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Works aimed at improving the legislative field

07/05/2018

In 2017-2018, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia developed more than 200 draft regulatory legal acts.

1.     The following drafts have been developed and adopted in the context of the amendments made to the Constitution in 2015:

●      "Judicial Code" Constitutional Law,

●      Constitutional Law "On referendum",

●      Law "On structure and operation of the Government" and related laws;

●      Law "On bodies of the public administration system" and related laws;

●      Law "On the Public Council",

●      Law "On formation and operation of the Security Council",

●      Law "On making amendments to the Law "On television and radio"" and related laws,

●      Law "On making amendments and a supplement to the Law "On freedom of assemblies"",

●      Law of the Republic of Armenia "On regulatory legal acts",

●      Law of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Public Services Regulatory Authority",

●      Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Prosecutor's Office",

●      Law of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and supplements to the Family Code of the Republic of Armenia" and Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the rights of the child"",

●      Constitutional Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Constitutional Court",

●      Law of the Republic of Armenia “On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia “On the Central Bank””,

●      Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and supplements to the Criminal Procedure Code" and "On making amendments and supplements to the Administrative Procedure Code",

●      Code of Administrative Offences,

●      draft Law "On making an amendment to the Law "On freedom of conscience and religious organisations"" and drafts of related laws and the drafts of the Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On ensuring legal equality" and "On national minorities" and of related laws are in the stage of modification.

 

2.     Other drafts

●      The draft Civil Procedure Code, which has particularly laid down new effective regulations for new examination of cases, simplified proceedings, group claims, remote trial, submitting electronic notifications, statement of claim and other documents to court electronically, opportunity to participate in the court session by way of application of means of audio-visual telecommunication and publication of judicial acts, has been revised and adopted. The regulations laid down in the draft may also have a positive impact on improvement of the position of Armenia in the Doing Business Report.

●      The draft Law "On mediation", which has enshrined the principles of implementation of mediation, laid down the rules of conduct, rights and obligations of a mediator, envisaged the grounds for granting a relevant qualification to the licensed mediator, rejecting granting of qualification, depriving of qualification, as well as for terminating qualification, envisaged provisions regulating implementation of conciliation, etc., has been developed.

●      The draft Law "On Service in the Judicial Department", which has laid down the peculiarities of organising of service and activities of judicial service and judicial bailiffs in the Judicial Department, the status of judicial servants and judicial bailiffs and has enshrined other types of service provided in the Judicial Department, has been developed.

●      The draft Law "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Justice Academy"", which ensures terminological uniformity of the law, eliminates disharmony between the Judicial Code and the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On the Justice Academy" in relation to removal from the list of contenders for candidates for judges, the powers reserved to the Council of Court Chairmen, conditioned by elimination of that body, distributed among the Supreme Judicial Council, the Training Commission of the General Assembly of Judges and, in separate cases — the Judicial Department, respectively, has been developed.

●      On 4 May 2018, the draft Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and a supplement to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making an amendment to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On referendum"" and "On making amendments and supplements to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia", which prohibit a number of entities from using administrative resources when carrying out pre-election campaign, were adopted. Moreover, use of financial, informational means, territories, means of transportation and communication and material and human resources granted for fulfilment of official duties for the purpose of pre-election campaign shall be considered as administrative resources. By an amendment to be made to the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Armenia, it is recommended to apply administrative liability for the aforementioned restrictions provided for by the amendments to be made to the Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia Constitutional Law and to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On referendum". At the same time, the Criminal Code has been supplemented with a new corpus delicti — enforcing campaigning or refusal to campaign.

●      The draft Law of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia” has been developed. The draft specifies the disposition in part 3 of Article 164 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia — irrespective of the fact that the subject of the corpus delicti is ordinary or special, considering obstructing a journalist's lawful professional activities or compelling him or her to disseminate or to refuse dissemination of information as criminally punishable, which has been committed by use or threat of use of violence dangerous to life or health of the journalist or his or her relative. The draft specifies the disposition in part 1 of Article 3271 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia — considering failure by an alternative labour serviceman to never appear for service — without good reason — as criminally punishable. Due to the fact that alternative labour service substitutes military service, and servants, in essence, have the same legal status, thus, criminal liability has also been envisaged for alternative labour servicemen for unauthorised leaving of the duty station or failure to appear for service on time — without good reasons, for more than three days, but not more than one month, as well as from one day to three days three or more times within three months, for the purpose of ensuring legal certainty. The draft has been submitted to the Government of the Republic of Armenia.

●      The draft Law of the Republic of Armenia "On making supplements and amendments to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On notariat", which has introduced the institute of performance endorsement of the notary and electronic certification of transactions by the notary, has been developed. The draft was adopted on 13 December 2017.

●      The draft Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making an amendment to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On public and individual notification via the Internet"", "On making an amendment to the Code of Administrative Offences of the Republic of Armenia", "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On compulsory enforcement of judicial acts"" and "On making a supplement to the Administrative Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia", pursuant to which the system of electronic notifications has been specified and a more simplified procedure for notification has been introduced, have been developed and were adopted on 25 October 2017.

●      The draft Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making supplements to the Land Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making amendments to the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On local self-governance"", "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On local self-governance in the city of Yerevan"" have been developed and were adopted on 18 January 2018. The obligation of alienating agricultural lands pertaining to persons who are citizens of the Republic of Armenia and have terminated citizenship or persons with special residency status and having terminated that status by the right of ownership and the legal consequences of failure to fulfil the obligation provided for by law as and within the time limit prescribed, have been envisaged.

●      The draft Law "On prevention of domestic violence, protection of persons subjected to domestic violence and restoration of solidarity in family" and the drafts of related laws have been developed and were adopted on 13 December 2017. Upon entry into force of all the provisions of the laws, protection and safety of persons subjected to domestic violence, access to justice will be ensured, support centres and shelters will be created, which will provide those persons with necessary psychological, legal, social, in relevant cases — also temporary material assistance, the level of latency of domestic violence will be minimised, the co-operation between state bodies and non-governmental organisations in the fields of prevention of domestic violence and in the field of protection of persons subjected to domestic violence will be regulated and the functions of those state bodies and non-governmental organisations will be specified.

●      The draft Law of the Republic of Armenia “On making amendments and supplements to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia” has been developed. The draft and the package of related drafts envisage decriminalising certain economic crimes to alleviate the burden of especially small and medium entrepreneurs and discharge the Criminal Code.

●      The draft Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making an amendment and a supplement to the Civil Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making an amendment and a supplement to the Administrative Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia" and "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On compulsory enforcement of judicial acts"" have been developed and were adopted on 21 December 2017. The laws ensure the opportunity for submitting a statement of claim, application, appeal, response to statement of claim, motion and other documents electronically in parallel with the procedures existing for the purpose of facilitating the process of submitting the mentioned documents. Besides, a new procedure has also been introduced in the case of submitting a writ of execution, envisaging the opportunity of the court having issued the writ of execution to forward it to the Compulsory Enforcement Service immediately after issuing the writ of execution, and the time limit for issuance of a writ of execution for the obligations requiring termless, fixed-term or lifelong fulfilment has also been restricted.

 

3.     Draft legal acts developed based on assignments of the Prime Minister

●      The draft Laws of the Republic of Armenia "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On compulsory enforcement of judicial acts"", "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On public bargains"", "On making an amendment to the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making a supplement to the Administrative Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia", "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On taxes" and "On making an amendment to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On income tax", by which specific and unified time limits for adoption of the decisions rendered by a compulsory enforcement officer have been laid down, the powers of a compulsory enforcement officer in the process of imposing an attachment on the property of a debtor in the amount of the cost of claim as a measure for securing the claim have been specified, specific time limits for adopting a decision on evaluation of property and on holding a compulsory electronic auction and for publishing notification on electronic auction, special consequences of invalidity of a contract of purchase and sales concluded as a result of compulsory electronic auction have been laid down, the possibility of endless reduction of the floor price of a lot in a compulsory electronic auction has been ruled out, the mechanisms for levying income tax during compulsory auction have been improved, helping properly ensure entries into the State Budget with respect to that, have been developed based on the assignment of the Prime Minister of 2 March 2017 in regard to more proportionate imposition by the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service of attachments on the properties or monetary funds of natural and legal persons as a measure for securing the claim and in regard to eliminating the legislative hindrances existing in this sector.

●      The draft Law "On making amendments and supplements to the Civil Code", which has specified the regulations related to realisation of the pledged item, as well as has established new regulations for ensuring proportionality of the penalty, has been developed based on the assignment of the Prime Minister of 17 March 2017 in regard to implementing the process of realisation of a pledged item within specific time limits and in regard to introduction of mechanisms for terminating relevant penalties in case of violation of those specific time limits. In particular, it has been established that the maximum annual amount of penalty determined by the contract may not exceed four-fold of the rate of bank interest set by the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, unless otherwise provided for by law, and the total amount of all the penalties determined by the contract may not exceed the main amount of the debt existing at the given moment. It has also been established that in case the pledged item is not transferred to the pledgee or to the person specified by the pledgee as ownership or is not realised by direct sale, and when realising by way of public bargains — in case the process of realisation of a pledged item does not start within a one-month period following expiry of two months from the day of delivery of notification on levying of pledged item, penalty shall not be calculated for the period following the one-month period.

●      The draft Laws "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On compulsory enforcement of judicial acts"" and "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On notariat"", which have specified the regulations in relation to declaration of a search of the debtor, entry into the construction pertaining to the debtor, exceptions from the general rule of not extending levy of execution to the sole apartment, the procedure for return of the amount of the sole apartment prescribed by the Government of the Republic of Armenia to the debtor, levy of execution of expenditures for enforcement, the process of gathering information on the property of a debtor in the bankruptcy proceedings and the issuance of a writ of performance endorsement, have been developed based on the assignment of the Prime Minister of 25 May 2017 in regard to making amendments to the relevant legal acts on eliminating hindrances to the duration and other practical and legislative hindrances to enforcement proceedings by the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service, as well as in regard to ensuring supremacy of recovery plans in the bankruptcy proceedings, making liability of bankruptcy managers strict and in regard to the consequences of failure to conduct an analysis of the financial situation and other issues.

●      The draft Law "On making amendments and supplements to the Law "On bankruptcy", the regulations provided by which are aimed at raising the level of effectiveness of activities of bankruptcy managers and the level of professionalism, accountability and the effectiveness of bankruptcy proceedings, optimising, reducing the time limits and expenditures and eliminating the contradictions and shortcomings existing in the law, has been developed based on the aforementioned assignment, as well as the assignment of the Prime Minister of 30 March 2017.

●      The draft Laws "On making amendments and supplements to the Judicial Code of the Republic of Armenia" and "On making supplements to the Civil Procedure Code of the Republic of Armenia", which were targeted at elimination of the disproportionate workload of courts and judges and which envisaged a simplified procedure for examination of cases with claims for levying an amount of up to AMD 2 million and more, have been modified based on the assignment of the Prime Minister of 31 August 2017 in regard to solutions aimed at ensuring reasoning for postponement of court sessions, restricting discretion of procedures for distribution of judicial cases among judges and raising the level of effectiveness of the procedures, as well as introducing instrumentation ensuring resolution of civil cases exceeding a certain cumulative threshold within a short period of time.

●      The draft Law "On making a supplement to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On compulsory enforcement of judicial acts"", which has specified the regulations related to the process of declaration implemented by the debtor following attachment on the property of the debtor, has been developed based on the assignment of the Prime Minister of 1 February 2018 for elimination of the hindrances to customs clearance of goods in case of existence of attachment on property or monetary funds.

●      In execution of the assignment of the Prime Minister of 15 March 2018, the relevant draft legal act on solutions for full maintenance of the restrictions and procedures established by law for attachment on and levying of state pension, subsidies, as well as other fees prescribed by law is in the stage of development.

●      The draft Law of the Republic of Armenia "On making an amendment to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On management of a multi-apartment building" and "On repealing the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On condominium"", which has envisaged the following major changes — transition from condominiums to professional management, requirement of accountability and transparency from a manager, procedure for only residents to set mandatory fees, a specific mechanism for levying of fees, envisaging a system for other residents to make and implement decisions in case some apartments are inhabited, envisaging opportunity to accept a procedure for habitation, automatic registration of the share of common property of the owner of the apartment along with registration of the right of ownership over the apartment by the cadastre, keeping of bank account separated for the multi-apartment building and ensuring transparency of control over funds as a result of that, creation of a mandatory reserve fund and restriction on the powers of local self-government bodies, has been developed in execution of the assignment of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia.

●      The new Labour Code is being developed based on the assignment of the Prime Minister. Expert of Great Britain, Professor Neil Allan has been involved for the purpose of development and has provided a report on the current situation, as well as recommendations on development of the legislation of the given sector which have been included in the draft. The goal of the draft is to exclude from the Code all unnecessary regulations, overlaps, duplications and the provisions that do not comply with international commitments, as well as to develop a Code that will be flexible and adapted to the business climate and aimed at alleviating the administrative burden.

 

4.     Drafts developed within the scope of actions aimed at improving Armenia's position in the Doing Business Report

The drafts on making amendments and supplements to the Law "On making amendments and supplements to the Civil Code", as well as to several decisions of the Government, which envisage ruling out the need for a legal entity to apply a seal and the consequences of failure to apply a seal, have been developed within the scope of actions for improvement of the business climate in Armenia. At the same time, by the draft Law "On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia "On bankruptcy"", there are several regulations that directly arise from the actions for improvement of the business climate in Armenia and are targeted at improvement of the position of Armenia in the Doing Business Report.

 

5.     Draft secondary legislation acts

In execution of Article 6 of the Constitution, the secondary legislation acts relating to all the sectors operating under the competence of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia (notariat, Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service, Penitentiary Service, State Register Agency of Legal Entities, civil status acts registration sector, etc.) have been brought into compliance with the Constitution, including with a special indication on the provision of the law envisaging the power to adopt a secondary legislation act. Secondary legislation acts arising from adopted laws, orders of the Minister in regard to the notariat and the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service have been developed. The draft Decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia "On approving the 2018-2023 Strategy for Judicial and Legal Reforms of the Republic of Armenia and the Action Plan arising therefrom" is currently in the stage of revision. According to the draft, the issues of ensuring full independence of the judiciary, preventing corruption phenomena, improving application of the institute of disciplinary liability of judges, balancing the number of judges and their staffs and the number of cases examined, promoting full application of alternative means for settlement of disputes, observing reasonable time limits for examination of cases, improving quality and accessibility of legal aid, proportionate and fair application of detention as a measure of restraint, issues of juvenile justice, the system of criminal punishments and re-socialisation issues, full introduction of electronic justice, improvement of quality of services provided to citizens, issues of increasing public confidence in the judiciary and other institutions in the justice sector and other issues have been set aside as objectives of the Strategy. The mentioned issues are envisaged to be resolved by means of strategic goals defined in seven strategic directions, the guidelines for achieving them and the measures established by the Action Plan and specific measures.

The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia has developed the draft Decision of the Government of the Republic of Armenia "On setting a minimum amount for realisation of the sole apartment of a debtor", as well as the draft Decisions of the Government "On establishing the procedure for granting compensation equivalent to rent of apartment in the given place based on the application of judge appointed to office outside of his or her permanent place of residence in cases prescribed by the Supreme Judicial Council, the maximum amount and time period" and "On establishing the amount of and procedure for remuneration of those developing the questions of a written qualification exam held for the purpose of replenishing the list of contenders for candidates for judges, the amount of and procedure for compensation paid to members of the commission for evaluation of the results of the written qualification exam", which ensure application of the "Judicial Code" Constitutional Law. The other draft secondary legislation acts ensuring application of the "Judicial Code" Constitutional Law are in the stage of development.

 

 

 

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