Andorra - Judicial system



The 1993 constitution guarantees an independent judiciary and the judiciary has in fact been independent. A Superior Council of Justice oversees and administers the judicial system. The Superior Council of Justice has five members. One member each is appointed by: the two co-princes; the head of government; the president of the General Council, and members of the lower courts. Members of the judiciary are appointed for 6-year terms. The judicial process is fair and efficient.

The new constitution also calls for respect for the promotion of liberty, equality, justice, tolerance, defense of human rights, dignity of the person, and privacy, and guarantees against arbitrary arrest and detention.

Under the current system, civil cases in the first instance are heard by four judges (batlles). Appeals are heard in the Court of Appeal. Final appeals in civil cases are brought before the Supreme Court of Andorra at Perpignan, France, or the Ecclesiastical Court of the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell, Spain.

Criminal cases are heard in Andorra la Vella by the Tribunal des Cortes, consisting of the veguers, and the judge of appeal, two batlles, and two members of the General Council. Few criminal trials are held, and the principality's jail is used only for persons awaiting sentencing. Sentenced criminals have the choice of French or Spanish jails. The courts apply the customary law of Andorra, supplementing it where necessary with Roman law and customary Catalan law. Traditional laws are compiled in the Manual Digest of 1748 and the Politar of 1763; legal standards are found in the Instructions to Bailiffs of 1740.

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