“This year’s priority of the Supreme Court is reducing the time limits for reviewing cases by using internal resources and ensuring effective work organization in departments,” Chief Justice Ivars Bickovics pointed out at the Annual Report Plenary Session on 22 February.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court emphasized that this should not imply more intensive work of senators, but rather a review of internal processes, efficient use of senators' support staff, and flexible distribution of human resources within the Court. The Chief Justice referred to the positive experience of the Department of Civil Cases when, by reviewing the internal work organization, it was attained that the case in the assignment hearing is considered within three months from the date of receipt and it is clear to party whether his/her case would be heard in the cassation instance or not.

The Chief Justice also drew attention to cases that have been subject to proceedings in the Supreme Court for a long time – for more than three years. “There are nine such cases, and their completion must be the priority of departments,” said the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, calling for determination of a maximum time limit for adjudicating cases before the Supreme Court.

The reallocation of posts among departments is also one of the solutions for making the circulation of cases more efficient. For this purpose, the post of one judge is temporarily transferred from the Department of Civil Cases to the Department of Administrative Cases. This year, several senators will terminate their office, and then there will be an opportunity to decide on the redistribution of vacancies between departments.

“In the first and second instance, the time limits for hearing cases are gradually reduced. The number of cases received by the Supreme Court last year has also decreased. This gives hope that the Supreme Court, while maximizing the efficiency of the work, will reduce the time limits for adjudication of cases,” emphasized Ivars Bickovics.

At the same time, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court emphasized the problem, which was pointed out by chairs of departments at the Plenary Session, namely, non-quality rulings of lower courts. This creates a greater workload for the cassation instance, both in administrating the justice and in giving responses to complaints about the work of lower courts. Ivars Bickovics pointed out that the Supreme Court can help in solving this problem by explaining its rulings and popularizing the case-law findings of the Senate, as well as by participating in the training of judges of lower courts.

Looking back over the past year, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court noted that the Supreme Court had lived in the centenary year of the Senate, which had given a positive charge for further work and increased public awareness of the cassation court. The year was also significant regarding the return of the historic name of the Senate to the Supreme Court and the increased role of the meeting of judges of departments in the appointment of new senators.

Ivars Bickovics encouraged senators to continue to honour the Senate and expressed faith that every senator would understand their role in strengthening the rule of law in Latvia and the responsibility in promoting public confidence in judiciary and professionalism of courts

On 22 February, the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court was held, in which the work of the Supreme Court in 2018 was evaluated and the priorities for the year 2019 were determined.

 

 

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