On Wednesday, February 6, Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice, participated in the discussion organized by the Ministry of Justice with court chairpersons and the Latvian associations of judges to discuss raising quality of judgements delivered by judges, expanding authorities of the court chairpersons and mechanism of responsibility of judicial power, including revoking judges’ immunity in administrative violation cases.
Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice, stressed that the quality shall prevail over the speed of examining cases, arguing: “There is no doubt that it is important how fast can we protect our rights in courts, but it is important not only to examine cases within reasonable time periods but also to ensure high quality of decisions and implementation of justice. Therefore, I am glad that the Ministry of Justice and court chairpersons share the same view on required improvements in the field, and we are ready to work on them in a team.”
During the meeting the immunity of judges in administrative violations cases was specially addressed discussing possibility to revoke the immunity; the initiative has gained traction among judges and is now addressed by the Council for the Judiciary. During the meeting the judges conceptually supported all respective law amendments.
As it pertains to expanding the scope of authorities of the court chairpersons, the members of the discussion addressed a possibility to award the court chairpersons rights to suggest to the Judges Qualification Panel an extraordinary assessment of a judge’s professional activities in case of any recognized shortcomings in the quality of the judge’s work which might be due to insufficient professional knowledge. This would allow to encourage the judges’ professional performance and quality of work.
Furthermore, the discussion also addressed the need of specialization of judges to ensure faster and more qualitative examination of criminal cases. In regard to the legal nature of cases, number of cases in courts and deadlines for examination of cases, it was concluded that there should be discussions as to the need to specialize judges in financial and economic crime cases.
During the discussion Jānis Bordāns, the Minister of Justice, and Irena Kucina, the Deputy State Secretary on Justice Matters, agreed with the participants of the meeting, among other things, on the need to pass law amendments on extending the period of statute of limitations for disciplinary liability.