Standard of the Civil Procedure Law about right of the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court to submit protest against ruling of a court that has come into effect, doesn’t comply with the Constitution – on the 14th of May, the Constitutional Court announced its judgement in the case “On compliance of the Section 483 of the Civil Procedure Law in its part about right of the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate of the Supreme Court to submit protest, with the Article 92 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia”.   

At present, there are three cases in proceedings of the Supreme Court, in which the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate had submitted protest on court ruling effective, before the 1st of January, 2013.  One of these cases will be examined in a court hearing in extended composition of the Senate on the 29th of May, and two cases will be examined in extended composition of the Senate in written proceedings on the 10th of June.

The Section 483 of the Civil Procedure Law, which provided that protest on court ruling, which has come into force, can be submitted to the Senate by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases of the Senate or the Prosecutor General was effective before the 31st of December, 2012. The Supreme Court repeatedly paid attention both to the fact that standard contested may cause doubts about impartiality of the court, and to the fact that it causes additional load to the Supreme Court.

With amendments to the Civil Procedure Law, which became effective on the 1st of January, 2013, standard was amended, stating that protest on court ruling, which has come into force, can be submitted only by the Prosecutor General or the Chief Prosecutor of the Department of Protection of Rights of Individuals and the State of the Prosecutor’s General Office.   

However, submitters of an application asked the Constitutional Court to assess also compliance of the Item 63 of Transitional Provisions of the Civil Procedure Law with the Article 92 of the Constitution. This standard provides that the complaint that was submitted before the day, when amendments to the Section 483 of the Civil Procedure Law became effective, shall be reviewed pursuant to regulations, which were effective on the day of submission of a complaint.

The Constitutional Court had taken into account the fact that having admitted the standard to be invalid since some moment in past, legal confidence and right to fair trial of other persons involved in concrete civil cases would be invaded. Balancing rights of submitters of application and necessity to protect legal confidence and right to fair trial of other individuals, the Constitutional Court stated that a case initiated in cassation proceedings, should be examined in extended composition of the court, namely, in composition of at least seven senators of the Court, thus ensuring individuals’ right to objective trial guaranteed in the Article 92 of the Constitution.

Information prepared by

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

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211