The Supreme Court's strategy for 2017-2019 sets two priorities: the efficient and high-quality judiciary and the strengthening of the authority of the Supreme Court. These tasks are practically ‘eternal’ – it is the essence of the Supreme Court to strengthen the democratic legal system by ensuring a fair trial. A fair court is a fair judgment and adjudication of case within reasonable period of time. This was a leitmotif for the conference of the Supreme Court "Efficiency of Cassation Proceedings: Problems and Solutions" on September 18.

The participants of the conference were addressed by Gvido Zemribo, the first Chair of the restored Supreme Court of Latvia, who recalled the grounds for the creation of the Law "On Judicial Power" and the aims of restoration of the cassation instance.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Ivars Bickovics, pointed out that efficient work is expected from most of the courts. However, the work efficiency of the Supreme Court cannot be measured only by time-limits necessary for adjudication of cases. The argumentation and motivation of the decisions of the Supreme Court are essential, and the judges need time for that. The aim of effectivization of the work of the cassation instance is not only to reduce the length of the proceedings, but also to reduce the workload of the judges.

By hearing out the foreign experts – Máthyás Bencze, the researcher at the Institute of Law at the Centre for Social Sciences at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, associate Professor of the University of Debrecen (Hungary), and Sigita Rudenaitė, Chair of the Department of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the role and tasks of the cassation instance as well as the argumentation of decisions of the cassation instance were discussed during the conference.

Kristine Lice, a representative of Latvia in international human rights institutions, discussed the theses of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights which are important tool in the work of the cassation court, also pointing out possible problems in protection of rights and the functioning of the courts in Latvia.

A separate section of the conference was devoted to analysis of argumentation of the rulings of the cassation instance by the lecturer of the University of Latvia, Janis Pleps. The presentation was supplemented by judges' opinions on the argumentation of rulings of the Senate of Latvia in the 30s of the last century and collegial deliberations on rulings of different departments.

During the last session of the conference the discussion about the essence of the cassation instance and possible solutions for improving its operation and efficiency continued.

Information heard and addressed at the conference will encourage reflection on enriching daily work applying valuable knowledge.

The conference was organized in cooperation with the Court Administration in the framework of the ESF project "Justice for Development" (No.3.4.1.0/16/I/001) in order to strengthen the efficiency of the cassation instance by improving business environment: enhancing the competencies of the Supreme Court staff, streamlining procedural regulation.

 

Information prepared by
Anita Zikmane, Head of the Division of Case-law and Research