Legislative Proposal to the Parliament of Georgia for the Purpose of Improvement of the Law “On the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination”
On February 11, 2015, for the purpose of improvement of the Law of Georgia “On the elimination of all forms of discrimination”, the Public Defender addressed the Parliament of Georgia with a proposal to introduce changes into the Law on the Public Defender, the Civil Procedure Code, the Labour Code and the Law on Civil Service.
According to the Law “On the elimination of all forms of discrimination”, the Public Defender suspends proceedings if due the same alleged discrimination the dispute is pending in court. Since main leverage for combating discrimination is submitting an application/complaint to the Public Defender and bringing a court action it is possible to arrange that functions of the Public Defender and the court do not overlap and their coexistence through mutual assistance is oriented at effective protection of individuals from discrimination.
For the purpose of effective restoration of rights of a discrimination victim and exercising the right to claim for moral and/or material damages, the Public Defender deems it appropriate to increase the three-month period of application to the court to one year.
According to the law, the Public Defender suspends case proceedings if “administrative proceedings are under way” on the same alleged discrimination. Administrative proceedings are part of operation of the executive authority that exercises broad discretion and appropriateness and it cannot be considered as an alternative mechanism to proceedings by the Public Defender.
The law does not provide for a certain enforcement mechanism which will oblige natural persons or legal entities of private law to provide materials, documents, explanations or other information related to the case hearing. Accordingly, it will be reasonable to make a provision in the law according to which if natural persons or public bodies fail to provide requested information factual circumstances indicated in an application/complaint will be considered proven.
The law does not envisage an application mechanism for implementation of decisions passed by the Public Defender to natural persons and legal entities of private law. Thus, their obligation to discuss recommendation with regards to issues of elimination of discrimination and to present results of their discussion to the Public Defender should be introduced into the law.
It will also be appropriate to grant the Public Defender a right to use friend of court (Amicus Curiae) in the process of discussion on discrimination disputes.
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