“This was a year of significant structural reforms in Latvian court system,” told Ivars Bickovics, the Chair of the Council for the Judiciary, in the material published in the newspaper  “Dienas bizness” (“Daily Business”) on 21 December.

“For the first time in 20-year history of a court system the reform has been launched, the courts being transferred to three-level court system. It means reorganisation of the Supreme Court and expansion of competence of district courts and regional courts. The second reform is related to the concept of court houses. This year the reorganisation was implemented in Sigulda court, Riga city Centre district court, and Jurmala city court. Reorganisation of Latgale courts will be carried out in the beginning of the next year,” the Chair of the Council for the Judiciary stresses.

He points out that the Council for the Judiciary has initiated and advanced several issues, which are important for the court system. From among those, three important, first, are amendments to the law “On Judicial Power”, which envisage extension of functions and role of the Council for the Judiciary, transferring range of issues related to judicial careers to its competence.  

The second is the improvement of court communication. Two documents were approved, namely, the guidelines for communication of a court system, which comprise all institutions represented in the Council for the Judiciary, and the strategy on communication of courts.

The third is the balance of remuneration of judges and employees of courts within united system of wages in public administration.

“The Council for the Judiciary draws particular attention to insufficient finances for competitive remuneration of employees of courts, which is the reason why the fluidity of personnel in courts reaches 40 per cent,” Ivars Bickovics points out.

Court statistics, in their turn, show positive trend for the next year, namely, inflow of cases to the first instance courts and the cassation instance decreases.

 

Changes in notary’s offices

Sandra Stipniece, the Chair of the Latvian Council of Sworn Notaries points out that, in 2015, there were events in Latvian notary’s offices which were important at both domestic and international level.  

Namely, since May, it has been possible to fix title to property in the land registry in electronic way. Fixing of this right, if it is based on notarial act, has become more secure, faster and more convenient, Sandra Stipniece indicates.  Such praxis has existed in Lithuania and Estonia, and other countries for several years already. “Currently, archives of Land Registry Offices comprise more than 20 million documents related to title to property, and approximately 15.7 million euro would be necessary for the digitalisation of archives,” Sandra Stipniece added.

Also since May, one may find all acts of last wills approved by notaries in the Register of Public Testaments. Since 17 August sworn notaries may conduct foreign inheritance cases within borders of the European Union. As from 29 December, the sworn notary, who will pass exam of certified mediator, will be allowed to conduct mediation as a certified mediator.   

 

The issue of the newspaper “Dienas Bizness” of 21 December (in Latvian language)