Chief Justice of the Supreme Court requests the chairs of four courts to explain the reasons for lengthy legal proceedings
19 July, 2022
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has appealed to the chairs of four first instance courts to act within the competence established by the law and ensure quality management of deadlines in the court. The chairs have to inform the Judicial Council about the reasons for the lengthy criminal proceedings which in the first instance court have been going on for four years or more.
When examining the list of lengthy legal proceedings submitted by the Prosecutor General, Aigars Strupišs, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, found that the list contains several cases pending before the judges of the Riga City Vidzeme District Court, the Riga City Latgale District Court, the Riga City Pārdaugava Court and Daugavpils Court, which apparently raise reasonable questions about the reasons for the lengthy examination of cases. Some criminal cases are pending for a very long time – up to 10 years.
Every year, the Judicial Council approves the standards of time limits for the examination of cases, and according to these standards, in 2022, the standard of examination of criminal cases in these courts has been determined to be 9-13 months on average. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court requests to provide information on the reasons and obstacles that preclude the specified cases to be examined within a reasonable time frame, as well as to explain how the management of the deadlines for the examination of cases is carried out in the courts.
Information is requested for 10 cases in the Riga City Vidzeme District Court (such information regarding five of these cases was requested already last year), for four cases in the Riga City Latgale District Court (such information regarding one of these cases was requested already last year), for four cases in the Riga City Pārdaugava Court and for one case in the Daugavpils Court.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court points out that the management of efficient deadlines for the examination of cases is the responsibility of both a judge and a chair of the relevant court. The duration of legal proceedings is one of the factors that affect public confidence in the judicial system as a whole, as well as in a specific judge and a court, which is examining the relevant civil or criminal case.
"Therefore, lengthy legal proceedings are in my focus as the Chair of the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I would like to remind and draw attention to the fact that effective legal proceedings are an essential criterion for the professional activity of every judge, and it is essential to identify the reasons that are an obstacle to the effective course of legal proceedings," Aigars Strupišs emphasized.
Also last year, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court requested information on 13 cases in four courts, in which the term of examination of criminal cases exceeded five years. The explanations received from the courts were communicated to the working group for strengthening the efficiency of the courts established by the Judicial Council. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court points out that it is important not only to control and follow the processes of examination of such cases, but also, if necessary, to provide the respective judges with the necessary support both at the level of a chair of a court and the Judicial Council, in order to speed up long lengthy proceedings.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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