Conference looks back at the centenary of the judicial system and highlights the role of a judge in the future
8 September, 2018
At the Judges’ Conference (from left): Minister of Justice Dzintars Rasnacs, President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele, State President Raimonds Vejonis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Chair of the Council for the Judiciary Ivars Bickovics, and Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court Veronika Krumina.
This year's Latvian Judges’ Conference which took place on September 7 was devoted to the centennial of the Latvian judicial system and its prospects. The Conference was attended by representatives of the Supreme Courts from countries that also celebrate their centenary – Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Poland.
"Judging and ensuring justice is among the most important functions of the state. In the eyes of the public, all judges are equal: commitment of each judge, their attitude to the parties, and the ability to ensure justice shape the impression of the whole system. Therefore, we must demand professionalism, responsibility, and courage to ensure a fair trial and solve complicated issues for all judges. No judge nor any judicial institution is an exception," State President Raimonds Vejonis addressed the judges.
Ivars Bickovics, Chair of the Council for the Judiciary, also emphasized in his speech: “Each judge in the courtroom is the face of the judicial system of Latvia for those people who have turned to the court”. He highlighted the importance of the independence of the judiciary in order to guarantee the right of everyone to defend their legitimate interests in a fair court as specified in Article 92 of the Satversme (Constitution). “The independence of the judicial system and of each judge is an important guarantee of this right. Therefore, when we defend balance between the powers and the distribution of competencies, and demand the funds necessary for the optimal functioning of the judicial system, we do not do this in the name of selfish interests, but we think about how we can, in the public interest, carry out what is required of us by law and the Satversme,” said Ivars Bickovics.
Ineta Ziemele, President of the Constitutional Court, paid special attention to ensuring balance between the branches of state power, and emphasized the special role, status, responsibility and constant necessity of professional development of every judge as a bearer of judicial power. She urged judges to ensure a dialogue with their colleagues in the whole Europe and with the legal science itself, and called on every judge to be independent, brave and make efforts to shape an ideal Latvian judge in themselves.
The judges were also addressed by Gaidis Berzins, Chair of the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee, and Dzintars Rasnacs, Minister of Justice.
Looking back at the development of the Latvian judicial system over the course of a century, speeches at the conference were given by Sanita Osipova, Judge of the Constitutional Court, and Egils Levits, Judge of the European Court of Justice.
The closing part of the conference was dedicated to the election of members of the Council for the Judiciary and the Judicial Ethics Commission. Given that the repeated term of office for six members of the Council for the Judiciary and one member of the Judicial Ethics Commission has expired, the Judges’ Conference heard the vision of the new candidates on their work in these self-government bodies. Voting for candidates will take place on September 11 in electronic elections.
The participants of Judges’ Conference also voted for the next electronic conference to include electronic voting on the proposal to change the procedure for nominating the chairs of the courts.
313 out of 558 Latvian judges participated in the Judges’ Conference.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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