Having heard the information and opinion of the Department of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court on insolvency proceedings, the report of the Ministry of Justice on the legal regulation of insolvency and the opinions of the heads of judicial self-governing bodies, there was a unanimous opinion that in recent years, compared to the situation in 2008-2014, there has been a significant positive change regarding the legal framework and judicial proceedings on insolvency. For instance, the legal framework has been changed several times, the Advisory Council in Insolvency Matters has been restored, a new system of selection of judges is being established, a regular evaluation of professional activity of all judges has been introduced, and the ongoing judicial territorial reform will ensure that, when determining the specialization of judges, it is possible to fully observe the principle of randomness in distribution of cases.

When commenting on the meeting, Ivars Bickovics, Chair of the Council for the Judiciary, said: "One of the main goals of the work of the Council for the Judiciary is to build confidence in the judicial system, and judges are interested in strengthening the reputation of the judiciary, as evidenced by the comprehensive assessment of the situation and extensive discussions at the meeting of the Council for the Judiciary of 22 January, reviewing the issue on criticism of the insolvency proceedings expressed in public space."

The Chair of the Council for the Judiciary stresses that, having analyzed the information and opinions received during the meeting, it is possible for the Council for the Judiciary to adopt enforceable, concrete decisions directed towards the development of the judiciary. There are significant proposals, such as amendments to the content and procedure of the evaluation of judges' professional activity, in particular regarding the amount of information to be evaluated. Similarly, amendments to the Judicial Disciplinary Liability Law provide for the Judicial Disciplinary Committee the right request extraordinary evaluation of the judge's professional activities in situations when it has doubts about the adequacy of the judge's professional knowledge.

Those judges who, when reviewing rulings of lower courts, find indications of a disciplinary offense should be more active – this should be reported to the chair of the court. For more active cooperation with the Council for the Judiciary, judicial self-governing bodies are invited to identify and deal with issues of relevance to the judicial system.

During the discussion, various, even drastically different proposals were made for the further work of the Council for the Judiciary. At the sitting of the Council for the Judiciary, a break was announced until 5 February, in order to allow the members of the Council to summarize and asses the information and opinions heard at the meeting, to prepare their proposals for the Council's further activities.

The Chair of the Council for the Judiciary points out that, although the Council had not yet reached the final decision, the work of the Council has been productive, as various opinions of all institutions involved in the judicial system were heard.

The Council for the Judiciary heard the explanations by the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases Edite Vernusa, Judge Aigars Strupiss, and the Legal Research Counsel Rihards Gulbis about the insolvency situation in the years 2008-2014, which is criticized by the media, and about the current situation. As well as review on amendments to regulations in area of insolvency law was provided by the adviser to the Minister of Justice Edgars Stafeckis. Anita Zikmane, Head of the Division of Case-law and Research of the Supreme Court, presented the already carried out and planned case-law studies and the development of case-law on insolvency matters. Chairs of judicial self-government bodies also gave their opinions – Chair of the Judicial Qualification Committee Maris Vigants, Chair of the Judicial Disciplinary Committee Peteris Dzalbe and Chair of the Judicial Ethics Committee Anita Kovalevska, Chair of Latvian Judges’ Association Juris Silins and the Chair of the Latvian Association of Administrative Judges Lauma Paeglkalna, as well as Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court Veronika Krumina and Chair of Riga Regional Court Daiga Vilsone; as well as the opinions of the members of the Council for the Judiciary.

 

See the commentary of Ivars Bickovics, Chair of the Council for the Judiciary, here.

 

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