13. februāris, 2007.
Starting from February 5, ten 5th year students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Latvia have their training practice in the Supreme Court. Three more students will start their practice on March 5. In four weeks, Kristine Siveca, Diana Poriete, Daina Celma, Aleksandra Arhipova, Santa Selga, Ieva Kazeniece, Sergejs Ronis, Kaspars Kaksitis, Ieva Dumina and Janis Iesalnieks will study materials of cases, take part in court proceedings, analyze the course of cases, compare with their opinion and prepare their draft rulings. During the practice, the students have also individual assignments – a specific theme which the students study deeper and which probably will be used in their diploma papers.
Six of the trainees want to deal with practice in administrative cases, four – in civil cases. None expressed deeper interest in criminal cases, therefore the students will learn about reviewing these cases, as well as the work of the Division of Case-law only in general. The head of the practice in civil law is the advisor of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the application of law Rolands Krauze, and in administrative law – the Chairman of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate Valerijans Jonikans.
Rolands Krauze expresses approval of the trainees of this year. The students study diligently the materials of the cases, participate in court hearings, afterwards, together with the head of the practice discuss, analyze what was seen. Future lawyers with their “critical eye” follow not only the work of the judges, but also that of the attorneys and prosecutors. Students were surprised how different is the conduct of attorneys in the court hearings, how the quality of the prepared documents – appeals and cassation complaints, protests, ancillary complaints – varies. “Let them evaluate, learn to substantiate, study the experience of interpretation of law”, R. Krauze says.
Valerijans Jonikans also feels satisfied that the future lawyers during their practice try to obtain maximum experience, they are interested in problems, participate in discussions without fearing and feeling shy to express their viewpoint. “It is nice to see that a person thinks, and – thinks in the right direction”, he says.
In the Department of Administrative Cases the trainees first learned about the organization of work, movement and distribution of cases. They study the cases before the court hearings, but after the hearings, together with the judges and the head of the practice discuss, analyze the course of the hearings. The students learn also to evaluate and prepare procedural documents. On Wednesday, a specific assignments sitting will be held which will decide to initiate or reject cassation proceedings regarding the filed cases. Each of the students prepares his own report on a case, and the same case will be prepared also by one of the assistants to the judge. The actual decision will be reached during discussions and exchange of arguments.
But the senators and their assistants speak with the students not only about specific court cases, but also current topics of administrative law, for example, how to make administrative proceedings more efficient, on purposefulness of three court instances etc. The great interest of the students especially in administrative law is explained by V. Jonikans by the fact that many of them already work in state institutions.
The Advisor to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court R. Krauze admits that leading students’ practice requires high responsibility and takes a lot of time. However, he has been doing it with pleasure for at least ten years already. It is good to have clever and interested trainees who could be met as colleagues after some years. R. Krauze has given references to two of the previous students to continue their studies abroad, several were recommended for work in the Supreme Court and other courts.
To receive a diploma of a lawyer, training practice in the Supreme Court for the students of the University of Latvia is as compulsory as the diploma paper and the state examination. The practice has to be passed not only in the court, but also in the prosecutor office and a state administration establishment.
On February 6, 2006, the University of Latvia and the Supreme Court signed a cooperation agreement on provision of practice for students and training of the court employees. The agreement states that training practice is free of charge, understanding the necessity to strengthen the principles of the rule of law and to promote correlation of the science of law and legal practice, as well as to prepare the lawyers for the work in the court system.
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 7020396, 28652211