On February 14, within the framework of the Shadow Day, 15 students from Madona, Vecpiebalga, Ventspils, Tukums, Preili, Valmiera and Riga visited the Supreme Court and learned about the day-to-day work of the Supreme Court, its judges and assistants to judges.

For students the day began with a brief presentation on the judicial system of Latvia and the structure and competence of the Supreme Court. Then the "shadows" took part in the moot court. The proceedings were led by Marika Senkāne, Judge of the Department of Civil Cases, in which Madara from Tukums Secondary School No 2 and Karina from Valmiera Pargauja Gymnasium participated as judges. The claimant had filed a lawsuit requesting compensation for non-material damage incurred due to an accident at the supermarket when the door of cold showcase fell on his feet. Kristaps from the Ita Kozakevica Polish Secondary School took on the role of the claimant. The supermarket was represented by an advocate – Elizabete from Riga State Gymnasium No 2. The court session was recorded by the secretary of the court session Laura from Madona Secondary School No 1. All the rest "shadows" participated in the hearing as listeners. Students were pleased to be able to participate in court proceedings themselves and understand how cases are being examined. The court held that the claim be partially satisfied and instead of EUR 3,500 claimed recovered EUR 1,000 in favor of the claimant for the non-material damage. As Edite Vernusa, Chair of the Department of Civil Cases, acknowledged in a conversation with students after the moot court, the court is a process in which it is not possible for everyone to be satisfied. The claimant does not receive as much as he desires and the defendant has to pay the amount determined by the court, but the court examines the evidence and resolves the dispute fairly and on the basis of the law.

In the course of the day, "shadows" visited their "shadow givers" – judges of the Department of Criminal Cases Aija Branta and Anita Polakova, judges of the Department of Administrative Cases Rudite Vidusa and Dzintra Amerika. The students also got acquainted with the work of the assistant to judges, meeting with the Assistant to Judge of the Department of Criminal Cases Edite Turkopule and the Legal Research Counsel to the Department of Administrative Cases Eva Viksna. The five youngest "shadows" - pupils from the 6th grade of Jugla Secondary School – visited Edite Vernusa, Chair of the Department of Civil Cases, and got acquainted with the work of the chair of the department. Students regarded conversations with their "shadow givers" as very valuable and acknowledged that the experience gained during the day has strengthened interest in obtaining a lawyer's profession.

Summing up the experience and impressions of the day, students met with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics. The Chief Justice, while speaking about legal profession, told that during his studies in secondary school he had to choose among professions of a lawyer, historian and journalist, and the decision was made in favor of studies in the Faculty of Law. However, the Chief Justice has never regretted it. Although the work of judge is mentally demanding, as decisions can never satisfy everybody, it is a very interesting, creative work; the judges have to constantly improve themselves. Therefore, the work of a judge never becomes routine, and it is not monotonous and dull. This is the work with people and judges in their daily work must be both psychologists and educators in order to resolve situations and conflicts between people. I. Bickovics wished the students to successfully complete their studies in high school and choose their life's call.

At the end of the day students walked the corridors of the historic Palace of Justice, looked into the courtrooms and visited the Supreme Court Museum.

"Shadow Day" – a world-wide student career development and educational event is annually organized by the Junior Achievement-Latvia. Its main task is to broaden students’ horizons and understanding of the knowledge and skills necessary for their future profession. 

 

Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court

Tel.: +371 67020396; e-mail: baiba.kataja@at.gov.lv