On April 14, more than three hundred interested people participated in the conference dedicated to the tenth anniversary of establishment of administrative courts in the University of Latvia, which was organised by the Supreme Court in cooperation with the Faculty of Law, journal “Jurista Vards” (“Lawyer’s Word”) and the Ministry of Justice.

Not only judges and their assistants, but also advocates, prosecutors, bailiffs, lawyers of public institutions, lecturers and students of higher educational institutions, media representatives and other interested individuals participated in the conference, as the subject of the conference “Courts in Legal Culture Space” has been topical not only for courts, but to all court system and society in general. As Veronika Krumina, the Chair of the Supreme Court Department of Administrative Cases, pointed out – legal culture influences both litigation quality and trust of the society to courts and the state.  

Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, also pointed out that administration of justice does not mean only a judgement written by a judge, it is interaction among all, who operate in legal culture space and develop this environment – and those are not only professional lawyers and individuals involved in proceedings, but also politicians, employees of public administration and municipalities, scientists and media.   

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court referred to pre-war Latvian senator, professor, classic of civil procedure Vladimirs Bukovskis, whose thoughts both then and now have been respected and used not only by lawyers, who have worked in field of civil procedure. In the study on reform of administrative courts, which was published in 1925, Bukovskis wrote: “If voices about good and bad courts have arisen in the society and even in the Saeima (Parliament), then, firstly, I would like to remove any reproach from those, who must execute this hard work of the administrative court. If the winnowing machine is bad, then even the most perfect workers are unable to get pure grain, when working with it. No wonder that the bad machine works badly.”

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also reminded of research ordered by the Board of Justice on image and perception of courts in the society, which approved conclusion that attitude of society towards the court system is created not only by courts and judges, but, to large extent – by action of other persons involved in proceedings and related to work of courts, and attitude of politicians and media. The research approved that attitude of society towards courts is formed by legal cultural environment, in which courts work. 

Kristine Strada-Rozenberga, the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia in her turn said that the subject of the conference and issues discussed there were the challenge for the closed community of lawyers. One should admit that not only legal issues have been reviewed at conferences organised by lawyers even more often, but lawyers even more want to look at themselves from more extended sight – as to the part of the society.  

“Today the attention is focused on relations of a court with politicians, media and society. It should be admitted that assessment of these relations is far from positive. Cooperation of courts and politicians, looking from the side, sometimes makes to admit that there is no ability to understand each one another, but there is no even such wish. It is difficult to find news in media, in which courts or any aspect of their work would be assessed positively. And the society is not satisfied with everything and everyone. And there the question occurs – if we want to continue it this way and, the main question is, if we can afford to continue that in this way? Is the border reached, and, if not, then, how far this border is, crossing of which becomes dangerous – to politicians, judges and the society in general,” the Dean asked, pointing out that trust to courts, which is one of the cornerstones of a judicial state, is the question of collective responsibility – courts, politicians, media and law lecturers must be aware of their role there. Considerable result may be achieved only in joint work. 

Summarising the work of the conference, which was organised in three sections, namely, “Courts and Politicians”, “Courts and Media” and “Courts and Society”, Veronika Krumina, the Chair of the Supreme Court Department of Administrative Cases recognised that, despite the fact that there were few participants from among politicians and executive power, the goal is achieved – directions worth of further discussions and actions are marked.  

Conference materials will be published in the second issue of this-year “The Supreme Court Bulletin”.


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