7 June, 2021
At the sitting of June 4, after getting acquainted with the model of determining the degree of complexity of cases developed by the Working Group for Court Efficiency established by the Court Administration, the Judicial Council conceptually supported the introduction of pilot version of the model in some courts of first instance, as well as the inclusion of court of appeal cases in this model.
A model for determining the degree of complexity of cases or “case weighing” model aims to assess the workload of courts and judges, as well as to balance the workload between courts and judges. It can be used for evaluation of court statistics and performance indicators, as well as for distribution of cases.
The model aims to assess the complexity of each case received in court by means of point system before and after the examination of a case. To determine the initial weight of a case, all cases are classified into 42 groups based on the types of proceedings and subsectors of law. Further, the factors that complicate the examination of a case are examined, such as the number of claims, the number of criminal offenses, the number of plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses, the number of accused persons, victims and witnesses, the amount of evidence and materials in the case, foreign element, state secret, procedural decisions affecting the complexity of a case. Taking all this into account, the weight of a case is determined for its allocation to a judge. Whereas, after the completion of examination of a case, the complicated factors that have arisen during the examination of a case are identified, which award additional points. Thus, the final weight of a case is determined, which affects the indicators of the judge's and court's workload assessment.
The methodology for determining the complexity of cases has been developed on the basis of the findings of the CEPEJ study. Joint meetings of the Working Group, as well as meetings according specialization in civil and criminal law have been held. In order to determine the average time spent for dealing with cases, the judges of courts of first instance took part in “case weighing” – meetings with participation of more than 300 judges, as well as 191 judges participated in a survey conducted for this purpose.
The Working Group for Court Efficiency has been established by the Court Administration to implement the recommendations of the 2018 evaluation of the Latvian judicial system by the Council of Europe Commission for Judicial Efficiency (CEPEJ) in the management of court work. The working group consists of 27 delegated representatives of courts and other institutions: judges and chairs of first instance courts and appellate courts, and delegated representatives of the Supreme Court, the Court Administration and the Ministry of Justice.
The development of a "case weighing" model is the first task of the Working Group. Henceforth, it will work to develop recommendations for the implementation of other priorities defined in the Action Plan, namely, the development of a methodology for setting standards for case handling deadlines, ensuring of human resource management and budget planning according to the workload of courts, improving the quality of court data entered into the Court Information System, and information systems and business intelligence tools for improvements in case distribution and court workload monitoring.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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