9 March, 2007
Actual questions related to ethics of a judge and politics of judicial system – were the main accents today, on the 9 of March, on the conference that gathered more then 400 judges from all Courts of the State.
Chief Justice of Supreme Court Andris Gulans in his report turned to three completely different subjects, that form the image and content of judicial system: human right violations and adverse to Latvia the judgments of European Court of Human Rights; creating unified case-law and the role of Supreme Court in this process; judge ethics.
A.Gulans has reminded that before 1st of March 2007 in European Court of Human Rights in 16 cases against Latvia violations of Convention of Human Rights we established. Judgements of ECHR not only display the results from specific deed or inaction, they activate problems of Latvian Court system, concerning issues of work organisation and qualification of judges. “Taking into consideration the significant number of judgements of ECHR, where Latvia has lost, so as the fact that there is a high possibility of increase of such judgements based on analogue arguments – the number of such judgements might increase in future and it must be asked – what the State and Courts have done to duly and effectively avert human right violations in legal proceedings. It seems like till this moment there were no adequate and effective action on that matter” A.Gulans has admitted.
A.Gulans has mentioned creation of case law that is unified and predictable, as one of the steps in improving the work, that same time appears to be one of the tasks of Supreme Court. He appealed to judges of all levels not only to use the data base of case law, but also to get involved in its creation. As one of negative tendency of recent time Chief Justice of SC has mentioned the decrease of level of professionalism in court of appeal, and one of the reasons is that existing case law had not been taken into consideration.
As something not less important in judge work as professionalism, A.Gulans has also stressed out the ethics: „This is an integral part of our profession, it is a base of behavior and action that in many ways can be enforced to be obeyed, albeit, the purpose can be reached only when we will comprehend, accept and of our own free will fulfill them. This is a certain way of judge life”. The complete text of speech of A. Gulans teksts is available on Supreme Court web page www.at.gov.lv in section The Chief Justice\Presentations and Articles.
Minister of Justice Gaidis Berzins, during his presentation on the conference has stressed out the priorities in improving the courts work: increase in financing, young specialists involving in courts, social guarantees for judges, solution for the court space problem. Minster is sure that Latvian court system is effective and modern and judges work bona fide, no matter that society often appear to be of the opposite opinion. G.Berzins has appealed to judges to be the initiators in creating the positive image of court.
In the second part of the conference director of the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of University of Latvia Maija Kūle appeared. Her presentation encouraged to think of such categories of morality as in modern comprehension as virtue and sin, generosity and avarice, chastity and sin, diligence and sloth, sobriety and insatiability, clemency and anger, mercy and grudge. Professor stressed out that it is nowadays tendency not to separate judicial sphere from sphere of morality, judges are the creators of morality and virtue, for they arrange nowadays system of virtues of society with their judgements.
The results of research “Problems of ethics and their solving viewed by judges” were presented by researcher of social political centre “Providus” Valts Kalnins.
What are the scripts of the future? They in the end of the discussions were marked out by President of the Constitutional Court Gunars Kutris. He is sure that judicial power has to be united, and all representatives of professions related to it – judges, advocates, prosecutors – must create a unified code of ethics, unified Council of Ethics, that would be a Consultative Institution that would create its own case law of ethics and norm of ethics comprehension. Unified opinion should have been also taking place while creating new law Governing the court system.
In the third part of the conference representatives of institutions that relate to creation of Court System Politics were performing - Secretary of the State of the ministry of Justice Martins Bicevskis, Director of Court Administration Gints Karlsons, member of the Executive Board of the government joint stock company „Tiesu namu aģentūra" Signe Jantone.
The conference ha also made some changes in judges self-governing institution – in membership of Judicial Qualification Board. Senator of Department of Administrative Cases of Supreme Court Jautrite Briede has signed in the application to relieve of her responsibilities as member of Judicial Qualification Board. She has motivated her application with huge amount of work. On the conference, in secret ballot – from 323 valid bulletins 233 votes for, senator of Department of Administrative Cases Veronika Krumina was elected in her place. In accordance with law „On Judicial power” there are five representatives of Supreme Court in the Board: one from Department of Civil Cases of Senate, one from Department of Criminal Cases, one is Senator of Department of Administrative Cases, one is a judge of Chamber of Civil Cases and one is a judge of Chamber of Criminal cases. Besides mentioned above a judges from Regional Court Division of Criminal Cases, Division of Civil Cases and Administrative Regional Court (one from each), plus two judges from District Courts and two judges from the Land Registry Office form the Board.