Thodoris Chondrogiannos
Violation of the legislation on public consultation by the Ministry of Justice
15 • 10 • 2019

On October 2, 2019, the Ministry of Justice posted a bill to the public consultation website. However, the process followed by the government violated the rules of public consultation and good legislation.

According to Article 61 paragraphs 2, 3 & 4 of the key transparency law (ν. 4622/2019 – ΦΕΚ Α’ 133/07.08.2019), “consultation on bills is done through the website and lasts two weeks,” and only exceptionally can be shortened to one week “for sufficiently substantiated reasons, referred to in the public consultation report accompanying the arrangement” which “is posted on the website where the consultation took place.”

On October 2, 2019, the Ministry of Justice posted a bill on the public consultation website of the a bill, accompanied by an explanatory report. The bill was entitled: “Amendment of provisions of law 4512/2018 (AD 5) for mediation in civil and commercial cases.” The consultation lasted until October 14, which means that the government shortened the duration of the public consultation.

Where is the problem with the Rule of Law?

In a state that adheres to the rule of law, the government strictly follows the rules of good legislation, as this presupposes the improvement of legislative work and addresses the negative consequences of bad legislative practices (such as, for example, the multiplicity and incomprehensibility of provisions that have built up over time in Greek legislation). 

Furthermore, the implementation of the rules of good legislation contributes to the consolidation of citizens’ trust in state institutions and the law, as they observe that the government complies with the law, strengthening the democratic principle where citizens and bodies of public power are equal before the law. 

This is even more true of the public consultation process, the establishment of which allows civil society to take an active part in shaping the laws that govern a democratic society. 

However, in this case, the Ministry of Justice did not apply the rules regarding the length of the consultation process, limiting the ability of citizens to express their views on the proposed legislation without providing, as required by law, sufficiently substantiated reasons for doing so.

Thodoris Chondrogiannos
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