• Janis Neimanis University of Latvia, Supreme Court of Latvia
  • Rada Matjusina Latvian Council of Sworn Advocates




Impartiality, Judgment, Judicial Ethics, Court, Criteria of Judicial Impartiality


General human rights instruments guarantee the right to a fair trial before independent and impartial court. International and national legislation explicitly provides that the court should be impartial. But how can we understand that the court is impartial? Should there be an objective decision or should there be impartial decision-making process?

Nowadays we often think about how it is possible to ensure judicial impartiality. How an impartial court may exist in democratic society, and whether a society should have any criteria of judicial impartiality to ensure that the public trusts the courts and judges.

The aim of the court’s decision is not only to achieve an equitable settlement of the case, but the decision shall be understandable for the society, and the decision shall be made in way that the society can say that the court is impartial. Through the court decision the court obtains the public confidence to the whole legal system and to the idea of the judicial state. Impartial court is the base of an independent and democratic society.

Namely, an impartial court is the fundamental of people basic rights, which also makes important that the casa law has the most important public role, and the court decision shall be comprehended and accepted by the society.

Undoubtedly, political and economic changes affect the right, but the basic values of society remain. Even in ancient Egypt and in ancient Greece the judicial impartiality was the foundation of the fair trial. But that time concept meaning of 'judicial impartiality' has changed and is not equal to the modern understanding. That is happening due to the continuing changes in the society. Thus, it would have to say that the judge impartiality as a precondition for justice is derived from the values of society. Over the time public vision of how the judicial objectivity is attainable is changing, public perception of a fair decision and reasoning also is changing, but it does not affect the concept of 'judicial impartiality'. The concept of judicial impartiality has been changing within the changes in the society and it reveals in each of the societies life period.

Today in the democratic European counties with the term ‘judicial impartiality’ we understand the court's ability to treat the parties equally (rather than judicial behavior must always be equal); the court's ability to make a ruling in such way that if a particular case will be ruled by another judge the ruling would be similar and with the same result. Today in all national legislation we are implementing the court's duty to be impartial because the public demands for judicial impartiality increases.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.5.1081






Social Evolution of Europe