It shall be the function of the courts to guarantee and strengthen the rule of law as an instrument of legal stability, to guarantee respect for the laws, to safeguard the rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as the vested interests of other bodies and entities that have legal existence.
The courts shall punish violations of the legal order and shall adjudicate cases in accordance with the law.
The law may establish institutional and procedural mechanisms for links between courts and other forums whose purpose is the settlement of interests and the resolution of disputes.
Article 213. Educational Function
The courts shall educate citizens and the public administration in the voluntary and conscientious observance of laws, thereby establishing a just and harmonious social community.
Article 214. Unconstitutionality
In matters brought before them for decision, the courts shall not apply laws or principles that are contrary to the Constitution.
Article 215. Court Decisions
Court decisions shall be binding on all citizens and other legal persons, and these decisions shall take precedence over the decisions of other authorities.
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Elected magistrates may take part in trials, in the terms of the law.
Elected magistrates shall only take part in first instance judgements and in decisions on questions of fact.
Participation of elected magistrates shall be compulsory in cases where the procedural law requires it, or when the trial judge so decides, when the Public Prosecution Service recommends it or when the parties request it.
The law shall establish the manner in which the magistrates referred to in this article are elected, as well as the duration of their terms of office.
CHAPTER II. STATUTE OF JUDGES
Article 217. Independence of Judges
In the exercise of their functions, judges shall be independent and shall owe obedience only to the law.
Judges shall likewise be impartial and unaccountable.
Judges shall be irremovable, inasmuch as they cannot be transferred, suspended, retired or dismissed, except in the cases established by law.
Article 218. Responsibility
Judges may be held responsible in civil, criminal and disciplinary proceedings for acts committed in the discharge of their duties only in cases specified by law.
The removal of a professional judge from the bench may take place only under legally established terms.
Article 219. Incompatibility
Judges in office may not undertake any other public or private activity, except for teaching, legal research or other activities of scientific, literary, artistic and technical dissemination or publication, with prior authorisation from the Superior Council of the Judiciary.
Article 220. Superior Council of the Judiciary
The Superior Council of the Judiciary shall be the body responsible for the management and discipline of the judiciary.
Article 221. Composition
The Superior Council of the Judiciary shall be composed of:
the President of the Supreme Court;
the Vice President of the Supreme Court;
two members appointed by the President of the Republic;
five members elected by the Assembly of the Republic, according to principles of proportional representation;
seven members of the judiciary in different categories, all of whom shall be elected by their peers in the terms of the Statute of Judges.
The Superior Council of the Judiciary shall be presided over by the President of the Supreme Court, who shall be substituted, in cases of absence or disability, by the Vice President of the Supreme Court.
The Superior Council of the Judiciary shall incorporate officers of justice elected by their peers for discussion and deliberation on matters related to professional merit and to the exercise disciplinary authority over them, in terms to be established by law.
The law shall regulate all other matters in respect of the powers, organization and functioning of the Superior Council of the Judiciary.
Article 222. Powers
The Superior Council of the Judiciary shall have power to:
nominate, appoint, transfer, promote, exonerate and evaluate professional merit, take disciplinary action and, in general, carry out all acts of the same nature in relation to members of the judiciary;
evaluate professional merit and take disciplinary action in relation to officers of justice, without prejudice to the disciplinary powers assigned to judges;
propose extraordinary inspections, inquiries and investigations to the courts;
give opinions and make recommendations on the policy of the judiciary, on its own initiative or at the request of the President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly of the Republic or the Government.
CHAPTER III. ORGANISATION OF THE COURTS
SECTION I. CATEGORIES OR COURTS
Article 223. Categories of Courts
In the Republic of Mozambique, there shall be the following courts:
the Supreme Court;
the Administrative Court;
the courts of justice.
There may be administrative courts, labour courts, fiscal courts, customs courts, admiralty courts, arbitration courts and community courts.
The powers, organisation and functioning of the courts referred to in the preceding paragraph shall be established by law, which may provide for a hierarchical order among courts from provincial courts to the Supreme Court.
The courts of justice shall have common jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters and shall exercise their jurisdiction over all areas not assigned to other jurisdictional orders.
At first instance, there may be courts of special jurisdiction and specialized courts to adjudicate particular matters.
The establishment of courts with exclusive jurisdiction to try specific categories of crimes shall not be permitted, subject to the provisions on courts martial.
Article 224. Courts Martial
Courts martial with jurisdiction to try crimes of a strictly military nature shall be established during times of war.
SECTION II. SUPREME COURT
Article 225. Definition
The Supreme Court shall be the highest body within the hierarchy of courts of justice.
The Supreme Court shall ensure the uniform application of the law within its sphere of jurisdiction, in the interests of the Mozambican people.
Article 226. Composition
The Supreme Court shall be composed of judges of appeal, whose number shall be established by law.
The President of the Republic shall nominate the President and the Vice President of the Supreme Court, after consultation with the Superior Council of the Judiciary.
Judges of the Supreme Court shall be nominated by the President of the Republic on the recommendation of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, on the basis of their curricula, after a public tender open to judges and other national citizens of reputed merit, all of whom shall hold degrees in law and be in full possession of their civil and political rights.
At the time of their appointment, judges of the Supreme Court shall be of at least thirty-five years of age and shall have at least ten years of experience at the bar or in teaching law, and all other requirements shall be fixed by law.
Article 227. Functioning
The Supreme Court shall sit:
in divisions, as a court of first instance and as a court of appeal;
in plenary session, sitting either as a court of appeal or as a court of sole instance, in cases expressly provided for in the law.
SECTION III. ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
Article 228. Definition
The Administrative Court shall be the highest body in the hierarchy of administrative, customs and fiscal courts.
The Administrative Court shall control the legality of administrative acts and the application of rules and regulations issued by the Public Administration, and it shall scrutinise the legality of public expenditure and the enforcement of liability for financial infractions.
Article 229. Composition
The Administrative Court shall be composed of judges of appeal, whose number shall be established by law.
The President of the Republic shall nominate the President of the Administrative Court, after consultation with the Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary.
Judges of the Administrative Court shall be nominated by the President of the Republic on the recommendation of the Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary.
At the time of their appointment, judges of the Administrative Court shall be of at least thirty-five years of age and shall meet all other requirements established by law.
Article 230. Powers
In particular, the Administrative Court shall:
adjudicate cases concerning disputes arising from administrative legal relations;
adjudicate appeals lodged against decisions of State offices and of their office holders and agents;
hear appeals lodged against judgements delivered by administrative, fiscal and customs courts.
The Administrative Court shall also:
issue a report and opinion on the General State Account;
carry out prior scrutiny of the legality of, and budget cover for, acts and contracts that are subject to Administrative Court jurisdiction;
scrutinise public moneys successively and concomitantly;
supervise the use of financial resources obtained abroad, namely, through loans, grants, sureties and donations.
Article 231. Organisation and Functioning
The law shall regulate the organisation and functioning of the Administrative Court, as well as all other matters related to its powers and jurisdiction.
Article 232. Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary
The Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary shall be the body responsible for the management and discipline of the administrative, fiscal and customs judiciary.
The law shall regulate the organisation, composition and functioning of the Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary.
Article 233. Incompatibility
Administrative Court judges in office may not undertake any other public or private activity, except for teaching, legal research or other activities of scientific, literary, artistic and technical dissemination or publication, with prior authorization from the Superior Council of the Administrative Judiciary.
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