On Friday, 1 April, the delegation of Presidents of Danish courts led by Mr. Poul Søgaard, the President of the Supreme Court of Denmark, visited the Supreme Court of Latvia.  The delegation met Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Latvia.  

During the meeting, guests acquired information about Latvian court system, and about the reform thereof being implemented, which envisages transfer to the clear three-level court system. Guests asked about existence of lay judges in Latvia and on appointment of judges, and on financing of courts. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Latvia shared experience regarding use of information technologies, namely, video conference, in proceedings in context of right of the accused to the defence. As an example, the Chief Justice mentioned ensuring of confidentiality, if the accused wants to talk to his or her defence counsel, in the case being tried using video conferencing. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also told guests about functions and composition of the Council for the Judiciary, communication with society, and reform of procedure of review of disciplinary cases, which envisages establishment of single appellate instance for appeal against decisions in disciplinary cases of all persons belonging to a court system. The Chief Justice remarked that the Supreme Court and the Council for the Judiciary do not support such option.

During the meeting with the delegation of Presidents of Danish courts, another reform of Latvian court system, which envisages gradual merging of district (city) courts, thus reducing number of district (city) courts and re-establishing courts into court houses, was also discussed.  Guests shared their experience in this field. As Mr. Poul Søgaard, the President of the Supreme Court of Denmark, pointed out, such reform was implemented in Denmark ten years ago. As a result, as from 1 January 2007, the number of district courts was reduced from 82 to 24 courts. Currently, the largest district court in Denmark is the District Court of Copenhagen with 41 judges, but the smallest – the District Court of Bornholm with only two judges.     

The reform facilitated decrease of terms of adjudication of cases, increase of efficiency of court, and uniform application of law.

At the end of the visit, the delegation visited the museum of the Supreme Court and walked over the historical Palace of Justice.

 

Information prepared by

Division of Communication of the Supreme Court