Upon expiration of the second term of office of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee, the performance of the committee of eight years is summarised in the book “Collection of Conclusions of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee: explanations, opinions, decisions 2008–2016”.

The Collection includes 43 documents of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee, in particular, 21 explanations, 17 opinions and 5 decisions. The collection comprises opinions regarding the professional ethics of judges, which were expressed either because a judge had asked for an advice, or upon examining of an application filed by an individual, or because the committee considered respective issue to be important for successful operation of the judiciary, and examined thereof by its own initiative.  Thus, for example, the first explanation on self-recusal of a judge, if one of parties to a case is joint-stock company, and judge had purchased shares thereof, and one of recent explanations examining professional ethics in respect of judge’s attitude in the court room.

Two explanations were prepared by the Judicial Ethics’ Committee in cooperation with the Ethics’ Committee of the Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates and the Prosecutors’ Certification Committee. Those are Guidelines on communication with media and explanation on ex parte conversations and mutual communication between judges, advocates and prosecutors.

As subjects of documents of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee testify, the most common problems judges deal with concern attitude and actions in court room, attitude and actions in society, conflicts of interests and recusals of judges, communication with media, communication with representatives of other legal professions, relations with colleagues at work place and compatibility of the office of a judge with creative and pedagogical work.  

The collection is especially valuable because of conclusions or theses of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee, which in concentrated way express the most important issue in each document. Theses are arranged also in single index according to canons of Code on Latvian Judicial Ethics.  

The second is the index of those sources, which justify conclusions of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee. In the work of the Committee, two documents were the most important, in particular, the Code of Latvian Judicial Ethics and Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct approved by the UNSocial and Economic Council, which served as a certain model also for activity of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee.  

Elaboration of the collection of conclusions on judicial ethics was the joint project of the Council for the Judiciary and the Judicial Ethics’ Committee. Editorial board includes members of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee, Dzintra Balta, Dace Mita and Marika Senkane, the editor is Rasma Zvejniece.

The collection of conclusions of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee will be a support to judges, when adopting professional decisions. Explanations of the Ethics’ Committee create a base, when some issue becomes topical for a judge, and it might be useful educational material for new judges.  Judges received the book at the Judges’ Conference on 13 May, and court will receive an extra copy. The book will also be sent to Faculties of Law of higher educational institutions and the National Library of Latvia.  

 

Read more about the Judges’ Conference

Positive result of work of the Ethics’ Committee is appreciated at the Judges’ Conference

Study: active process of development of professional judicial ethics has begun

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211