17 June, 2014
The Board of Justice listened to information summarised by the Ministry of Justice on standards of examination of cases in district (city) courts and regional courts, which were determined by courts, and opinions of courts in respect of differences of standards.
Summary of information shows that longer average terms have been planned for examination of civil cases and criminal cases in 2014 in district (city) courts, comparing to average actual examination terms in 2013. In regional courts, the trend has also been observed that standard of terms of examination of cases is determined for three months longer at average, comparing to actual length of examination of cases in 2013. Only administrative courts sighted an opportunity to decrease average terms of examination of cases.
Having summarised information provided by Chairs of courts, the Ministry of Justice points out two main aspects in respect of this trend. Firstly, these are amendments implemented and planned to legal provisions, which refer also to redistribution of competences among court instances; secondly, these are measures related to organisation of work of courts, for example, issues related to personnel, appropriate premises, audio recording, etc. At the same time, Chairs of courts indicated such external aspects as increase of number of cases of certain categories and attitude of participants to a case during proceedings, which significantly affect total average term of examination of cases.
In accordance with amendments to the law “On Judicial Power”, the law was supplemented with new Section 271 “Management of terms of examination of cases in courts”, which states that the Chair of a court prior to beginning of every calendar year, in cooperation with judges, plan and determines work goals of the court in respect of average terms of examination of cases in the court. When determining standard of term of examination of a case, individual assessment of work of a court shall be performed and circumstances, which may influence length of examination of cases in concrete court, shall be taken into account. The Chair of a court shall submit information regarding approved term of examination of cases to the Board of Justice prior to 1 February of very year.
The Board of Justice considered being necessary to come back to comparison of standards of examination of cases determined by the courts later to analyse, if amendments to the law implemented gave an expected effect.
The issue was reviewed in the sitting of the Board of Justice on June, 16
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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