Survey: Over half of Latvia's population do not think laws are fair

More than 50% of Latvia's residents do not consider laws to be fair, according to a survey conducted by study centre SKDS by requirement of the Supreme Court, states Supreme Court news release September 4.

The Supreme Court said that in the survey, respondents have assessed the quality of the regulatory enactments very critically – only 2% have fully agreed that there are fair laws in Latvia. 29% of respondents rather agree with this statement, but more than 50% of the population think the laws are not fair.

Respondents have identified clear laws and transparent legislative processes as key factors to strengthen the rule of law in Latvia. A professional court has been mentioned as the third major factor.

The survey concludes that 70% of citizens agree that compliance with the law is the most important thing in the country. 45% of respondents have indicated that they themselves comply fully with the law, 50% have indicated that the law is being followed in most cases.

Citizens have almost equally assessed the role of all three branches of state power in ensuring the rule of law. 82% of respondents have pointed out that the rule of law depends on executive power, 81% on the legislature, 78% on the courts.

Two-thirds of the population have indicated that a dispute is likely to be resolved simply by discussing the problem with the other. 11% would be willing to attract a professional mediator, but only 5% of the population would be prepared to go to court for conflict settlement. At the same time, more than a quarter of the population believe the court will protect them if needed.

Nearly half – 48% – said in a survey of respondents that they trusted the Supreme Court. 25% do not trust the Supreme Court, but 27% do not have an opinion on the matter. This is most likely due to the fact that a large part of the population has not been directly confronted with the work of the Supreme Court.

More than 1,000 respondents from Latvia participated in the survey conducted by SKDS. The aim of the survey was to find out  people's thoughts on the rule of law and how to strengthen it.

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