On Monday, January 28, Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice, participated in a meeting of the Council for the Judiciary, where participants, among other things, discussed the procedure of nominating and appointing the court chairpersons. The changes in the said procedure will be applied with amendments of 25th October 2018 to the Law on the Judicial Power, establishing that the chairpersons of the district (city) courts and chairpersons of the regional courts are to be appointed at the initiative of the Council for the Judiciary, and not at the suggestion of the Minister of Justice as before. This would consolidate authority of the Council for the Judiciary and reducing the impact of the executive power and legislative power on the process of appointing the court chairpersons.
Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice, emphasizes the involvement of the Ministry of Justice in the work of the Council for the Judiciary, saying: “The Ministry of Justice will still be active in the matters concerning qualification of judges, because the previous Parliament (Saeima) politically limited the Ministry’s possibilities to take care of the selection of candidates to the position of judges; therefore, I draw your attention to the fact that along with higher independence of judges, the responsibility must grow significantly too, and the Ministry of Justice will stand for the proportionality of both aspects.”
During the meeting of the Council for the Judiciary held on January 28 there were also discussions as to the range of candidates from which candidates must be selected for the position of the court chairperson or deputy chairperson, as well as establishing a unified panel and role thereof.
The agenda of the meeting of the Council for the Judiciary also included matters concerning number of senators in the Departments of the Supreme Court, judges’ conference and judges’ remote conference.
On 25th October 2018 the Parliament approved in the final reading amendments to the Law on Judicial Power, significantly consolidating authorities, capacity and management of the Council for the Judiciary, as well as reducing the role of the executive power and legislative power.