16 April, 2020
The Judicial Council has developed and approved a new procedure for the selection of candidates for the position of a judge of a district (city) court and regional court, which establishes a conceptually new approach to the professional standard of a judge. The purpose of the selection of candidates is to ensure that highly qualified lawyers with an impeccable reputation, appropriate professional skills and personal qualities become judges.
The selection of candidates for the position of a judge takes place in an open competition, evaluating the professional, personal and social competencies necessary for the position of a judge. The competition is held at least once every three years, unless the list of candidates for the post is extended in accordance with a decision of the Judicial Council.
For the selection of candidates, the Judicial Council establishes a commission for three years, which consists of three senators, three judges of regional courts and three judges of district (city) courts.
The selection takes place in five rounds. The first round is the evaluation of the application by examining the formal criteria: the applicant's compliance with the requirements specified in the Law “On Judicial Power” and the absence of specified restrictions to hold the position of a judge. The second round – evaluation of the submitted answers to the questions, making sure of the applicant's motivation and ability to substantiate it. The third round – a test of professional knowledge, in which the professional knowledge of the applicant, which is necessary for the performance of the duties of a judge, is tested. Fourth round – written solution to legal issue (casus) and oral defense of the solution. Fifth round – competency-based interview, in which the applicant's personal and social competencies are assessed.
An applicant who successfully passes the selection tests becomes a candidate for the position of a judge and is included in the list of candidates for the position of a judge for three years. Candidates in the list are ranked according to the result of the selection. When there is vacancy for a judge, the position of a judge is offered to the candidate with the highest number of points.
The new procedure will enter into force simultaneously with the amendments to Section 541 of the Law “On the Judiciary”, which will exclude internships and qualification examinations as part of the selection process for candidates for the position of a judge. Competitions started before the entry into force of this procedure will be completed in accordance with the current procedure for selection, internship and passing the qualification exam.
The decision was taken by the Judicial Council in a written procedure on 15 April.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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