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The Minister of Justice Rein Lang replied to the interpellation concerning personnel shortage at courts (No 503), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Evelyn Sepp, Enn Eesmaa, Ain Seppik, Aivar Riisalu, Toivo Tootsen and Lembit Kaljuvee on 16 September.
Lang gave an overview of the personnel problems related to courts. He noted that a competition for a vacant position of judge lasts for eight to nine months, according to the Act passed in the Riigikogu. Due to unexpected leavings of judges, it may indeed happen from time to time that some positions remain vacant. Unfortunately, the number of vacant positions can only be forecast from the aspect of whether anybody will have to leave office at the age of 68, pursuant to the Courts Acts. In Lang’s words, for example, thirteen of the judges who are in office at present have the right to retire. Again, pursuant to the Act, competitions for these positions cannot be announced earlier. Lang explained that these shortcomings have been remedied by the regulation provided in the Courts Act which is in the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu.
Lang noted that the quality of the administration of justice should be taken to mean primarily the quality of the content of decisions, that is, how many decisions of the lower court remain in force. “The statistics of civil matters of 2007–2009 shows that, in 95–97% of the cases, participants in the proceedings do not contest the decisions of the court of first instance. As to the cases reviewed in the circuit court, circa 50–52% per cent of the decisions of the court of first instance remain totally unchanged,” said the Minister. He stressed that the Ministry of Justice has extremely limited authority to issue precepts to judges.
In Lang’s words, the Ministry of Justice is also developing methods for even distribution of cases, taking account of their degree. The deciding on the organisation of the distribution of cases falls, as it were, within the competence of full courts who approve the division of tasks plan of every court. “However, on the initiative of the Council for Administration of Courts and in cooperation with judges, the Ministry of Justice has developed the principles for determining the period of time needed for adjudication of different types of cases. These are the so-called “load point” principles which should enable to ensure even workload of judges also in circumstances where a judge is specialised for example in criminal or civil matters or, more specifically, for example in labour law matters in civil matters,” explained Lang when touching on the problems related to the organisation of work of judges.
The Minister of Finance Jürgen Ligi replied to the interpellation concerning the situation of the extraordinary pension reserve (No 510), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Inara Luigas, Valeri Korb, Lauri Laasi, Toivo Tootsen, Kalev Kallo, Aivar Riisalu, Toomas Varek, Nelli Privalova, Jaak Aab, Arvo Sarapuu, Ain Seppik and Helle Kalda on 23 September, and the interpellation concerning the revenue of the state budget of 2011 (No 517), submitted by Members of the Riigikogu Kadri Simson, Toomas Varek, Kalev Kallo, Lauri Laasi and Jüri Ratas on 12 October.
During the open microphone, Kadri Simson took the floor.
The Riigikogu Press Service