Justices of the Constitutional Court participate in a discussion, held in Germany, on the culture of dialogue within the European legal space


On 30 April – 1 May, the President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele and the Vice-president of the Constitutional Court Sanita Osipova participated in the Heidelberg Discussion Group (Heidelberger Gesprächskreis) organised by Max-Planck Institute (Max-Planck-Institut). In the discussion, the Justices of the Constitutional Court together with judges from the constitutional courts belonging to the tradition of German law and from the European courts discussed “The Culture of Dialogue”. This was the first invitation to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia to participate in the discussion.

The main focus of the discussion was on the development of the dialogue between the constitutional courts and the European courts. The judges underscored that the communication and dialogue of courts within the European legal space was the foundation for reinforcing this space. The judges recognised – the higher the culture of discussions the better this community would be able to function, therefore the purpose of this discussion was to improve understanding and foster the culture of dialogue.

In the discussions, the judges focused on number of forms this dialogue could take. Several judges noted that also quoting the rulings by other courts in one’s own rulings should be considered as an important element of dialogue between courts. The form and the level of detail in references to the judicature of other courts were also debated. Likewise, the discussion turned to the need for the constitutional courts to publish overviews of their practice, including the main findings of the courts’ rulings, with the purpose of promoting this dialogue.

Judges also reflected on the way meetings of judges, participation in lectures and interviews promoted the culture of dialogue, and also examined, in this particular context, whether the dialogue had any limits; i.e., when it could jeopardise the independence of courts. Judges focused on the good examples of the dialogue of the European courts and the existing challenges.