Basic Principles of Activities of Speaker-Judges

1. Speaker-Judge:
Only an acting judge can be appointed as a speaker–judge at one court, according to specialization of the case; also, several speaker-judges can be appointed as well.

Within his/her competence a speaker-judge coordinates with the press service.
2. The Press-Service exists:
- At the Supreme Court of Georgia.
- At the Courts of Appeal of Tbilisi and Kutaisi
- United District and City Courts.
The Press Service reports to the Chairman of the respective Court who is authorized to select a speaker-judge.
Only the Chairman of the Court, the speaker-judge and the press service are authorized to have relationship with mass media for clarification of Court judgments.

3. The Competence of the Press Service:
The press service carries out its activities in accordance with the objectives and goals of the judiciary.
• In order to search for the information and ensure its proper delivery, the press service cooperates with speaker-judges and with press services of other judges.
• The performance of press service and a speaker-judge are coordinated.
• The press service ensures searching for information and necessary papers for the speaker–judge. 

4. The Competence of Speaker-judge:
The competences of a speaker-judge include the delivery of information about court activities with or without request of mass media; also highlighting court judgments considering the public interest.
Information is delivered by a speaker-judge:
• In accordance with the Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms by observing the principles of the Article 6 of the same Convention.
• Activities of the speaker-judge are guided also by the principles of ‘Freedom of Information’ from the Chapter III of the General Administrative Code of Georgia.
• On delivering the news, the speaker-judge should ensure keeping appropriate balance among the principles of freedom of information, privacy and presumption of innocence. This means that the legitimate and public interests of the society should be satisfied in compliance with international acts and without violation personal rights recognized by the state legislation.
• While performing the assigned activities a speaker-judge promptly searches for the news and delivers it to mass media within reasonable terms. The speaker-judge should be informed in advance about the issues requiring his/her comments within reasonable terms.
• If the speaker-judge spreads the news on statistical data, s/he is legally obliged to make reference to the official document.
• If a speaker-judge comments on the pending case, s/he should consider and protect the personal rights and interests of the trial as much as possible.
• During the trials on criminal cases special emphasis should be laid on protection of the principles of the presumption of innocence.
• Special attention should be paid to the circumstance that the identification data of the parties of trial should be disclosed with their consent only.
• Giving the names of people, who represent the persons of interest for mass media at certain period of time, also of those people, who have committed crime during the implementation of their public duties, is allowed only in case where the public interest exceeds the private interest on observing the privacy of the identification data.
• Revealing the name of a juvenile offender is allowed only in the case of extremely grave crime.
• A speaker-judge is not authorized to spread private views, criticize the decision taken by colleagues or comment on political events.
• The information spread by the speaker-judge must be accessible for all editorial offices to which this news carries some importance. Information may be spread in the form of press-releases as well as by press conferences too.
• If necessary, a speaker-judge conducts open-door days about trials with the purpose of informing the media.

September 2017

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