UPDATE: Introducing the Legal System of North Macedonia
By Servaas Feiertag, LL.M.
Mr. Servaas Feiertag is an independent consultant and senior international expert at Servaas Feiertag Consultancy in the areas of the rule of law, justice reform, good governance, integrity & anti-corruption mechanisms, and organizational development in South Eastern Europe (since 2020, notably in the Republic of North Macedonia with public institutions and civil society), Sub Sahara Africa, and the MENA region. Over the last 25 years he has held various senior expert and management positions at the international level such as program manager, principal legal counsel, senior legal consultant/team leader, and project leader.
NOTE: This article is a complete re-write of the previous version.
Published November/December 2023
(Previously updated by Nic Angelov in October 2011)
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Basic Data
- 3. History
- 4. Rule of Law
- 5. TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI)
- 6. Constitution
- 7. The Organization of State Authority
- 7.1. The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 61–78)
- 7.2. The President of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 79–87)
- 7.3. The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 88–97)
- 7.4. The Judiciary (Articles 98–105)
- 7.4.1. The Judicial Council
- 7.5. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (Articles 106–107)
- 8. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 108–113)
- 9. Links to Sources Available Open Access
This update to the previous version of the guide to legal research in North Macedonia seeks to promote and support legal research on the legal system of the Republic of North Macedonia. It concentrates on the constitutional legal framework based on the English translation of the constitution provided by the website of the National Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, and English translations of other laws, such as the law on the judicial council and the law on the courts. Legal concepts in the English translation may have a somewhat different meaning beyond the direct translation of the actual words and terms. Sometimes it may only be a small nuance, but it should be always observed as a limitation of this guide. Researchers and readers are strongly recommended to consult the original legal texts and documents (and their updates) in the Macedonian language, also in recognition of the fact that the legal framework regularly changes and is likely to continue to do so in the future. In the last few years, the Constitution has been updated several times and this article is reflecting several of these changes. For example, the name of the Republic of North Macedonia, which was not yet reflected in the available English translation, is included in this article to avoid confusion. More changes are planned in the coming years, and it is recommended to regularly check online whether a new translation of the Constitution has become available.
This update discusses the state of the rule of law and the themes of corruption and integrity based on information provided in online resources such as the World Justice Project and the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. The article does not intend to guide or inform practical legal analysis and/or use of this guide for concrete cases but aims to contribute to a better general understanding of the legal system of the Republic of North Macedonia. The guide does not pretend to be exhaustive, complete and/or to address all legal themes that are relevant in the Republic of North Macedonia today. For any concrete cases one should seek and get qualified legal advice and assistance.
The structure of the guide is as follows: It starts with basic data on the country and population and a short history. It describes some aspects of the state of the rule of law and the themes of integrity and corruption and includes a description of the constitutional legal framework as expressed in the Constitution.
2. Basic Data
The Republic of North Macedonia is a landlocked country which shares borders with Kosovo to the Northwest, with Serbia to the North, with Bulgaria to the east, with Greece to the South and with Albania to the west.
The Republic of North Macedonia has a population of 2,083,143 (est. March 2023) and the population’s growth rate is 0.12%. The capital city is Skopje, with approximately 600,000 inhabitants and growing. The official languages of the country are Macedonian and, since 2018, Albanian. The main religions in North Macedonia are Macedonian Orthodox (46.1%), Islam (32.2%), other Christian (13.8%), other and non-believers (0.5%), unspecified (0.2%), persons for whom data were taken from administrative sources and no religious affiliation data was available 7.2% (2021 est.)
The age structure of the population broken down by group:
- 0-14 years: 16.16% (male 177,553/female 165,992)
- 15-24 years: 12.65% (male 139,250/female 129,770)
- 25-54 years: 44.47% (male 480,191/female 465,145)
- 55-64 years: 12.55% (male 131,380/female 135,407)
- 65 years and over: 14.17% (male 131,674/female 169,609) (2020 est.)
Life expectancy at birth for the general population is 76.84 years. For men it is 74.73 years, and for women 79.08 years.
An important historical figure is Justinian I, the Roman emperor born near to Skopje who reigned over the Byzantine Empire from 527 to 565. He is known for his military successes in reconquering territories previously lost by the Roman Empire, but in this context, he must mainly be remembered for his role in the establishment of the Corpus Iuris Civilis. He ordered a review and analysis of Roman law, which was an ambitious and challenging project to design and implement to create an updated and coherent legal system. The Corpus Iuris Civilis consists of the Codex Justinianus, the Digesta, the Institutiones and the Novellae. Jointly these formed the main legal basis for the Byzantian legal system until 1453, and formed the basis for European continental legal systems even though there were also other influences such as local customary laws and commentaries on the Corpus Iuris Civilis that were used to interpret and adjust the application of the law in concrete cases (also known as the glossators and post glossators).
The territory now known as the Republic of North Macedonia was part of the Ottoman Empire for many centuries after they conquered the territory at the end of the 14th century and held it until 1912. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries several attempts were made to become an independent nation, but they failed. It was after the first Balkan War in 1912 that the territory was divided between Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. The part ruled by Serbia later became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After the Second World War, the territories of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, including Macedonia, became part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
The territory of the Republic of North Macedonia, the name under which the country is known today, became independent from the former state of Yugoslavia in 1991. The country underwent several name changes since its independence. In 2017 the country signed a historical deal to change the name into the Republic of North Macedonia. This was deemed important to become a member of NATO and to not damage the prospects of an EU membership. The country was granted candidate status for EU membership in December 2005. In March 2020, the European Council endorsed the decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia. After the Council approved of the negotiating framework, in accordance with the revised enlargement methodology, the EU started the opening phase of accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia on 19 July 2022.
4. Rule of Law
The state of the rule of law is an important theme in the negotiations with the European Union for membership in the EU. The rule of law is also an important theme in several projects funded by international and bilateral donors.
North Macedonia ranked 63rd among 140 countries in the WJP Index 2022 with a score of 0.53 (maximum score is 1), which is in line with the average score in the region. The WJP index measures on eight criteria. Scores for North Macedonia are highest in the areas of order and security (0.8) and fundamental rights (0.6). Lower scores are found in the areas of constraints on government (0.47), absence of corruption (0.45) and criminal justice (0.45), whereas open government (0.50), fundamental rights (0.50), regulatory enforcement (0.48) and civil justice (0.52) reflect the overall score.
5. TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI)
The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI CPI) measures the perception of corruption in a country and since 2012 scores can be compared between years. A perfect score is 100, which means that the perception is that there is no corruption. The scores of the Republic of North Macedonia on the perception on corruption are on average with 39 at the lower end of the scores and indicate that the perception is that there are problems with corruption.
|TI CPI - Year
This article follows the logic of the constitution and elaborates the constitutional arrangements in a few areas. For example, in the section on the judiciary the law on the judicial council and the law on the courts will be discussed. The Constitution was amended several times, this overview is based on the latest translated version of the Constitution. It can be expected that more changes will be made to the Constitution and organic laws in the next few years. The translated constitution can be found on the website of Parliament: Constitution of North Macedonia.
The preamble of the Constitution will be reviewed over the course of 2023 and will reflect an elaboration of rights of minorities. It is expected that other changes will be made in the future.
6.2. Basic Provisions (Articles 1–8)
The basic provisions of the Constitution present the Republic of North Macedonia as a sovereign, independent, democratic, and social state based in the capital Skopje. A subject of the Republic of Macedonia may neither be deprived of citizenship, nor expelled or extradited to another state (Article 4).
Fundamental values are expressed in Article 8:
- the basic freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen, recognized in international law and set down in the Constitution;
- the free expression of national identity;
- the rule of law;
- the division of state powers into legislative, executive and judicial;
- political pluralism and free, direct and democratic elections;
- the legal protection of property;
- the freedom of the market and entrepreneurship;
- humanism, social justice and solidarity;
- local self-government;
- proper urban and rural planning to promote a congenial human environment, as well as ecological protection and development; and
- respect for the generally accepted norms of international law.
Anything that is not prohibited by the Constitution or by law is permitted in the Republic of North Macedonia.
6.3. Basic Freedoms and Rights of the Individual and Citizen (Articles 29–60)
Civil and Political Freedoms and Rights (Articles 9–29):
Civil and political freedoms and rights include but are not limited to:
- the equality principle
- the explicit statement that the death penalty cannot be imposed
- the forbidding of any form of torture
- the legality principle (nulla poena sine lege)
- presumption of innocence
- human right to freedom
- right to appeal
- right to access to information
- right to vote when one reaches the age of 18
- right to petition state and other public bodies
- right to privacy, inviolability of the home, free movement on the territory of the state
- freedom of expression
- freedom of personal conviction, conscience, thought and public expression of thought
- freedom and confidentiality of correspondence and other forms of communication
- freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly
Foreign subjects enjoy freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Constitution in the Republic of Macedonia, under conditions regulated by law and international agreements.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles 30–49):
Economic, social, and cultural rights include:
- property and inheritance rights
- rights to work
- the obligation to pay taxes
- right to social security, social protection, and social security of citizens in accordance with the principle of social justice
- particular social security rights to veterans of the Anti-Fascist War and of all Macedonian national liberation wars, to war invalids, and to those expelled and imprisoned for the ideas of the separate identity of the Macedonian people and of Macedonian statehood
- right to establish trade unions
- right to strike
- right to health care
- particular care and protection for the family
- special protections for particularly for mothers, children and minors
- right to a healthy environment to live in
- right to education
- freedom of scholarly, artistic, and other forms of creative work
- protection of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of the nationalities on national territory.
The Republic cares for the status and rights of those persons belonging to the North Macedonian people in neighboring countries, as well as North Macedonian expatriates, assists their cultural development, and promotes links with them.
Guarantees of Basic Freedoms and Rights (Articles 50–54):
The constitution provides mechanisms on how citizens can enforce basic freedoms and rights. Every citizen may invoke the protection of freedoms and rights determined by the Constitution before the regular courts, as well as before the Constitutional Court of North Macedonia, through a procedure based upon the principles of priority and urgency. In the Republic of North Macedonia, laws shall be in accordance with the Constitution, and all other regulations in accordance with the Constitution and law. Everyone is obliged to respect the Constitution and the laws. Laws and other regulations are published before they come into force and may not have a retroactive effect, except in cases when this is more favorable for the citizens. The freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen can be restricted only in cases determined by the Constitution, such as during the state of war or emergency, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Some basic freedoms and rights are excluded from restrictions, and these include the right to life, the interdiction of torture, inhuman and humiliating conduct and punishment, the legal determination of punishable offences and sentences, as well as to the freedom of personal conviction, conscience, thought and religious confession.
Foundations for Economic Relations (Articles 55–60):
The freedom of the market and entrepreneurship is guaranteed, and the state ensures an equal legal position to all parties in the market. The state acts against monopolies and stimulates economic development and progress. The national bank issues the national currency is autonomous and responsible for the stability of the national currency, monetary policy and for the general liquidity of payments in the Republic and abroad.
7. The Organization of State Authority
The mandates and institutional arrangements of the three branches of power (the legislative, executive, and judicial powers) are described in this section on the organization of state authority.
7.1. The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 61–78)
The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia is a representative body of the citizens, and the legislative power of the Republic is vested in it. The organization and functioning of the Assembly are regulated by the Constitution and by the Rules of Procedure. The Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia is composed of 120 to 140 Representatives, who are elected in general, direct, and free elections by secret ballot for a mandate of four years. The Representative represents the citizens and makes decisions in the Assembly in accordance with his/her personal convictions. The mandate of a representative cannot be revoked. Representatives enjoy immunity and cannot be held to have committed a criminal offence or be detained because of views he/she has expressed or to the way he/she has voted in the Assembly. A Representative cannot be detained without the approval of the Assembly unless found committing a criminal offence for which a prison sentence of at least five years is prescribed.
A Representative may resign his/her mandate. The mandate is terminated terminates if the representative is sentenced for a criminal offence for which a prison sentence of at least five years is prescribed. The mandate of a representative can also be revoked for committing a criminal offence making him/her unfit to perform the office of a Representative, as well as for absence from the Assembly for longer than six months without a justifiable reason. Revocation of the mandate is determined by the Assembly by a two-thirds majority vote of all Representatives.
The Assembly elects a President and one or more Vice-Presidents from the ranks of the Representatives by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives.
Article 68 of the Constitution describes the mandate of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, which:
- adopts and changes the Constitution
- adopts laws and gives the authentic interpretation of laws
- determines public taxes and fees
- adopts the budget and the balance of payments of the Republic
- adopts the spatial plan of the Republic
- ratifies international agreements
- decides on war and peace
- makes decisions concerning any changes in the borders of the Republic
- makes decisions on association in and disassociation from any form of union or community with other states
- issues notice of a referendum
- makes decisions concerning the reserves of the Republic
- sets up councils
- elects the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia
- elects judges to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia
- carries out elections and discharges judges
- selects, appoints, and dismisses other holders of public and other office determined by the Constitution and law
- carries out political monitoring and supervision of the Government and other holders od public office responsible to the Assembly
- proclaims amnesties; and
- performs other activities determined by the Constitution.
In carrying out the duties within its sphere of competence, the Assembly adopts decisions, declarations, resolutions, recommendations, and conclusions. The meetings of the Assembly are open to the public. The Assembly may decide to work without the presence of the public by a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Representatives. Members of the assembly can propose new laws.
The Assembly elects the Public Attorney. The Public Attorney protects the constitutional and legal rights of citizens when violated by bodies of state administration and by other bodies and organizations with public mandates. The Public Attorney is elected for a term of eight years, with the right to one reelection. The conditions for election and dismissal, the sphere of competence and the mode of work of the Public Attorney are regulated by law.
The Assembly establishes a Council for Inter-Ethnic Relations. The Council consists of the President of the Assembly and two members each from the ranks of the Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Vlachs and Romanies, as well as two members from the ranks of other nationalities in Macedonia. The President of the Assembly is President of the Council. The Assembly elects the members of the Council. The Council considers issues of inter-ethnic relations in the Republic and makes appraisals and proposals for their solution. The Assembly is obliged to take into consideration the appraisals and proposals of the Council and to make decisions regarding them.
7.2. The President of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 79–87)
The President of the Republic of North Macedonia represents the Republic. The President of the Republic is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of North Macedonia. The President of the Republic exercises his/her rights and duties on the basis and within the framework of the Constitution and laws.
The President of the Republic is elected in general and direct elections, by secret ballot, for a term of five years. The President can be elected for a second term, must be 40 years or older, hold citizenship of the Republic of the North Macedonia and at least have been a resident for two-thirds of the 15 years preceding the election.
Candidates for the presidential elections can be nominated by a minimum of 10,000 voters or at least 30 Representatives. A candidate is elected as President of the Republic if he/she has obtained a majority of the votes. If no candidate has won the required majority of the votes, then the two candidates with most votes compete in a second round. The candidate with a majority of the total votes wins, provided that more than 50% of the registered voters have indeed voted. If not, the elections are repeated.
If the President dies, resign, or suffers from a permanent inability to perform his/her duties, or in case of termination of the mandate in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, then the office of the President of the Republic is carried out by the President of the Assembly until the election of the new President.
Decisions on the applicability of the above-mentioned conditions are taken by the Constitutional Court. If the President is temporarily unable to perform duties, then the President of the Assembly acts as a deputy and then takes part in the work of the Assembly without the right to vote.
The duties of the President of the Republic are incompatible with the performance of any other public office, profession, or appointment in a political party. The President of the Republic is granted immunity. A decision to withhold immunity is taken by the Constitutional Court with a two-thirds majority vote of the total number of Constitutional Court judges.
The mandate of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia includes that he/she:
- nominates a mandator to constitute the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia;
- appoints and dismisses by decree ambassadors and other diplomatic representatives of the Republic of North Macedonia abroad;
- accepts the credentials and letters of recall of foreign diplomatic representatives;
- proposes two judges to sit on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia;
- proposes two members of the Judicial Council of the Republic of North Macedonia;
- appoints three members to the Security Council of the Republic of North Macedonia;- proposes the members of the Council for Inter-Ethnic Relations;
- appoints and dismisses other holders of state and public office determined by the Constitution and the law;
- grants decorations and honors in accordance with the law;
- grants pardons in accordance with the law; and
- performs other duties determined by the Constitution.
The President of the Republic is President of the Security Council of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Security Council of the Republic is composed of the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly, the Prime Minister, the Ministers heading the bodies of state administration in the fields of security, defense, and foreign affairs, and three members appointed by the President of the Republic. The Council considers issues relating to the security and defense of the Republic and makes policy proposals to the Assembly and the Government.
The President is held accountable for any violation of the Constitution in exercising his/her rights and duties. Such a procedure is initiated by the Assembly and decided upon by the Constitutional Court with a qualified majority vote.
7.3. The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 88–97)
The executive power is vested in the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia. The Government exercises its rights and competence on the basis and within the framework of the Constitution and law.
The Government is composed of a prime Minister and Ministers. The Prime Minister and the Ministers cannot be Representatives in the Assembly. The Prime Minister, and Ministers are granted immunity. The Government decides on their immunity.
The Government of the Republic of North Macedonia
- determines the policy of carrying out the laws and other regulations of the Assembly and is responsible for their execution;
- proposes laws, the budget of the Republic and other regulations adopted by the Assembly;
- proposes a spatial plan of the Republic;
- proposes decisions concerning the reserves of the Republic and sees to their execution;
- adopts bylaws and other acts for the execution of laws;
- lays down principles on the internal organization and work of the Ministries and other administrative bodies, directing and supervising their work;
- provides appraisals of drafts of laws and other acts submitted to the Assembly by other authorized bodies;
- decides on the recognition of states and governments;
- establishes diplomatic and consular relations with other states;
- makes decisions on opening diplomatic and consular offices abroad;
- proposes the appointment of ambassadors and Representatives of the Republic of North Macedonia abroad and appoints chiefs of consular offices;
- proposes the Public Prosecutor;
- appoints and dismisses holders of public and other office determined by the Constitution and laws; and
- performs other duties determined by the Constitution and law.
The Government and each of its members are accountable to the Assembly. The Assembly may take a vote of no-confidence in the Government. A vote of no-confidence in the Government is adopted by a majority vote of all the Representatives. If a vote of no-confidence in the Government is passed, the Government is obliged to submit its resignation.
The Government itself has the right to raise the question of confidence before the Assembly. The Government has the right go submit its resignation. The resignation of the Prime Minister, his/her death, or permanent inability to perform his/her duties entail the resignation of the Government. The Government ceases its term of office when the Assembly is dissolved. When a vote of no-confidence in the Government has been passed, it has submitted its resignation, or its term of office has ceased owing to the dissolution of the Assembly, the same Government remains on duty until the election of a new Government.
A member of the Government has the right to submit his/her resignation. The Prime Minister may propose the dismissal of a member of the Government. The Assembly decides on the proposal for the dismissal of a member of the Government at its first meeting following the proposal.
The state administration consists of Ministries and other administrative bodies and organizations determined by law. Political organization and activities within bodies of state administration are prohibited. The organization and work of the bodies of state administration are regulated by a law to be adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of all Representatives.
The bodies of state administration perform the duties within their sphere of competence autonomously and on the basis and within the framework of the Constitution and laws, being accountable for their work to the Government. The bodies of state administration in the fields of defense and the police are to be headed by civilians who have been civilians for at least three years before their election to these offices.
7.4. The Judiciary (Articles 98–105)
The Judiciary forms the third branch of government, the judicial power. The judicial power is exercised by courts, which are autonomous and independent. Courts judge based on the Constitution and laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution. There is one form of organization for the judiciary; emergency courts are prohibited. The types of courts, their spheres of competence, their establishment, abrogation, organization, and composition, as well as the procedure they follow are regulated by a law adopted by a majority vote of two-thirds of the total number of Representatives.
In North Macedonia, a judge
- is elected without restriction of his/her term of office.
- cannot be transferred against his/her will.
- is discharged
- if the judge so requests;
- if the judge permanently loses the capability of carrying out a judge’s office, which is determined by the Republican Judicial Council;
- if the judge fulfills the conditions for retirement;
- if the judge is sentenced for a criminal offence to a prison term of a minimum of six months;
- owing to a serious disciplinary offence defined in law, making him/her unsuitable to perform a judge’s office as decided by the Judicial Council of the Republic of North Macedonia; or
- owing to unprofessional and unethical performance of the judge’s office, as decided by the Judicial Council of the Republic of North Macedonia in a procedure regulated by law.
The law on courts (2019) elaborates the mandate and operations of courts. It includes basic principles for fair trial, human rights, rule of law standards and other provisions. According to the Law on Courts, the court shall adjudicate in a procedure prescribed by law:
- on human and citizens’ rights and legal interests,
- on disputes between citizens and other legal entities,
- on crimes and misdemeanors, and on other matters that, under law, fall within the competence of the court. (Article 4)
Article 22 describes the types of courts, determining that the basic courts, the courts of appeal, the Administrative Court, the Higher Administrative Court, and the Supreme Court of the Republic of North Macedonia shall exercise the judicial power within the judicial system.
There are 27 Basic Courts that function as courts of first instance, four Courts of Appeal, one Administrative Court, one Higher Administrative Court, and one Supreme Court. At present, the total number of judges is 480.
7.4.1. The Judicial Council
The Judicial Council plays an important role in the justice sector, which is elaborated in the law on the judicial council of 2019, of which a non-official translation can be found at Law on the Judicial Council 2019
According to the law on the Judicial Council the aim of establishment is that the Judicial Council of the Republic shall be an autonomous and independent judicial body. The Council shall ensure and guarantee the autonomy and independence of the judicial authority, through performing its function in accordance with the Constitution and the laws (Article 2).
The Composition of the Council is regulated by Article 6. The Judicial Council shall consist of 15 members, out of whom:
- the president of the Supreme Court of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Minister of Justice shall be ex officio members.
- eight members of the Council shall be elected by the judges from among their ranks,
- three of the elected members shall be members of the of the communities that are not in majority in the Republic of North Macedonia, where the principle of equitable representation of citizens belonging to all the communities shall be observed.
- the Assembly of the republic of North Macedonia shall elect three members of the Council with a majority of votes from the total number of representatives, wherefore there has to be majority votes of the representatives belonging to the communities that are not in majority in the Republic of North Macedonia.
- two members shall be proposed by the President of the Republic of North Macedonia and elected by the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, one of whom shall be a member of the communities that are not in the majority in the Republic of North Macedonia.
The members of the judicial council have a six-year term of office, with the possibility of a second term. The ex officio members cease to be members when their functions as president of the Supreme Court or Ministry of Justice are terminated.
The law on the Judicial Council determines the competence, organization, and manner of operation of the Council in Article 36. The Council shall have the competence to:
- select and dismiss judges,
- select and dismiss the presidents of the courts,
- determine termination of the judicial office,
- select and dismiss lay judges,
- follow and assess the work of the judges,
- to decide on the disciplinary responsibility of a member of the Council,
- decide on the disciplinary liability of a judge, or president of court,
- decide on revoking the immunity of a judge,
- decide upon requests for approving detention for a judge,
- nominate two judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia from among the judges,
- examine the annual report of the Supreme Court of the Republic of North Macedonia regarding the determined fundamental principles and fundamental legal opinions upon issues of importance for the purpose of securing unity in the application of the laws,
- decide on the temporary suspension of a judge from the judicial office, and a member of a council from performing the office of a member of a council,
- determine the number of necessary judicial positions per courts,
- review and assess the quarterly and annual reports on the work of the courts and to publish them publicly on its website, and,
- act upon complaints by citizens and legal entities for the work of the judges, the presidents of the courts and the courts,
- care for the reputation of the judges and the trust of the citizens in the judiciary,
- submit an annual report on the work,
- adopt the Rules of Procedure and other general acts regulating the work within its competence;
- determine an orientation number of cases which should be decided by a judge monthly, and carry out other activities determined by law.
The Judicial Council has a strong mandate, especially when compared, for example, with those in Northern and Western Europe. In the Western Balkans it is, however, not unusual that the Judicial Council has a strong mandate.
7.5. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (Articles 106–107)
The Public Prosecutor's Office is a single and autonomous state body carrying out legal measures against persons who have committed criminal and other offences determined by law, it also performs other duties determined by law. The Public Prosecutor's Office carries out its duties based on and within the framework of the Constitution and law. The Public Prosecutor is appointed by the Assembly for a term of six years and is discharged by the Assembly.
The Public Prosecutor is granted immunity. The Assembly decides on his/her immunity. The office of the Public Prosecutor is incompatible with the performance of any other public office, profession, or membership in a political party.
8. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia (Articles 108–113)
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia is a body of the Republic to protect the constitutionality and legality. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia is composed of nine judges. The Assembly elects the judges to the Constitutional Court by a majority vote of the total number of Representatives. The term of office of the judges is nine years without the right to reelection. The Constitutional Court elects a President from its own ranks for a term of three years without the right to reelection. Judges of the Constitutional Court are elected from the ranks of outstanding members of the legal profession (Articles 108–109).
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of North Macedonia has the following mandate and:
- decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution;
- decides on the conformity of collective agreements and other regulations with the Constitution and laws;
- protects the freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen relating to the freedom of conviction, conscience, thought and public expression of thought, political association and activity as well as to the prohibition of discrimination among citizens on the ground of sex, race, religion or national, social or political affiliation;
- decides on conflicts of competency among holders of legislative, executive and judicial offices;
- decides on conflicts of competency among Republic bodies and units of local self-government;
- decides on the answerability of the President of the Republic;
- decides on the constitutionality of the programmes and statutes of political parties and associations of citizens; and
- decides on other issues determined by the Constitution. (Article 110)
The Constitutional Court shall repeal or invalidate a law if it determines that the law does not conform to the Constitution. The Constitutional Court shall repeal or invalidate a collective agreement, other regulation or enactment, statute or programme of a political party or association, if it determines that the same does not conform to the Constitution or law. The decisions of the Constitutional Court are final and executive (Article 112).
9. Links to Sources Available Open Access
Please note that these links to English resources are there to promote learning more about the legal system in North Macedonia, but the accuracy of translations is not guaranteed, and you use these links at your own risk. For any concrete legal matters and issues, you must consult the original, up to date laws in the Macedonian language and get professional legal assistance.
- English translation of the Constitution (2019). Changes have been, made and more changes are expected in coming years.
- Article on upcoming constitutional changes in 2023
- CIA World Factbook
- North Macedonia 2022 Report
- Legislation Online – North Macedonia
- Government of the Republic of North Macedonia website