22 March, 2005
On March 17, 2005 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court organized his first meeting with reporters of the local newspapers. The meeting turned into an interesting discussion about issues of current concern for the judicial branch of the government in Latvia.
At the beginning, Mr. Gulans told the reporters about the Supreme Court as the institution of cassation appeals of the judicial branch of the government in Latvia. Special attention was heeded to the court’s homepage that was expanded in 2004. The Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court, Anita Kehre, showed the homepage to the reporters and explained details about it.
Because reporters often focus on criminal cases, the Head of the Department of Criminal Cases, Pevels Gruzins, talked about this area of the Supreme Court’s activities. He explained the new “Law on Criminal Offenses” and discussed the impact of the media representatives’ presence and filming process during the court proceedings.
To the reporter’s question whether the court delivers justice, Gunars Aigars, the Head of the Chamber of Civil Cases, responded as follows: “The court delivers a judgment.” His answer led to a conversation about another field – the civil rights.
Valerijans Jonikans introduced reporters to the work of the Department of Administrative Cases. Mr. Jonikans is the Head of this Department. This Department was formed on February 6, 2004. For many, this area of the Supreme Court’s work is still unknown. As opposed to civil rights, which are private rights, the Department of Administrative Cases reviews the rights of the public. The Department’s task is to review the decisions made by institutions and officials, and the legality and justification of verbal or written court orders as they regard to a specific person. Reporters found this subject fascinating, because it involves relationship of the state administration, individuals and legal entities regarding tax collection, social security, immigration issues, issuance of licenses and permits, local government decisions (administrative actions), etc.
After the two-hour discussion, Anita Kehre, the Head of the Division of Communication, showed the reporters the court building. Then the reporters visited the court’s museum on the lower level where Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court, showed them historical testimonials and documents related to the history of Latvia’s courts.