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania

Dainius ŽALIMAS (Vytautas Magnus University)

Political and judicial authorities differ in their nature and type, though together they constitute the state power. The source of the legitimacy of political authorities (legislative and executive bodies, the latter being of a dualistic nature) is the citizens’ will expressed during an election. It is only judicial authorities (the Constitutional Court and ordinary courts) that are built up on a professional basis by political bodies appointing judges. It does not mean lesser legitimacy of judicial authorities because they, according to the Constitution, are entrusted with a specific function of the administration of justice, which requires specific procedure of the building up of respective judicial institutions.

There is partnership between political and judicial authorities as well as mutual control and balance during the implementation of general tasks of the state and performing its general functions. Therefore, though courts and judiciary may contribute to, let us say, the realisation of the goals of a country’s foreign policy, their main task is judicial review of the legitimacy of activities of political authorities and the ensuring of the supremacy of the Constitution and law. To this end, constitutional independence guarantees are conferred on courts and judges. According to the Constitution, political authorities must execute decisions of judicial authorities and, in particular, follow the official approach to the Constitution’s provisions defined by the Constitutional Court in everything they do. The Constitutional Court has the mandate entrusted by the Constitution for ensuring constitutional justice and legitimacy. This mandate inter alia is of implicit nature (for example, whenever it is necessary, for refraining from the enforcement of a decision, acknowledging all effects of an unconstitutional legal act illegal, bring to light the consequences of a decision). Thus, according to the Constitution, judicial authorities generally exercise powers of a negative legislator, though in some cases, they may perform a role of a positive one.

A prerequisite for successful functioning of judicial authorities is the society’s trust in courts, which is preconditioned not by participation of political authorities but active involvement of judiciary (e.g., the judges’ qualifications and professionalism and their ability to determine actions not only by following legalistic principles but also on the basis of law; appropriate legal proceedings, respect for participants of court proceedings, rational reasoning of court decisions and clearness of such decisions). Thus, the proper interaction of political and judicial authorities builds upon not only on the respect to Constitution and each other exercised by these authorities but also on the leading role of judiciary in the domain of the supremacy of law and their openness to the world.