The Division of Case-law and Research of the Supreme Court has prepared an overview of the decisions of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate made in 2022 in cases where the prosecutor's cassation protest was submitted.

The Department of Criminal Cases examined 79 such cases in 2022. In 21 of them, a decision was made to refuse to initiate cassation proceedings. Out of 58 cases initiated and examined in cassation proceedings, the decision of a lower court was left unchanged in 9 cases. In other cases, the decision of the lower court was cancelled in whole or in part or amended.

The overview is drawn up in the form of summaries, indicating what the prosecutor has requested in the cassation protest, whether the Senate has satisfied the cassation protest, as well as the Senate's references regarding the cassation protest.

Hyperlinks are added to archive numbers of decisions added to the archive of Senate’s rulings on the website of the Supreme Court or to the database of anonymized rulings on the e-services portal of Latvian courts. Summaries are added to decisions in cases that have closed case status and are not publicly available.

Facts from the overview

  • The cassation protests that were reviewed and recognized as justified were submitted on various issues, including in several cases the cassation protests pointed to the interpretation of the norms of the General or Special Part of the Criminal Law carried out by lower courts. For example, a court of appeal had too narrowly interpreted the concept of instigator, as well as erroneously interpreted the concept of participation.

In many cases, cassation protests have addressed the issue related to determining the penalty, including application of conditional sentencing, determination of the amount of the fine, application of an additional penalty (confiscation of property), determination of mitigating or aggravating circumstances, as well as determination of the final penalty.

  • In two cases, the Senate, based on Section 584, Paragraph two of the Criminal Procedure Law, found it necessary to exceed the scope of the claims expressed in the cassation protest. In one case, the Senate found that the court of appeal, when re-examining the case and upholding the sentence set by the first instance court, had actually sentenced the accused to a more severe imprisonment sentence than it had been set when the case was examined on appeal for the first time. This violation committed by the court of appeal, which led to the deterioration of the accused's situation, was not indicated in the cassation protest. In the second case, the Senate found that the court of appeal, had terminated the criminal proceedings not in the part of the charges brought against the defendants, which the prosecutor had withdrawn, but in the part of the criminal offenses recognized as proven. The prosecutor did not indicate this violation committed by the court of appeal in the cassation protest.

  • In cases where a decision on refusal to initiate cassation proceedings was taken, the most frequent basis for refusal was Section 5731, Paragraph one of the Criminal Procedure Law, that is, the cassation protest did not meet the requirements set out in the Criminal Procedure Law.

In certain cases, the Senate refused to initiate cassation proceedings because there was Senate’s case law established on the issues of application of legal norms indicated in the cassation protest and such case law could be applied to appealed rulings.

In several cases, the Senate refused to initiate cassation proceedings because, having evaluated the arguments mentioned in the cassation protest, there were no doubts about the lawfulness of the appealed decision, and the cases under consideration were not of significant importance in the formation of case law.

Certain Senate’s decisions on the refusal to initiate cassation proceedings include also indications that the arguments of the cassation protest are of a general nature, that is, they are expressed in the form of a general statement without adequate substantiation, or they are not based on a significant violation of the Criminal Procedure Law.

The Senate has also reminded that a cassation protest cannot be filed regarding circumstances for which an appeal protest was not filed regarding the judgment of the court of first instance.

  • Both when examining the case in the cassation procedure and refusing to initiate cassation proceedings, the Senate has repeatedly found that the arguments of the cassation protest actually express the prosecutor's dissatisfaction with the conclusions reached by the court of appeal when evaluating the evidence obtained in the case and the circumstances affecting the sentence, and are aimed to seek annulment of the decision of the court of appeal not on legal grounds, but on factual grounds. In several cases, the Senate has indicated that the cassation protest repeats the arguments mentioned in the appeal protest and which the court of appeal has evaluated and rejected stating reasons for such rejection.


Information prepared by

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

E-mail:, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211