16 May, 2019
On Thursday, May 16, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ivars Bickovics, gave a guest lecture on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University of Latvia "Topical Issues of Legal Science and Case-law", in which he spoke about the cooperation and interaction of the Supreme Court – the Senate – with the legal science at the beginning of the formation of the judicial system and today.
Speaking about the initial co-operation of the Senate and the University of Latvia at the beginning of the formation of the judicial system, Ivars Bickovics said that the basis of it was a selfless devotion to the idea of an independent state and its growth. The foundations of the judiciary in 1918 were chiefly laid by the representatives of the bar among which the first judges – senators were appointed. In practice, it was a small number of people who had the idea of an independent Latvian state in their hearts, who developed and implemented this idea. And it did not happen in one day. A number of lawyers of the time, who ensured the close interaction between legal science and case-law, left a historical testimony about the first appointed senators. "Still today, the Senate refers to the legal literature of the time, such as Professor Vladimirs Bukovskis’ “Study Book on Civil Procedure” and to conclusions expressed by senators in the judgments," said Ivars Bickovics.
Continuing the lecture, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of doctrines, namely, the opinion of legal scientists in the rulings of the Senate. Ivars Bickovics pointed out that the role of doctrine in drawing up the grounds of Senate’s rulings has become visible only in the last decade. Each field of law has its own characteristics, for example, certain authorities in criminal law; the doctrine developed by the senators in administrative law; a wide variety of references, including a prominent place for historical doctrine, in civil law.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court noted the cooperation of the Supreme Court with the teaching staff of the University of Latvia as especially essential. In cooperation with the Centre for Further Legal Education and Professional Improvement, the judges and employees are given the opportunity to update and supplement their knowledge on the topical practical and academic topics. The members of the Faculty of Law are invited to provide opinions on the summaries of case-law. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court admitted that academic criticism of Senate’s rulings is important. It serves to understand the law topicalities and also to possible future review of case-law. “The Senate does not stop at the decided issue, at the so-called established case-law. The Senate examines the correctness of its findings in each case. In each case, it is possible to add to existing findings or to adapt them to the existing socio-economic situation. The development of economic processes requires not only the legislator to work on the adjustment of the regulatory framework, but it also requires the courts to be prepared to proactively see the need to adapt the case-law,” explained Ivars Bickovics.
The University of Latvia celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019. In the framework of 100th anniversary of the Faculty of Law there is a series of lectures organized and called “Faculty of Law – 100”. Topical Issues of Legal Science and Case-law”. The lecture given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was the second lecture in the series of lectures. In September and October, the series of lectures is continued by lawyers known in Latvia who have always been close cooperation partners of the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia in various fields. The conclusion will be an international scientific conference.
Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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