"The Provisional Regulation on the Courts and Judicial Proceedings in Latvia" became the fundamental law regulating the Supreme Court Senate. It provided that the Senate of Latvia, located in Riga, was the highest judicial authority for cassation appeals in all cases, that its decisions must be made by panels of justices each having equal powers, and that the Senate should consist of three divisions: the civil, the criminal and the administrative division. It was also provided that the Senate shall have a head prosecutor and his deputies.
The chairpersons of the Senate’s divisions (which were later renamed its Departments) had to be elected by the meeting of the full Senate. The justices serving in the Senate were to be appointed by the Provisional Government, upon a recommendation by the Ministry of Justice. The members of the Senate were to be confirmed by the People’s Council.
As early as the next day after the law was passed, i.e., on December 7, 1918, upon the recommendation by the Minister of Justice, the Provisional Government appointed the first members of the Senate: attorneys Janis Graudins and Kristaps Valters.
December 19, 1918 is considered the birthday of the supreme judicial body of independent Latvia, its Senate, because on that day, Karlis Ozolins, Voldemars Zamuels, Mikelis Gobins, Pauls Mincs and Mr. Reisners were appointed members of the Senate. Mr. Mincs and Mr. Reisners never served as justices and were replaced by Augusts Lebers.
Soon after the appointment of justices, the Senate discontinued its work due to the fact that the Provisional Government had to leave Riga because of the occupation by the Bolshevik forces. The Senate resumed its work on July 15, 1919 when the government returned to Riga. The real work of the Senate began at that time, although several of the justices appointed to serve in the Senate had not assumed their positions. Several justices began serving in the Senate, but it could not be determined who had appointed them. As a result of this situation, a list of all serving justices was prepared and all were reappointed by the government in its August 19, 1919 meeting. Augusts Lebers was newly appointed by this meeting as well.
The Senate archives contain no information of any activities until September 10, 1919 when the first journal of the Senate’s meeting was created. A decree from the Minister of Justice was presented to the Senate indicating that on September 5, 1919 the People’s Council had confirmed six Senators. On September 23, 1919 the Cabinet of Ministers appointed Voldemars Zamuels as the first head prosecutor of the Senate.