V. The Judicial Authority

Part Two: The Constitutional Court

 

 

Article 118

The Constitutional Court is an independent judicial body, composed of 12 competent members, three-quarters of whom are legal experts with at least 20 years of experience.

The President of the Republic, the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, and the Supreme Judicial Council shall each appoint four members, three quarters of whom must be legal specialists. The nomination is for a single nine-year term.

One-third of the members of the Constitutional Court shall be renewed every three years. Any vacancies in the Court shall be filled according to the same procedure followed upon the establishment of the court, taking into account the appointing party and the relevant areas of specialization.

Members of the Court elect a President and a Vice President of the Court from amongst its members who are specialists in law.

 

Article 119

Combining membership in the Constitutional Court with any other function or task is prohibited.

 

Article 120

The Constitutional Court is the sole body competent to oversee the constitutionality of the following:

  • Draft laws, upon the request of the President of the Republic, the Head of Government, or thirty members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. The request shall be filed within seven days from the Assembly’s ratification of the draft law or ratification of a draft law in a modified version, after it has been returned from the President of the Republic.
  • Constitutional draft laws submitted to it by the President of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People as specified in Article 144 or to determine whether the procedures of amending the Constitution have been respected.
  • Treaties presented to it by the President of the Republic before the draft law approving them is signed.
  • Laws referred to it by courts as a result of a request filed by a court, in the case of the invocation of a claim of unconstitutionality by one of the parties in litigation, in accordance with the procedures established by law.
  • The rules of procedure of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, submitted to it by the Speaker of the Assembly.

The Constitutional Court is also responsible for other tasks that are conferred upon it by the Constitution.

 

Article 121

Decisions of the Constitutional Court are passed within 45 days from the date of challenging constitutionality. Decisions are taken by the absolute majority of the members of the Constitutional Court. The decision of the Court shall state whether the challenged rulings are constitutional or not. Decisions passed by the Constitutional Court shall be reasoned, binding to all authorities and published in the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic.

If the deadline specified in the first paragraph expires without the Court having passed its decision, it must immediately refer the draft law to the President of the Republic.

 

Article 122

An unconstitutional draft law shall be referred to the President of the Republic who refers it to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People for a second reading in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s decision. The President of the Republic shall, before signing the draft law, resubmit it to the Constitutional Court to reconsider and rule on its constitutionality.

In the case of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People adopting a draft law, amended following its return, and where the court had affirmed its constitutionality or referred it to the President after expiry of the deadline for rendering its decision, the President of the Republic shall then refer it to the Constitutional Court before signing it.

 

Article 123

In the event the Constitutional Court is asked to rule on a claim of unconstitutionality, the Court shall limit itself to examining the challenges made, on which it rules within a three-month period renewable only once and for the same period, and on the basis of a reasoned decision.

If the Constitutional Court decides that a law is unconstitutional, the law’s implementation is suspended within the limits specified by the Court.

 

Article 124

The law shall regulate the organization of the Constitutional Court, and the procedures it should follow, as well as the guarantees enjoyed by its members.