Bruno Lasserre the Vice-president of the French Council of State visits the Constitutional court


Friday 23 April Bruno Lasserre the Vice-president of the French Council of State (Conseil d’État), Aurélie Royet-Gounin Ambassador of France in Latvia and Yves Gounin head of international relations department of the Council of State visited the Constitutional court. The Delegation was received by Sanita Osipova the President of the Constitutional court and Aldis Laviņš the Vice-president of the Constitutional court.  The parties discussed current judiciary issues in both countries, as well as the challenges the pandemic is causing for the administration of justice and protection of fundamental rights.

In the opening statements Sanita Osipova expressed her satisfaction with the co-operation between the French Council of State and the Constitutional Court so far, as well she expressed her gratitude to the French Embassy in Latvia for organizing the visit and contributing to co-operation between the constitutional institutions of both countries.

Bruno Lasserre, Vice-President of the French Council of State, expressed his contentment for the continued dialogue with the Constitutional Court and shared his conviction that the co-operation – especially during the pandemic – should be encouraged in order to share experience and strengthen the rule of law.

Both agreed that the most challenging during the pandemic is the lack of certainty due to the exceptional circumstances we confront. Yet notwithstanding these difficult circumstances the society should nourish the conviction that the democracy is resilient, public institutions remain operational and that the country is united.

Speaking of the activity of the French Council of State Bruno Lasserre conceded that the current time is filled with challenges, more and more often his institution had to seek for a proper balance between the effectivity of the restrictions and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of the individuals. He stressed that it was especially during the pandemic that the findings of the Council of State submitted to the Government and the Parliament of France were of a special significance. They provide with a legal feedback even before the adoption of a new law. In these findings, which are accessible to the public, the Council of State gives its assessment on the compatibility of the project of law with rules of a higher legal ranking, on the quality and clarity of the text, and finally whether the proposed regulation is fit to be implemented, whether it is effective and suited to reached the aims it was designed for.

Both parties shared their vision on the “termination” of the crisis caused by the pandemic and that the restrictions on individuals should be lifted gradually. At the very moment when the pandemic recedes, the states have a legal obligation to restore and strengthen in an appropriate way the limits of privacy which existed before. It is especially important since all the Member States of the European Union share a common legal space where human dignity and private autonomy are the highest values.

Mentioning some positive experience drawn from the pandemics, Sanita Osipova mentioned that the Constitutional court was able to fully maintain the continuity of its work. She précised that the Court’s hearings were held remotely, they are recorded and available on the YouTube channel of the court. The President of the Constitutional court stressed that this helps to build confidence in the judiciary branch of powers since any person who is interested may follow the proceedings and accede to the merits of a case.

At the end of the meeting Bruno Lasserre, Vice-President of the French Council of State invited the Constitutional court to attend the conference of the Constitutional and Supreme courts of the European Union Member States, which will be organized in February 2022 in the framework of the French presidency of the European Union.

From the left: Vice-president of the Constitutional court Aldis Laviņš, President of the Constitutional court Sanita Osipova, Vice-president of the French Council of State Bruno Lasserre, Ambassador of France in Latvia Aurélie Royet-Gounin. Photo: Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia.

Photos from the visit available here.

The cooperation between the Constitutional court of Latvia and the higher institutions of the French judiciary

During recent years the Constitutional court has carried out several successful projects of cooperation with France confirming the close partnership in the field of law between the Constitutional court and the French judiciary institutions and their experts.

In February 2020 the Parliament of the Republic of Latvia (hereinafter – the Parliament), the office of the President of the Republic of Latvia and the Constitutional court organized together a discussion “the role of the Council of state in the legislative procedure”, with the participation of Jean Gaeremynck, the president of Finance unit of the Council of State. He also took part in a discussion “Ensuring the quality of the legal acts” and the annual of the Constitutional court in December 2017 “the judicial control of the State budget”.

In September 2019 Justice of the Constitutional court Artūrs Kučs attended a high-level international conference co-organized by the Constitutional council (Conseil constitutionnel), the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) and the Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation) in the framework of the French presidency of the Council of Europe and to which was convened all the presidents of the Supreme courts and the representatives from the courts.

In May 2019, Justice of the Constitutional Court Aldis Laviņš went to an exchange visit to the French Court of Cassation, he met with representatives of the French Council of State, as well as with judges of the Court of Appeal of Paris (Cour d’appel) to discuss issues related to improve the efficiency of the judiciary system.

Another significant example of cooperation between the Constitutional Court and the French Council of State was the visit of a delegation of the Constitutional Court to Paris from 28 February to 2 March 2018. During the visit, the delegation of the Constitutional Court met with Members of the French Council of State, Judges of the French Constitutional Council and the Court of Cassation, as well as the French Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet. During the visit, a number of legal issues relevant to both countries were discussed.