June 15 was the last working day of Ivars Bickovics as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. 12 years in this position has been a challenging time, during which the goal of the work had remained unchanged – ensuring the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Latvia.

Ivars Bickovics compared his time in the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to a marathon, in which there was no lack of obstacles and challenges. Everyone with whom he has worked and collaborated over the years has helped to overcome these obstacles and achieve goals, so the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court expresses his gratitude to everyone.

The short film “12 Challenging Years” tells about the events that have taken place in the life of the Supreme Court and the Latvian court system since 2008. The three biggest challenges are elimination of crisis consequences (the economic crisis in 2008 and the Covid-19 crisis in 2020), the reorganization of the Supreme Court by liquidating the chambers (an appellate instance) thus leaving only the cassation instance, and the establishment and development of the Judicial Council.

During 12 years, the composition of the Senate has changed by 73%, 17 new judges have started working in the Supreme Court. Chairpersons of Senate departments have changed eight times and chairpersons of chambers (an appellate instance within the Supreme Court) have changed four times. During these years, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has cooperated with 10 chairpersons of regional courts, four presidents of the Constitutional Court, two prosecutors general, and four State presidents. The ministers of justice have changed nine times, the chairpersons of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Saeima – seven times. The chairpersons of the Council of Sworn Advocates, Council of Sworn Notaries and Council of Sworn Bailiffs have also changed. Cooperation has been established with everyone so that the Supreme Court would be a modern and independent court respected in the society. In his latest interview for magazine "Jurista Vards", Ivars Bickovics said, "Respecting the court and valuing its independence is also a matter of the general legal culture of the society." This work never ends.

In an event dedicated to terminating the office of the Chief Justice, in the presence of senators, heads of structural units of the Supreme Court and co-operation partners of the justice system, Ivars Bickovics continued the tradition once established by the first Chief Justice of the restored Supreme Court Gvido Zemribo. There is a special bell of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, which is passed on to the next Chief Justice. Gvido Zemribo handed it over to Andris Gulans in 1994, who passed it on to Ivars Bickovics in 2008, and now the bell fell into the hands of the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Aigars Strupiss. "May it not be a saver bell or an alarm bell, but a bell that attracts like-minded people and friends, may it be a bell that never rings in solitude and silence", Ivars Bickovics wished to his successor.

Having received a symbolic relic of the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Aigars Strupiss confirmed that this is also the strategic goal of his work – to work together; departments, courts and the judicial system should work together, because that is the only way for the judiciary to be strong and brilliant.


Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 2865221