Continuing tradition of meeting of a judge elected in respect of Latvia to the European Court of Human Rights, the Supreme Court invited Martins Mits to a meeting on 26 May. It was his first visit to the Supreme Court as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights.

Martins Mits shared information and experience on two types of issues – first, an increase of efficiency of processes in the European Court of Human Rights to reduce backlog of cases, and second - an analysis of cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights against Latvia from the aspect of work of courts.  

After more strict criteria of admission of cases were determined, number of cases in the European Court of Human Rights decreased per 30 per cent. By joining similar applications in one case, reviewing decisions on admissibility in smaller compositions of judges and carrying out other organisational measures, the European Court of Human Rights managed to reduce backlog of cases significantly. No new reforms have been envisaged in nearest future, the discussion might concern only prolongation of term of office of judges of the Court (currently, those are nine years).

As a problem seen by the European Court of Human Rights at the national level, Martins Mits mentioned insufficient enforcement of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which is shown as non-enforcement or insufficient enforcement of judgements passed by the European Court of Human Rights, and non-coordination of domestic legislation with the Convention already at the stage of draft laws.   For this purpose, there should be parliamentary institutions in Member States, which would assess each legislative initiative and draft law in the context of the Convention.

The European Court of Human Rights does not establish significant deficiencies in work of courts in respect of Latvian cases before the Court, the judge turned attention only to particular problematic issues. Mostly those are recognised in criminal cases in relation to human rights during interception of conversations over the phone and other operational activities, detention of a person during the search, impartiality of the court, compositions of the court.

As particularly important case in case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, Martins Mits mentioned judgement in the case “Avotins v.Latvia” passed on 23 May. This was the first time, when the European Court of Human Rights had to assess guarantee of observation of right to a fair trial in the case on mutual recognition of judgements in regulations of the European Union, in particular, within framework of Brussels I Regulation. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights rejected the application, not establishing rulings of Latvian courts non-complying with the Convention. 

Both Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and Martins Mits, the judge of the European Court of Human Rights, during the meeting pointed out that such direct discussions between judges of the Supreme Court and the judge of the European Court of Human Rights are practical and useful, and should be organised also in future.   

 

Information prepared by

Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211