The national legal system
Albania is a parliamentary republic. The Republic of Albania is a unitary and indivisible
state. Governance is based on a system of elections that are free, equal, general and
According to the Constitution, the law constitutes the basis and the boundaries of the
activity of the state. The Constitution is the highest law in the Republic of Albania and is
directly applicable, except when the Constitution provides otherwise. According to Article
5, ‘The Republic of Albania applies international law that is binding upon it’. In the
hierarchy of norms, international law stands immediately after the Constitution.
According to Article 116 on normative acts, ratified international agreements are directly
applicable, unless they are not enforceable and require the adoption of special laws.
However, courts usually refuse to apply the international agreements directly and instead
use them to interpret national law.
The system of government in Albania is based on the separation and balancing of
legislative, executive and judicial powers.
The Albanian Assembly is the country’s legislative body, and it has established two
permanent committees dealing with human rights issues in general and issues of
equality, non-discrimination and vulnerable groups:
- The Committee on Labo ur, Social Affairs and Health, which is responsible for labour
relations, social affairs, social security, family, women and health and issues
coming under the United Nations sustainable development agenda. There is also a
Sub-committee on Gender Equality and the Prevention of Violence against Women.
- The Committee on Legal Affairs, Public Administration and Human Rights , which is
responsible for the codes and organisation of the judiciary, the public
administration, the administration of the judiciary, the organisation and functioning
of local government, independent services in the justice system , human rights and
issues relating to the United Nations sustainable development agenda. There is also
a Sub-committee on Human Rights.
The judicial system has two levels (consisting of 29 first instance courts and 8 appeal
courts),31 and the High Court operate s as a third level.32 The Constitutional Court
decides, among other things, on: compatibility of the law with the Constitution or with
international agreements; compatibility of international agreements with the
Constitution, before their ratification; compatibility of normative acts of the central and
local bodies with the Constitution and international agreements.
For example, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Albania has argued that the
concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ and the terminology ‘excessive burden’33 are
31 High Judicial Council (2018), Report on the status of the judicial system and activity of the High Judicial
Council for 2018, Tirana, 03.05.2019, pp. 49-51, available at: http://klgj.al/wp-
32 In accordance with Article 141 of the Constitution, the High Court shall examine issues concerning the
meaning and application of the law in order to ensure the unification or development of judicial practice.
Regarding the amendment of case law, the High Court shall review in the Joint Chambers specific judicial
issues decided by the chambers, in accordance with the law. Under Article 124 of the Constitution, the
Constitutional Court settles constitutional disputes and makes the final interpretation of the Constitution.
33 ‘Excessive burden’ is the terminology used by the LPD. The Constitutional Court has found that the term
‘excessive burden’ is applied by the Law on protection from discrimination in accordance with the concept
provided by the CRPD, in implementation of the principle of proportionality and balancing the interests of
persons with disabilities with those of public or private entities, which must guarantee reasonable
accommodation. Hence, ‘excessive burden’ is equivalent to ‘disproportionate burden’ (Decision No. 48 dated