At the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court of 6 March, heads of structural units updated issue regarding role of the Supreme Court as of the court of cassation instance and its responsibility for quality of work of court system in general.   

Both Pavels Gruzins, the Head of the Division of Case-law, and Chairs of departments pointed out poor quality of court rulings. Veronika Krumina, the Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases, stressed that judges of the Supreme Court cannot stand apart from quality of judgements adopted by courts of lower instance. If judges of the Supreme Court see that arguments of abolishing ruling are not enough, then such mistakes must be discussed with judges at lectures and joint discussions of judges of different instances, but, if systemic problems in work of a particular judge are not eliminated, those must be updated in assessment of professional activity of the particular judge or not even waiting for it. “Task of both the Supreme Court and the Judicial Qualification Committee is to help judges in their professional growth. However, it is impossible, if problems are kept silent or one speaks between the lines,” Veronika Krumina said. She stressed that it would be necessary to change opinion of both society and colleagues that the first instance court is “nothing”, as each judge is delegated extensive authority and power.   

Peteris Dzalbe, the Chair of the Department of Criminal Cases, pointed out that, having terminated the first stage, namely, the liquidation of the Chamber of Criminal Cases,  the main goal of reform of clear three-level court system, i.e., to strengthen both the cassation instance court and the appellate instance court, is not achieved.  However, role of regional courts increases, thus the Supreme Court must improve cooperation with regional courts. The Department of Criminal Cases will resume its practice to participate in seminars for judges of regional courts, where problems related to activity and practice of courts are discussed. The Department of Criminal Cases also prepares summaries on abolished and amended court rulings and conclusions expressed therein. These summaries are sent to all courts.

Edite Vernusa, the discharger of duties of the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases, in turn, recognised that each judge of the department should prepare at least one lecture in field related to judge’s specialization to share experience in the Judicial Training Centre. Training of judges of courts of the first and the second instance could reduce flow of cases in the cassation instance. If judgements are lawful and justified, then they are less appealed against. Moreover, as Edite Vernusa pointed out – when preparing for the lecture, the judge of cassation instance would also increased his or her qualification.  It would be useful also at meetings of the department, when deciding on interpretation of legal norms and developing case-law.

See all information about the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court here

 

Information prepared by

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

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