“Those working in the judiciary have not been pampered with acknowledgement. For many of them the newly established Mark of Distinction is the first and the only acknowledgement for many tens of years spent in the judicial system of Latvia. It is good that among the first to receive this award are also the Supreme Court judges“, said the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics during the celebration ceremony of the 90th anniversary of the Latvian judiciary.

During the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Latvian judiciary which took place on November 7 in the Dailes Theater, this year it was the first time when 49 employees of the judiciary were presented with the Marks of Distinction of the judiciary. The award was presented also to 16 former and present Supreme Court judges. The 1st grade Mark of Distinction will be presented to the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the independent Latvia Gvido Zemribo, the former senator of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate Imants Fridrihsons, the former senator of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate, at present – the consultant of the Division of Complaints Gunta Visnakova, as well as the Deputies of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – the Chairman of the Chamber of Civil Cases Gunars Aigars and the Chairman of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate Pavels Gruzins, and the senator of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate Kalvis Torgans. The 2nd grade Mark of Distinction will be presented to the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, at present – the senator of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Andris Gulans, the senator of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate Valda Eilande and the Chairman of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate Valerijans Jonikans. The 3rd grade Mark of Distinction will be presented to the judge of the Chamber of Civil Cases Aiva Zarina, the judges of the Chamber of Criminal Cases Ausma Keisa and Eduards Pupovs, the former senator of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate Rita Saulite, the former senators of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate Fricis Jaunbelzejs and Georgijs Kuznecovs, and the former judge of the Chamber of Criminal Cases Leontine Pluksna.

Those who received the award were satisfied for the evaluation of their work. Gunta Visnakova admitted that the 50 years which she had spent in various positions related to law was an interesting time and that she had been lucky with good managers. Ausma Keisa expressing gratitude for the award said, “It is an honour to serve for Latvia and the Supreme Court”. Valerijans Jonikans does not think that he has worked more and harder than other colleagues, however, he feels satisfied to be among the first to receive the new award of the judiciary. Andris Gulans considers that the everyday work for those working in the court system is not easy therefore it is necessary to have both such celebrations and awards. Kalvis Torgans started to work as a judge quite recently, but for many tens of years he was a teacher for the new lawyers and a scientist, he expressed hope that the words “science” and “case law” which were frequently heard during the celebration ceremony and the award presented to him could mean a certain turn acknowledging that science becomes a part of the judiciary.

Employees of the Ministry of Justice, the former Ministers of Justice and the State Secretaries, judges, prosecutors, representatives of the free legal professions – attorneys, court executives and notaries, as well as other guests were invited to be present in the celebration ceremony.

The State President Valdis Zatlers also took part in the celebration. In his address the President noted that 90 years is sufficient time to be able to evaluate the maturity, the quality of the judiciary, the ability to follow the changes caused by the time and the development of the society. 90 years ago a new country appeared on the map of Europe – Latvia one of the first and the most urgent tasks of which was to create the judiciary. The same task remained for Latvia restored in 1990. “One of the most significant tasks of the judiciary at the present time like it was 90 years ago is the creation of law standards and the development of good court practice. It is even more important to go ahead of today – to create and maintain the legal thought. That what we call the spirit, the essence and the aim of the law. I have repeated it several times that a lawful state cannot exist without a fair court,” the State President said. The responsibility for the development of the judiciary has to be assumed by all its constituent parts – the judge, the prosecutor, the attorney, the notary. The President considers that doubtlessly big responsibility for ensuring the development of the judiciary has to be undertaken by the state – the Minister of Justice, the government, the legislator.

Speech at the celebration ceremony was delivered by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics, the Minister of Justice Gaidis Berzins and the Prosecutor General Janis Maizitis. The guests of the event watched the reel “Judiciary of the Republic of Latvia 1918 – 2008” and received a brochure of the same title.

The judiciary is just a day younger than the State of Latvia. On November 19, 1918, the President Karlis Ulmanis in the Cabinet of Ministers proposed the attorney Peteris Jurasevskis to become the Minister of Justice and the attorney Eduards Strautnieks – to become his deputy. On December 6, 1918, the Provisional Government adopted “The Provisional Regulation on Courts and Judicial Proceedings in Latvia” what is the principal law of the judiciary and activities of all the courts. The foundation day of the highest court instance – the Senate of Latvia – is December 19, 1918.


Information prepared by

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

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211