The Board of Justice doesn’t support draft laws of amendments to the Law on Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Municipal Authorities, the law “On Judicial Power”, the Law on Prosecutor’s Office and the Law on the Constitutional Court prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers. Those provide inclusion of remuneration of judges into united system of state salaries. The Board of Justice believes that possibilities to execute judgment of the Constitutional Court of June 22, 2010, within existing system of judges’ salaries are not assessed enough, taking into account current economic situation in the country.

In decision of the Board of Justice of December 1, 2010, attention is drawn to incompliance of draft laws with what is indicated in the judgment of the Constitutional Court, that system of judges’ salaries should operate in long-term in democratic state and creation of a new system under impact of breakdown, i.e., temporary situation, would not comply with principle of independence of courts and judges.

Draft laws do not guarantee that actual value of judges’ salaries would not decrease and do not provide periodical revision of judicial post salaries.

Judgment of the Constitutional Court adopted on the 18th of January, 2010, admits short-term reduction of judicial remuneration, if serious and socially plausible reasons exist and it has been reduced, observing principles fixed in the Constitution. The Council of Justice believes that the method, how draft laws prepared by the Cabinet reduce remuneration of judges stated in the law, does not comply with the Article 83 of the Constitution about independence of judges and with the judgment of the Constitutional Court.   

Reducing remuneration fixed for judges in the law, draft laws also do not provide transitional period to guarantee observation of principle of judicial confidence. 

The Board of Justice believes that draft laws were developed in urgency, and necessity for reform of system of judicial remuneration, which functions at present, is not reasoned enough. The Council of Justice has not received materials testifying that essential assessment of present system of judicial salaries, listening to opinion of independent and competent experts and evaluation of all circumstances and facts was performed to change present system of judicial wages.

The Board of Justice also admitted that draft laws do not comply with international liabilities undertaken by Latvia and recommendations upon calculation of judges’ wages.  

System of judicial wages at present already is a part of united system of state wages, but it is determined separately, in the law “On Judicial Power”. System of united remuneration doesn’t mean inclusion in one law, but observation of united principles. Linking judicial wage with the 12th group of wages of officials of public institutions, as it has been provided in draft law of amendments to the Law on Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Municipal Authorities is discrepant to requirements, competence, functions, responsibility and restrictions stated for judges.

Only Ilma Cepane, the Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima, and Aigars Stokenbergs, the Minister of Justice, supported draft laws of amendments to the Law on Remuneration of Officials and Employees of State and Municipal Authorities, the law “On Judicial Power”, the Law on Prosecutor’s Office and the Law on the Constitutional Court prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers.

 

Budget request summarised by the Ministry of Justice is not supported in its part about judicial wages

As the Board of Justice does not support draft laws on inclusion of judges in united system of state wages, it does not support budget request of departments of land books, district (city) courts and regional courts in its part about remuneration of judges, which was prepared according to these draft laws.   

The Board of Justice approved the rest part of budget request summarised by the Ministry of Justice in previous session of the Council on the 25th of November.     

 

Issues related to judicial career

The Board of Justice appointed for the post of the vice-Chair of Zemgale regional court and the Chair of Judicial Panel of Civil Cases Regina Knabe, the judge of this court.

The Board of Justice instructed Vilis Donans, the judge of Zemgale regional court, to execute duties of a judge in the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court for the term of a vacancy of a judge of court chamber as from the 1st of January, 2011.

 

Information prepared by

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

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