In 2017-2018, the Council for the Judiciary of Latvia participates in two projects of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ). Dace Sulmane, Adviser to the Secretariat of the Council for the Judiciary, participates in the project "Independence and Accountability", while Solvita Harbacevica, Head of the Secretariat of the Council for the Judiciary, participates in the project "Public Confidence and the Image of Justice".

The project "Independence and Accountability" will focus on research into the independence of the judiciary in all Member States. Academic representatives will also be involved in ensuring the sustainability and practical application of the ENCJ's work in the development of rights policy.

Project managers from the Netherlands nominated an expert group including representatives from the United Kingdom, Portugal, Finland and also Dace Sulmane from Latvia. Alain Lacabarats, a representative of the French Council for the Magistrature, in collaboration with Dace Sulmane, will analyze the researches carried out by Member States in the framework of studies funded by the European Commission on these issues. The review will be completed by spring 2018.

The second project "Public Confidence and the Image of Justice" is led by representatives of the Superior Council of Magistracy of Romania. The working group raised several issues that should be explored within the framework of the project. The results of the survey among European judges on the perception of their own independence will also be analyzed.

The first meetings of the two working groups took place in October in Vilnius.

The working group on the project "Public Confidence and the Image of Justice" met for the second meeting in Brussels in December to discuss the Member States' replies to the questionnaire developed at the Vilnius meeting. Information about the Ethics Code for Latvian Judges and the conclusions of the Judicial Ethics Committee on communication issues was of particular interest to foreign colleagues.