On Friday, 13 May, Latvian judges will gather to annual Judges’ Conference, and the main subject this year is judicial ethics.

In 2008, the first 10 members of the Ethics’ Committee started a new work in Latvian court system, developing, as one may say, the case-law on judicial ethics. Four years later, being re-elected, six members of the first members of the Committee continued their work.  Upon expiration of the second term of office, experience is accumulated, and it will be shared at the Judges’ Conference. Conclusions of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee of eight years of work have been comprised in the book, which will be given to participants.

This May, the term of office of nine from among ten members of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee expires. Moreover, six of them may not be re-elected, because the law “On Judicial Power” stipulates that term of office of a member of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee is four years, and the member of the committee may not be elected for more than two consecutive terms.

At the conference, the study on regulation concerning judicial ethics will also be presented. The study was prepared by the professor Aivita Putnina and Signe Mezinska, the associate professor, from the University of Latvia. The goal of the study is to assess activity of the Judicial Ethics’ Committee, analysing achievement of goals of establishment and subject of activity. The attention is also paid to recommendations on judicial ethics by international organisations, which are binding for Latvia, and understanding of Latvian judges regarding the goals and tasks of activity of the Ethics’ Committee.  

Among the guests of the Conference, there will be Doctor in Law, Mrs Jane Kirtley, the guest lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia from the United States of America, the Professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. She will present a report on use of social and traditional media by judges.

Elections of the new Judicial Ethics’ Committee have been organised partly in presence, and partly – extramurally. Candidates were nominated electronically, but all 13 candidates will be listened to at the Conference.  The final stage of elections – voting for candidates – will continue electronically on 20 May.

The second part of the Conference has been planned according to branches of law – civil law, criminal law and administrative law. This part has been organised by departments of the Supreme Court.

The Judges’ Conference is institution of judicial self-government convened by the Council for the Judiciary not less than once a year. Judges of district and city courts and of land registry offices thereof, regional courts and the Supreme Court participate in the work thereof.Members of the Council for the Judiciary, judges of the Constitutional Court and Judges Emeritus, representatives of the Chancery of the President of the State and of the Saeima (Parliament) attend the conference as the invited guests.

The Judges’ Conference will be held on Friday, 13 May, at the Great Hall of the University of Latvia. The beginning is at 9.30 o’clock.

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