6 December, 2022
Increasing the efficiency of courts will be one of the priorities of courts next year – as stated by Aigars Strupišs, President of the Supreme Court, in a video call at the scientific-practical conference of the Riga Regional Court. He called on the judges not to be afraid and not to allow situations where the courts are unjustifiably idle.
Aigars Strupišs expressed the hope that with the new government it will eventually be possible to have progress on the issue of the separation of the judicial system from the executive power, as it impacts the budget and management of the courts, and consequently the salaries of employees and the training of new judges as well. The Judicial Council will continue to work on these issues next year.
"Another issue that shall not be avoided is improving the efficiency of the courts. As the influx of cases in the courts has significantly decreased, the question of the number of judges needed in Latvia inevitably arises," said the President of the Supreme Court.
The issue of internal reserves and inefficient use of judicial resources is unresolved. In this regard, the President of the Supreme Court talked about situations where the courts are unjustifiably idle – there are postponed court hearings, unjustified acceptance of evidence at the appeal instance, acceptance of incomplete claims, avoidance of reviewing the case in absentia, etc.
Fear of possible human rights violations is often cited as an excuse for this. "Respecting human rights is undoubtedly one of the court's standards, but there is also another side to the coin. In fear, it is often forgotten that human rights apply also to another party," Aigars Strupišs emphasized. He reminded that it is also the DUTY of a judge to follow the procedural law and respect the rights of the other party. The unjustified acceptance of evidence at the appeal instance that had not been presented in the first instance, which is expressly prohibited by the law with certain exceptions, was noted as an example. "Is there any other way to interpret the following wording of Section 430, Paragraph four of the Civil Procedure Law: "the appellate court DOES NOT accept the evidence". It does not decide whether to accept it, it just does not accept it," said the President. The fact that the courts depart from what is clearly written in the law gives rise to doubts and talk of corruption in the courts.
The President of the Supreme Court acknowledged that in general the judicial system of Latvia functions well. Of course, there are aspects that need to be developed and improved, but they are currently not so systemic as to threaten the foundations of the judiciary. These are the issues of growth and development, which is not faced only by the judiciary, but also by the whole society and, in fact, the whole world.
In conclusion, the President of the Supreme Court expressed gratitude to the Riga Regional Court for their work in the past period and wished them no less productive work in the next one.
Elīna Grigore-Bāra, Legal research counsel of the Division of Case-Law and Research of the Supreme Court, Assistant professor of the Faculty of Law of the Latvian University, gave a speech titled "The importance of the oral proceedings in administering justice: aspects of the history and philosophy of law”.
The annual performance review of the Riga Regional Court, which took place on December 5, has a new format this year – a scientific-practical conference in cooperation with the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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