On April 21 during the conference organized by the Supreme Court of Latvia there were opinions voiced and discussions about new challenges and modern technologies that are faced by all the Supreme Courts of the European Union at their daily work.

The second part of the conference – discussion about the communication and role of the Supreme Courts in work of the Councils for the Judiciary was led by the Head of the Department of Legal Theory and History at the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia, Advisor to the State President, Dr. iur. Janis Pleps. From the discussions, there emerged several essential aspects that allow Supreme Courts of Europe to deal with the new challenges, because "... this is the time of challenges, and the judiciary is forced to change in order to keep up with the times. At the same time, the judiciary is the anchor that maintains the statehood. It is the anchor that maintains such fundamental things as justice, the rule of law and faith in one’s country," said Janis Pleps.

At the beginning of the discussion the presentation was given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Latvia Ivars Bickovics, introducing listeners with situation of Latvia and outlining the dialogue of Council for the Judiciary in judicial system and the state power system. Legal scholar, Judge of Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic Zdeněk Kühn shared experiences on court communication and opinion whether courts and judges should use social networks for purpose of providing information. The judge as a positive example mentioned the European Court of Justice which in its work uses both a Twitter account and a traditional way for publication of information – the website of the Court, thus a visitor of the site is able to get as much information as they need. Head of Public Affairs Office of the Supreme Court of Slovenia Gregor Strojin in his speech highlighted the main challenges in court communication. While Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Latvia Anita Kovalevska shared experience of Latvia in collaboration between the Supreme Court and lower courts.

The participants of the discussion agreed that modern technology brings changes in everyday communication of courts. Janis Pleps, by analyzing approach of Latvia to usage of new technologies, drew attention to the Report of CEPEJ of October 6 on judicial system in 45 European countries. It includes the assessment of progress of Latvia in the implementation of modern technology - Latvia is ranked as 5th in the European Union regarding this issue, thus being the top of the implementation of modern technologies. The communication with the public and communication tools undergo changes. "It is completely natural that the candidate for a position of a judge at the Supreme Court in the US sets up a Twitter account and there are also judges in Latvia who have a Twitter account, who actively express their opinion about matters concerning public interest by using modern means of communication. Social networks provide the possibility to get closer to those interested in court decisions", said Janis Pleps.

A conference of the project "Supreme Courts as guarantee for effectiveness of judicial systems in the European Union", organized by the Supreme Court of Latvia, was attended by more than 300 participants – judges and employees of courts of all instances, advocates and other lawyers, academics and students from the Latvia, as well as judges and employees from the Supreme Courts, law scholars from Lithuania, Estonia, Spain, Hungary, France, Slovenia, Sweden, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic and Belgium. Project "Supreme Courts as guarantee for effectiveness of judicial systems in the European Union" managed by the Supreme Court of Latvia has been implemented since June 2016. The project is funded by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, with the participation of the Supreme Courts of Lithuania, Spain and Hungary and Universities of Antwerp and Ljubljana. The project aims to increase the administrative capacity of the Supreme Court, to improve the work organization, increase the transparency of the judicial work and public confidence in the judiciary.

The session “Communication of the Supreme Courts and role in the work of Councils for the Judiciary’’ can be streamed here.

Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court

Tel.: +371 67020396; e-mail: baiba.kataja@at.gov.lv