JUDr. Josef Baxa
President (since 8 August 2023); Justice (since 5 June 2023)
JUDr. Josef Baxa (* 1959) graduated from the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague. In 1984, he became a criminal judge of the District Court in Plzeň. He later moved to the Regional Court in Plzeň, of which he was appointed the Vice-President in the spring of 1990 by the then Minister of Justice Dagmar Burešová.
In 1998, he became the first deputy to the Minister of Justice Otakar Motejl, a position which he held until 2002. Throughout his career, he had been a member or leader of many codification committees, expert groups, parliamentary committees, and he also participated in the Government Legislative Council. This allowed him to contribute to the development of important concepts, and general as well as specific proposals of laws. Many of these were adopted into the Czech legal order, including the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Probation and Mediation Service Act, the Act on Courts and Judges, the Act on Proceedings in the Cases Concerning Judges, Public Prosecutors and Enforcement Agents, the Code of Administrative Procedure, the Tax Code and countless others.
At the turn of the millennium, he played a key role in establishing a new institutional and procedural form of the administrative justice system and the Supreme Administrative Court, following the intervention of the Constitutional Court in 2001. He was also instrumental in building the Supreme Administrative Court as we know it. President Václav Havel appointed him the President of this court in 2003. He served as its President until 2018 and remained its judge until 2023. In 2007–2008, he developed the concept of a new disciplinary justice system in proceedings concerning judges, public prosecutors and enforcement agents, initiated and promoted its enshrinement in legislation and pushed for its implementation at the Supreme Administrative Court. Apart from managing the Supreme Administrative Court’s affairs and participating in the decision-making on cassation complaints, ha was also presiding over the Grand Chamber of the court and serving as deputy presiding judge of the Chamber for the Electoral Matters, Referenda and Political Parties. In 2021, he became the presiding judge of the disciplinary chamber in proceedings concerning enforcement agents.
He also pursues publishing and educational activities, which is evidenced by his past membership in scientific boards and editorial boards of several journals or his co-authorship of important commentaries, professional publications and dozens of articles in the field of criminal, administrative and tax law. In the 1990s, he played an important role in the establishment of the Faculty of Law of the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň, his major contribution being that he prepared the documents for its successful accreditation in 1993. While holding several academic posts he taught criminal law at the faculty.
He frequently speaks at conferences, seminars, public hearings, discussion panels and similar events. He made substantive contributions to the fields of criminal, administrative, financial and constitutional law, systemic issues of the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary and the possibilities for its reform, always emphasising the independence and efficiency of the judicial system, as well as the role of judges, their selection, training, education, and judicial ethics.
In addition to speaking at expert events, he makes frequent appearances in mass media, talking about the state and development of the legal system and the quality of legislation, especially in the context of the massive expansion of legal regulation that leads to the restriction of individual freedom. Through these activities, he helps clarify and popularise law and judicial decision-making among the professional and lay public.
He is the recipient of a number of awards from professional communities (e.g. the Silver Medal of Antonín Randa 2012, Lawyer of the Year 2009).
On 5 June 2023, the President of the Czech Republic appointed him as a Justice of the Constitutional Court. On 4 August 2023 (effective from 8 August 2023), the President of the Republic appointed him as President of the Constitutional Court.