The fundamental function of the Supreme Court is to administer justice and to develop case-law. However, the Supreme Court set informing and educating of society as its supplementary function, and lawyers and students of law have been one of the most importance audiences for work of the Court. To learn what would be useful to these audiences in cooperation with the Supreme Court, and how to use opportunities offered by the Supreme Court in more effective way, survey among lawyers and students of law was carried out.  

Survey among lawyers

413 respondents – judges and employees of courts of lower instances, prosecutors, advocates, lawyers working in public administration and other institutions – participated in the lawyers’ survey. Majority of respondents think that there were positive changes in work of the Supreme Court in last five years. Changes concerned administering of justice, development of case-law, informing and educating of society.

88% of respondents recognised that information about the Supreme Court is sufficient to them as to lawyers, and 74% admitted that information on cases being examined by the Supreme Court and results of examination thereof is also sufficient.  It would be necessary to provide more information on opportunity to participate in conferences organised by the Supreme Court, as large part of respondents did not know of it.

The web site of the Supreme Court is used mostly to acquire information. In most cases, case-law rulings and compilations of court decisions are sought for. 88% of lawyers surveyed usually find necessary information on the web site easily. Last year, indices of search of case-law rulings of several types were developed – thus, procedure of searching for case-law became easier for 77% of respondents. However, the problem pointed out by 46% of respondents is that number of available rulings is insufficient, so that not only rulings of case-law importance, but also those, to which reference is made, should be published. 85% of surveyed lawyers think that compilations of case-law prepared by the Supreme Court refer to topical problematic issues; the majority of respondents are satisfied with quality of services provided. In the survey, everyone had an opportunity to point out subject, which, in his or her opinion, would be topical for research of case-law. Both this information and recommendations provided by lawyers regarding improvement of work of the Supreme Court will be analysed and observed, when planning work of the court for next years. 

Survey among students of law

322 respondents – students of law from the University of Latvia, Rezekne High School, business high school “Turiba”, Riga Stradins University, and other higher educational institutions, in turn, participated in survey carried out among students.

Almost all surveyed students have used rulings and compilations of court decisions of the Supreme Court in their study process, and more than third of them visited the Supreme Court during the Days of First-year Students. Many students also used statistics and other materials provided by the court. 97% of respondents admitted that their communication with the Supreme Court was successful. Participants of Days of First-year Students pointed out meeting with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the most valuable experience.

Students, in general, name positive things in relation to the Supreme Court – professionalism, high competence, justice, effective operation, availability of information, motivated rulings, case-law, etc. Long proceedings, unavailability of all rulings of the Internet, necessity to apply in advance, when visiting the court hearing as listener, and limited number of opportunities for traineeship were mentioned as negative issues. When responding to question on authorities among judges, students mainly named judges, who work also as lecturers – Jautrite Briede, Janis Neimanis and former judge Kalvis Torgans.

Respondents also provided numerous valuable recommendations, which will be analysed and observed, when improving cooperation of the Supreme Court with students of law.

The Supreme Court thanks all lawyers and students, who participated in the survey and provided their recommendation so that the Supreme Court could improve professional cooperation with these audiences.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 67020396, 28652211