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Reform Support

Development of Latvian judicial system

Development of Latvian judicial system 

The Commission supported Latvia in a project with threefold scope: 

  1. Firstly, it aims to enhance the efficiency and quality of judicial services with a specific focus on court management through the development of key performance indicators and an ICT strategy.
  2. Secondly, it aims to facilitate access to legal aid, principally for more vulnerable people, through analysis of the existing framework and recommendations for its improvement.  
  3. Finally, it aims to broaden the recourse to mediation through expert analysis of the current state of play and provision of specific recommendations and awareness raising events to broaden its recourse. 

Context 

The project relates to the improvement of national judicial systems, including through digitalisation, and the extended use of mediation as an effective system of alternative dispute resolution in line with EU priorities in this area. 

Support delivered 

The main activities of the proposed project include: 

  • Reports on the promotion of justice sector reforms, their implementation, and the related communication policy; 
  • Guidance on the CEPEJ tools and methodology as regards the judicial statistics, key performance indicators (KPIs), quality measurements, and their evaluation with a view to assessing courts’ performance and the impact of reforms; 
  • Recommendations on the provision of information and communication by the judiciary; 
  • Expertise on further development of ICT tools for courts and on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in courts; 
  • Court coaching programme carried out in 2 pilot courts. Guidelines and training on advanced court and case management (for judges and court staff); 
  • Expert recommendations on increasing the recourse to mediation; 
  • Court mediation pilot with results analysed; 
  • Increased knowledge and awareness on mediation among various stakeholders and the public; 
  • Mapping of the current situation as regards the state ensured legal aid, with a focus on vulnerable groups, and recommendations for improvement; 
  • A pilot project to increase the accessibility and efficiency of legal aid was carried out. The results of the pilot project have been assessed, and the project has provided specific recommendations on lessons learned. 

Results achieved 

The project contributed to improving judicial services, facilitating access to legal aid as well as broadening the recourse to mediation. More specifically, as part of the project, 18 events were organised under the first pillar to improve  the organisation and functioning of the judiciary to which more than 300 people participated  Pilots were organised to test the provision of legal aid and recourse of mediation. In this context, despite constraints posed by the pandemic, more than 600 legal aid consultations and 146 mediation consultations were provided over the course of two months. This shows the importance of such services and the related high demand.  

More about the project 

Strengthening the access to justice in Latvia through fostering mediation and legal aid services, as well as support to the development of judicial policies and to increased quality of court management (coe.int)