29 March, 2007
Within the framework of Lawyers Days, on 29th of March the doors of Supreme Court were open to those who had the wish for becoming acquainted with the work of Court, its halls and history. This opportunity was used by forty young people, law students mainly.
In the building, that in 1938 was built as Court castle, but in which four significant governmental authorities – Supreme Court, Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Justice young people were for the very first time. With interest they went all over court sitting halls, saw judge retiring rooms, small hall of Senate, where the sittings of disciplinary board take place, officers of court and advocates give oath to Chief Justice. Head of Chancery Elīna Krištopāne gave a short summary about work of Chancery of Senate.
Excursionist had a chance to visit the sitting hall of Cabinet of Ministers, which is decorated with gilded words “One Law, One Justice for All”, and that used to be a hall of Senate in its time. They have also visited the sculpture by Kārļis Zemdega, that is called “Justice”, that was once placed in Court castle and now in central vestibule of Cabinet of Ministers, and in Museum of Supreme Court found out some very interesting facts about the work of Supreme Court in 1918-1940, lost of senators and rehabilitation of independent Supreme Court.
Judges are invited to be more active in expressing their opinion on planned changes in judiciary
In the afternoon, those who expressed interest, so as students and functionaries of Supreme Court, took part in exchange of opinion on role and functions of Supreme Court, that are planned in emerging law Governing the court system. Opinion was expressed by Chief Justice Andris Guļāns, Chairs of Departments of Senate Mārtiņš Dudelis, Pāvels Gruziņš, Valerijans Jonikāns, Chair of the Chamber of Civil Cases Gunārs Aigars. The participation of Ex-Chief Justice, one of creators of law “On Judicial power”, at present time sworn advocate Gvido Zemrībo and Ex-Head of Juridical commission of Saeima, sworn advocate Linards Muciņš made discussion to be more boisterous.
In the draftlaw Governing the court system, that has came to 2nd reading already, Supreme Court is seen only as cassation, giving away the Chambers, that at present time operate as appellation. Two different opinions were heard during discussion, examples of different countries were mentioned, but as Chief Justice admitted, till this very moment he hasn’t heard arguments and hasn’t received an answer to a question, why this reform is necessary and why do we have to change the system that was pretty effective for about 15 years. Also Pāvels Gruziņš believes that present law “On Judicial power” is enough stable, and if there are some rational suggestions to make alterations, they can me made to the law in power, so there is no need to pass a new one. Gunārs Aigars was even more categorical when characterizing the new draft law as a “cocktail” that will not resolve the problem for “problems take place not in the Chambers but in the first instance”. If city and district courts were ready to hear a case in qualitative way, the result were clearer and we would see in which way to advance, and then it would be possible to break the present system, he considers. Mārtiņš Dudelis is of a different opinion. Senators of Department of Civil Cases often come to conclusion, that judgements of courts of first instance are more motivated than ones made by appeal, moreover, in Dudelis opinion, it is not a good practice when appellation and cassation work in same court.
Linards Muciņš consider that you can not resolve the problem of the whole court system by reorganizing one instance of the court, he also invited judges to express their altitude to planned changes of legislator in a more wide and certain way. Gvido Zemrībo expressed same wish, admitting same time that emerging law, that lacks even the very term “judicial power”, calls the concern that it “is an aggression against judicial power, for it seems there is a willing to usurp it by executive power”.
The emerging law Governing the court system will be also discussed on the closing conference of Lawyers Days “Judiciary and Court system of Latvia”, on Saturday, 31st of March, at 12.00 am in small hall of Latvian University, in which Chief Justice of Supreme Court Andris Guļāns and Chair of the Department of Civil Cases Valerijans Jonikāns will also take part. Supreme Court is preparing its suggestions to draft law that are to be submitted to Juridical Commission of Saeima by 1st of May.