The role of judicial power in promotion and maintenance of the rule of law - this was the theme of the International Judicial Conference which was organized on July 2 – 3 by the US Embassy in cooperation with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Justice.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans addressing the participants of the international judicial conference called to think together about strengthening the independence of judicial power.

A. Gulans said that judicial experience of Latvia is rather young, and the legal community of Latvia is not big, and it creates certain problems in the development of legal thinking and joining the international judicial movement. However, the ideas on justice and freedom unite all the legal professions, and the implementation of these ideas is a precondition for the prestige of the courts in the society.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court pointed to the signals and events in other countries where politicians and the executive power want to diminish the role of judiciary. In Latvia, as well, the politicians have allowed remarks on the former judges of the Constitutional Court and discussions about the authority of the Constitutional Court. The created situation makes us think about the implementation of the principle of separation of power and ensuring of independence of judiciary in Latvia. Besides, it makes the judges think with more responsibility about their professionalism and ethics.

A. Gulans stressed the high status of judges in USA what could serve as a good sample for Latvia. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court acknowledged the necessity for the Latvian judiciary to joint the international movement more intensely, working under similar principles of court independence and transparency. The scope of issues highlighted in the conference is essential, as well, regarding the indivisibility of the judicial power, professional conduct of judges and attorneys and uniform ethical standards. More than 200 judges and representatives of other professions of the judiciary, law specialists, academic staff and state officials from seven different countries attended the international judicial conference and participated in discussions on independence of judiciary, ethics and transparency, relations with the mass media and legislative power, and other issues.

The conference was also attended by foreign experts – the US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, US Academicians Geoffrey Hazard and Ronald Rotunda, as well as high-level representatives from Moldova, Georgia, Romania, Estonia and Lithuania.

Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211