UPDATE: A Guide to the Republic of Azerbaijan Law Research
By Ramil Iskandarli
Ramil Iskandarli is a Chairman of Board of the Legal Analysis and Research Public Union in Azerbaijan. He holds an LL.M. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt Oder, Germany. Ramil is teaching in the Social Sciences faculty at Baku State University. He is an alumnus of the leadership program in Executive Education at the Harvard Kennedy School (2017), Chevening Fellowship Program on Human Rights Law at the University of Nottingham (2008), John Smith Fellowship Program (2005) in the UK, and a participant of the International Youth Leaders Visitors Program of the US State Department (2005).
Published September/October 2022
(Previously updated in October 2009, April 2012, and July/August 2017)
Table of Contents
- 1. The Legal System of the Republic of Azerbaijan
- 1.1. Background Information
- 1.2. Separation of Powers
- 2. The Legislative Power
- 3. The Executive Power
- 3.1. President
- 3.2. Cabinet of Ministers
- 4. The Judicial Power
- 4.1. Background
- 4.2. Constitutional Court
- 4.3. Supreme Court
- 4.4. Courts of Appeal
- 4.5. Administrative and Commercial Courts
- 4.6. Procurator’s Office
- 4.7. The Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman)
- 5. Municipalities
- 6. Sources of Law
- 6.1. Case Law
- 7. State Websites
- 8. Legal Documents
- 9. Law Journals
- 10. Azerbaijan Law Schools
1. The Legal System of the Republic of Azerbaijan
1.1. Background Information
The Republic of Azerbaijan lies in the borderlands of Asia and Europe. It is situated in the southeastern part of the Southern Caucasus and shares borders in the north with the Russian Federation, in the south with the Islamic Republic of Iran, in the west with Turkey, Georgia and Armenia, and in the east its neighbors across the Caspian Sea are Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
The legal system in Azerbaijan has a rich history highlighting struggle of our nation for independence as well as its noble past. The most glorious moments of the legal system of the Independent Azerbaijan coincide with the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR) on 28 May 1918.
As a result of the military occupation of the 11th Soviet Red Army, Azerbaijan lost its independence on April 1920 and in December 1922 became a part of the former USSR. Azerbaijan re-established its independence with The Constitutional Act on Restoration of the State Independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on October 18, 1991. In 1993, Azerbaijan lost its 18% of internationally recognized territory to Armenia during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounded area of Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani law system is based on civil law system. The Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic has the highest legal force in the territory of Azerbaijan and acts directly. The Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic is the foundation of the Legislative system in the Republic. The Constitution created the system of presidential republic with a separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The Constitution provides an adequate legal basis for the domestic implementation of International Law in general and International Human Rights Law in particular. The International Treaties, to which Azerbaijan is a Party, are recognized as a constituent part of the internal legal system (Art. 148(II)) and given a higher hierarchical status in the case of a conflict with a national law (Art. 151). While expressly stipulating that an international treaty may not contravene the Constitution and laws adopted by referendum (Art. 151), see also Art. 130(III (6)). The Constitution at the same time implicitly, as a lex specialis rule, provides for the primacy of international human rights over the appropriate constitutional provisions (Art. 12). Thus Art. 12(II) of the Constitutions empowers domestic courts to apply International Human Rights treaties to which Azerbaijan is a party. This is a very progressive statement, which is corroborated and developed by the judicial practice, particularly by the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.
The supreme objective of the State shall be to ensure rights and liberties of a person and citizen and an adequate standard of living for the citizens of Azerbaijan (Article 12 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan Republic).
1.2. Separation of Powers
The Azerbaijani state is a democratic, legal, secular, unitary republic. Religion is separated from the State. State power is based on the principle of division of powers: Milli Majlis (Parliament) exercises legislative power; executive power belongs to the President; and law courts exercise judicial power. Milli Majlis, one chamber body comprising 125 deputies, is elected by direct elections for a five-year term. The President of the Azerbaijan Republic is the Head of the Azerbaijani state.
Executive power in the Azerbaijan Republic belongs to the President. If the President resigns before the term’s end, extraordinary elections are held within 60 days. In such cases, until a new President is elected, the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan carries out powers of the President. Vice-Presidents are appointed and may be dismissed by the President. For implementation of executive powers, the President establishes Cabinet of Ministers. Cabinet of Ministers is subordinate to the President and reports to him. Judicial power in Azerbaijan is implemented by law courts. Judicial power is implemented through the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal, ordinary and other specialized law courts.
2. The Legislative Power
Legislative power in the Azerbaijan Republic is implemented by Milli Majlis (Parliament) of the Azerbaijan Republic. The Milli Majlis consists of 125 deputies elected by majority vote, each for a five-year term. Any citizen of the Azerbaijan Republic above the age of 25 may be elected as a deputy of Milli Majlis in an established order. The accuracy of results of elections is checked and approved by the Constitutional Court.
The right of legislative initiative in the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan (the right to submit drafts of laws and other questions for consideration) belongs to the deputies of Milli Majlis, the President, the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ali Majlis of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, and citizens, who too have a right to initiate a draft law. The initiative group on the draft law should be registered by the Central Election Commission, in case it determines that the draft law complies with the requirements of the Law. To submit the draft law, the initiative group should collect signatures from at least 40,000 citizens at no less than 60 constituencies throughout Azerbaijan. The draft law submitted to the Parliament may be discussed and put to vote.
3. The Executive Power
Executive power in Azerbaijan belongs to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan who have been permanently residents longer than 10 years, possess voting rights, have no previous convictions or liabilities in other states, have a university degree, and do not claim double citizenship may be elected the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The President is elected for a seven-year term by way of general, direct, and equal elections, with free, personal, and secret ballot. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan is empowered to declare extraordinary presidential elections. The President of the Azerbaijan Republic is elected by most votes. The President of the Azerbaijan Republic enjoys the right of personal immunity. Honor and dignity of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic are protected by law.
The President signs laws within 56 days after their presentation. If the President has objections against any law, he may return it to the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic within the specified term without signing, together with his comments. Should the President not sign constitutional laws, they will not come into force. Regardless of presidential signature, if the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic accepts a law by a majority of 95 votes that has been previously accepted by a majority of 83 votes, and by majority of 63 votes prior to that, said law will come into force.
Establishing general procedures, the President issues decrees, as per all other questions – he issues orders. Decrees and orders of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic are in force from the day of their publication.
The Vice-Presidency institute was established in Azerbaijan with the latest changes to the Constitution made in 2016 by the people of Azerbaijan at the Referendum. In accordance with the new article of the Constitution, Article 103.1:
- The First Vice-President and Vice-Presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan are appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- A citizen of the Azerbaijani Republic, having voting right and university degree and having no obligations in other states can be appointed to the post of Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Whenever the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan resigns from his/her post ahead of time, extraordinary elections of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan are held within 60 days. In such case, until new President of the Republic of Azerbaijan is elected, the First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan will carry out powers of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
In the case that the First Vice-President is unable to carry out the powers of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the powers of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be carried out by Prime-Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The President, with the consent of the Milli Majlis, appoints the Prime Minister.
3.2. Cabinet of Ministers
For the implementation of executive powers, the President of the Azerbaijan Republic establishes a Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic. Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic is the highest body of executive power of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic is subordinate to the President of the Azerbaijan Republic and reports to him. The procedure of activity of Cabinet of Ministers is defined by the President. The Cabinet of Ministers includes the Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic, his deputies, ministers, and heads of other central bodies of executive power. When a newly elected President of the Azerbaijan Republic begins carrying out his powers, the Cabinet of Ministers associated with the previous President resigns.
As a rule, the Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic takes chair at the meetings of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, with the consent of the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic. The proposed candidature for the post of Prime Minister of the Azerbaijan Republic is submitted for consideration to Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic by the President of the Azerbaijan Republic no later than one month from the day when the President begins carrying out his powers, or no later than two weeks from the day of resignation of Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic.
The Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic:
- prepares draft of state budget of the Azerbaijan Republic and submits it to the President of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- provides implementation of state budget of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- provides implementation of financial-credit and monetary policy;
- provides implementation of state economic programs;
- provides implementation of state social programs;
- carries out control over ministries and other central bodies of executive power, annuls their acts;
- solves other questions delegated to it by the President of the Azerbaijan Republic.
Establishing general procedures, the Cabinet of Ministers issues decrees, as per all other questions – it issues orders. Decrees and orders of Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic become valid from the day of their publication.
4. The Judicial Power
The judicial power in Azerbaijan is implemented by courts of law. According to the law on Courts and Judges of Azerbaijan Republic, activity of the courts of the Republic of Azerbaijan is aimed solely at the administration of justice and, in cases and order provided by legislation, at the enforcement of judicial supervision.
Justice in the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be administered by the following courts, which belong to the judicial system of the Republic of Azerbaijan:
- City and local courts;
- heavy crimes courts;
- military courts;
- administrative court courts;
- commercial courts;
- courts of appeal;
- Supreme Court;
- Constituional Court.
In the criminal legal proceedings, the Procurator’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic and lawyers take part. Judges shall be citizens of the Republic of Azerbaijan, having voting right, higher juridical education and at least five years’ working experience in the sphere of law. Judges are independent; they are subordinate only to Constitution and laws of the Azerbaijan Republic, and they cannot be replaced during the term of their authority. Judges are immune. A judge may be called to criminal responsibility only in accordance with law. The authority of judges might be stopped only based on reasons and rules envisaged by the law.
The Judicial-Legal Council is an institution that carries out functions of self-governing of the judicial power and which, within its authorities, carries out the organizing of the court system, arranging of the selection of candidates for the judicial posts, ensuring of its operation, transferring of judges to another judicial post, promoting of judges, calling of judges to disciplinary liability, evaluating of the work of judges, as well as, resolving of other issues related to courts and judges in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Judicial-Legal Counsel establishes the Judges Selection Committee to carry out the selection of candidates for the judicial posts.
Over the past decade, Azerbaijan has strived to improve the transparency and efficiency of its judicial services with a view to boosting public confidence in the judiciary and the court system and playing a role in the country’s social and economic development.
Azerbaijan has experienced a rapid increase in income and decrease in poverty over recent years, led by increasing oil revenues. But it has also experienced the global economic crisis from which the country has emerged relatively well. However, the drivers of growth and poverty reduction that served the country well in the recent past may not be available in the future, and the post-crisis world offers new challenges for the country and the justice sector. Azerbaijan’s challenge is how to maintain its development momentum and to transform itself into a sustainable upper-middle-income economy with a justice system delivering services fully complying with the European and international standards the country has committed to. The Republic of Azerbaijan has received a loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in the amount of US$ 100 million toward the cost of the Judicial Services and Smart Infrastructure Project (JSSIP) and is envisaged to receive a loan in the amount of US$ 50 million for the Additional Financing of JSSIP. The objective of the project is to improve the access, transparency, and efficiency of delivery of selected justice services. Specifically, the project will scale up the delivery of key judicial services, modernize the associated infrastructure, and thereby improve citizen access to and satisfaction with the justice system. More information about the Unified Electronic Courts Portal.
4.2. Constitutional Court
According to Article 130.1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Constitutional Court shall be composed of nine judges. Judges of Constitutional Court are appointed by the Milli Majlis on recommendation of the President. The Constitutional Court may commence the implementation of its powers upon appointment of no less than seven judges. Judges are appointed for a period of 15 years, after which a judge may not be re-appointed to the same post. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Court shall be appointed by the President.
The Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic—based on inquiry of the President, Milli Majlis, Cabinet of Ministers, Supreme Court, Procurator’s Office, and Ali Majlis of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic—makes decisions regarding the following:
- correspondence of laws of the Azerbaijan Republic, decrees and orders of the President, decrees of Milli Majlis, decrees and orders of Cabinet of Ministers, and normative-legal acts of central bodies of executive power to the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- correspondence of decrees of the President, decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers, and normative-legal acts of central bodies of executive power to the laws of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- correspondence of decrees of the Cabinet of Ministers and normative-legal acts of central bodies of executive power to decrees of the President;
- in cases envisaged by law, correspondence of decisions of Supreme Court to the Constitution and laws of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- correspondence of acts of municipalities to Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, laws of the Azerbaijan Republic, decrees of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic (in Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic – also to Constitution and laws of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic);
- correspondence of interstate agreements of the Azerbaijan Republic, which have not yet become valid, to Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic; correspondence of intergovernmental agreements of the Azerbaijan Republic to Constitution and laws of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- correspondence of Constitution and laws of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, decrees of the Ali Majlis of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic to Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic; correspondence of laws of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic to laws of the Azerbaijan Republic; correspondence of decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic to decrees of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic and decrees of Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic;
- settlement of disputes connected with division of authority between legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
The Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic gives interpretation of the Constitution and laws of the Azerbaijan Republic based on inquiries of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic, Cabinet of Ministers of the Azerbaijan Republic, Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic, Procurator’s Office of the Azerbaijan Republic, and Ali Majlis of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic.
Everyone claiming to be the victim of a violation of his/her rights and freedoms by the decisions of legislative, executive and judiciary, municipal acts may appeal to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the view of the restoration of violated human rights and freedoms.
In accordance with the procedure provided for by the laws of Azerbaijan Republic, the courts may file the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan Republic a request on interpretation of the Constitution and the laws of Azerbaijan Republic as regards the matters concerning the implementation of human rights and freedoms.
The Ombudsman of the Azerbaijan Republic in accordance with the procedure provided for by the laws of the Republic of Azerbaijan for solving the matters indicated in items 1-7, para III of the given Article shall apply to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan in cases where the rights and freedoms of a person had been violated by legislative acts in force, normative acts of executive power, municipalities as well as the court decisions VIII. The Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic exercises also other authorities envisaged in the present Constitution.
The Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic takes decisions as regards the questions of its competence. Decisions of Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic are obligatory all over the territory of the Azerbaijan Republic. Laws and other acts, individual provisions of these documents, intergovernmental agreements of the Azerbaijan Republic cease to be valid in terms specified in the decision of Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic, and interstate agreements of the Azerbaijan Republic do not come into force.
Decisions of the Constitutional Court of the Azerbaijan Republic are published with English translations.
4.3. Supreme Court
The Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic (see English decisions) is the highest judicial body on civil, criminal, administrative and other cases directed to general and specialized law courts; it, via the cassation procedure, shall administer justice; gives explanations as per practices in activity of law courts in an order envisaged by legislation. Judges of Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic are appointed by the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic on recommendation of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic. On March 18, 2009, the following amendment had been adopted at the referendum related to the Supreme Court: “Decisions of the Supreme Court of the Azerbaijan Republic should be published”.
4.4. Courts of Appeal
The Courts of Appeal of Azerbaijan Republic shall be the higher courts considering the issues falling within their competences according to the legislation. Judges of the Courts of Appeal shall be appointed by the Milli Majlis upon the recommendation of the President. Before the recent legal-organizational changes, Azerbaijani legal system had only one court of appeal based in Baku, however, starting from 2010, there are five regional courts of appeals based in Baku, Gandja, Sumgayit, Shirvan and Sheki regions of Azerbaijan.
4.5. Administrative and Commercial Courts
According to the changes in Azerbaijan legislation, such as the adoption of the law on administrative procedures, the administrative and commercial courts are established. As a court of first instance, administrative and commercial court shall try cases on administrative and commercial disputes within their jurisdiction provided by the legislation. Administrative and commercial courts analyze judicial statistics, studies and summarizes the data related to the level of arranging the judicial activity and judicial practice, and exercises other powers provided by the legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
4.6. Procurator’s Office
The Procurator’s Office is an integral centralized body based on subordination of territorial and specialized procurators to General Procurator of the Azerbaijan Republic. The General Procurator is appointed to his post and dismissed from it by the President, on consent of the Milli Majlis.
Deputies of General Procurator of the Azerbaijan Republic, procurators supervising specialized republican procurator’s offices, and the procurator of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic are appointed to their posts and dismissed from their posts by the President of the Azerbaijan Republic on recommendation of the General Procurator. Territorial and specialized procurators are appointed to their posts and dismissed by General Procurator in agreement with the President.
4.7. The Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman)
The Constitutional Law “On the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan” was adopted on 28 December 2001 (with further amendments and additions to the Law). As an independent non-judicial mechanism of protection of the human rights, the position of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan (hereinafter referred to as "the Commissioner") is set up to restore the human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and in the international treaties to which the Republic of Azerbaijan is a party. The Commissioner aims to protect these rights if violated by governmental and municipal bodies or officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as prevent violation of human rights in cases envisaged by the given Constitutional Law.
The Commissioner fulfills the functions of the national preventive mechanism in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. With the purpose of preventing such happenings, he visits—on a regular basis and in circumstances deemed necessary—places in which detained persons cannot leave at their own will.
The Commissioner supervises the execution of duties by information-holding state bodies, municipalities, and state officials in accordance with the requirements of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On access to information". The Commissioner is elected by 83 votes majority (out of 125) of the Milli Majlis from among three candidates nominated by the President.
Local self-government is carried out by municipalities. Municipalities are formed based on elections. The foundations of the status of municipalities shall be determined by given Constitution. The regulations of elections to the municipalities shall be determined by law. The activity of municipalities is carried out by way of meetings, permanent and other commissions. Meetings of municipalities are summoned by their chairmen.
The following questions are settled at the meetings of municipalities:
- recognition of authority of municipality members, loss of their authority and termination of their authority according to legislation;
- approval of in-house regulations of municipality;
- elections of the chairman of municipality, his deputies, permanent and other commissions;
- establishment of local taxes and duties;
- approval of local budget and reports on its implementation;
- possession of municipal property, use and disposal thereof;
- acceptance and implementation of local programs of social protection and social development;
- acceptance and implementation of local programs of economic development;
- acceptance and implementation of local ecological programs.
Municipalities may be given additional authorities of legislative and executive power. To implement these authorities, respective financing is required. Implementation of such authorities will be controlled respectively by legislative and executive power bodies.
5.1. New Administrative System in Karabakh
The institute of special representations in liberated area of Karabakh was created by the orders signed by the President. The first such administrations were created in Shusha and later in Aghdam (in the Karabakh Economic Region). This is a new institute in the process of formation and development. The Special Representation of the Karabakh Economic Region operates in liberated territories of the Terter, Aghdam, Fuzuli, and Khojavend districts. The purpose of the Special Representation is to coordinate all restoration and reconstruction works in liberated areas.
Previously, Azerbaijan set up the Karabakh and East Zangazur economic regions upon President Aliyev’s decree. The relevant decree “On the New Division of the Azerbaijani Republic's Regions” was signed on July 7. Karabakh and East Zangazur are among the 14 economic regions ratified under the decree. The Karabakh economic region covers the Khankandi City, Aghjabadi, Aghdam, Barda, Fuzuli, Khojali, Khojavand, Susha and Tartar regions. The East Zangazur economic region includes the newly liberated Jabrayil, Kalbajar, Gubadli, Lachin and Zangilan regions. The economic regions were established after Azerbaijan won a victory in a 44-day war with Armenia late last year.
An Interdepartmental Coordination Center was established to coordinate the implementation of work in the liberated territories. In addition, the Karabakh Revival Fund and Institute of Special Representation in the liberated territories were established, the Model Regulations were approved, and a Special Representative was appointed to Shusha. According to the Presidential decree, a public legal entity "Shusha City State Reserve Administration" was established in 2021. "Charter of Shusha City State Reserve" was approved.
Shusha City State Reserve Department (hereinafter - the Department) is a public legal entity managing the Shusha City State Reserve, as well as ensuring the restoration, protection, study, use and promotion of monuments located in the territory of Shusha (hereinafter - the relevant field). Among the five National Priorities for the socio-economic development of the country until 2030, one of the priorities was a major return to the liberated territories of Azerbaijan.
Another agency which contributed to the process of development of newly liberated areas of Karabakh is the Agency for State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Agency on State Support to NGOs has announced the results of a special competition dedicated to the “Year of Shusha” in Shusha, on June 28, 2022. On April 19, 2021, President Aliyev signed a Decree on establishing a public legal entity "Agency for State Support to NGOs of the Republic of Azerbaijan" with the aim of state funding for the civil society of Azerbaijan (‘Agency’).
6. Sources of Law
On the base of Article 148 (I) of the Constitution, the legislative system of the Republic of Azerbaijan consists of the following normative-legal Acts:
- The Constitution
- Acts adopted via referendum
- Resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan
- Normative Acts of central executive bodies: International Treaties, of which the Azerbaijan is a party, are constituent part of the Legislative system of the Azerbaijan Republic
Local Executive bodies within their competence can take decisions and instructions of the normative character and other Acts, which do not contradict Acts included in the Legislation system.
6.1. Case Law
The Unified Electronic Court System Database is created by the Ministry of Justice in Azerbaijani language, where one can find all the cases of first, appeal and cassation instances of courts of Azerbaijan. The main difference in comparison with the Anglo-American system is that the Azerbaijani legal system is determined by statutes, but in the Anglo-American system, case law or judge-made law play an important role as a source of law. Generally, in Azerbaijan Republic, decisions of the courts are not used as a source of law. However, decisions of the Constitutional Court are the exception. The Constitutional Court provides English translations of its case law.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan in its decisions gives official interpretation of the Constitution and the Laws of the Azerbaijan Republic, under Art. 130(IV). Thus, by this way, decisions of The Constitutional Court create new rules or norms, which are binding in the whole territory of the Azerbaijan Republic, although other courts only apply existing law and refer to appropriate decisions of the Constitutional Court. At this point, decisions of the Constitutional Court may be considered as an additional source of law.
European Court of Human Rights: Having become member of the Council of Europe and ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Republic of Azerbaijan recognized the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights on April 15, 2002. Up to this day, the European Court adopted several rulings and decisions regarding the statements against Azerbaijan, some of them being the decisions on finding out the violations of the Convention provisions.
Based on the Presidential Order on “Modernization of Judiciary System”, arrangement of study of case law of the European Court of human rights was recommended to the Supreme Court and other courts. With this respect, Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted a decree on “Application of the provisions of the European Convention on the Protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms” and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights during jurisdiction” on March 30, 2006, and decision on the establishment of the relevant structure providing translation of the above-mentioned decisions within the Supreme Court was adopted.
7. State Websites
E-Government Portal: In recent years, formation of E-government is considered one of the factors in further development of democracy in developed countries. E-government using modern information technologies creates conditions for providing information and e-services to all citizens residing in the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan, legal and physical persons, foreign citizens and stateless persons by government bodies.
The formation of e-government in our country is based on the international practice and a legal framework for its activity was established by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On the approval of State Program (E-Azerbaijan) for the development of communication and information technologies in Azerbaijan Republic in 2010-2012”, and by the Decree on approval of “Some measures for provision of electronic services by government agencies” dated 23 May 2011 and other normative legal acts.
The Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT) as the coordinator of the work done in this area is working closely with other government agencies for the formation of e-government and is performing activities for the creation of appropriate infrastructure.
The Official Internet Resource of the State Bodies of Azerbaijan Republic
|The President of Azerbaijan Republic||www.president.az|
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs||http://www.mfa.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Internal Affairs||http://www.mia.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Defence Industry||http://www.mdi.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Justice||http://www.justice.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Taxes||http://www.taxes.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Economy||http://www.economy.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Energy||http://www.minenergy.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population||http://www.mlspp.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Agriculture||http://www.agro.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources||http://www.eco.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Culture and Tourism||http://www.mct.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Education||https://www.edu.gov.az|
|Ministry of Health||http://www.sehiyye.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Digital Development and Transport||http://www.mincom.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Youth and Sports||https://www.mys.gov.az/|
|Ministry of Emergency Situations||http://www.fhn.gov.az/|
|State Town Building and Architecture Committee||http://www.arxkom.gov.az/|
|State Security Service||https://www.dtx.gov.az/en/|
|State Committee on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Affairs.||http://www.refugees-idps-committee.gov.az/|
|State Customs Committee||http://www.customs.gov.az/az/|
|State Committee on Family, Woman and Child Affairs||http://www.scfwca.gov.az/|
|State Statistical Committee||http://www.stat.gov.az/|
|Food Safety Agency||http://afsa.gov.az/en/home|
|State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations||http://www.scwra.gov.az/|
|State Agency on Property Issues||http://www.stateproperty.gov.az/|
|Azerbaijan Standardization Institute||http://www.azstand.gov.az/|
|State Maritime Administration||http://ardda.gov.az/|
|State Civil Aviation Agency||http://www.caa.gov.az/|
|State Migration Service||http://migration.gov.az/|
|State Border Service||http://www.dsx.gov.az/|
|National Archive Department||http://www.milliarxiv.gov.az/|
|State Examination Center||https://dim.gov.az/en/|
|State Committee on Work with Diaspora||http://www.diaspora.gov.az/|
|State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic||http://socar.az/|
|Melioration and Water Industry Company OJSC||http://mst.gov.az/|
|Azersu OJSC (semi-governmental public water supply agency)||http://azersu.az/|
|State Service for Mobilization and Conscription||https://www.seferberlik.gov.az/|
8. Legal Documents
According to the Constitution of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Laws, and the Decisions of the Milli Majlis and Decrees and Orders of the President come into force from the day of publication. If a different order is not envisaged in Decrees and Orders of the Cabinet of Ministers, they come into force after the day of their publication. All these legal acts are published in the newspaper “Azerbaijan”. The “Azerbaijan” newspaper officially belongs to the Milli Maijlis.
There was an important amendment made to the Constitution in regards with the official publishing of the normative legal acts because of the Referendum held on March 18, 2009. After the changes, the Constitution, Normative-legal acts must be published. No one can be forced to implement (to observe) normative-legal acts are not published and no one can be brought to responsibility for non-implementation of such acts. Publication of the normative-legal acts is determined by the Constitution.
An electronic database of legislative acts of Azerbaijan (including most recent ones) is offered by the Ministry of Justice and publicly accessible in Azerbaijani. A collection of legal documents from the e-governance of the Republic of Azerbaijan is also available. Collected texts of legislation are also available in editions published by private publishing houses, such as the Qanun publishing house.
The Collection of Decisions of the Judicial-Legal Council on Conduct of Judges is published and distributed to all Judges and other bodies accordingly. The target of the publishing issue is to ensure Judges be familiar with Judges’ conduct decision. Some legal documentation, analysis and report are available in English at the Legal Analysis and Research PU website.
"Edliyye" (Justice) has been published since 2004. Significant sociopolitical events that occur in the country, activity of justice and Judiciary, the state registration of legal bodies, interpretation of the legislation on commercial activity and other materials are published within.
"Cemiyyet və ceza" (Society and Punishment) Journal is being published since 2000 by the Chief Penitentiary Department of the Ministry of Justice and contains free access to legislative acts.
"Bulletin of the Acts of Central Executive Authorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan" is being published since 1997. Legal acts of central executive bodies, which passed through the legal examination and registered with the Ministry of Justice, are published in the Bulletin.
"Bulletin of the Legal Acts of Local Self Government Authorities" is being published since 2003. The Bulletin covers legal acts of municipalities which having been passed through legal examination are registered with the Ministry of Justice, as well as articles devoted to the functioning of municipalities, theoretical and practical publications, methodical manuals and other papers serving to raise legal awareness, etc.
"The Bulletin of the European Court of Human Rights" is a journal published monthly in English. Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on violated provisions of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are represented in the Bulletin. The Bulletin has special significance on reforms that are carried out with regard to the increasing of efficiency of justice and learning of precedent law of the European Court by Judges.
The European Court of Human Rights Agenda (Avropa Mehkemesi Gundeliyi) in Azerbaijani language.
Internet Law Texts:
Legal e-services portal (in Azerbaijani) - The Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan has presented the single Internet portal, developed for the judicial system of the country. According to the Ministry, the portal offers electronic services, developed within the framework of Legal System Modernization Project, being implemented jointly with the World Bank. Through e-services section of the new portal citizens can obtain information about working regime, location of institutions of justice, registration of NGOs and other legal entities, rules of running notarial acts, required documents, the amounts of fees, and execution of judgments. In parallel, the site has search system on Azerbaijani names, their origin and meaning, and the level of their popularity among the population.
The portal creates an opportunity to make an appointment to the responsible employees of the judiciary in online regime via e-services. In the future, due to the portal, citizens will be able to obtain samples of pleadings and other court documents, request and receive answers to their queries in online regime.
- The official texts of the laws in Azerbaijani language can be found at the official website of the Milli Medjlis (Parliament).
- E-Qanun – all laws, decrees, and orders in Azerbaijani.
- The most updated text of the Constitution in English.
- Azerbaijan legislation on human rights and reviews by the OSCE.
9. Law Journals
- Qanun (The Law) journal - public-political, scientific law journal, in Azeri.
- Administrative Law– published in Azerbaijani language and consists of scientific legal articles by the legal professionals of Azerbaijan - Qanunvericilik | Inzibati.az.
- Baku State University Law Review is the first and only student-run and peer-reviewed academic journal in Azerbaijan and a publication of Student Academic Society of BSU Law School. It was founded in November 2014. BSU’s review promotes academic and professional approach to contemporary legal issues which exist in national and comparative law.
- The Prosecutors’ Office of Azerbaijan Republic regularly publishes the "Azərbaycan Prokurorluğu" (Prosecution of Azerbaijan) journal. It is a practical-scientific journal that has been published since May of 2003. Society is informed by the journal on reforms carried out in the prosecution, and scientific basis of organizational works of the prosecution.
- “Qanunchuluq” (The Rule of Law) –official publication of the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court, and General Prosecutor’s office, in Azeri – Printed Publication. "Qanunçuluq" (The Rule of Law) Journal has been published since 1966. It reflects steps made in the field of democratic, legal state creation, progress of judicial legal reforms and its results, activity of courts, justice, prosecutors and other law enforcement authorities, measures taken in the field of human rights.
10. Azerbaijan Law Schools
ADA University: ADA University was established under the decree dated January 13th, 2014, by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The University is a state higher education institution engaged in the delivery of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in addition to the advancement of research. The University is the legal heir of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA) and Information Technologies University. They were merged in January 2014 to establish ADA University. Founded on March 6, 2006, the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy began offering an Advanced Foreign Service Program to diplomats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and civil servants in the government, as of January 2007. The Academy launched its first master’s degree in September 2009, followed by bachelor’s degrees in September 2011.
Baku State University Law Faculty: According to the directions of Azerbaijan C(b)P, in 1927 during the Soviet time, under the decision of administrative personnel of Azerbaijan State University and State Scientific Board of Public Education Commissariat of the Republic, the branch of law was created within the Oriental Studies department of the University. In 1928 the Branch of Law became the Faculty of Law Student Contingent. During that time the Faculty of Law graduated thousands of students in the following concentrations:
- Scientific – Technical Basis
- Criminalistic Laboratory
- Clinic of Law
Today, there are 1,021 fulltime students. There are 471 students in correspondence department and a total of 1,295 students in the bachelor’s degree of the faculty of law program. There are additional 587 students in additional law-related fields. Generally, 1,933 students study the Law Sciences and train to be lawyers. There are three new graduate programs in English at the faculty of law. Vast majority of the professors teaching at this program are graduates of leading European and American universities.