What should be changed in Latvian judicial system? Is the substitution of death penalty by life sentence fair punishment? Why foreigners, who show disrespect to Latvian monuments of culture, have been charged with so little punishments? Can a child make a testament? When unisexual marriages will become accepted legally? What a person should do if he/she doesn’t like his/her name?

These and ten other different questions pupils of 12 grades of Northern Countries Secondary School asked the senator of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Veronika Krumina during lesson of law in the Supreme Court, which was conducted by the senator on February 19. The senator introduced pupils to Latvian court system and different categories of cases, forming her story in a way, so that she would answer to all questions pupils were interested about. She gave also concrete answers to concrete questions and expressed her opinion about questions that were more politically legal and philosophical.

When the senator was asked, what, in her opinion, were defects of Latvian judicial system, as the first one she mentioned lack of uniform case-law – in the same circumstances courts make different decisions. The defect is also long time of review of cases, fluidity of assistants of judges and other employees of the court and insufficient professionalism, and also the fact that part of judges came to the courts, so to say, by mistake and they do not perfect themselves. The senator thinks that it is also bad that courts are loaded by fits and starts, and not all courts have appropriate rooms. She mentioned an example that in halls of Swedish courts there is a place for psychologist, whose assistance is needed for people who come to the court house, very often.

In its turn, as advantages of Latvian court system, the senator Krumina mentioned the formation of administrative cases in 2004 and the fact that in Latvian courts there started to work young and educated judges. But the most advantage is Latvian three-level court system that gives people an opportunity to clarify the truth in three court instances. It is an expensive judicial system, the senator admitted, and not all countries can afford it, but it was established for interests of inhabitants.

While answering to questions of pupils, the senator mentioned also examples and experience from her own life. In a conclusion she wished pupils to find their own place under the sun and not to make a mistake, while choosing the profession. “You do not write the draft of your life, but you live your own life”, the senator reminded and wished to work in a favourite job, and then life will bring satisfaction.

Lessons of law, conducted by senators of the Supreme Court, were started by the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate in 2009, thus celebrating the 5 years since the establishing of administrative courts. Last year there participated more than 700 pupils from 30 Latvian schools. Lessons were conducted by the Chief Justice and senators of the Supreme Court. Pupils have also opportunity to visit the museum of the Supreme Court, hall of criminal cases and historical hall of the Senate.

Several schools that had used this opportunity last year, this year take bodies of other grades to the Supreme Court. We wait also for other schools. Already next week pupils from Ikskile will arrive to the lesson of law, conducted by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics.

School bodies, who wish to participate in lessons of law and visit the museum of the Supreme Court, have to submit application and coordinate time of the visit in the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court by the phone 67020396 or via e-mail rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv.

Information prepared by

Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211