4 September, 2020
While preparing for the discussion at the Conversation Festival LAMPA “Building the Rule of Law Together”, the Supreme Court organized a public survey on the issues of the rule of law. More than 1000 respondents from all over Latvia participated in the survey conducted by the research centre SKDS.
The aim of the survey was to find out public opinion on the rule of law and on the ways to strengthen it.
The survey has found that 70% of the population agree that compliance with the law is the most important thing in the country. 45% of respondents have indicated that they fully comply with the law, 50% indicated that they obey the law in most cases. Residents have very critically assessed the quality of laws and regulations – only 2% of respondents have fully agreed that there are fair laws in Latvia. 29% of respondents have mostly agreed with this statement, but more than 50% of the population believe that the laws are not fair. Respondents have identified clear laws and transparent legislative processes as key factors to strengthen the rule of law in Latvia. A professional court has been mentioned as the third major factor.
Citizens have almost equally assessed the role of all three branches of state power in ensuring the rule of law. 82% of respondents have pointed out that the rule of law depends on executive power, 81% on the legislature, 78% on the courts.
Two-thirds of the population have indicated that a dispute is likely to be resolved simply by discussing the problem with the other party. 11% would be willing to attract a professional mediator, but only 5% of the population would be prepared to go to court for conflict settlement. At the same time, more than a quarter of the population believe the court will protect them if needed.
Nearly half – 48% of respondents indicated that they trusted the Supreme Court. 25% do not trust the Supreme Court, but 27% do not have an opinion on the matter. This is most likely due to the fact that a large part of the population has not been directly confronted with the work of the Supreme Court. As the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Aigars Strupiss pointed out in the discussion “Building the Rule of Law Together”, this indicator can be assessed as good in general, but it should definitely be improved in order to reach at least 60–70% confidence in the Supreme Court in the coming years.
A summary of the survey results is available here (in Latvian)
Information prepared by
Janis Supe, Project manager of the Supreme Court