At the sitting of March 30, the Judicial Council supported the candidature of Aigars Strupiss, Chair of the Department of Civil Cases, nominated by the judges of the Supreme Court, for the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court for the next five years.

The opinion of the Judicial Council will be announced to the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court, and the Plenary Session will decide whether to put the candidate to the vote in the Saeima (parliament). The final decision on the approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be made by the Saeima.

Before the vote, the Judicial Council heard Aigars Strupiss' vision on the situation and development of the Senate and the judiciary.

Aigars Strupiss pointed out that currently the Senate is in a relatively good position both in terms of the length of proceedings and public confidence in the Senate. The candidate for the position of the Chief Justice does not see any significant problems regarding the administration of the Court; as the priority of his work as the Chief Justice of the Senate he sees the improvements regarding the administration of justice.

Aigars Strupiss emphasized the importance of strengthening the Senate as a cassation instance both by creating a deeper understanding of the essence of the cassation instance and by ensuring the Senate’s basic functions – creation of uniform case-law and public functions. The priority of these basic functions should be ensured by reducing the functions assigned to the Senate that are not characteristic of cassation instance, by increasing the support staff of senators and cooperation among the departments of the Senate. The cooperation of the Senate with lower courts was emphasized by Aigars Strupiss as an important task.

Taking into account that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also the Chair of the Judicial Council, Aigars Strupiss also highlighted the issues of the Latvian judicial system, the resolution of which he considers a priority.

First, it is significant to create a dignified dialogue with the executive and the legislative powers, through which the judiciary takes its rightful place and ends playing the “role of the outcast” in the system of state power.

Secondly, strengthening the role of the Judicial Council, thereby reducing dependence on the executive power is crucial. Aigars Strupiss considers that following steps should be taken: the transfer of the Court Administration within the competence of the Judicial Council, the revision of the composition of the Judicial Council without giving the legislature and the executive the right to make decisions, as well as the Judicial Council becoming the court budget planner, which defends the draft budget in the Saeima by itself and not through ministries.

The candidate for the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court attaches great importance to improving the quality of selection, training and evaluation of judges, as well as to the analysis of the deadlines of individual protracted cases in order to find a solution to this problem.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211