In the 16th issue of the Supreme Court Bulletin, a public report is published on the work of the Supreme Court in 2017, which in the history of the Latvian judicial system was the year when the Supreme Court began to work only as a cassation instance. Public report includes the characterization of the Supreme Court, changes and topicalities, statistics and the review and findings of the past year of the heads of departments of the Supreme Court departments and other structural units.

A broad review of the past year is also provided in the section on case-law: the Bulletin includes an overview of judgments and decisions included in the Compilation of rulings of the Supreme Court of 2017, an overview on rulings published on the website of the Supreme Court, an overview of case-law summaries, as well as more detailed analysis of cases in which the Supreme Court has referred a preliminary question to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as well as of those cases in which the Supreme Court has applied to the Constitutional Court. An overview of the separate opinions of judges of the Department of Civil Cases has also been prepared.

The second important issue viewed in the Bulletin is the independence of the judge. The materials of the Latvian Judges’ Conference of November 3 are published, during which it was looked for an explanation of the fact that the self-assessment of independence of Latvian judges among the European countries is the lowest. A keynote speaker was judge of the European Court of Justice Egils Levits. He attributes independence of the judge to the great power placed in the hands of the judge and an in correct and responsible application of such power a significant role is played by both a moral maturity of a judge as a person and professional competence. Also, the Chair of the Council for the Judiciary Ivars Bickovics points out that the central axis of the concept of judge's independence is the judge himself as a person. The various aspects of the independence of the judge have been addressed both by the legislator and the executive power, as well as media representatives, and the heads of the judiciary's self-governing bodies and courts. A psychologist, anthropologist and a basketball judge give a more atypical view of independence in decision-making. Such a versatile examination of the issue of independence of a judge seems to be carried out for the first time.

Also, the section containing legal opinions is rich in knowledge. Ivars Bickovics explains the role of the Council for the Judiciary and reflects on the need for a judicial system. Chair of the Department of Administrative Cases Veronika Krumina compares judicial communication with the Wild West and talks about normativity and law-abidingness. Judge Aigars Strupiss gives interesting insights on artificial intelligence, while judge Dace Mita shares experience regarding the court communication strategy of Latvia at the opening of the working year of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Bulletin also provides a comprehensive overview of the experience gained by the Supreme Court judges and employees during business trips, as well as other relevant information from the Supreme Court and Council for the Judiciary.

The "Supreme Court Bulletin" is issued twice a year. It is received by the Latvian courts and other judicial institutions, libraries and law faculties of higher education institutions. The 16th issue of the Bulletin is still being printed, but electronically it is already available on the court website.

Supreme Court Bulletin No 16

 

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 28652211