Creation of administrative courts in judicial system of Latvia has lived up expectations and has made positive innovations
29 March, 2009
Authors of the idea of Administrative Procedure Law Jautrite Briede and Arvids Dravnieks have diffenet opinion about why administrative courts have been overloaded. Dravnieks thinks that it reflects unprofessionalism and great indifference of state officials, but senator Jautrite Briede thinks that in five years administrative procedure has tangibly improved work of state administration
The offer of senators of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court to celebrate five years' anniversary of creation of administrative courts with scientifically-practical conference has received the extensive response. On March 27, the conference «Five years of administrative courts and is administrative-remedial legal proceedings in Latvia» has been visited by more than 400 listeners – judges, educational forces, students, lawyers of the state and municipal institutions, lawyers, judicial executors, lawyers of the enterprises and other interested persons. That questions and discussions arose even after last report at half past five on Friday evening, speaks volumes for an urgency and advantage of subjects of conference.
Creation of branch of administrative courts in judicial system of Latvia of has lived up expectations. Within five years this judicial branch has taken a stable place, it has appeared expedient and Professional, and exessive overload of administrative courts shows it, - the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics has specified in his speech, paying attention to impossibility to solve this problem at reduction of financing of judicial system.
Minister of Justice Mareks Seglins has reminded of a main objective of creation of administrative process and administrative courts, which within five years remained invariable – to protect the person from arbitrariness of the government. Within the first month after creation of administrative courts, fears that people would not understand and would not use this process, had vanished. The minister has noted positive innovations brought in judicial system of Latvia by administrative courts, for example, writings, a principle of objective investigation, great improvement of quality of judicial judgments, prejudicial questions to the European Court of Justice, and also has mentioned the fact that the building of Administrative district court is the first building of court that was constructed anew in the restored Latvia. Simultaneously, the Minister of Justice has reminded of hopes that with creation of administrative courts the trust of a society to judicial system will increase. M. Seglins has urged each judge to think what he can do as being the judge, so that judicial work would become faster and process – more effective, that also would increase trust degree.
The senator of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Andris Gulans was the Chairman of the Supreme Court five years ago, when the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court was created. He has recollected that it was not so that it was necessary to begin on absolutely empty place, because there was a historical experience – experience of the Senate of the first epoch of independent Latvia – and also experience of European countries. Nevertheless, there were many things unknown, the society had rather a general idea about administrative law and in circles of lawyers mistrust and even scepticism about creation of this judicial branch also was expressed. He has thanked those few enthusiasts, who all the same have recovered administrative law in practice, and has noted five, in his opinion, good results. Namely, the Administrative Procedure Law stood the test of time and could provide effective protection of interests of population; administrative courts of three levels were created completely anew; high lath of requirements to administrative judges and assistants to judges; process of preparation and proceeding of administrative cases, and also high professional level of the argumentation of judicial judgments; administrative process promoted understanding of a society about private law and the human rights.
The Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Veronika Krumina also has underlined that the best evaluation of efficiency of administrative process is changes of style of work of the government, improvement of quality of decisions of official bodies and municipal institutions, which was undoubtedly observed within last five years. The Chair of the department has noted innovations, which have been entered at the same time with creation of administrative courts, and difficulties which it had to overcome. Highly professional employees have come to administrative courts, but without the refereeing experience, new judges had to start to work quickly, besides under the strengthened attention from outside a society and experts. Secondly, the aim about fast process of litigation was not fulfilled. V. Krumina named the fact, that in Administrative regional court 4195 cases had arrived last year, in Administrative district court – 2515, and in the Senate – 843 cases, as litigious explosion, at the same time having underlined that the primary forecast of load of courts was inexact. As the second reason of heavyweight of administrative process she has mentioned that in its basis civil process has been used that all the same was not the most correct approach. «Nevertheless, the increase of number of administrative cases is not and cannot be a bad indicator, as it shows that people realise their rights more and more, and protect them. Bad is the fact, that courts do not have not enough capacity to cope with these cases in a short time,» V.Krumina has underlined. She has mentioned some essential amendments to Administrative Procedure Law, that have come into force, as a result of which legal proceedings should proceed faster, and also other suggestions of administrative courts on making the process more effective, for example, by introduction electronic communication between courts and municipal and state institutions.
In the further course of conference the attention has been paid to practice of administrative courts within five years and some current topical questions. Senators of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Jautrite Briede and Janis Neimanis, the director of Institute of Public Law Arvids Dravnieks, the adviser of Legal Bureau of Saeima Janis Pleps, PhD. Students of University of Latvia Anita Kovalevska and Maris Rukers, the Head of the Department of management and control over quality of Latvian Police Academy Modris Zeivots and lawyers Viktors Sadinovs and Edvins Danovskis took floor with reports. The judge of the European Court of Human Rights Ineta Ziemele could not take part in conference because of work load, but participants of conference had received her report in writing. The Administrative Procedure Law had come into force on February 1, 2004. It regulates a procedure of public legal relations between the state and the private person, since institution of administrative case and till administrative process in court and executions. In order to provide the judicial control stated by this law in administrative process, administrative courts, including the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court – as court of cassation instance have been simultaneously created also. Valerijans Jonikans was the first Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate, the first senators were Edite Vernusa, Ilze Skultane, Gunta Visnakova and Jautrite Briede. At present duties of the senator of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate have been fulfilled by eight senators. The Chair of the department is Veronika Krumina.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 7020396, 28652211