28 October, 2021
After a year-long break, the tradition was continued, and on October 28, Mārtiņš Mits, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), met with senators, judicial assistants, legal research counsels and court staff at a remote Zoom meeting.
The judge introduced the representatives of the Supreme Court to certain ECHR cases against other countries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which the human rights aspects addressed could also become relevant to Latvia. For example, cases on compulsory vaccination, on the benefits of a Covid pass or interoperable certificate for vaccinated, on restrictions for non-vaccinated persons, and on restrictions on freedom of assembly.
Judge Mārtiņš Mits informed those present about the introduced changes in the work organization of the ECHR aimed to achieve efficiency in the examination of cases. The ECHR currently has a backlog of more than 68,000 cases, and in order to reduce the backlog of cases, the court classify the complaints lodged according to their relevance in seven priority groups. Cases that are highly relevant to national courts are referred to the ECHR Chamber of seven judges, while less topical issues are considered by committees of three judges. The efficiency of the Court is also ensured by simplifying the form of a judgment, making the judgments more concise both in terms of the presentation of the facts and the reasoning of the Court.
Both the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Aigars Strupišs and the Judge of the European Court of Human Rights Mārtiņš Mits acknowledged that such conversations of the judges of the Supreme Court with the ECHR judge is a tool of effective communication between judges, as it is possible during a short meeting to learn about current issues of the ECHR and to clarify possible issues faced by courts in Latvia.
Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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