Address of the President of Latvia Egils Levits
I am happy and grateful that you have decided to become judges and work for the benfit of our country, legal system, society and individuals.
Being a judge is not just an occupation. A judge enforces the law, i.e. reconciles the law with the notion of justice. They constantly weigh the legal aspects and justice. We often hear in today’s public debate that the rule of law and justice is failing. That, of course, is primarily linked to quality of legislation. However, it is an issue that concerns judges as well. This contradiction will always be there, and I hope that you will find judicial ways to address this contradiction and make sure justice is achieved. That is what the society expects and that is what your colleagues in judicial system also expect from you. It is the professional duty of judges.
Judges should not come out in the public and say: ‘I do not think this judgement is fair, it is not entirely just, but that is what the law says.’ Legal frameworks of democratic countries that are governed by the rule of law will always have tools and procedures for ensuring that judgements meet the rule of law and justice criteria. To reconcile these two elements.
I have no doubt that all of you will be highly-qualified judges. Although you are yet to make your first judgement, you have vast previous experience of drafting judgements, you have worked in Supreme court and know exactly what judges are expected to do. You have solid background and are absolutely ready to make this next step and become a judge.
Today you swore to be honest, fair and make judgements that meet the requirements of Satversme (Constitution) and other laws. The oath that you gave carries a deep meaning. You and most of the judges in this room know exactly how to interpret, expand and find the true meaning of these notions (and find the deeper meaning of these notions). You know how to integrate these notions into your practical work, the judgements you make.
I wish you all the success in your further work on judgements, the work that you are already familiar with. However, now you will be making those judgements yourself, as judges, which means you have reached a new, higher level. I am convinced that all of you have the necessary experience to carry out this work as efficiently as possible.
I know how personally rewarding judge’s work can be with all the independence that it involves. No one has the right to influence or pressure you. You are responsible only for ensuring that your judgements are ethical, professional and reconcile the rule of law and justice. That is my wish to you, and I also wish you a lot of fair judgements. Thank you!