Case nº U-X/99/2013 of January 23, 2013. Supervision over constitutionality and legality and reporting to the President of the Croatian Parliament concerning incidents of unconstitutionality and illegality
|Resolution Date:||January 23, 2013|
|Issuing Organization:||Constitutional Court|
The Report on the Procedure for the Enactment of Laws and on the Standing Orders of the Croatian Parliament
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, composed of Mato Arlović, Marko Babić, Snježana Bagić, Slavica Banić, Mario Jelušić, Davor Krapac, Ivan Matija, Antun Palarić, Duška Šarinand and Miroslav Šeparović, on the basis of the power to monitor compliance with the Constitution and laws as prescribed in Article 125 item 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette nos. 56/90, 135/97, 113/00, 28/01 and 76/10) and Article 104 of the Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette nos. 99/99, 29/02 and 49/02 - consolidated text), at the session held on 23 January 2013 adopted
ON THE PROCEDURE FOR THE ENACTMENT OF LAWS AND ON THE STANDING ORDERS OF THE CROATIAN PARLIAMENT
Summary enactment procedure
- At its session held on 23 January 2013, the Constitutional Court decided on the conformity with the Constitution of the Act on the System of State Administration (Official Gazette no. 150/11). The cases were conducted before the Constitutional Court under nos.: U-I-3845/2006 and U-I-5348/2012.
In this decision, it warned that the manner in which the legislator formulates the final provision when in practice it determines the shortest permitted period of vacatio legis is not acceptable in terms of constitutional law. It also ordered that in all laws for which especially justified reasons exist for their entry into force in the shortest period, exceptionally permitted by the second part of the sentence contained in Article 90.3 of the Constitution, the formulation used so far of the final provision of the law must be harmonised with the Constitution so that it reads, in line with the terminology used in the Constitution: "This law shall enter into force on the first date after the date of its publication."
- However, the Constitutional Court has noted that this problem must also be perceived in a broader context of concern related to the summary enactment procedure.
In more recent parliamentary practice, the summary enactment procedure has become almost the rule rather than the exception. This has become a matter of concern. Therefore, it is the duty of the Constitutional Court to caution about this.
- The concept of "summary enactment procedure" is regulated by the Standing Orders of the Croatian Parliament (Official Gazette nos. 71/00, 129/00, 117/01, 41/02, 91/03, 58/04, 39/08, 86/08, 81/12, 113/12 - correction; hereinafter: "Standing Orders"). The relevant provisions of the Standing Orders read:
"Summary enactment procedure
Article 162By way of derogation, laws may be enacted under summary procedures only when required by the interests of national defence or other particularly justified grounds, or when necessary in order to prevent or eliminate major economic ruptures.
The final draft of the bill is submitted together with the petition to enact the law under summary procedures. The final draft shall contain all that is contained in the bill, with the exception that instead of the bill the text of the final draft of the bill is attached.
When the petition to enact the law under summary procedures is submitted by a parliamentary deputy, he/she must have the support of an additional 25 deputies.
The petition to enact the law under summary procedures may be submitted by a deputy club that has 15 or more members and deputy clubs that together have 15 or more members.
The first and second readings are consolidated in summary procedures.
The petition to enact the law under summary procedures is submitted to the Speaker of Parliament not less than 24 hours prior to the confirmation of the agenda for that session. The Speaker of Parliament shall immediately direct the petition to enact the law under summary procedures to the chairpersons of the working bodies, all deputies and the Government if it is not the sponsor.
Article 163The petition from Article 162 of these Standing Orders shall be subject to decision during the confirmation of the agenda at the beginning of the session, and it may be subject to decision during the confirmation of addenda to the agenda.
If the Speaker of Parliament fails to enter the petition to enact a law under summary procedures into the agenda although the petition was submitted within the time-frame and according to the methods stipulated by these Standing Orders, the bill shall be added to the agenda at the request of the sponsor, and the petition for summary procedures is decided upon thereafter.
If the petition for summary procedures is not accepted, the Speaker of Parliament may move to conduct the first reading at the same session, i.e. proceed in accordance with Article 203(2) of these Standing Orders."
By way of derogation, the Speaker of Parliament may, in case it is necessary to enact specific legislation under summary procedures or when this is demanded by other particularly justifiable reasons, convene a session of Parliament within a period shorter than 8 days, while the agenda for this session may be proposed at the session itself.
- In 2012 the Croatian Parliament held a total of four sessions.
According to the Minutes of the third session of the Croatian Parliament (Zagreb, January - February - March 2012), the Croatian Parliament enacted a total of 38 laws at this session, including 33 in summary enactment proceedings (86.8%).
According to the Minutes of the fourth session of the Croatian Parliament (Zagreb, April - May - June - July 2012), the Croatian Parliament enacted a total of 62 laws at this session, including 52 in summary enactment proceedings (83.9%).
According to the Minutes of the fifth session of the Croatian Parliament (Zagreb, September - October 2012), the Croatian Parliament enacted a total of 35 laws at this session, including 20 in summary enactment proceedings (57.1%).
According to unofficial data (the Minutes of the sixth session of the Croatian Parliament have not been certified by the date of the adoption of this report), at the sixth session (November - December 2012) the Croatian Parliament enacted a total of 45 laws, including 17...
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