September 26-27, the first meeting of working groups on projects of European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary took place in Rome. Latvia was represented by Dace Sulmane, Adviser to the Council for the Judiciary of the Division of Case-law and Research of the Supreme Court.
ENCJ annually develops new studies (projects). This year two working groups of Member States work in parallel - "Judicial Independence and Quality" and "Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation". Latvia participates in the first working group.
Working groups meet several times with an aim to present the results of the project in the annual General Assembly of the ENCJ (next General Assembly will be held in summer 2017). It should be noted that the Member States participate voluntarily in these comparative research projects and without compensation. The importance of the ENCJ Project is also emphasized by the representative of the European Commission, who works on annual EU Justice Scoreboard.
ENCJ confirms that on November-December 2016 the centralized electronic survey of European judges on independence will be carried out for the second time (the first was in 2015).
The Rome meeting specially focused on the critical situation in connection of threats to independence and security of Turkish judges (especially after the failure of the coup d'état). Such situation recently affected several thousand judges and prosecutors in Turkey.
On September 28 there was press release of the ENCJ Board where it condemned action of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey because such action threatened the independence of judiciary. ENCJ indicated its repeated requests to Turkey’s authority to demonstrate that its actions complied with the minimum international standards for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings, reassignment or removal from office of judges and prosecutors. Given the lasting inability of Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey to provide satisfactory response to these vital issues; ENCJ Board concluded that Turkish authority no longer met the requirement of ENCJ on councils for the judiciary – to ensure the independence of the judiciary from legislature and executive power.
ENCJ press release on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey is available here:
Information prepared by
The Communication Division of the Supreme Court