The Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court has sent a letter to the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima (Parliament), objecting that the decision regarding dismissal from the office by the committee for assessment of the Head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau may be appealed to the Supreme Court, as envisaged by draft law of amendments to the Law on Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau adopted by the Saeima in the second reading.

The letter signed by Veronika Krumina, the Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases, indicates that the decision of the committee for assessment of the Head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau is considered to be intermediate decision, which itself does not cause legal consequences. In particular, the committee only assesses information provided by the Prosecutor General or the Prime Minister, and adopts the decision on urging the Saeima to decide on dismissal of the Head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.  The decision on dismissal, in its turn, is adopted by the Saeima, and this decision may not be appealed.

The Department of Administrative Cases justifies its objections, saying that appealing against the intermediate decision, which is adopted within proceedings and which does not itself cause legal consequences, is a solution, which does not comply with the legal system. The attention in the letter is also drawn to the fact that composition of the committee and its decision-making process is not aimed at assessment of political criteria in activities of the Head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau. It reduces possible priority right of some political force, when adopting the decision in the Saeima, thus excluding necessity of judicial control before adoption of the final judgement.

The department of the Supreme Court asks the Saeima to observe foregoing considerations and to exclude regulation, which envisages appealing against the intermediate decision of the committee, from the law. In case, if the committee still considers it necessary to envisage the appeal of the decision of the committee to the court, the department requests to foresee the appeal before the Administrative regional court as the only court instance, instead of the Supreme Court.   

The authority of the Supreme Court as the cassation instance court also includes verification of whether the lower court has violated provisions of law or went beyond its authority, when adjudicating the case. The authority of the cassation instance does not include specifying of factual circumstances of the case, collection, verification and assessment of evidence.  “Determination of the Supreme Court as the only court instance to appeal against the decision on dismissal of the Head of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau from the office is contrary to the essence of the Supreme Court as the cassation instance court and the system, which stipulates the procedure of adjudication of cases in courts in Latvia,” the letter of the department to the committee of the Saeima indicates.

Finally, the department draws the attention to the fact that, envisaging the exception from the general procedure of adjudication of cases in the court, it is necessary to envisage also the procedural regulation, how the court adjudicates such cases, inter alia, on composition of the court in adjudication of the case, terms of adjudication of the case, appeal against procedural decisions adopted by the court.  

The draft law “Amendments to the “Law on Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau”” was adopted by the Saeima in the second reading on 18 February. 

 

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