On Wedneday, October 7, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics together with representatives of the Constitutional Court and Latvian Association of Judges met the representative of the International Monetary Fund, in order to inform about influence of reduction of the budget on functioning of Latvian courts.

Courts understand that in situation of economic crisis the financing of the court system, stated in the frame of the budget, has been reduced, but principles of creation of the budget are unacceptable. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court during the conversation stressed that government hasn’t respected the independence of the court system and hasn’t evaluated, how reducement of financing demanded will essentially limit realization of basic functions of courts.

At present time, when number of judges of the Supreme Court, confirmed by Saeima, makes 53, due to lack of financial resources in the court there work only 45 judges. As a result, number of cases pending, especially civil cases, has essentially grown – in the end of year 2009, according to prognoses, the number of cases pending will be for 44% more, in comparison with the beginning of the year. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court indicates that thus rights of persons for independent litigation in reasonable terms, guaranteed by Satversme, have been infringed.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court turned the attention also to the consequences that may come with including remuneration of judges in the uniform system of remuneration of employees of governmental and municipal institutions. The previous system of remuneration of judges was created in order to strengthen the independence of courts and judges, and, while ruining this system, the basic principles of judicial activity can also be ruined.

Representatives of judicial power hope that International Monetary Fund, while bringing forward requirements of reducement of the budget of the next year, will respect the independence of the judicial power and necessity of preservation of financing that will allow to perform judicial functions.

Information prepared by

Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211