In order to strengthen the capacity of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate and reduce the backlog of cases, the Judicial Council has decided to increase the number of senators in the Department by two judges for the period of two years, reducing the number of judges in the Regional Administrative Court accordingly.

The Judicial Council will make a proposal to the Saeima (Parliament) on determining the total number of judges as from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022, namely, 38 judges in the Senate, and 139 judges in regional courts, including 20 judges in the Regional Administrative Court.

Along with the increase in the number of judges, two positions of judge assistants are temporarily transferred to the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate as well.

The Cabinet of Ministers has expressed support for allocating the necessary funding to the Supreme Court’s next year’s budget.

It is necessary to increase the number of judges in the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate, taking into account the number of cases received and reviewed by the Supreme Court, as well as the workload indicators of senators. During the last two years, the number of cases pending before the Department of Administrative Cases has significantly increased, as has the balance of pending cases. One of the reasons for this, and thus also for the lengthy proceedings in the Department of Administrative Cases, is the increase in the number of judges in appellate courts, without assessing how this would affect the hearing of cases in the cassation instance. A situation has arisen where the appellate court both receives and hears significantly fewer cases per judge than the cassation instance (in 2019 a judge of the Regional Administrative Court received an average of 54 cases and reviewed 51 cases, while a senator of the Department of Administrative Cases received 84 cases and reviewed 86 cases). The data of the Court Information System show that the difference in the workload of judges will not change in the near future.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Aigars Strupiss points out that two additional judicial positions will significantly reduce the backlog of cases in the Department of Administrative Cases and thus also reduce the risk of compensation claims submitted to the European Court of Human Rights regarding lengthy proceedings. “The temporary increase in the number of judges is a flexible tool that would allow for a timely response and prevent the accumulation of cases over a period of time. However, it must be understood that this is a temporary solution, which can be applied only in a case of special necessity, at the same time eliminating the causes that have led to such an accumulation of unresolved cases,” emphasizes the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

 

The decision was adopted by the Judicial Council in a written procedure on 20 October 

 

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