The legal system of Armenia is based upon the Constitution of Armenia, laws approved by the National Assembly; decrees of the President, decisions of the Government, and legal pronouncements of other governmental institutions and local municipal authorities. International treaties signed by Armenia are a constituent part of the legal system of the Republic and supersede Armenian laws and regulations. The Constitution of the Republic has supreme juridical force, and enshrines the principle of separation of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. Laws and other legal acts found to contradict the Constitution have no legal force. Armenia is a Civil Law country.
BUSINESS SECTOR LAWS
The Government of Armenia has made a clear commitment to adopt more business-friendly policies. In recent years, Armenia has introduced important reforms to its legal environment, improving the enabling environment across all sectors of the economy. A streamlined regulatory framework creates strong incentives for entrepreneurs, particularly SMEs, to expand their businesses.
In 2003 Armenia joined the World Trade Organization, which facilitated regulatory reform processes aimed at building an investor friendly commercial environment. Armenia maintains an open regime for trade in goods and services, and for investment. The country performed well in the recent World Bank Doing Business report, receiving a high score on property rights registration and starting a business, and substantially improving its ranking for trading across borders, paying taxes and issuance of construction permits.
The legal underpinnings of economic activities in Armenia are provided by the Civil Code, Labour Code, Administrative Code, and the laws on Licensing, Standardization, Foreign Investment, Protection of Economic Competition, State Registration of Property Rights, Organizing and Conducting Inspections, Accounting, and Audit Activities. In addition, the following laws govern the business environment in Armenia:
- Corporate legislation, including laws on Joint-Stock Companies, Limited Liability Companies, and State Registration of Legal Entities
- Fiscal legislation, including the Customs Code, and laws on Taxation, Value-Added Taxes, Land Tax, Property Tax, Mandatory Social Insurance Payments, and State Duties.
- Financial sector regulations, Including laws on the Central Bank of the Republic of Armenia, Consolidated Financial Regulation and Supervision, Currency Regulation and Currency Control, Banks and Banking, Credit Organizations, Banking Secrecy, Bankruptcy of Banks and Credit Institutions, Guarantee of Remuneration of Bank Deposits of Physical Entities, Fund Transfers, Payment Orders, Payment Systems and Payment Organizations, Investment Funds, Securities Markets, and Insurance.
- Legislation “On Protection of Intellectual Property rights”, including laws on Copyright and Related Rights, Inventions, Utility Models and Industrial designs, Legal Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits, Trade Names, Geographical Indications, and Trademarks
- Law “On Exploration of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection”, including the Land Code, the Water Code, the Code on Sub-Surface Resources, and the laws on Environmental Protection and Use of Natural Resources, Environmental Impact Assessment, and Concessions.
- Adjudication legislation, including the Judicial Code, Civil Procedures Code, Administrative Infringements Code, and laws on Compulsory Implementation of Judicial Acts and Commercial Arbitration.
HOW LAWS ARE APPROVED AND ENACTED IN ARMENIA
The Armenian Parliament, also known as the National Assembly, is composed of 131 members. Laws are approved by the National Assembly and sent on to the President for signature. The law is considered promulgated by the President if he signs the law or fails to act within a 21-day period. If the President vetoes the law, the Parliament may override this with a majority vote. In that case, the President is required to sign law within fve days.Laws take effect within ten days after offcial publication, or within the term specifed in the law. Legal acts of Armenia are offcially published in the Offcial Bulletin of the Republic of Armenia, which is issued on a weekly basis.
The text of Armenian legal pronouncements and other legal resources in English and Russian can be retrieved from the databases of:
- National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia (www.parliament.am);
- Government of the Republic of Armenia (www.gov.am);
- Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia (www.concourt.am);
- Prosecutor’s Offce of the Republic of Armenia (www.genproc.am)
- The legal statutes of the Republic of Armenia can be retrieved also from the free internet database of legal acts: www.arlis.am.