Impact of the international law on the national law, development of commercial law and competition law and the role of the Constitutional Courts in the law system of the countries were the main topics discussed in the 15th International Judicial Conference in Michigan, USA. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans took part in the conference.

The issue of impact of the international law on the national law and the court practice is especially topical for small and new countries, also for Latvia, in which their own national law school and court practice is not so great and therefore, to develop it, it is necessary to find support in the international law and court practice. It was especially urgent at the beginning and middle of 90s when Latvia and other former republics of the USSR establishing their national countries underwent transition to another court system. However, international court experience is equally essential also for big countries with ancient traditions of case-law, for example, America, Germany. Therefore, the traditional international judicial conferences are a significant event in the development of the court system. If previously mostly the chairmen and judges of the Supreme Courts of America and Europe participated in them, this year the range of participants has been expanded, inviting judges also from the African and Asian countries.

Ample information in the International Judicial Conference was given on the development of commercial law and competition law and regarding the experience of different countries in establishment of special or specialized courts. The establishment of such courts is connected with the development of the national economy of the countries, expansion of financial and economic deals and trading, what also complicates the court proceedings, make them more specific legally and economically. At the present time, in Latvia there are no such specialized courts which would make a constituent part of the country’s court system, however, it is an issue for future for Latvia, as well, A. Gulans considers.

The address of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Kirgizstan in the conference unintentionally highlighted the issue of protection of judiciary. In Kirgizstan, the state legislator and the executive power considers that the Constitutional Court has to be liquidated, and the situation in Kirgizstan at the present moment is similar to that which was in Belarus several years ago where even now the Constitutional Court is subject to the political regime. A. Gulans stresses that in Latvia, too, the issue on immunity of the Satversmes (Constitutional) Court is topical, because views of our politicians have been expressed to liquidate the Constitutional Court or to restrict its authority. “Although we may feel rather safe being a country of the European Union what is a guarantee for development of democracy and the rule of law, however, here, in Latvia we are not that far from what is happening in Kirgizstan today. We have to be alert for strengthening the rule of law and democracy in the country because the situation of the judicial power in Latvia is not so safe”, stressed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It is proved by the draft law On Judicial Power submitted to the Saeima (Parliament) many articles of which raise doubts whether the Latvian legislator wants to make the judicial power more independent, or there emerges another tendency – to subject it to the political power and executive power.

The 15th International Judicial Conference in Michigan, USA, was sponsored by the Furth family foundation and the Law School of the University of Michigan.


Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court

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