Amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law and to the Law “On Judicial Power” come into force on 11 June, extending the limitation period for disciplinary liability of judges, waiving the immunity of judges in administrative violation cases, as well as clarifying the regulations for suspending a judge from office.

The opinion of the Judicial Council has been taken into account that the administrative immunity of judges should be waived simultaneously with the entry into force of the Law on Administrative Liability, which excludes administrative arrest as a form of punishment. The Law on Administrative Liability will enter into force on July 1, 2020, then a judge will also be able to be held administratively liable for an administrative violation.

Simultaneously with the amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law, it is provided that a judge may be held disciplinary liable if a judge has committed an administrative violation that grossly violates the norms of the Code of Judicial Ethics or the violation is disrespectful to the status of a judge.

In order to assess a possible gross violation of the provisions of the Code of Judicial Ethics in connection with the commission of an administrative violation, the Judicial Ethics Commission will request information on administrative violations committed by judges from the Punishment Register at least once every six months.

Amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law provide also for other changes in the regulation of disciplinary liability of judges.

The limitation period for disciplinary liability has been extended from two to four years. Namely, a disciplinary penalty may be imposed on a judge within three months from the date of initiation of disciplinary proceedings, not counting the time of the judge's absence, but not later than within four years from the date of committing the disciplinary violation.

If a disciplinary case against a judge is initiated for a violation that is incompatible with the status of a judge, the Judicial Disciplinary Committee may, on its own initiative or on the proposal of the initiator of the disciplinary case, suspend the judge from office immediately upon receipt of the disciplinary case. Amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law determine the procedure by which a decision is made to suspend a judge from office, as well as the procedure by which the decision is notified to a judge and to a chairperson of the relevant court.

The Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law also specifies the range of persons who may participate in the meetings of the Judicial Disciplinary Committee with the rights of an adviser; not only the persons authorized by the Latvian associations of judges, but also by the persons authorized by Latvian associations of judges may participate in such status.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211