On April 17, 2007, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans sent a letter to the Minister of Justice Gaidis Berzins indicating that by the decision of the Chairman I. Jaungelze of the Liepaja Court a procedure of distribution of cases has been approved which actually does not explain the principles of distribution of cases, does not ensure transparency and does not encourage prevention of possible corruption. The Judicial Disciplinary Panel on April 4, 2007, reviewing a disciplinary case against the Chairman of the Liepaja Court I. Jaungelze found that while reviewing a case on divorce he allowed intentional violation of Article74, Article 190, Article 236 and Article 193, part 5, of the Civil Procedure Law. It is seen from the materials of examination of the disciplinary case that I. Jaungelze has accepted the mentioned civil case in his proceedings regardless of the principle of randomness in distribution of cases.

Although in the instruction of February 4, 2005, on the procedure of distribution of cases I. Jaungelze has indicated that the cases filed with the court are distributed among the judges by draw, in the following instructions of October 11, 2005, January 6, 2006, and October 27, 2006, the Chairman I. Jaungelze has abandoned this principle of distribution of cases indicating just the names of judges who review civil cases or criminal cases but not mentioning the principle according to which the cases have been distributed among them.

In the letter Gulans notes that, in his opinion, cases in the Liepaja Court are distributed by the Chairman I. Jaungelze according to principles which are known only to him, and he assigns to himself or other judges any case which he finds necessary.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who is not responsible for the organization of work of the district and regional courts considers that the situation regarding the distribution of cases in the Liepaja Court undermines the prestige of the judicial power as it does not comply with the goals of Article 281 of the law “On Judicial Power” and may encourage corruption in the court. He thinks that such situation has to be eliminated immediately and calls the officials of the Ministry of Justice to undertake organizing measures to achieve this, as well as to inspect the observance of this regulation in other courts.
 

 

Information prepared by Anita Kehre, Head of the Administration of the Supreme Court

E-mail: anita.kehre@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020395, 29287367