28 October, 2014
The Council for the Judiciary shall support amendments to the law “On Judicial Power” related to reform of a court system, if the draft law includes proposals, which were not previously supported in the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima (Parliament), regarding benefits and right to long service pension to those judges of Chambers, who will be dismissed from the office of a judge of the Supreme Court along with liquidation of Chambers.
Proposal prepared and submitted to the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima by Gaidis Berzins, the Minister of Justice, provides that a judge, who is dismissed from the office of a judge of the Supreme Court along with expiration of term of operation of a Chamber of the Supreme Court and not more than three years are left until pension age established in the law “On State Pensions” shall be paid monthly benefit in amount of average salary calculated of the last year before dismissal from judge’s office, and the benefit shall be paid until a judge reaches pension age.
In relation to this proposal, it is necessary to make amendments to the Law on Judges’ Long Service Pensions so that judges, whose length of service at the moment of dismissal is 20 years, and last 10 of them are served in judge’s office, and who have received a benefit in amount of average monthly salary, having achieved pension age established in the law “On State Pensions”, would have right to long service pension, which makes 65-80% of judge’s salary.
The Supreme Court had discussed and had coordinated such proposal of amendments to the law “On Judicial Power” with the Ministry of Welfare and the Ministry of Finance, and the Minister of Justice submitted them to the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima to be included in the draft law advanced for confirmation in the Saeima under urgent procedure. However, the Legal Affairs Committee rejected proposals, as Ilma Cepane, the Chair of the Committee, informed, the decision was unanimous.
In the extraordinary sitting of the Council for the Judiciary, which was convened on 27 October, the Council decided to support proposals and to ask the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima to supplement transitional provisions.
These provisions would refer only to those judges, who along with expiration of term of operation of Chambers of the Supreme Court would not be transferred to the office of a judge of the department of the Supreme Court and would not agree to transfer and there would be no more than three years left to them to reach pension age established in the law “On State Pensions”. As the Supreme Court points out, those could be only several judges.
The Council for the Judiciary believes that benefit to be paid until reaching the pension age, but not longer than for three years, and preservation of right to long service pension to those judges, who devoted their work life to the office of a judge, would be the most commensurate and respectful solution between principle of irremovability of a judge established in Satversme (Constitution) and principle of development of a court system, which requires to implement certain reforms in the system.
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