On a ten-year anniversary of the Judicial Council its role in strengthening the independence and quality of the judiciary is emphasized
29 September, 2020
On September 28, the tenth anniversary of the Judicial Council was celebrated at a solemn sitting attended by the President of Latvia, the current and former members of the Judicial Council, and heads of judicial self-government institutions. Welcoming the establishment and development of an institution unprecedented in Latvia, it was emphasized that in the future the Judicial Council should further strengthen its role in the country as a whole and in the justice system.
In addressing those present, State President Egils Levits emphasized that the Judicial Council should develop the potential that underlies it, “The Judicial Council should play a greater role in focusing on problems that no one can solve other than the judiciary itself. It thus also becomes a trust instrument, a forum of trust for the public in relation to the judiciary, for the administration of justice, and as an intermediary body between the public and the judiciary." What regards the most important task of the Judicial Council, the President pointed out the evaluation of the performance of the court system and the judicial system in order to be able to draw conclusions and contribute to the development of the quality of judicial work and the court system.
The President also put forward the idea of establishing an Academy of Judges and Prosecutors in order to raise the quality of the judicial system by providing high-level further training opportunities for judges and prosecutors.
Chair of the Judicial Council Aigars Strupiss outlined the main directions of the Council's future activities.
Firstly, it is essential to strengthen the independence of the judiciary through the institutional prestige and weight of the Judicial Council in cooperation between branches of state power, through financial independence and greater involvement of the Council in legislative processes. The Chair of the Judicial Council also suggested considering the most optimal solution for the composition of the Judicial Council, for example, by giving the members of the Council different voting rights in decision-making and strengthening the composition of the Judicial Council electing a Latvian judge working in a supranational court.
Second priority would be improving the quality of work of the court system. The training of judges was mentioned as an important factor by the Chair of the Judicial Council, inviting to consider the proposal of the President on the establishment of the Academy of Judges.
Third priority would be increasing public confidence in the judiciary, including mutual understanding and dialogue with the public. "Democracy works efficiently in an educated and informed society. However, it must be understood that society are not legal experts, so Themis must take the first step – the initiative to inform, to communicate and to listen must come from the judiciary," said the Chair of the Judicial Council.
Prosecutor General Juris Stukans, former Chair of the Judicial Council Ivars Bickovics, Minister of Justice Janis Bordans and Chair of the Association of Judges Juris Silins also expressed their vision for the current and future activities of the Judicial Council.
The Judicial Council is a collegial authority, which is involved in the elaboration of the policy and strategy for the judicial system, as well as improving the organisation of the work of the court system. The goal of foundation of the Judicial Council is to counterbalance relations between executive power, judicial power and legislative power, laying down to it important role in issues regarding court system. The establishment of the Judicial Council is laid down in the law “On Judicial Power”, by amendments of June 3, 2010. The first meeting of the Judicial Council took place on October 4, 2010.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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Photos by the Chancery of the State President