Today, on July 29, having reached the maximum age of 70 years for the position of a judge, a senator, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Andris Guļāns, terminates his career as a judge.

Andris Guļāns has worked as a judge for 41 years. He began his judicial career in 1979 at the Moscow District Court of the city of Riga (later – Latgale District Court), he was a judge and the chair of the court until 1992. Then for a short period of time he worked as a Deputy Minister of Justice and a sworn lawyer. In 1994, he was appointed as a judge in the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court and in the same year – as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Andris Guļāns headed the Supreme Court for 14 years – until 2008. After that, he spent the next 14 years as a senator in the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court Senate, which he regards as the most interesting time of his judicial career.

The time when Andris Guļāns was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was a time of complex changes – the national economy changed, new laws were adopted, and the judicial system had to become the guarantor of the rule of law in an independent, democratic country. When reminiscing about and evaluating his time as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Andris Guļāns highlights four significant events.

The first is the establishment of the Senate and the reform of the Supreme Court, moving from the Soviet legal system to the court as it is today, while maintaining the potential of high-quality judges. The second is the creation of the Senate Department of Administrative Cases, which he calls a success story. The third is the establishment of the Administration of the Supreme Court, separating the administration of justice from the administration of the court. The fourth is the return of the Supreme Court to the historical premises of the Palace of Justice.

These are not the only challenges of those years. The judicial system also experienced public scandals and internal disagreements, which also resulted in positive effects – the Judges Ethics Commission was established, the judicial system became more open to the public. Andris Guļāns also encouraged the discussion on the independence of the courts and the establishment of the Judicial Council.

At the event dedicated to Andris Guļāns’ farewell to the position of judge, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Aigars Strupišs, thanked him for leading the big and complex ship called the Supreme Court and gifted him a Letter of Distinction and a commemorative medal of the Court, encouraging him not to lose contact with the Court in the future. President of the Constitutional Court Aldis Laviņš, Minister of Justice Jānis Bordāns, Prosecutor General Juris Stukāns, Head of the Judicial Training Centre Solvita Caune-Kalniņa expressed appreciation to Andris Guļāns as a leader of change and an important person to the judicial system. Senators and employees with whom Andris Guļāns has worked together emphasized his personality traits – inner intelligence and wisdom, humanity and simplicity, composure, as well as a good sense of humour. Many remembered their first day of work at the Supreme Court and the meeting with the Chief Justice, as he met with every judge and with every employee.

Having taken off the judge’s robe, Andris Guļāns admitted that he is satisfied with his life's work. "It is luck that one person can walk this long way of work. I think I managed it well enough, this work also gave me satisfaction and brought me joy. I was not just sitting there; it is my life's work. I say thank you to the Supreme and thank you to my colleagues that I managed to do this. I think it is luck," Andris Guļāns said.



Information prepared by

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

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