Judges

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Judges of the Supreme Court in February 2017
First row from left: Aija Branta, Anita Nusberga, Edite Vernusa, Veronika Krumina, Ivars Bickovics, Peteris Dzalbe, Ilze Skultane, Rudite Vidusa, Vesma Kakste, Dzintra Amerika. Second row: Andris Gulans, Ieva Viskere, Inta Lauka, Marite Zagere, Anda Vitola, Inara Garda, Marika Senkane, Vanda Cirule, Anita Polakova, Jautrite Briede, Lubova Kusnire, Zane Petersone, Livija Slica, Valerijs Maksimovs. Third row: Aigars Strupiss, Peteris Opincans, Intars Bisters, Anda Briede, Inguna Radzevica, Anita Cernavska, Voldemars Cizevskis, Arturs Freibergs, Valerijans Jonikans, Aivars Keiss, Janis Neimanis

 

The Judges of the Supreme Court ensure the basic function of the Supreme Court – the hearing of civil, criminal and administrative cases at the highest instance.

The total number of Supreme Court Judges is set by theSaeima, upon recommendation of the Council for the Judiciary, and the number of Judges in departments is set by the Council for the Judiciary, upon proposal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

As from 2017, the number of the Supreme Court Judges approved by the Saeima is 36 Judges.  The decision of the Council for the Judiciary stipulates that there shall be 17 judges in the Department of Civil Cases, 8 judges in the Department of Criminal Cases, and 10 judges in the Department of Administrative Cases. 

Only Latvian citizens, highly qualified and fair-minded lawyers may work as judges. A person may become a Judge of the Supreme Court after reaching the age of 40. The candidates for the judge’s office are selected in an open competition.

A candidate for the office of Judge of the Supreme Court may be:

  • a judge of a district (city) court or a judge of regional court judge with at least 10 years of total service in the office of judge;
  • a tenured judge of a district (city) court or a regional court, who holds a master’s or a doctor’s degree;
  • a person with at least 15 years of service as a faculty member of a higher educational establishment in law, as a sworn advocate or in the office of prosecutor;
  • a former Justice of the Constitutional Court, a judge of an international or supranational court.

A Supreme Court Judge is confirmed in the office by the Saeima, upon proposal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, for an unlimited term. The maximum age for serving as a Judge of the Supreme Court is 70 years.

The Judge has the civil rights and freedoms defined in the Constitution and other laws of the Republic of Latvia, which the Judge exercises so as not to hurt the respect and honour of the court and the Judge, judicial impartiality and independence. Judges may unite in organisations that safeguard their independence, promote development of their professional qualification, protect their rights and interests; however, the office of judge is incompatible with membership in political parties and political organisations. The judge is prohibited to go on strike.

Obligations of a Judge

  • In administering justice, a Judge shall comply exactly with the requirements of the law, shall ensure safeguarding of human rights, freedoms, dignity and respect, shall be fair and humane; 
  • A Judge has no right to disclose the secret of judges’ deliberation and classified information obtained at closed court hearings;
  • Outside court a Judge shall avoid anything that could impair the authority of court judgement and the judge’s dignity, or could give rise to doubts about his impartiality and fairness; 
  • A Judge must ensure that a ruling, which has been laid out as a single procedural document,  is processed and put in the Court Information System;
  • A judge may not participate in the adjudication of a caseif he or she is personally, directly or indirectly, interested in the outcome of the matter, or if there are other circumstances which cause doubtsregarding his or her impartiality, as well as in the cases provided for in the Law On Prevention of Conflict of Interest in Activities of Public Officials. In these cases, a judge must recuse himself or herself;
  • A Judge shall constantly expand his knowledge for the whole duration of judge’s career. To promote continuous professional growth of a Judge during the whole his or her career, the Judicial Qualification Committee provides regular assessment of professional activity of a Judge once in five years. Extracurricular assessment is performed, when deciding on transfer or substitution of a Judge.