YEAR 2015 IN THE SUPREME COURT: DECREASE OF ACCUMULATION OF CASES AND STRENGTHENING OF CASSATION INSTANCE
29 February, 2016
Work of the Supreme Court in 2015 was with the positive balance – after the several years, the number of examined cases exceeded number of cases received in the court, and number of cases pending decreased per 25 per cent – Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, resumed at the Plenary Session.
As an important index, the Chief Justice also stressed decrease of average terms of adjudication of cases in the Supreme Court. It is particularly important that term of adjudication of cases decreased from 17.2 months to 15 months in the Department of Civil Cases, where the accumulation of cases has been the largest one.
Year 2015 was spent by the Supreme Court under the light of reform, eliminating the appellate instance. As from 1 January 2015, there was no Chamber of Criminal Cases within structure of the Supreme Court anymore, and 2016 is the last year of operation of the Chamber of Civil Cases. The Chief Justice pointed out that the Supreme Court uses the reform to strengthen the cassation instance as much as possible, by developing its scientific analytical capacity. Chairs of departments appreciated establishment of an office of the Legal Adviser in each department, and hoped that establishment of the Division of Case-law and Research will also be the support in work of the cassation instance.
As priorities of work of the Supreme Court in 2016, Ivars Bickovics mentioned finishing of court reform, by strengthening the cassation instance, and reduction of work load of judges.
In 2015, the average work load was 106 cases per a judge. Work load of single judges was mush higher, reaching 150–170, which is incommensurately large load at the cassation instance.
As possible solutions for decrease of work load of the cassation instance, Chairs of departments indicated release of the cassation instance from functions, which are not particular thereto, enforcing of so called cassation filters, expansion of qualitative support personnel for judges, and improvement of quality of rulings of lower courts. Increase of number of judges has not always been the most effective measure in work of the cassation instance – the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases shared the experience.
37 from among 47 judges and executors of duties of judges of the Supreme Court participated in the annual reporting Plenary Session. Work of structural units in 2015 was analysed by managers thereof – Edite Vernusa, the Chair of the Department of Civil Cases; Peteris Dzalbe, the Chair of the Department of Criminal Cases; Veronika Krumina, the Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases; Ineta Ozola, the Chair of the Chamber of Civil Cases; Sandra Lapina, the Head of the Administration. Judges also listened to information provided by Anita Zikmane, the Head of the Division of Case-law and Research, on directions of further work of the division, and report presented by Aigars Strupiss, the Chair of the Disciplinary Court.
Eriks Kalnmeiers, the Prosecutor General, participated as the guest at the Plenary Session, and Dzintars Rasnacs, the Minister for Justice, presented his speech to the Plenary Session in writing.
Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
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