The Council for the Judiciary does not support a proposal regarding reorganisation of the Disciplinary Court as a single appellate instance to review disciplinary cases of all persons belonging to the court system, but it considers as possible to improve existing procedure of appeal in disciplinary cases and to make it more efficient.  

Currently, decisions adopted in disciplinary cases against judges and prosecutors may be appealed in the Disciplinary Court and disciplinary cases of sworn advocates, notaries and bailiffs, in their turn, may be appealed in the administrative court, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Law.  

The draft project of the reform envisages reorganization of the Disciplinary Court into single appellate instance to review disciplinary cases of all persons belonging to the court system, mentioning long terms of adjudication of cases in administrative procedure. At the sitting of the Council for the Judiciary, representatives of the Councils of Sworn Advocates, Sworn Notaries and Sworn Bailiffs stressed long terms of adjudication of cases in administrative courts and the fact that persons of free legal professions, who belong to the court system, are also included in the court system. 

Having assessed usefulness of the promoted reform, Aigars Strupiss, the Chair of the Disciplinary Court, expressed an opinion that long terms of adjudication of administrative cases may be reduced by decrease of number of instances to appeal and by granting priority status to these cases. Unified case-law in disciplinary cases of public officials, which has been pointed out as the argument of necessity of changes, has already been ensured by the Department of Administrative Cases. Janis Neimanis, the Chair of the Association of Administrative Judges, urged to trust judges of the first instance as well, and asked regional courts to use right to reject initiation of appellate proceedings, which currently has already been stipulated in the law, more actively, as it would make the process of litigation more efficient.

Ilze Freimane reminded of the purpose of establishment of the Disciplinary Court, namely, the opportunity to appeal in disciplinary cases of judges, which had not been ensured previously.

Both the Chair of the Disciplinary Court and judges of the Supreme Court stressed the fact that the reform envisages that the Supreme Court will be the court of cassation only; however, in this concept,  the Disciplinary Court is envisaged to be the appellate instance.   

Moreover, when implementing changes, the system of disciplinary liability must be reviewed in complex manner, and single procedure should be created since the very beginning of initiation of a disciplinary case. It means fundamental reform of the system there is no necessity for and no possible capacity of the Supreme Court to involve in implementation of the reform.

The Council for the Judiciary considered that the opinion of the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court must be respected and current procedure of appeal in disciplinary cases must be made more efficient.

The Council for the Judiciary adopted the decision at the sitting of 21 March. See information about all issues reviewed at the sitting here

 

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