PUBLICITY AND TRANSPARENCY VERSUS CONFIDENTIALITY: GUIDELINES FOR IMPLEMENTING ETHICAL PRINCIPLES IN THE ACTIVITIES OF LITHUANIAN JUDGES

Žaneta Navickienė, Aurelijus Gutauskas

Abstract


This article presents an analysis of the content of the ethical principles of Lithuanian judges which have been previously under-examined in the analysis of the decisions of the Judicial Ethics and Discipline Commission (hereafter – JEDC). It aims to show how these principles of professional ethics – confidentiality, publicity, and transparency – are relevant and important in the practice of the judge.
The events of recent years, due to the potentially unclear and biased activities of Lithuanian judges, make it possible to reexamine ethical issues with judges that have already been investigated. Therefore, examining and updating the professional ethics regulations of Lithuanian judges allows us to highlight several peculiarities. Firstly, this identifies the placement of human values in the activities of the judge: this activity is not only an expression of the legal provisions, but also an expression of common supreme human values. Secondly, the regulation of judges’ ethics allows us to assess the authority of courts and judges in society. Thirdly, analyzing the system of values allows for an integral assessment of whether modern contexts should not be opposed to the creation of a highly reliable representation of this profession and, in reality, a transparent, objective, fair judge’s activity allowing the public to have full confidence in the judiciary.
Analysis of the concept of transparency has shown that transparency can be understood in both broad and narrow sense. The transparency and publicity of judges is not only perceived in terms of publicizing actions by providing reasons for decisions and providing information to the public, but is also represented by the clarity of activities which include avoiding conflicts between public and private interests.
The results of the research showed that the principles of ethics of Lithuanian judges - publicity and transparency, confidentiality in their content - are clear and concrete in the context of legal regulation. However, analysis has shown that observance of these ethical principles has some peculiarities in practice, as the evaluation of the judge’s behavior includes other subjects. An examination of the decisions of the JEDC shows
that there are cases of violations of these ethical principles in the activities of judges, indicating the viability of these ethical principles and their practical nature. However, the principle of transparency and publicity, as well as the principle of confidentiality, is only partly the subject of the activities of the JEDC. The Chief Official Ethics Commission is the main institution authorized to consider and resolve issues of coordination of public and private interests in the Republic of Lithuania. The State Security Department makes the decision to issue or refuse to issue permission to work with secret information.


Keywords


confidentiality; publicity and transparency; judicial ethics principles.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SMS-19-11-1-07

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236