The extraordinary conference of judges disproves of judges’ actions which create distrust to judiciary
2 November, 2007
On November 2, in the extraordinary conference of the Latvian judges which analyzed the situation after the published phone calls what indicates to possible violations of the law and ethical standards by judges, the adopted resolution disapproves of judges’ actions creating distrust to judiciary and calls appeals to every judge to honour the ethical values and to behave in such a manner to confirm the honesty of judiciary. However, majority of judges deleted from the resolution prepared by the work group a much more categorical statement that holding a position of a judge by such a person who is not independent and impartial in administering justice contradicts with the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Besides, the judges did not find it necessary to activate the issue on improving the system of selection of judges and evaluation of work.
It is indicated in the resolution that in a democratic society courts, as well as the legislature and the executive power are subject to public surveillance, however, judges refused to accept that every individual has the right to draw public attention to dishonest actions of a judge.
After adoption of the resolution the Chief justice of the Supreme Court Andris Guļāns expressed disappointment over such attitude and voiced doubts whether the judges have been aware of significance of the resolution both regarding their work and society. “Exclusion of essential values is expression of attitude, too,” the Chief Justice pointed out. In his address prior to adoption of the resolution Guļāns stressed the necessity in the shortest possible time to establish a council or commission of judges’ ethics which would review issues of moral and ethical nature in the work of judges, and would apply sanctions, however, he admitted that it is of the same importance for judges themselves to change their way of thinking because lack of self-criticism and inability to apply effectively ethical standards threatens independence of courts, decreasing both public trust and support to judiciary. “Judges even being independent have to bear responsibility to the society. If the judges, to some extent, are not responsible, the society most probably will regard their independence as a threat and will try to restrict it,” said Guļāns. He expressed hope that joint responsibility of judges for their independence will allow to adopt weighed, moral and accountable decisions.
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Manager of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
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