Bordāns: lack of competition may cause the public to doubt the selection of the most suitable candidate for the post of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and makes it necessary to consider the need to change the selection procedure 30.03.2020
On Monday, 30 March, Minister of Justice, Jānis Bordāns, attended a meeting of the Judicial Council, where the only candidate for the post of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was interviewed.
In accordance with the requirements for the competence required by law, the Judicial Council is responsible for interviewing the candidates for the post and giving an opinion regarding the candidates at the plenary session of the Supreme Court, which will urge the Saeima to approve the most suitable candidate for the post of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
J.Bordāns: “Although the meetings of the Judicial Council are held publicly, the public was not given an opportunity to follow the interviewing and questioning of the candidate. The meeting of the Judicial Council took place remotely, however, modern technologies allow the public to also participate in these types of discussions, as has been demonstrated by the experience of the Cabinet of Ministers. Unfortunately, the head of the Judicial Council, despite the readiness of the Ministry of Justice to provide the necessary technical support, did not provide the public with such an opportunity at this important meeting of the Council."
The post of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is the highest office in the judiciary hierarchy. At the same time, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also the Chief Justice of the Judicial Council – he is responsible for managing the work of the Judicial Council, convening the meetings of the Judicial Council, and determining their agenda.
J.Bordāns: “An open and fair competition among candidates is a prerequisite for ensuring the selection of the most suitable candidate. Unfortunately, of the 35 Supreme Court senators, only one candidate has applied for this post, therefore full competition is virtually impossible." J.Bordāns emphasized the importance of competition since the lack of competition for the post of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court could contribute to causing the public to doubt the selection of the most suitable candidate.
This raises the question whether changes are needed in the procedure of selecting and appointing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. “It is already apparent that the amendments to the Office of the Prosecutor Law that were proposed by the Ministry of Justice and adopted by the Saeima, and the new procedure for the selection of the new Prosecutor General have produced a positive result - according to the publicly available information, there are several candidates who would be eligible for applying to this post,” the Minister of Justice emphasized.