Gunars Aigars, chairman of the Latvian Supreme Court’s Chamber of Civil Cases, is traveling to Paris to participate in a scientific symposium dedicated to the bicentennial of the French Civil Code. The symposium is organized by the French Court of Cassation and will be held in the Grand Amphitheater of the University of Sorbonne. French President Jacques Chirac is the patron of the event, which has been co-sponsored by The Henri Capitant Association of Friends of French Legal Culture and The Order of Lawyers to the Council of State and the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The Civil Code, also known as the Napoleonic Code, was adopted in 1804 during the reign of Napoleon in France. The Civil Code was further developed by other countries and currently is the foundation of the modern civil law. The Civil Code of Latvia, passed in 1937, was also modeled after the French Civil Code.

The agenda of the symposium contains lectures and debates on the historic, sociological and modern perspective on the Civil Code and on the expansion of civil legislation outside the Civil Codes.

The bicentennial celebration is accompanied by another noteworthy event -- the founding meeting of the association of the chief justices of the supreme courts of the member states of the European Union, organized upon the initiative of Guy Canivet, Chief Justice of the French Court of Cassation. The members will debate and approve the association’s by-laws and elect its governing board. Chief justices of the candidate countries to the European Union will become full members upon joining the European Union on May 1, 2004. Until such time, Chief Justice of the Latvian Supreme Court and the chief justices of other candidate countries to the European Union will remain in observer status.