OPINION ON THE ACTIVITY OF THE COUNCIL FOR THE JUDICIARY

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25 April 2017

During the conference of 21 April "Supreme Courts as guarantee for effectiveness of judicial systems in the European Union" organized by the Supreme Court of Latvia, Dr.iur. Aivars Endzins, Chair of the Commission for Legal Environment created by the President of Latvia, spoke about possibilities to improve the authority of the Council for the Judiciary of Latvia.

A. Endzins recalled that in the early stages of formation of the Council for the Judiciary seven years ago, he has been critical of the formulations and powers regarding the Council for the Judiciary contained in law - it had been the "the Knight’s move" of the legislator in order to formally exclude the influence of legislator and executive on the judiciary. The Commission for Legal Environment created by the President of Latvia has terminated to examine the issue on the development of competencies of the Council for the Judiciary a year ago, when preparing the final report. A. Endzins regretted that almost none of the Commission's conclusions and recommendations were not taken into account in the preparation of amendments to the Law "On Judicial Power". For example, the Commission recommended that the issues of judges' career should be included exclusively in the competence of the Council for the Judiciary. Also, the Commission proposed to make changes in the composition of the Council for the Judiciary by including two representatives nominated by the President of the State - highly qualified lawyers, doctors of legal science, professors or judges emeritus. The Commission also encouraged the discussion as to whether the representatives of legislative and executive powers should be permanent members of the Council for the Judiciary.

A. Endzins mentioned that an independent Court Administration would be a great support to both the Council for the Judiciary and the judiciary in general, but at the moment its institutional form – direct subordination to the Minister of Justice – does not allow the Court Administration to be free from the instructions of the executive power.

In conclusion A. Endzins expressed the hope that in the future amendments to the law will be made in order to ensure that the Council for the Judiciary shall determine the development strategy for whole judicial system, not only on paper but also in practice.

Information prepared by Janis Supe, Project Manager