21 February, 2014
On February 21, judges of the Supreme Court adopted a decision at the Plenary Session to ask the Saeima (the Parliament) to restore and to restore historical title “the Senate” to the highest court instance of the Republic of Latvia, which was taken away from it by amendments to the law “On Judicial Power” of 13 June 2013.
The Plenary Session of the Supreme Court points out that the Senate is historical title of the highest court instance of Latvia, which was established by the first fundamental law of Latvian court system – “The Provisional Regulation on the Courts and Judicial Proceedings in Latvia” of Latvian People’s Council of 6 December 1918 – and existed during all period until occupation of Latvia on November 26, 1940.
In restored Republic of Latvia, in the law “On Judicial Power” of 15 December 1992 historical title “the Senate” of cassation instance in the Supreme Court was restored and it existed until January 1, 2014.
The Plenary Session of the Supreme Court asks to take into account that the Senate has been title of cassation instance court in procedural meaning and there has been extensive case-law of the Senate and stable judicature of the Senate has been developed. During 22 years (1918–1940), the Senate of Latvia solved more than 65 000 cases, but the Senate of the Supreme Court in 18 years (1996–2013) – 34 563 cases, it is, more than 100 100 court judgements and decisions were rendered in the name of the Senate in total. It is difficult to understand, why cassation instance now is just departments of the Supreme Court instead of that.
It should be pointed out that on December 19, 2013, when celebrating the 95th anniversary of the Senate of Latvia, Janis Bordans, the Minister of Justice of that time, admitted that renunciation from the historical title of the Senate was a mistake for cassation instance, which possibly should be corrected. The Ministry of Justice informed the Board of Justice that it had intention to propose amendments to the law “On Judicial Power”, which would let to return to historical title.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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