Network of the Presidents of the Supreme Judicial Courts of the European Union implements experience exchange programme also in 2017. The aim of the exchange programme is for the participants to get acquainted with the day-to-day work of colleagues from other countries, as well as to promote mutual trust between the judicial institutions, giving them the opportunity to get to know each other and work together.

Thus, today, on October 2, Eerik Kergandberg, Judge of the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of Estonia, arrived at the Supreme Court of Latvia, in order to study and compare the Latvian judicial system with Estonian practice for two weeks.

Judge bases his interest in the work of the Supreme Court of Latvia on the fact that after regaining of independence in the 90s of the last century, Estonia and Latvia began to reform their judicial systems in a similar way – by applying European Union law. The practice of the European Court of Human Rights has also contributed to the development of judicial systems of both countries. However, communication with Latvian colleagues has revealed that over time our judicial systems have taken different development paths. According to Eerik Kergandberg, there would not be a better way to assess the positive and negative aspects of the Estonian judicial system, as to compare it to the Latvian judicial system.

The judge himself expresses his interest in participating in the exchange program as follows: "After the restoration of independence – for about the last quarter of a century, the eyes of lawyers, including judges, of our countries have primarily been on the horizon or, generally speaking, on Brussels. Although not all the details seen on the horizon have been unambiguously clear and worthy of approval, the view has undoubtedly enabled us to take many wise and useful notes for the purpose of our own legal environment.

However, a quarter of a century is a sufficiently long period to turn our eyes (that tend to get tired after a long period of gazing) a little lower than and aside the horizon and to independently give a sense as to what has happened during these twenty-five years. This “lower than or aside the horizon” refers particularly to our neighbours who, in terms of Estonia, certainly means Latvia as one of the primary choices.

The relationships between the judges of Estonia and Latvia have been rather close and personal during the entire period after the restoration of independence. We have been able to discuss substantive legal matters in various conferences and other meetings and have experienced that the regulations of our neighbours differ from our regulations. At the same time, it is certain that Estonia does not have any judges (or any other lawyers) who know contemporary Latvian penal law and criminal procedural law in sufficient detail, not to mention the case law of the country.

I am not naïve enough to hope that I will become a specialist of Latvian penal law within those two weeks. However, I hope to do the following within this period of time. I will try to “discover” some areas in the field of Latvian penal law, a detailed examination of which by an Estonian lawyer can be appealing in terms of comparative law.”

Within the framework of the programme, the judge will not only co-operate with the colleagues of the Supreme Court of Latvia, but will also visit Riga Regional Court, the Constitutional Court and other institutions belonging to judicial system of Latvia.

 

Information prepared by:
Iveta Jaudzema, International Cooperation Specialist of the Supreme Court
Telephone: 670210396, e-mail: iveta.jaudzema@at.gov.lv