The visit of Estonian judicial officers in Vilnius on September 15 provided an opportunity to share news among colleagues relating to the judicial officer profession, and compare the judgment enforcement systems of Estonia and Lithuania.
The prospects of modernization of processes carried out by judicial officers in both countries are associated with the implementation of information technologies. And the COVID-19 pandemic period helped the interested parties in the judicial officers' offices of Estonia as well as of Lithuania to master remote communication with judicial officers.
A round table discussion on the experiences of judicial officers of Estonia and Lithuania was held at the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania.
The guests also visited the offices of judicial officers Vitalis Milevičius, Daiva Milevičienė, and Robertas Vasiliauskas.
After Estonia switched to a private judgment enforcement system in 2001, there are currently 39 private judicial officers operating in the country's 4 areas of jurisdiction. One Estonian judicial officer provides its services to an average of 34.1 thousand residents. The number of active judicial officers in Estonia has decreased by approximately two times over the last 21 years since the reform. For comparison: the judgment enforcement system in Lithuania was reformed into a private one two years later (2003), and 110 judicial officers are currently operating in our country, each of which provides services to an average of 25.5 thousand residents. Lithuanian judicial officers work in 17 areas of jurisdiction.
Estonian judicial officer T. Afanasieva
Unlike in Lithuania, there is no age limit for judicial officers in Estonia, thus the latter also has judicial officers of retirement age. As acknowledged by judicial officer Tatjana Afanasieva who presented the latest topics in the activities of Estonian judicial officer, Estonia can benefit from the experience of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania in regulating the transfer of enforcement proceedings in cases where the judicial officer ceases his or her professional activity.
According to the chair of the Presidium of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania – judicial officer Inga Karalienė, the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania strives to ensure that the resolution of all issues would be based on clearly defined criteria, from the transfer of enforcement proceedings to another judicial officer to the regulation of enforcement fees.
In her words, this is the only way to ensure smooth and fair processes.
In the office of judicial officer R. Vasiliauskas, guests were able to see how the Judicial Officers' Information System, where all executive documents are prepared and stored, works in practice. The system helps judicial officers to quickly obtain data from official state registers. It is also integrated with the information systems of banks, tax administration information system and the information system of the State Social Insurance Fund Board, as well as the Cash Restrictions Information System which promptly withdraws funds from debtors' accounts and distributes them to creditors.
Estonian judicial officers also carry out many procedures electronically, however this requires the use of at least three information systems. Although seizure of debtors' accounts is applied electronically, it is still not as effective as in Lithuania, since the exchange of data on bank account balances and applied restrictions does not take place as quickly.
The judicial officers who participated in the meetings – Vitalis Milevičius, Svetlana Kastanauskienė, Irmantas Gaidelis, Robertas Vasiliauskas, Audronė Adomaitienė, Neringa Bacevičienė, Asta Stanišauskaitė Reda Vizgaudienė and Greta Žutautė – also told the guests about their practice in providing the most popular services of establishing factual circumstances.
It was the successful experiences of Lithuanian judicial officers in this field that encouraged Estonian judicial officers to take on a new type of activity. These services became available in Estonia since the beginning of 2018. Judicial officer Irmantas Gaidelis and Director of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania Dovilė Satkauskienė presented the wide possibilities of using factual circumstances recorded by judicial officers at the theoretical-practical seminar for Estonian judicial officers and assistant judicial officers held in Tallinn in March of 2018.
The most common requests from clients remain similar to this day: various circumstances related to construction and rented premises, consequences of water supply and sewage system accidents, electronic information, etc.