Issues reviewed and decisions adopted in the session of the Board of Justice on the 18th of February  

 

The Board of Justice: the Law on Unified Wages doesn’t provide balance between remuneration of judges and lawyers of public institutions

The Board of Justice supports amendments to the Law on Wages of Officials and Employees of State and Municipal Institutions, providing to replace extra paid to judges for qualification class with long-service extra for time spent by the judge in the post.  

At the same time, the Council of Justice expresses its incomprehension, that suggestion to solve the issue about equation of time spent in profession kindred to the post of the judge to the time spent in the post of a judge to calculate long-service extra, which was proposed in the decision of the Council adopted on the 18th of June, was not taken into account in draft law.

The Board of Justice also indicates repeatedly that, in general, the draft law doesn’t provide balance between wages of judges and lawyers of public institutions, as well as it doesn’t eliminate unequal attitude towards different state officials, when determining other issues related to remuneration.  

Amount of remuneration of judges and prosecutors is not reviewed in relation to amendments to legal regulation regarding payments of extras and bonuses. In 2013, amount of extras and bonuses makes additional 47.9 per cent of wages, but, in relation to judges and prosecutors, regulation is not amended. By providing different opportunity to receive extras and bonuses, proportion of remuneration of stet employees and judges, which was calculated and determined by legislator initially, is changed, and it doesn’t provide and doesn’t preserve real value of wages of judges and prosecutors.  

The Council of Justice believes that, by implementing new system of remuneration of judges and prosecutors, amount of social guarantees of judges is reduced, and amendments are performed without assessment influence of those to remuneration of judges and prosecutors.

 

The Board of Justice supports claim of sworn bailiffs submitted to the Constitutional Court 

Sworn bailiffs have rights to receive compensation of costs related to execution of court judgement in cases, in which debt-collector is released from payment of costs of execution of a judgement – the Council of Justice believes, when defining its opinion in case in the Constitutional Court.  

In case about correspondence of Paragraph Three Section 567 of the Civil Procedure Law to the Article 107 of the Constitution and about correspondence of Item 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the Regulations No 670 of the Cabinet of Ministers, dated by 30.08.2011 “Regulations on amount of costs necessary to perform execution activities and procedure of payment of those” to the Article 64 and 105 of the Constitution, which was initiated upon application of sworn bailiffs, the Council of Justice is considered to be invited person and it is asked to submit an opinion.

The Board of Justice believes that in cases, when an individual is released from payment of costs of execution of a judgement and these costs are undertaken by the state, the amount of compensation paid to bailiff from means of the state budget must not be limited, when compensating only costs necessary for implementation of execution activities, but not anticipating to compensate post remuneration as well.  

To provide access of all individuals, especially socially supportable persons, to execution of a judgement, the bailiff must compensate unearned remuneration from post remuneration earned in other execution cases. However, as number of cases, in which individuals are released from costs of post remuneration of a bailiff, makes 57 per cent of total number of cases, principle of apportionment is violated. The Council of Justice believes that legal standards appealed in the constitutional claim endanger continuous, fair and effective provision of practice of bailiffs and effective procedure of execution of court judgements, as well as cause corruption risks.

 

The Board of Justice: mechanism of control of rule of law of activities of sworn bailiffs and receivers has been ensured

The Minister of Justice, according to task given by the Prime Minister, had asked the Council of Justice to review issue about opportunities to improve supervisory mechanisms of control of rule of law of operation of receivers and sworn bailiffs, as these mechanisms are included in the competence of judiciary.   

The Board of Justice agrees to conclusion prepared by the Minister of Justice, that legal regulation of supervision of operation of sworn bailiffs carried out by judiciary at present has been balanced with basic principles of operation of sworn bailiffs as of officials belonging to judicial system and representatives of free legal profession. By regulation of operation of bailiffs stated in procedural laws and rights to appeal against actions of a bailiff in the court, which are guaranteed by the law, as well as direct supervision of work of bailiffs implemented by regional courts, the opportunity is provided to perform actions, which are necessary in order not to assume violations, and timely establishing and elimination of those, as well as mechanism of action is envisaged for initiation of disciplinary proceedings, in case violation is established.   

The Board of Justice also agreed to the statement of the Minister of Justice that legal regulation in field of supervision over receivers carried out by judiciary, which is effective at present, is clear and appropriate to provide process of insolvency proceedings that would be qualitative and complying with legal standards, to the utmost.

Supervision over receivers within legal protection proceedings and insolvency proceedings is carried out by the court and the Insolvency Administration. The Insolvency Administration controls activity of an administrator in legal protection proceedings and insolvency proceedings, as well as it reviews complaints about action of an administrator, except for those cases established in the law, when complaints about actions and decisions of an administrator must be examined in the court, where correspondent case on insolvency proceedings is initiated.

 

The judge of Riga regional court is instructed is instructed to execute duties of a judge of the Supreme Court  

The Board of Justice instructed Aivars Uminskis, the judge of Riga regional court, to execute duties of a judge of the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court as from the 19th of February.

Positive statement for A.Uminskis to execute duties of a judge of the Supreme Court was given by the Judicial Qualifications Committee.

Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, indicated that taking into account reorganisation of the Supreme Court commenced by the legislator, it is not possible to invite judge to regular work to the Supreme Court, as the Chamber of Criminal Cases will be eliminated at the end of 2014. So the Supreme Court uses an opportunity provided in the law “On Judicial Power” to instruct a judge of a regional court to replace vacancy of a judge of a court chamber for the term not exceeding two years.

A.Uminskis has already executed duties of a judge of the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court for two years.

 

The Board of Justice listens to information on amendments to the law on judiciary given by the Minister of Justice, but doesn’t express its opinion yet 

The Board of Justice listened to extended explanation given by Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice, on proposals of amendments to the law “On Judicial Power” submitted by the Minister to the Saeima (the Parliament), which envisage to extend duties of chairs of district (city) and regional courts and their responsibility for organisation of work of the court, inter alia, for management of length of proceedings.   

The Minister explained that, by these amendments, it has been planned to provide court management based on unified principles. In relation to proposal about planning of average time of review of court cases, the Minister stressed that the aim is not to make the chair of the court to establish length of review of each case received in the court or to order to review cases received in the court faster than it is possible objectively and with present resources of the court. The goal of the proposal is to establish standards of review of cases in the court, which would become an instrument of planning of court resources, and one of tools given to the chair of the court to point out potentially protracted cases.

Taking into account opinions on amendments to law planned in relation to this issue and about restriction for the chair of the court to hold his/her office for more than two terms, which were heard both in the Council of Justice and in meeting of chairs of regional courts, the Council of Justice hasn’t accepted proposals of the Minister of Justice at present. The Council of Justice also didn’t discuss other possible mechanisms to manage time of proceedings, as more time is necessary to prepare this issue. 

The Board of Justice will come back to this issue, when the Sub-commission on Court Policy of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima will ask for the opinion of the Council of Justice about the draft law.

 

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