Georgia ranks high in the region as a good place to do business, reads the 2021 Investment Climate Statements report published by the US Department of State. However, the document also notes that there’s an increasing lack of confidence in the judicial sector’s ability to adjudicate commercial cases independently or in a timely, competent manner.
“Overall, business and investment conditions are sound. However, some companies have expressed an increasing lack of confidence in the judicial sector’s ability to adjudicate commercial cases independently or in a timely, competent manner, with some business dispute cases languishing in the court system for years. Other companies complain of inefficient decision-making processes at the municipal level, shortcomings in the enforcement of intellectual property rights, lack of effective anti-trust policies, selective enforcement of economic laws, and difficulties resolving disputes over property rights.
“The Georgian government continues to work to address these issues and, despite these remaining challenges, Georgia ranks high in the region as a good place to do business,” reads the report.
The document notes that although the constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, there remain indications of interference in judicial independence and impartiality.
“Judges are vulnerable to political pressure from within and outside of the judiciary.
“There were reports of lack of due process and respect for rule of law in a number of property rights cases.
“Disputes over property rights at times have undermined confidence in the impartiality of the Georgian judicial system and rule of law, and by extension, Georgia’s investment climate. The government identified judicial reform as one of its top priorities, and Parliament has passed a series of reforms aimed at strengthening judicial independence. While reforms have improved the independence of the judiciary, politically sensitive cases are still vulnerable to political pressure. The High Council of Justice is currently dominated by a group of anti-reform judges. Civil society asserts this group applies pressure on judges in politically sensitive cases. The government recently adopted additional judicial reforms focused on improving judicial discipline rules and regulating the operations of the High School of Justice and High Council of Justice,” reads the report.
The document also notes that violent street protests are uncommon, but there were significant clashes in June 2019 when protesters attempted to enter Parliament. Hundreds were injured, including some who suffered severe eye injuries due to police use of rubber bullets. “Generally,” it notes, “police have fulfilled their duty to maintain order even in cases of unannounced protests.”
The US Department of State released the 2021 Investment Climate Statements on July 21, which analyze the investment climates of more than 170 countries and economies that are current or potential markets for American companies. The reports provide up-to-date information gathered by economic officers in embassies and consulates worldwide, helping US companies make informed business decisions.