Dzintra Balta is elected as deputy chair of the Council for the Judiciary
On October 15, the Council for the Judiciary had a sitting in an updated composition, as five newly elected representatives of the judiciary have begun their work. New deputy chair of the Council for the Judiciary had to be elected from among the judges, and Dzintra Balta, judge of Riga Regional Court, was elected to this office.

The Council for the Judiciary encourages to equate the remuneration of a district court judge with the remuneration of a member of the Saeima and suspend the linking of a prosecutors’ remuneration with that of judges
The Council for the Judiciary heard and assessed the new draft remuneration system of judges prepared by the State Chancellery working group, which was elaborated thus complying with the judgment of the Constitutional Court. The judgment of the Constitutional Court provides for elaboration of a system of remuneration for judges by January 1, 2019, in conformity with the Satversme (Constitution), which would ensure the balance of the actual amount of the remuneration of judges with that of legislator and the executive, as well as financial security in accordance with the principle of the independence of judges.

In general, the Council for the Judiciary assessed positively the remuneration model presented by the State Chancellery, while encouraging the re-examination of individual issues.

The Council for the Judiciary calls for an assessment of the balance of remuneration of judges both in relation to other branches of power and within the judiciary. The Council for the Judiciary believes that the remuneration of a district court judge has already initially to be equated to that of a member of the Saeima. The proposal of the Council for the Judiciary is to unlink judges' remuneration and to increase the margin between the amount of remuneration of the judge and the prosecutor, and to approximate the amount of remuneration of judges of Constitutional Court and judges of the Supreme Court.

The Council for the Judiciary recognized the need to determine seniority bonus for a judge not exceeding 21%.

Support for the restoration of the historical name of the Supreme Court – the Senate
The Council for the Judiciary upheld the amendments initiated by the Supreme Court to the Law "On Judicial Power", which envisage returning the historical name of the cassation instance – the Senate.

Support for the extension of the possibility to use exception for transferring a case to another court
The Council for the Judiciary supported the proposal of the Ministry of Justice to extend the regulation contained in Section 321 of the Civil Procedure Law after the end of the current transitional period on December 31, 2018. The Council for the Judiciary determined that the validity of provisions of the law on the transfer of civil cases to another court for their faster adjudication should be extended for another 2 years until December 31, 2020.

At the same time, the Council for the Judiciary calls on the Ministry to find less restrictive solutions for ensuring the parties' right to a fair trial in the sense of access to justice.

Proposal for the nomination of candidates for the office of chairs of the judiciary to be transferred in the competence of the Council for the Judiciary
When examining the request of the Saeima Legal Affairs Committee submitted to the Council for the Judiciary to give an opinion on the amendments to the procedure set out in the law “On Judicial Power” for nominating candidates for the position of chairs of district (city) courts and regional courts, the Council for the Judiciary calls for this issue to be fully transferred in the competence of the Council for the Judiciary.

No support for amendments to the Land Register Law
Considering that amendments to the Land Register Law adopted at the second reading by the Saeima could potentially jeopardize the public confidence in land registers and Latvia's international reputation and responsibilities in the implementation of the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as increase the workload and responsibility of the staff of Land Register Offices, the Council for the Judiciary did not support the draft amendments to the Land Register Law, that provide that the presence of a notary in the process of verification of the person's identification, legal capacity and representation rights is not necessarily required, when an owner of an immovable property submits request for the corroboration to be registered in the land register.

 

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 2865221