The Judicial Council, when discussing the draft of the new Immigration Law considered at the meeting of State Secretaries, expressed a negative attitude that the decisions of the Minister of the Interior on listing foreigners banned from entering the Republic of Latvia due to national security or public order and security and on forceful expulsion of a person from the country should be appealed to the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court. The Judicial Council considers that these decisions have to be appealed to the Regional Administrative Court.

The Senate of the Supreme Court is a cassation instance and does not adjudicate the case on the merits. In certain cases, it may be established that the court of first instance is not a district court for particular proceedings, but this requires appropriate justification. In this case, such a justification is not sufficient. There is no reason to believe that the quality of adjudication of cases by judges of the Regional Court is poorer than the quality of adjudication by the judges of the Supreme Court. This approach undermines trust in courts and judges, as well as in the judiciary as a whole. Furthermore, in creating a clear and comprehensible model of the judicial system, it is not acceptable that both the Administrative Regional Court and the Supreme Court, which are courts of different levels, hear the same cases as an appellate body.

In addition, with recent amendments to a number of laws, such as the Law “On Official Secret”, the Regional Administrative Court has already been entrusted with examining cases of several categories related to national security issues. From the point of view of security standards, the premises of the Regional Administrative Court are adapted to handle such cases.

The Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate has pointed out that the argument of the Ministry of the Interior and the State Security Service that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or his specially authorized judges of the Supreme Court sanction operational measures does not mean that the Supreme Court must examine administrative cases uncharacteristic of the cassation instance. Authorization of operational measures is a matter of other areas of law and the content of their examination is not comparable to the circumstances to be clarified and verified in an administrative case.

The opinion of the Judicial Council will be sent to the Cabinet of Ministers.

 

 

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