The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court considers that the discontent of a society with a work of the courts has decreased
18 April, 2009
The question on judicial ethics, to which great attention had been paid last year, has not lost its topicality, but there are indicators which testify, that the situation has changed. The tension, observed among judges, and discontent of a society with a work of the courts have decreased, so at the Conference of Judges of the Republic of Latvia on April 17, the Chief Justice of Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics has specified. The quantity of disciplinary cases raised in connection with work of judges has decreased noticeably: in 2007 year there were 17 cases, and in 2008 – only 5. But even more important indicator, in opinion of the Chief Justice, is that last year the quantity of the complaints received from inhabitants of Latvia for work of judges has considerably decreased. In Judicial Administration it had been received approximately one third of a number of complaints less, as well as in the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has specified that in improvement of the situation a positive role has been played by activity of the Committee on Judicial Ethics. Such conclusion has expressed also Minister of Justice Mareks Seglins.
The regulations of the Committee on Judicial Ethics had been confirmed at Conference of judges one year ago and the Committee on Judicial Ethics had been created then. The report for the first year of work was presented at Conference on April 17, by the Char of the Committee on Judicial Ethics Visvaldis Sprudzans. The Committee within a year had reviewed two questions presented by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and three questions put forward by separate judges and had given answers to them. Any of the discussed actions had not been recognised as infringement of norms of judicial ethics. The Committee also had received 9 complaints from inhabitants, on whom answers have been given that the regulations of the Committee do not provide review of application of private persons. The Chair of the Committee on Ethics considers that such order is necessary to keep further.
But the Commitee has brought forward offers of other changes in regulations of the Committee on the Judicial Ethics, arisen on experience after the first year of work. Earlier it was provided that the Committee summarises and publishes the conclusions and explanations on interpretation and application of norms of ethics not less than twice a year. But the Committee considers as more expedient to publish the conclusions and commission explanations on page www.tiesas.lv right after they have been accepted, without mentioning surnames of concrete judges. Such practice has been already created by the Committee. The second appendix in regulations of the Committee provides an order, how the commission discusses infringements of norms of ethics. Such function of the Committee on Judicial Ethics is provided in the law “On Judicial power”, but in regulations there has not been defined, how it has been realised. The Committee on ethics discusses infringement of norms of ethics if it has received the application of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, of Regional court or District (city) court or the chief of branch of the Land book for possible infringement of norm of ethics, which has not been considered as rough infringement, or the Committee on ethics can decide to discuss infringement of norm of judicial ethics under its own initiative.
The Committee on Judicial Ethics is a joint establishment of the judicial self-government, which main objective is to draw conclusions about interpretation and infringements of norms of ethics, and also to explain norms of judicial ethics. A basis of activity of the Committee on ethics is provided in article 14. 1 of law “On Judicial Power”, included in the law by amendments in the law dated by April 3, 2008.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 7020396, 28652211