On June 11, along with the amendments to the Law “On Judicial Power”, the new procedure for the selection of candidates for the position of judge, developed and approved by the Judicial Council, enters into force.

The new procedure is fundamentally different from the previous one – it is planned to abandon the qualification exam, including the assessment of professional knowledge as part of the selection procedure, as well as it is planned that in the case of a judicial vacancy there will be no competition in each particular case, but candidates will be selected from a list (created during selection procedure) at least once every three years.

Procedure for selection of candidates for the position of a judge of a district (city) court and a regional court
Dzintra Balta, Senator of the Supreme Court and Deputy Chair of the Judicial Council, who participated in the working group for the development of the new procedure, gave a following commentary to the portal of the Latvian Official Gazette:

"An individual, society and laws are constantly evolving. Historically, the professionalism of a judge has been mainly related to the ability to judge a case wisely and to write a judgment. Over time, the perception of the skills required of a judge has gained a much wider scope, for example, recognizing the important role of a comprehensively developed personality regarding the judge's readiness for further education, communication with the public, creation of quality communication in various fields in order to improve professional quality. As the wording of the legal provisions regarding a person who can be a judge is laconic – a judge is a professionally qualified lawyer holding a master's or doctoral degree, as well as having an impeccable reputation – judges have always thought about the content that must fulfil these concepts in our modern sense. Thus, it seemed natural to put the content in words in order to solve the main questions of the selection procedure regarding what values ​​and skills professionals in the field should have, how to describe them and how to recognize and evaluate them in job applicants.

Of particular value and importance is the fact that the new procedure for selecting candidates for the position of judge provides, for the first time, a list of professional, personal and social competences or skills that a modern judge requires. With this, the judicial system confirms its maturity, informs everyone of its values ​​and direction of development. This is an important starting point for anyone thinking about becoming a judge in order to know what is expected of them. This procedure can be used to create training programs for prospective lawyers. For in-service training professionals, this is a framework for the training that judges should be provided with throughout their working lives, so that each of them can continue to develop and improve their skills according to their individual needs.”

Amendments to the Law “On Judicial Power” have also changed the training format for new judges, stipulating that within the first year after the first appointment in the office of a district (city) judge or approval as a regional court judge, a judge is obliged to take a training course for new judges



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