On September 10, judge Aigars Strupiss was appointed as chair of the Department of Civil Cases at the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court. According to the Law "On Judicial Power", the chairs of departments are appointed by the General Meeting of Judges for a term of five years.

Judge Edite Vernusa, who had been the chair of the Department of Civil Cases since June 15, 2015, had requested to be released from her office before the expiration of the statutory term of office.

The vote for Aigars Strupiss as chair of the Department of Civil Cases was almost unanimous: 23 out of 24 Supreme Court judges voted in favour of Mr Strupiss, one abstained.

Giving a vision on the work done and future work of the Department of Civil Cases, Aigars Strupiss estimated that the Department has duly fulfilled its function as the last ‘bastion’ of the justice, which is evidenced by the recent issue of insolvency proceedings. Furthermore, in recent years, it has been possible to significantly reduce the backlog of cases and speed up the handling of cases at assignment sittings. The new chair admitted that there would be no revolution in the Department, there would be stable, thoughtful, efficiency-oriented development.

Aigars Strupiss pointed out that the courts are in a situation that is quite different from the situation 5-10 years ago – it is not only the quantity of work done what is important, but also its quality and communication with the public. The Department of Civil Cases, in the way it has been operating up till now, has practically reached the quantitative ceiling. Therefore, Aigars Strupiss considers that it is necessary to change the format, it is required to implement and develop such methods that would allow to perform the main function of the cassation court more efficiently – to ensure uniform application of legal provisions in all Latvian courts.

In order to achieve this goal, efforts will be made to improve the efficiency of meetings of the Department; optimal forms of cooperation and exchange of information with lower courts will be looked for; the Department's legal research counsels and the Division of Case-law and Research are more actively involved in solving topical issues; cooperation with legal scholars has been promoted. Furthermore, the Chair of the Department considers it necessary to look for internal reserves to shorten the duration of cassation proceedings, as well as to cooperate with the advocacy to improve the quality of cassation. He also considers it necessary to deal with the issues of security and well-being of human resources in cooperation with the chairs of other departments, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Council for the Judiciary.

At the conclusion of his speech, Aigars Strupiss commented on the publicly disclosed information on the internet portal Delfi about the possible conflict of interests with politician Aldis Gobzems.

The Plenary Session appointed Aigars Strupiss also as a member of the Council for the Judiciary, as the term of office of former member Inara Garda had expired as defined in the law “On Judicial Power”. According to the law “On Judicial Power”, six judges are elected at the Judicial Conference, and one judge at the Supreme Court Plenary Session from among the judges of the Supreme Court.

The candidate nominated by the Department of Civil Cases was the only candidate for this office and was elected almost unanimously – 22 participants approved and 2 abstained.

Aigars Strupiss has been a judge of the Supreme Court since 2014. Until then, he had acquired more than 20 years of experience in academic and research work in the field of justice and practical law, as well as in drafting legislative acts as an independent expert.

 

Information prepared by
Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court
E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 2865221