The State President and the Chair of the Judicial Council emphasize the role of the Judicial Council in establishing a dialogue with the branches of state power
8 April, 2022
On Friday, April 8, the members of the Judicial Council discussed with the Sate President Egils Levits the work of the Judicial Council carried out in 2021, as well as the role and tasks of the Judicial Council for this year.
When opening the meeting, the Chair of the Judicial Council Aigars Strupišs and the Sate President Egils Levits, emphasized the role of the Judicial Council in establishing a direct and immediate dialogue with the legislature and the executive, as well as the fundamental task of the Judicial Council to develop a judicial policy and strategy based on a constructive and direct exchange of views with the branches of government. "In a state governed by the rule of law, dialogue between the judiciary and other constitutional bodies is important, and the Judicial Council is a suitable platform for such dialogue," said President Egils Levits.
During the meeting, the Chair of the Judicial Council informed about the work of the Judicial Council in 2021 and this year’s plans. The Chair of the Judicial Council Aigars Strupišs pointed out that “Having analyzed the work of the Council in 2021, the Judicial Council has held a total of 37 meetings and 15 of them under written procedure. Also in 2021, the Judicial Council adopted about 50 decisions concerning the career of judges. The most important task carried out by the Judicial Council is the development and approval of the Judicial Council's strategy for 2021-2025, which aims to strengthen the judiciary and its quality."
Moreover, in 2021, the Judicial Council has improved the procedure for selecting candidates for the position of a judge of a district (city) court and a regional court, as well as has approved new rules of procedure for the Judicial Ethics Commission in order to improve its work and efficiency. In 2021, a working group of the Judicial Council to strengthen the efficiency of the judiciary was launched and continues its work. The Judicial Council has paid close attention to the e-case project in order to develop a well-designed programme available to litigants for adjudication of cases in electronic proceedings. Also in 2021, the Judicial Council approved and developed standards for case examination deadlines for 2022, the aim of which is to provide the public with an idea of the planned average length of proceedings. Last year, the Council adopted guidelines for the training of judges in 2022, which set out the principles and directions for the development of judicial training programs, focusing on practical trainings.
The Chair of the Judicial Council also pointed out that the plans of the Judicial Council for 2022 are aimed at achieving the goals of the strategy developed by the Judicial Council. "This year, the Judicial Council will focus on strengthening the efficiency and quality of the judiciary (case examination deadlines, controls, etc.), strengthening the independence of the judiciary and developing the functions of the Judicial Council. At the same time, a competitive remuneration model for court employees and judges will be developed and improvements in court communication with the public will be implemented,” emphasizes Aigars Strupišs, Chair of the Judicial Council.
Among other things, the Chair of the Judicial Council drew attention to the fact that the biggest challenges for the judiciary today are the deadlines for dealing with individual cases, the low capacity of the Judicial Council and the lack of qualified lawyers to fill existing vacancies for judges and court staff.
During the meeting, the Chair of the Judicial Council Aigars Strupišs also outlined the general situation of the court system: “2021. The results of the European Commission's EU Justice Scoreboard report show that Latvia is at the top of the list in terms of average length of proceedings. At the same time, a study by the Public Policy Centre Providus concludes that 96% of court clients are satisfied with court work and 57% rate court work as excellent. The latest results of a survey by the Research Centre SKDS also show that public confidence in the courts is growing - 47% trust the court (compared to 38% in the previous year).”
Other topical issues of the work of the Judicial Council were also discussed at the meeting, which the members of the Council agreed with the State President to continue discussing at other meetings of the Judicial Council.
Lana Mauliņa, the Adviser to the Secretariat of the Judicial Council on communication matters
E-mail: Lana.Maulina@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020711