22 January, 2013
Issues reviewed in the session of the Board of Justice on the 21st of January
Studies on court system are presented to the Board of Justice
In its session on the 21st of January, the Board of Justice got acquainted with two studies on court system.
Representative of Latvia in the Board of Europe’s Commission for the Efficiency of Justice – CEPEJ, the judge of the Constitutional Court Aija Branta presented report of this commission about evaluation of European judicial system for year 2010.
The report includes data on judicial system in 46 European countries, inter alia, in Latvia, in 2010. This is the fourth study of such volume in Europe, which informs about situation in judicial systems, as well as points out imperfections and reforms necessary for promotion of improvement of efficiency of judicial system.
The report gives a comparative assessment about state financing to judicial systems, information about opportunities of development of judicial careers, alternative methods of resolving disputes, court employees and other issues. Statistical data on terms of review of cases and accumulations of cases, as well as on other indicators in each state may be found in the report.
As it may be concluded from the report, indicators of efficiency of Latvian court system are not the lowest ones, comparatively, although, comparing to other states, financing allocated to court system is small (37 Euros per capita per annum is an average in Europe, and 16.5 Euros – in Latvia).
Authors of research mention poor financing allocated in Latvia to legal aid provided by the state – in Europe it makes 6.8 Euros per capita per annum at average, and only 0.4 Euros – in Latvia. It affects not only opportunity of population of moderate means to receive legal aid, but also length and quality of proceedings in general, - A.Branta said.
CEPEJ report on assessment of the European judicial system for year 2010 is available on the home page of the Supreme Court in Chapter The Board of Justice/ ENCJ
In its turn, the second study presented was “Providing judicial independence in legal acts effective. Development of theoretical justification for necessary amendments, taking into account documents drafted by international institutions.” This study was performed by the order of the Board of Justice. The author of research, Laila Jurcena, the adviser to the Chair of the Constitutional Court, analysed Latvian legal regulation developed to provide judicial independence.
The author, having analysed legal acts being in force, which regulate operation of courts and judges, and using rulings of the Constitutional Court, rulings of Constitutional Courts of other countries, reports of United Nations SpecialRapporteur on the Independenceof Judges and Lawyers,and other documents developed by international institutions, performed an analysis about authority of executive power (the Cabinet, the Ministry of Justice and the Minister of Justice) and of the Saeima (the Parliament) in field of judiciary, as well as about authority and possible, allowable and necessary redistribution of functions of the Council of Justice.
Proposal to remove Ziedonis Strazds from judicial office due to state of health will not be advanced to the Saeima
Having repeatedly reviewed application of Ziedonis Strazds, the judge of Riga city Zemgale Suburb court, about his removal from judicial office due to state of health, the Council of Justice decided not to advance to the Saeima the proposal on removal of a judge from the post due this reason.
When passing a decision, arguments expressed in session of the Council were taken into account, namely, that documents submitted by the judge additionally, characterising his state of health, are not sufficient still to admit that the judge is not able to continue executing judicial duties and it would serve as a grounds to remove the judge from the office pursuant to Paragraph Three Section 82 of the law “On Judicial Power”. Moreover, decision of the Judicial Disciplinary Committee with proposal to remove the judge Strazds from judicial office, which was left unaltered by the Disciplinary Court, was submitted to the Saeima; however, the Parliament has not yet decided on it.
The judge of the department of land books is transferred to the Centre district court
The Council of Justice decided to transfer Una Melameda in judicial post from the department of land books of Riga city Vidzeme Suburb court to Riga city Centre district court.
The judge applied for competition to vacant post of a judge in Riga city Centre district court.
Cancellation of immunity to call prosecutors to administrative responsibility is not supported
When reviewing request of the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima to submitopinion of the Council of Justice about draft law of amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, which provide cancellation of immunity to call prosecutors to administrative responsibility, the Board of Justice decided not to support amendments to the law suggested, at present.
In discussions on this issue, it was indicated, inter alia, that disciplinary responsibility provided for judges and prosecutors for commitment of administrative misdemeanours, is not advantage of immunity, but vice versa – it is even bigger responsibility than fine for commitment of administrative misdemeanour.
Covering of costs for legal representation should be established in national normative acts
The Board of Justice accepted for its cognizance information of the Ministry of Justice about problem issues related to covering of costs for legal representation. The Minister of Justice paid attention to the fact that in court practice situations occur in cases of national character and supranational cases, when costs in large amount for provision of representation are covered from means of state budget. Standards of the Criminal Procedure Law, when interpreting in totality of regulation on legal aid, stated in legal standards, do not provide an explanation of how payment to providers of legal aid invited by foreign person, should be made.
The Board of Justice admitted that this issue should be solved in legislative way, by updating present effective procedure.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 67020396, 28652211