3 July, 2007
During the visit in Latvia, the US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito visited also the Supreme Court. The guest saw the museum of the Supreme Court and listened with interest to the narration about the history of the Latvian courts and law. In America, the position of the Supreme Court Justice is the crown of the career of a lawyer, and Alito is one of nine justices who has achieved it.
The role of judicial power in promotion and maintenance of the rule of law – this was the theme of the International Judicial Conference which was organized on July 2 – 3 by the US Embassy in cooperation with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Justice.
The US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito who was the honorary guest of the conference stressed the necessity to achieve that the society relies on the court judgments and understands them. The public trust in courts may be achieved by clear, fair judgments which have been adopted openly and are published. The court rulings have to be accessible in Internet, and they have to be written in such a language that anyone can understand what is said in them. The duty of judges is to strengthen the awareness of the society that the standard “one law for all” is effective, that the laws written in books do not differ from the court practice, Alito said. The citizen of the country who is convicted has also to leave the courtroom with understanding that it complies with the law, and with reassurance that in similar situations the law will be the same in relation to others, as well. The rule of law brings a certain peace in the society, but unequal attitude, corruption suspicions create alarm in the country.
In the US courts, maximum of documents are filed electronically and are publicly accessible what helps to ensure transparency of the court proceedings. Thus, the public trust in courts increases. At present, the issue whether to allow live reports from court proceedings is topical in USA. However, the issue of how to maintain the trust in judiciary is significant for the US, as well. Alito said that one of the hardest provisions for selection of judges is deep experience in court practice, besides – in various fields. Secondly, a lifelong training. But the state has to see that the judges have adequate remunerated and safety.
Alito stressed that the conference in Riga is of value both for the Latvian and American judges as it provides mutual exchange of experience and opinions. Lawfulness and observation of law requirements in a country is the grounds for economic welfare. The US Ambassador Bailey noted that the goal of USA is to strengthen economic cooperation between Latvia and America. Therefore it is significant for USA that Latvia is a safe and lawful state. The US Supreme Court Justice told that in USA, between the states, there is even a fight to attract businessmen by offering more stable security guarantees. Trading and business activities require guarantees therefore a strong judiciary is also a provision for the economic development of the country.
More than 200 judges and representatives of other professions of the judiciary, law specialists, academic staff and state officials from seven different countries attended the international judicial conference and participated in discussions on independence of judiciary, ethics and transparency, relations with the mass media and legislative power, and other issues.
The conference was also attended by foreign experts – the US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, US Academicians Jeffry Hazzard and Ronald Rotunda, as well as high-level representatives from Moldova, Georgia, Romania, Estonia and Lithuania.
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
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