On June 22, the full decision of the Disciplinary Court was published in a case in which the complaints of a district court judge regarding the decision of the Judicial Qualification Committee, by which her professional activity was assessed negatively, were examined.

Having evaluated the decision of the Judicial Qualification Committee, the materials of the case of the regular evaluation of the professional activity of the judge and the judge's complaint, the Disciplinary Court acknowledged that the decision of the Committee is justified, but the judge's complaint is unfounded and has to be rejected. The decision of the Disciplinary Court cannot be appealed.

The opinion of the Judicial Qualification Committee states that the main reason for the negative assessment of the judge's professional activity is the inability of the judge to organize her work and the work of whole staff in a way that cases assigned to the judge are referred for examination in accordance with certain comprehensible principles, and that unnecessary and unjustified actions are not taken, and that the deadlines for drawing up of rulings set by legal provisions and the judge herself are observed.

The Disciplinary Court recognizes that prolonged non-referral of cases and delays in the drawing up of rulings can generally be associated with high workload, incapacity for work, lack of support staff, and other circumstances specified by the judge, and the judge is not obliged to handle any number of cases if the number of judges or court staff in the court is objectively insufficient. However, in the present case, the judge's insufficient ability to organize her work has been identified as the root cause, which is to some extent also impacted by the insufficient understanding of the judge's position and duties.

The Disciplinary Court also draws attention to the fact that circumstances such as the arrival of new unpredictable or expeditiously decidable cases before a judge belong to the nature of the judge's work. The judge must take into account that new cases will be handed over to him/her on a regular basis and has to be able to organize his/her work according to such dynamics. Also, by setting deadlines for drawing up rulings, the legislator has made considerations as to why such deadlines are necessary and appropriate. In this respect, too, the judge must subordinate his/her work rhythm to the relevant regulations.

The Disciplinary Court is convened in the Supreme Court to assess lawfulness of disputed decisions of the Judicial Disciplinary Committee, the Judicial Qualification Committee, and the Judicial Council, as well as to review contested decisions of the Prosecutor General on application of disciplinary punishment. The Disciplinary Court is comprised of six judges of the Supreme Court.

 

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