Judicial Council: The model of the new Law on Remuneration is still incomprehensible and non-transparent
10 December, 2020
Having evaluated the draft law "Law On Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Local Government Authorities" developed by the State Chancellery, the Judicial Council acknowledges that the model of its development is incomprehensible and calls on the State Chancellery to substantiate the draft law properly.
In its decision of 10 December, the Judicial Council points out that the draft law does not take into account its previously expressed proposals regarding the remuneration of judges, including the approximation of the base coefficient to that applied to members of parliament who just as judges are officials of a constitutional body. Taking into account that judges are included in the unified remuneration system, then within the framework of the division of power the remuneration of judges has to be equal to the remuneration of officials of other branches of state power, namely the parliament and the government.
A number of criteria must be taken into account when determining the remuneration of judges, including guaranteeing the independence of a judge through financial security, the inadmissibility of allowances, compliance with the requirements and restrictions imposed on the position of a judge. These criteria have been defined by the Constitutional Court in two judgments in cases No. 2009-11-01 and No. 2016-31-01. The Judicial Council emphasizes that it is not clear which criteria of remuneration of judges referred to in the judgments of the Constitutional Court have been or have not been taken into account during the development of the draft law and what methods have been used to determine them.
The methodology for determining coefficients, if any, is not understood from the annotation of the draft law. There is no justification as to why the coefficient of 2.91 and the bonus system of 5% and 10% in conditions of Latvia would be appropriate for the status of a judge and would be a motivating remuneration system for a judge. Without knowledge of this methodology and lacking any substantiation in the annotation of the draft law, it is not possible to verify whether the proposed draft law addresses the constitutional problems of remuneration of judges indicated in the judgments of the Constitutional Court.
The Judicial Council considers that the development of a remuneration model in accordance with the Constitution should have started not with the mechanical determination of coefficients, but with the establishment and analysis of the criteria indicated in the judgments of the Constitutional Court, on the basis of which a clear unified methodology should be developed. Whereas, the remuneration system can only be developed on the basis of such a methodology, considering systemic changes in the judiciary as a whole.
The main goal of the draft law, in accordance with the Public Administration Reform Plan for 2020, is to review the remuneration policy of civil servants and employees of state and local government institutions in order to ensure competitive remuneration in public administration. Certain regulations concern judges and prosecutors, therefore the State Chancellery requested the Judicial Council to provide an opinion on the draft law.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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