23 September, 2008
100 days have passed since June 16 which was the first working day of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics in the new position. Today the interview with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by the magazine “Jurista Vards” begins with the question what ares the most essential accomplishments during this period.
I. Bickovics indicates that one of the most significant accomplishments was working out and adoption of recommendations in relation to the study of the Division of Case-law regarding the penal practice in Latvia. The law states that adoption of such recommendations in no longer within the competence of the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court, but it is the competence the general meeting of the respective field of law – the Chamber of Criminal Cases and the Department of Criminal Cases. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hopes that the adopted recommendations will promote uniform application of law standards related to the determination of the punishment, and will serve in practical usage as help handy to every judge.
The Chief Justice mentions matters accomplished in the administrative field: the Ethics Code for the Supreme Court staff has been adopted, and allowances for new mothers of the establishment have been considerably increased.
In relation to the desire of the Supreme Court to decrease the distrust to the judicial power and to respect human rights of each individual, the instruction of the Supreme Court has been amended regarding the application in criminal proceedings of specially accepted operative measures: in future, the Supreme Court in the cases which are under litigation, upon an application of the persons involved in the proceedings shall be provided response to the question whether the particular operative measure has been or has not been accepted under the procedure stipulated by the law. The Chief Justice finds that the initiative of the Supreme Court directed towards the observance of human rights would prevent situations when the State of Latvia could be sued in the European Court of Human Rights for a fact that during proceedings evidence has been used which lawfulness cannot be proved.
Besides, I. Bickovics mentions an international activity – the participation in the 51st Congress of the International Judicial Association in Yerevan and the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Armenian Cassation Court. The Memorandum stipulates cooperation related to the exchange of information of legal nature regarding draft laws and trends of development of the court system, as well as, the decision to invite representatives of the other party to conferences and discussions.
Speaking about the plans for the nearest future I. Bickovics especially highlights the issue of the budget for the coming year. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court hopes that the Saeima (Parliament) in its final decision will follow the law and the funding for the remuneration of judges will be allocated to accomplish in 2009 the remuneration reform as stipulated by the law.
I. Bickovics hopes that the Judicial Council will commence its activities in the nearest future. He looks forward also to clarity and settlement in the matter regarding the possible transformation of the Supreme Court into a court of one instance, liquidating the court chambers. At this moment this is a very sensitive matter when appointing new judges in their positions.
As well, the Chief Justice wishes to see the working day of a Supreme Court Judge less intense as he finds that a Supreme Court Judge to adopt a decision and a judgment in compliance with the requirements set for the rulings of the highest instance courts, should not spend every day in a court room and after that spend evening hours writing rulings in the cases reviewed during the day. The work load of judges at the present moment is too big which leaves a negative influence on the quality of the rulings. The provision of premises and work environment, as well as the improvement of procedural laws in general might bring result – decrease the work load of the Supreme Court Judges.
Ivars Bickovics was nominated to the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court on May 9, 2008. The Saeima confirmed Bickovics in the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on June 5. He undertook the duties after the term of office expired for Andris Gulans who was at the head of the Supreme Court for two terms – fro 1994 till 2008.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
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