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Georgia: Public Service Halls

(Nov. 6, 2012) On September 21, 2012, the Public Service Hall, also called the House of Justice, opened in the Georgian capital city of <?Tbilisi. This office, with about 400 Ministry of Justice employees, provides about 300 different types of services any of which may take up to a month to perform. (The Most Extensive and Innovative Public Service Hall Was Opened in Tbilisi [in Georgian], OFFICIAL NEWS REPORT (Sept. 21, 2012), Ministry of Justice official website.) This is one of many Public Service Halls located in various cities throughout the country. The first Public Service Hall opened in the city of Batumi on May 26, 2011, Georgia’s Independence Day. (Press Release, Civil Registry Agency of the Republic of Georgia, First House of Justice Opened in Batumi (May 26, 2011).)

At the opening ceremony, President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia stated, “the House of Justice will crown all the reforms previously implemented in Georgia and introduce the most advanced, convenient, and innovative standards for obtaining simplified state services.” (Id.) The concept of Public Service Halls is highly innovative and is called a new brand of Georgia. The idea is that Public Service Halls provide to the public all the services offered by the Ministry of Justice, by combining offices and conducting the functions and services of the Civil Registry Agency (for documents related to marriage, birth, etc.), the National Agency of Public Registry (for registration of property, real estate, documents, etc.), the National Archives, the National Bureau of Enforcement, and the Notary Chamber. The Halls also provide public access to texts of national legislation. Additionally, the Ministry of Justice runs its training centers for people who apply for any type of public service at Public Halls. All these offices are not merely mechanically united under one roof, but are integrated, using both an ideological and a systemic approach, with the emphasis on customer service. (Id.)

Services in Public Service Halls are provided in an extremely accelerated and simplified way. The Halls are is much more than just the “one window” model, because individuals can receive all the services provided by the Ministry of Justice, such as business and property registration; passports; ID cards; residence cards, documents confirming Georgian citizenship; single and multiple entry visas as required for foreigners residing in the country; apostille legalization of documents for use abroad; registration of birth, marriage, and changes of name; and copies of documents proving one’s civil status, such as marriage, divorce, establishment of paternity, child adoption, change of name, etc. These services are provided regardless of one’s place of residence, temporary place of residence, or the location of a property in question, at any of the Public Service Halls. (Public Service Halls [in Georgian], OFFICIAL NEWS REPORT, Ministry of Justice official website (last visited Nov. 1, 2012).)

Each Public Service Hallhas three major service areas: the Quick Service Area, the Long-Term Service Area, and the Self-Service Area. The Quick Service Area allows individuals to receive certain services within a two-minute period, e.g., for receipt of an already printed ID card or passport, birth certificates, marriage licenses, property and business registration records, and other services. In the Long-Term Service Area, people receive services that require at least five minutes to be delivered. They include such processes as submission of a passport or ID card application, registration of a property or business, and receipt of archival records. (Id.)

The Queue Management Electronic System makes sure that there is no crowding in the service areas. Automated systems in the Self-Service Area enable visitors to take biometric photos for ID cards and passports, print out extracts from property or business registration records, and make payments. Five new Public Service Halls are scheduled to open in 2013. (Id.)

In 2012, the United Nations Public Service Award (UNPSA) was given to the Public Service Halls of Georgia. (Two Georgian Projects Win United Nations Public Service Awards, RUSTAVI 2 (May 16, 2012).)

Prepared by Nana Ghvaladze, Law Library Legislative Fellow, under the supervision of Peter Roudik, Director of Legal Research.