On November 18 the State of Latvia will celebrate its 90th birthday. In November and December, the establishment of the Latvian judiciary will be officially celebrated, as well.

The roots of judiciary of the independent Latvia go back to December 2, 1918, when the President Karlis Ulmanis delivered a report in the meeting of the People’s Council of Latvia on the establishment of the Ministry of Justice and the appointment of the first Minister of Justice Peteris Jurasevskis. On December 6, 1918, the People’s Council of Latvia adopted “The provisional regulations on courts and judicial proceedings in Latvia” which was signed by the President K. Ulmanis and the Minister of Justice P. Jurasevskis.

The highest court instance of the independent Latvia – the Senate, as well as the Chamber of Courts was established in December 1918, the chairmen of the regional courts, the prosecutors of the regional courts and the magistrates were appointed in their positions.

To mark the 90th anniversary of the Latvian judiciary, the first event to open the celebrations will take place on July 20, 2008, at 14.00 Jekabpils region Saukas pagasts (rural district) “Lejas Meirani”, the birthplace of Janis Skudre, the former senator of the Latvian Senate Criminal Cassation Department and the Chairman of the Latvian Judicial Association.

Janis Skudre was born on May 3, 1889, in “Lejas Meirani” in Sauka. He studied and graduated from the Faculty of law of the Moscow University and the Kiev Institute of Commerce.

In 1921 J. Skudre was appointed in the position of the deputy prosecutor of the Latgale Regional Court, from 1922 till 1925 he held the position of the member of the Jelgava Regional Court.

In the period from the autumn of 1925 till the autumn of 1934 J. Skudre was the Chairman of the Latgale Regional Court. In autumn 1934 J. Skudre was appointed in the position of the senator of the Criminal Cassation Department of the Latvian Senate where he worked till the occupation of Latvia.

On June 17, 1941, in “Lejas Meirani” in Sauka, Janis Skudre and his family – his wife Velta and his three daughters were arrested and deported to the northern regions of Russia. On July 8, 1942, the former senator died in the prison of Stalinist death camps. His wife and his daughters survived the hardships of the deportation years and returned to Latvia.

The senator’s daughters Gaida Skudre and Balva Gutmane spend their summers in “Lejas Meirani” in Sauka. They kindly agreed to host the event in the home of the Skudres family.

The program of the event offers the service, the address of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics, excerpts from the documentary monograph “And Stars Fall in the Lake” by the Supreme Court Senator Vilnis Vietnieks read by the actor of the Valmiera Drama Theater Rihards Rudaks. The popular music band “Zelli” will also take part in the event with Latvian and patriotic songs.


Information prepared by the press secretary of the Supreme Court Linda Priedite

E-mail: linda.priedite@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211