The structure proposed by Turkey’s ruling AK Party to reform its Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors is in line with the High Council structures of EU countries.
The proposal of Turkey's ruling AK Party to reform the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HYSK) through constitutional amendment is still at the center of the country's political conflict. While a Judicial Reform Bill to amend the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors introduced by AK Party has been partly accepted, the Parliament's Justice Commission is still discussing the amendments.
The proposed legislation seeks to restructure the HSYK to establish an 11-member Board of Judges, as well as a 7-member Board of Prosecutors. Should the bill be adopted, it will expand the influence of the Parliament and the Minister of Justice over the selection of HSYK members.
The EU institutions and related bodies expressed their 'serious' concerns over the judicial bill to amend the HSYK as they alleged that the judicial reform would not only affect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary but also undermine confidence in it. On the other hand, a senior official from the Ministry of Justice commented that a number of European countries allow their legislative bodies to appoint the majority of members in similar judicial institutions.
Regarding the EU's serious concerns over the ruling AK Party's judicial reform proposal, the examples of EU countries have revealed that members of the high council are widely chosen by Parliaments.
Sweden: The High Council of Judges in Sweden is composed of 11 members. Six members from among judges and lawyers, two members of the parliament, two union representatives, and a general director are elected as all the members are appointed by the government.
Holland: The High Council in Holland is composed of five members. The chairman is elected from among the members of Board. Three judges and two members who have graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences Faculty are appointed by the King based on suggestions made by the Minister of Justice.
Norway: The High Council in Norway is composed of nine members. Two members are elected by the government while seven others are elected by the King based on the suggestions made by the government. There is no professional restriction to become a member.
England: Lawyers with at least 10 years professional experience are elected by the Judicial Appointment Commission and appointed by the Minister of Justice.
France: The High Judicial Council in France has 22 members. The President of the Court of Cassation is elected as member as of right. Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation is elected as member as of right. Six judges and six prosecutors are elected by their counterparts. One member is appointed by the Council of State with one other member elected by the Barr Association. Two eligible citizens are appointed by the President and two eligible citizens are appointed by the President of the Assembly with two other eligible citizens appointed by the President of Senate.
Spain: The High Council in Spain has 21 members. President of the Court of Cassation is elected as member as of right. The 10 members, who are elected by the Senate, are appointed by the President and 10 members are elected by the House of Representative.
Italy: The High Council in Italy is composed of 27 members. The President, the President of the Court of Cassation, the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation are appointed as members as of right. Eight members are elected by the Assembly. 16 judges and prosecutors are elected by their counterparts.
Greece: The High Council in Greece has 15 members. The President of the High Court of Justice, the Chief Prosecutor of the High Court of Justice are elected as members as of right. 13 members are selected by ballot among jurists who have served for the High Court of Justice.
Germany: The Prosecutors Electoral Commission in Germany is composed of a Minister of Justice, a Minister of State and members elected by the Assembly.
Poland: The High Council in Poland consists of 25 members. The Chairman is elected by the Board. The Minister of Justice, President of the Court of Cassation, President of the High Administrative Court are all elected as members as of right. 15 judges and prosecutors are elected by their counterparts, while four members of parliament are elected by the Assembly, two senators are elected by the Senate and a Representative is appointed by the President.
Portugal: The High Council in Portugal is composed of 17 members. The Chief Justice is appointed as Chairman and the Master of the Supreme Court is appointed as Deputy Chairman. Six judges are elected by their counterparts. Nine members are selected from among the judiciary with two members appointed by the President and the other seven members appointed by the Assembly.