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National Courts Administration

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L. Sapiegos St. 15, LT-10312 Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania
Phone: +3705 268 5186.
Fax: +3705 268 5187.
E-mail: info@teismai.lt.
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Code: 188724424
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 News of the Judicial System
International conference “Implementing and Ensuring the Constitutional Principle of the Judicial Independence”

In commemoration of the anniversary of 200 years for Norwegian Constitution the international conference “Implementing and Ensuring the Constitutional Principle of the Judicial Independence” is organized on the 15 May, 2014 in Vilnius. Increase of efficiency,  quality and transparency in Lithuanian Judicial system under Norwegian experience will be discussed during the conference.

The event is organized by the National Courts Administration and the Norwegian Embassy in Lithuania.

Conference program can be downloaded here.
Registration for the event is open until May 12, 2014 by  e-mail registracija@teismai.lt

Published on: 2014-05-02
Public trust in courts rise up to 51 per cent

In Lithuania, public trust in courts has risen up to 51%. According to a poll conducted at the end of 2013, Lithuanian citizens’ trust in courts grew significantly over the last year and now reaches 51% (21% in 2012).

Sociologist Dr Eglė Vileikienė, who did the research, stresses that 45% of those polled believe that courts are functioning well, while 51% state that they trust in courts. 9% of all respondents had a personal experience with the court system, and more than half of them feel that court personnel and judges are experts in their field who respect human rights and are worthy of being trusted.

While discussing the results from the newest survey on Lithuanian citizens’ attitudes towards courts („Lietuvos gyventojų požiūris į teismus“), Vileikienė said, “Judicial corruption is one of the most controversial topics in the mass media and among the public. Survey results show that respondents who had no personal experience with courts believe that one can easily bribe judges, while respondents who actually went to court disagree.”

Results show that in fact 45% of those participating in the survey would want their children to become a lawyer one day. According to Vileikienė, this might be connected with the fact that 62% are certain that being a judge is highly respected in Lithuania.

“Often, when you read various publications and responses to them, you can get the impression that citizens of the country do not trust in courts and tend to see their work only in a negative light. On the contrary, the situation is not as bad as it is deemed to be. The society believes that courts are working well, which is supported by the fact that 57% agree that people should obey a court decision even if it is unfavourable,” says Vileikienė.

Vileikienė links the shift in the public opinion with the decreased amount of negative information, the judiciary’s effort to ensure rapid spread of information to the media and the public, a more critical attitude towards unprofessional judges, and the fact that judges are becoming more outspoken in the public sphere.

Gintaras Kryževičius, the Chairman of the Judicial Council of Lithuania, stated that over the past few years there were a lot of changes in the judicial system, which were related to the improvement of both customer service and the quality of service, and also to the enhancement of the communication between the society and the courts. “However, there are still many areas that we need to work on and seek a better result. Research show that people are still wondering what are the underlying principles behind courts decisions, how do legal proceedings work, and why do sentences differ. Education about the judicial system and, of course, decisions based on clear arguments are only some measures that could be taken in order to enhance the public understanding of the judicial system and the way it works,” says the Chairman.

A representative survey of Lithuanian citizens was carried out in three stages (during the months of August, September and October). In total, 3,036 people were surveyed, aging from 15 to 74.

Published on: 2014-02-06
Public Private Partnership Tender Issued for a new Court Complex in Lithuania

At the end of 2013, Lithuania announced a tender for the design, construction and maintenance of a new Court Complex, to be implemented as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). Applications to participate in the competitive dialogue are now being accepted from potential candidates.

The New Lithuanian Court Complex project manager, chief specialist of the National Courts Administration’s Strategic Planning Division Mr Linas Petravičius listed the main elements of the project as follows: design, construction, installation, maintenance and administration of infrastructure, security, cleaning and waste management, maintenance and support of ICT systems, and parking lot service. The provision of utilities and catering also needs to be ensured.

The project will be implemented as a Private Public Partnership and will last for 20 years. The planned private capital investment is 59 million litas. “The new building shall cover about 15 000 square meters, where 32 courtrooms, a parking area with about 400 parking places and about 630 workplaces shall be developed”, said Petravičius.

Applications from investors who are interested in this project should be submitted by 28th February 2014.

“This is the sixth and to date the biggest PPP project in Lithuania. It was developed on the basis of the experience we gained during the previous projects, as well as the best practices that we have learned from PPP projects undertaken abroad. We expect that our experience and consultations with potential applicants will enable us to select the best investor in a smooth and expeditious manner, said Mr Jonas Kimontas from Invest Lithuania – a project partner. “In order to save government funds it is important to ensure strong competition, and so we aim to ensure that as many investors as possible in Lithuania and abroad get acquainted with the project.”

The Supreme Court of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Court of Appeal, the Vilnius Regional Court and the National Courts Administration shall be housed in the newly developed Court Complex in Vilnius.

Further details on the requirements for participating in the project can be found here.

If you have any questions or need additional information please do not hesitate to contact:

Project manager Mr. Linas Petravicius: email: linas.petravicius@teismai.lt

tel. 00 370 614 75 527

Published on: 2014-01-17
Improving Judicial System in Lithuania through Norwegian experience and support

The National Courts Administration of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as NCA) together with the Norwegian Courts Administration implement the programme “Efficiency, Quality and Transparency in Lithuanian Courts” (LT13) under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 (hereinafter referred to as the Programme), which is aimed at a fairer and more efficient Lithuanian judicial system.

Focusing on the safety in courts, the courts information system will be improved and additional training and capacity building activities will be provided to the representatives of courts and other judicial staff while implementing all three pre-defined projects within the Programme.

"In these recent years there have been a number of changes in judicial system, the courts have clearly identified the most pressing problems and weaknesses within the system, however, not all of them might be eliminated by the courts themselves, without external funding. Therefore, the support and external funding provided for judicial system of Lithuania by the Kingdom of Norway, the country which has extensive experience in administration of justice, is a perfect tool for seeking quality in this area,” – says Ms Reda Molienė - the Head of the NCA.

The courts information system LITEKO, which at the moment is unable to meet all users’ requirements will be modernised, trainings and other capacity building activities contributing to the improvement of quality of court services will be provided for the representatives of judicial system, as well as the system for support of crime victims and witnesses will be developed while implementing the Programme.

“In our practice we have cases when, after giving evidence or confrontation with the accused, crime victims try to commit suicide, fall into severe depression, and refuse to give further evidence in court. These experiences are very negative – they equal the injury itself. Accordingly, we must be interested in making our court environment more humane, more victim-friendly”, - says Ms Kristina Mišinienė – the Lithuanian Caritas project coordinator.

According to the representative of this charity organization having more than twelve years of experience in providing assistance to violent crime victims in courts, the social workers of Caritas will cooperate closely with the NCA while implementing this Programme. Moreover, more information will be prepared and made publicly available as well as additional trainings and capacity building activities will be provided for the representatives of judicial system while creating more emotionally intimate court environment.

“Often, court personnel and judges also say that it is really difficult to communicate with the stressed persons. The questions must be formulated and the persons interrogated impartially, seeking not to make stress or negative emotions, without inducing additional sense of insecurity. Judges have expressed the need for trainings in this particular area”, - further explains Ms Reda Molienė.

The Questionnaire, which will help to identify what kind of support a person needs, will also be created while implementing the projects within the Programme. In addition, it is planned that the criterions for determining safety requirements in court buildings will be determined and the necessary technical equipment: from video cameras inside and outside the court, special installations separating the accused person(s) or separating working areas from public space in court buildings to installing metal detectors at the entrances, will be provided for in courts.

More efforts will be made for modernising Lithuanian courts information system LITEKO by guaranteeing safety and making the system more user-friendly.

By the year of 2016, it is planned to create a universal integration module, which allows integrating LITEKO into any other information system. Moreover, LITEKO case card will be reprogrammed and the possibility to relate the case proceedings events through the courts of different instances as well as the templates of court procedural documents and other possibilities to facilitate the work within the court will be created.

The Head of the NCA Ms Reda Molienė concludes that the implementation of the Programme will help to make more tangible changes in Lithuanian courts for the benefit of the people as well as the bilateral relations with Norwegian entities will be substantially strengthened.

“Lithuanian courts will become more secure from physical as well as emotional perspective, more legal information about procedures in courts will be provided and it will be more easily available while representatives of judicial system will gain better knowledge and improve their competences. These changes are determined by closer cooperation with NVOs and relations between institutions in Lithuania and Norway. We also highly appreciate the support kindly provided for us by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway in Lithuania Mr Leif Arne Ulland, who expressed the belief that Lithuania and Norway may win more if working together and sharing experience with each other”, - concludes Ms R. Molienė.

More information:
NCA Communication Division
Phone +370 5 251 4120
Email: komunikacija@teismai.lt

More about the Programme:
Total amount of all three pre-defined projects within the Programme - 31 2789 307 LTL, which consists of 26 586 560 LTL grant from Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014 and 4 691 747 LTL National co-financing.

Projects implementation period - IV quarter of 2014 – II quarter of 2016.

Information on the Internet:
http://www.teismai.lt/lt/nor/

Published on: 2013-12-10
The Services of Justice in Europe Become Electronic

This week (24th October) the international conference „Challenges in e-Justice“ took place in Vilnius. The conference gave the opportunity for the representatives of various European countries to present electronic services in the area of the implementation of justice, discussed the technical   capacities which facilitate the implementation of justice. The representatives also looked at the possibilities to encourage citizens and other players of the market to use electronic services more widely.

The participants of this event were introduced with the electronic services used for the implementation of justice functioning in Lithuania as well as their recent developments. The Deputy head of Informatics division of the National Courts Administration of the Republic of Lithuania Vaida Keinaitė noted that it is very important to induce the public society and lawyers to use the administrative services, rendered by electronic means and to promote the portal of electronic services e.teismas.lt which was introduced to the society this summer.

„The formation and submission of documents to courts, the acquisition of the case material in electronic way, the possibility to perform the duties concerning the payment of stamp duty, litigation costs or court imposed fines only in few clicks will save time and reduce costs not only for case parties but also for courts“, – underlined the representative of the National Courts Administration of the Republic of Lithuania.

According to V. Keinaitė, the main advantages of the new system is 25 percent discount for the stamp-duty, reduced costs for the preparation and submission of process‘ documents, possibility to monitor the ongoing court process and to submit documents to a court at any time during the day.

The representative of the National Courts Administration of the Republic of Lithuania shared the experience with the participants of the conference about the audio recording systems introduced to 11 courts in Lithuania this year as well as the Project which provides a possibility to participate in court hearings via video conferences in 18 national courts. This project is funded by the Lithuanian – Swiss cooperation programme.

The challenges and opportunities for the video-conference interrogations in court proceedings were introduced by the Vice-President of Vilnius City District Court Gediminas Viederis.

“The videoconference technology is a potential solution for gaining cost-effective and timely access to justice including also the increased safety and protection of witnesses”– stated the judge.

The conference was organised by the National Courts Administration of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania, the State Enterprise Centre of Registers and the Central Mortgage Office. The presentations were made and problems arising while implementing the e-Justice were tackled by the experts of the European Union institutions as well as the representatives of the European Union member states.

Published on: 2013-10-31
For lawyers every day is like a mind-fight

“Those, who relate their lives with law, a violent fight is waiting for everyday” claimed D. Labokaitė, the member of the Judicial Council, participating in the mind-fight organized for the commemoration of the European Day of Civil Justice. In this competition together with nine other teams the victory was won by the team of court representatives.

The National Courts Administration (NCA), organizing a unique mind-fight competition with judges on the occasion of the European Day of Civil Justice in the National Open Access Scholarly Communication and Information Centre (SCIC) of Vilnius University prepared even five stages of the competition for nine teams consisting of lawyers, media representatives, students of law and journalism: main stage – law theme, other – Lithuania, common knowledge, images and music.

“For lawyers, judges and others associating their lives with law every day is like a mind-fight. The judge solves the case in one way, the lawyer adjudicates it in the other way whereas the journalist sees it even from the third angle” stated D. Labokaitė, the member of the Judicial Council, wishing a successful fight for the participants of the event. The judicial literature was awarded by the member of the Judicial Council on behalf of Lithuanian courts to the library of Vilnius University so that the young generation of Lithuania could draw its knowledge. The member of the Lithuanian Bar Association, Džiolana Tarvainytė also joined the  activity and presented books on behalf of the Lithuanian advocacy, who joined the mentioning of this special day this year.

The NCA has organised the European Day of Civil Justice (on 25th October) in Lithuania already four years consecutively. The doors of courts are open to the society members on the European Day of Civil Justice. Students, school children and all persons interested in the law listen to the lectures of judges, observe the court hearings, participate in the excursions of the court premises from Vilnius to Lisbon.

Usually people see judges in the court rooms during the hearings or in the TV screens. The European Day of Civil Justice provides an exceptional possibility to visit the court, meet judges personally and have a face-to-face conversation with them. In Lithuania the new forms of communication  are being searched in order to have a more active dialogue with society not the first year.

This year judges decided to come to the library, in which the young future generation of Lithuania spend their days and nights and together with their colleagues lawyers and brothers of the quill test themselves in a different role – Mind fight.

The Vice minister of Justice, Paulius Griciūnas, greeting the judges and participants of the event pointed his attention to the fact that it shows the openness of courts, which is the common ambition in the whole Europe.

„Mind fight is very symbolic. In the fight there is some kind of contest anyway. Competitive principle is perhaps one of the most important principles in the civil process and I assume it must always be present. Regardless of the type of contest, it always deepens our knowledge and allows to see various matters from diverse angle“ said prof. dr. Tomas Davulis, the dean of the Law Faculty of Vilnius University greeting the participants in the National Open Access Scholarly Communication and Information Centre (SCIC).

During the mind-fight of the European Day of Civil Justice participants had to thrash out more than one tricky question. The team of court representatives composed of judges from the Supreme Court of Lithuania Egidijus Laužikas, Janina Stripeikienė, the judge from the Supreme Administrative Court Laimutis Alechnavičius, judge of Vilnius regional administrative court Rūta Petkuvienė, chairperson of Kaunas city district court Mindaugas Šimonis and judge of this court Diana Labokaitė, also assistant of judge Indrė Veličkaitė, assistants of the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania Ieva Jasinauskaitė, Tomas Janušauskis and adviser of the chairperson of civil cases division of the Supreme Court of Lithuania Karolis Šimanskis conquered all the rounds of the mind-fight and took the first place in the final score chart.

Published on: 2013-10-25
Turkish Lawyers Congratulated Lithuanian Courts on the Progress of the Electronic Case System

Turkish lawyers congratulated Lithuanian courts on the progress to the development of the electronic case. After getting familiar with the courts electronic services’ portal e.teismas.lt launched in early July this year, the representatives of Turkish judiciary has noted that this is a step towards a more efficient work of the courts.

„The electronic case has been running for several years in Turkey. This system has proved successful and is highly appreciated not only by public, but also by judges. The electronic case accelerates the trial process, court services provided in remote way also contribute to saving finances " – during his visit in Lithuania noted Mr. Teoman Gökçe, the member of the First Chamber of the Turkey’s High Council of Judges and Prosecutors. 

Delegation of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors of Turkey during the meeting with representatives of the Lithuanian courts and the National Courts Administration shared their experience on  how to make the electronic services’ portal   more convenient for all parties of the trial process and how to encourage private persons, institutions and companies to use it.

Also guests from Turkey were interested in the functions, status and career opportunities of the assistants to judges. "In Turkey each judge has his own team, which works only with his cases. On the contrary to Lithuania, judges do not have to share their staff” –  said Mr. Abdulkadir Ilhan, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Cassation.

During the meeting with the representatives of the Court of Appeal of Lithuania Turkish guests expressed their interest in the activities of the appeal court and the examination of cases in the appeal instance, because the establishment of the specialized appeal courts in Turkey is  still in the plans.

Published on: 2013-09-17
Lithuanian Moldovan legal forum looks for improvement possibilities of legal systems

The third Lithuanian Moldovan legal forum in which representatives of the highest judicial and law enforcement institutions of Lithuania and Moldova participated, took place on 16 – 20 of July. Discussions on improvements, contemporary issues and challenges of the legal system of Lithuania and Moldova were held at the round table for two days.

“Signing the cooperation agreement with Lithuania for the establishment of the legal forum we had many hopes regarding its benefit. We are happy that our hopes were answered and already today we can apply results of such meetings, received recommendations and proposals on the improvement spheres of the legal system of Moldova” – stated the Minister of Justice of Moldova, Oleg Efrim.

Greeting the participants, Gintaras Kryževičius, the Chairperson of the Judicial Council and the Supreme Court of Lithuania pointed out that the importance of such events is not only in sharing the good practice but also in acquiring the practice from each other. In the opinion of the Chairperson during the open discussions ideas on the effective and professional implementation of justice are generated and the trust to the activities and work of legal system is increased.

“The legal forum is an institute which allows to supply react to the problems and innovations of the legal system. Every representative of legal systems willing to discuss and to share experience are welcome in this forum” – highlighted one of the forum initiator’s, adviser to the Minister of Justice of Moldova Aušra Rauličkytė.

The main topics discussed among Lithuanian and Moldovan lawyers – Judicial reform of Lithuania, judges’ disciplinary responsibility, corruption prevention, improvement of procedural documents in order to reach more effective and faster implementation of justice, reform of Moldova judicial system and improvement of legal acts. Moreover, reform of the Prosecution service, mechanism of the assistance to the victims of crimes and cooperation in legal education were discussed as well.

The Minister of Justice, Vice-minister of Justice, General Prosecutor, Secretary General of the office of the President of the Republic of Moldova and other representatives of judicial system of Moldova Republic took part in the forum. Lithuania was represented by professor Egidijus Kūris, president and judges of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, representatives of Prosecutors’ General office, Ministry of Justice, National Courts Administration and Law Faculty of Vilnius University.

This Forum was organized due to the implementation of the project “Support to Moldova promoting development of legal sector” financed by the program “Lithuanian Development Cooperation Policy”.

Published on: 2013-07-25
The start of operation of the Lithuanian court e-services portal „e.teismas.lt“

From the 1st of July starts the operation of the Lithuanian court e-services portal „e.teismas.lt“, where citizens and companies are able to deliver and receive documents of the civil, administrative and administrative offences cases, listen to the records of the court hearings, pay the stamp-duties and fines without leaving their residences.

According to the Chairman of the Judicial Council and the Supreme Court of Lithuania Mr. Gintaras Kryževičius this portal is a very important step towards the transfer of more and more cases to an electronic space and also an excellent mean of hearing cases more qualitatively and expeditiously.

From the 1st of July there is a possibility to connect the e-court system via the internet bank  system, using the Personal Identity Cards with the e-signature or after obtaining the direct connection data from the court.  

Citizens and companies are able to deliver personally applications to the court, lodge complaints, explanations according to the prepared standard forms which are more than 90 in the system. It is  enough to scan the appendixes of the documents instead of sending them to the court via post.   

Persons, who will choose to use the electronic case hearing, will save the expences of preparation of the documents, printing, posting or traveling to the court, but also will pay 1/4 less of the stamp-duty.

Until now the familiarization with the case material, records of the court hearings, receiving the copies of the documents was only available at the court. From now on the parties to a case will also see the electronic documents, observe the court proceedings – from the submission of the documents to the court till the court decision. 
The users of the portal are able to receive the information about the events in the case via e-mails and sms messages.

The advocate, the docent of the Vilnius University Faculty of Law Mr. Rimantas Simaitis is convinced that the sistem will provide the possibility for all the parties to the proceedings to get acquainted with the case material quicker and more conveniently, save time and expences intended for stamp-duties, traveling to the court and the preparation of the documents and posting them. Mr. R. Simaitis states: „The usefullness of this system to a concrete person depends on his/her intelligence and deepening in a case, where he/she is participating. I am convinced that this portal will save much time and endeavous of the lawyers, which they will be able to allocate to the essence of the case“. 

Similar portals of courts operate in many of the EU countries. The Lithuanian court e-services portal was created for one year. The Project was implemented by the National Courts Administration with the help of the EU structural funds.

Published on: 2013-07-01
Discussion of European Judges on the Independence of Courts

„A judge must bear in mind that when he tries a case, he himself is on trial“, - with these Philo words Diana Labokaitė, the representative of Lithuania, member of the Judicial Council has started her speech at the General Assembly of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary.

One party always defeats at the court. After the adopted judgement the trial of a judge starts – an assessment of a judgement in the society and mass media. The ENCJ is one of the paths improving the image of judges and the judiciary itself, as it „reinforces an independent yet accountable judiciary and promotes best practices to enable the judiciary to deliver timely and effective justice for the benefit of all.

“Judges are always under the close scrutiny of the public and we try to look as perfect as possible in our own trial by the public. It is pleasant that the ENCJ helps in improving image of judges and judiciary, reinforces the independence of courts and encourages the exchange of good practice. From 2004, when ENCJ was established, the huge work has been done trying to collect all good practises and to distinguish main rules and principles for how judges should work and what quality courts should be”- spoke the member of the Judicial Council D. Labokaitė when she presented the prepared document of the coordinated working group, where the systematized principles of the ENCJ on which the modern judicial systems in conformity with the EU standards should be based.

During the ENCJ General Assembly, which took place in Sofia (Bulgaria), the Chairman of the Judicial Council Gintaras Kryževičius in his presentation of the research made by the Lithuanian and Spanish judicial councils on the implementation of decisions of the ENCJ in practice indicated that in order to improve the independence of the judicial system the courts must use the tools of network more actively.

„From the activeness and initiative of the courts depends, how we will manage to secure the effectiveness, transparency and the independence of justice. For the achievement of these aims the ENCJ has established excellent means, which need to be applied.“,- G. Kryževičius spoke.

During the active discussions among the participants of the General Assembly on the independence and accountability of courts the Lithuanian representative, member of the Judicial Council Vigintas Višinskis has stressed that it is very topical the problem of unlike worload of judges in Lithuania, which the Judicial Council proposes to solve in the majority European countries by the means already applied – connecting courts to larger ones and thus ensuring the effectiveness of the activities of the judicial system.

„We don‘t feel enough understanding of other authorities, when we start to talk about nonproportional reduction of the salaries in the presence of the crisis. This problem on international level is acknowledged as one of the most obvious evidences of violations of the independence of judges and courts. Unfounded difference and disproportionality between the salaries of judges in district and other courts is directly related with this problem.“,- spoke the member of the Judicial Council V. Višinskis.

During the event the ENCJ activity report for 2012-2013, reprts of the ENCJ working groups‘ for 2013-2014, the achieved results were presented. Also such important ENCJ documents as the ENCJ Strategic plan 2013-2014, Budget, the membership fee 2014 were adopted. Similar to the previous years, the Sofia declaration has been adopted.

Published on: 2013-06-12

 

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