The centenary of the Senate of Latvia has left lasting historical traces not only in the judicial system of Latvia, but also in the families of senators. Thanks to information available on the website of the Supreme Court about the planting of a memorial oak in honour of Kristaps Valters, first Chief Justice of the Senate, his great granddaughter Christine Valters Paintner learned about her great grandfather's role in the history of Latvia. She also learned that neither the Supreme Court nor the Senator’s hometown Kuldiga has any information about descendants of Kristaps Valters, so she contacted us and came to Latvia.

At first Christine and her husband John went to Kuldiga, where they visited the family home in Dindzi, Rumba Parish, and the resting places of Christine’s ancestors in Lacplesis Cemetery, as well as a memorial oak in the city park. On September 2, Christine and John visited the Supreme Court and got acquainted with the Latvian judicial system, which was founded by Christine’s great grandfather Kristaps Valters.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics, when meeting with Christine and John Valters Paintner, noted the role of Kristaps Valters in strengthening Latvia as a democratic state governed by the rule of law. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said that “Latvia is a small country in the big wide world, so the contribution of each person to the strengthening of the state is even more important, which is proved by Kristaps Valters’ life and work. His principles of life are firmly anchored in today's judicial system.

Whereas, Christine Valters Paintner was pleased about the way her great grandfather's memory in Latvia was honoured and was touched by the facts of Kristaps Valters’ life, most of which was a new discovery for her.

Christine’s grandfather, Nikolajs was the son of Kristaps Valters. He was a lawyer, a sworn lawyer in the first period of Latvia's independence and he continued to work in exile in Austria after World War II. The family of Eriks, son of Nikolajs Valters, moved to America, where Christine grew up and studied theology. She returned to Europe with her husband seven years ago. Christine Valters Paintner is the author of 12 books on spiritual education and together with her husband John runs the Abbey of the Arts in Ireland.

Christine donated several photos from the family archive to the Supreme Court Museum depicting Kristaps Valters, his wife, children and grandson. 

Kristaps Valters was the first Latvian senator appointed on December 6, 1918. He was the first Chair of the Administrative Department and the first Chair of the Senate’s General Assembly from 1919 to 1929 and from 1933 to 1934.


Information prepared by

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

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