On September 17, the members of the working group met in the Supreme Court to agree on report to be submitted to the Judicial Council, following its decision of February 10, 2020 calling on the Supreme Court to set up a working group to analyse the causes of lengthy civil, criminal and administrative proceedings, to develop appropriate proposals to eliminate the causes of lengthy proceedings, as well as to examine the findings of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the length of proceedings.

The working group, with the participation of a representative of each Senate’s Department, a representative of the Prosecutor's General Office and the Council of Sworn Advocates, as well as Latvia's representative in international human rights institutions, has prepared three reports on each regulation (administrative, civil and criminal) in matters within its competence, as well as in matters where it is necessary to involve others, such as individual members of the government.

In order to provide the opinion of a neutral observer, additional commentary to report was prepared by the former judge of the General Court of the European Union Ingrida Labucka, who was also the Minister of Justice in 1998-2002, when the procedural regulation of court proceedings was drafted.

In fulfilling the task assigned by the Judicial Council, the Office of the Representative of Latvia to International Human Rights Institutions has prepared a detailed report on cases involving the European Court of Human Rights, as well as general findings of the European Court of Human Rights regarding lengthy proceedings.

In each procedural regulation (regarding administrative proceedings, civil proceedings and criminal proceedings), not only the reasons and possible solutions for lengthy proceedings were analysed, but also possible solutions for improving the efficiency of legal proceedings in general. Common recommendations include thoughtful and meaningful implementation of digital solutions, the improvement of judges' lifelong education process, giving a special attention to the professional competences and skills of judges as those who conduct proceedings, as well as the training of court employees and the assessment of assigning them to carry out specific procedural tasks. The education of the persons involved in the proceedings should be regarded too, namely, their rights and obligations should be explained to the participants in the proceedings, and also attention should be paid to review of sanctions if the proceedings are delayed. In addition, the need to reconsider and improve the use of the institute of experts in ensuring quality legal proceedings was emphasized.

In addition to these topical common issues, the reports also indicate the problems identified in each procedure, the suggestions and the solutions to be considered.

The working group's reports and accompanying materials will be made public after discussion in the Judicial Council.

 

 Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211