The Department of Administrative Cases

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The competence of the Department

The Department of Administrative Cases reviews:

  • Cassation complaints against judgements and additional judgements of the Administrative regional court;
  • In cases stated in the Law – also cassation complaints against judgements and additional judgements of the Administrative district court (e.g., in relation to cases regulated by the Law On Meetings, Processions and Pickets or Public Procurement Law)
  • Ancillary complaints against decisions of Administrative regional court;
  • Ancillary complaints on decisions of the Administrative district court in cases established in Sections 191 (3) and 283 (2) of the Administrative Procedure Law (on the decision to refuse to accept the application or terminate proceedings on the ground that a case shall not be examined under administrative procedure, or the application is submitted by the person who is not entitled to submit an application, or the application is submitted for recognition of the administrative act unlawful, or procedural infringement has occurred during the issuance process of the administrative act, but it does not comply with prerequisites stipulated  in the Section 184 (2) of the Law), and in the cases provided in the Section 317 (4) of the Law (in cases when the Administrative district court judgment is subject to appeal in cassation at the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court);
  • Applications for interception or resumption of operation of administrative act, as well as application of temporary regulation;
  • Applications on newly discovered circumstances, if they refer to ruling of the Supreme Court.

At the same time, special law standards of other laws determine particular categories of cases in which the Department of Administrative Cases hears a case as the court of the first (and the only) instance:

  • In cases related to the Saeima (Parliament) elections, reviewing applications on the decisions of the Central Elections Commission which have been adopted on disputed minutes on counting of votes of the circuit commissions, on confirmation of results of the Saeima elections, and on the decisions adopted after evaluation of the influence of a judgement of conviction adopted in a criminal case on violation of voting rights to division of mandates;
  • Reviewing application on decisions of the Minister of Interior on entering foreigners in the list of the persons who are prohibited to enter the Republic of Latvia.

Submission of cassation complaint

Party to administrative proceedings may appeal against judgement and additional judgement adopted by the appellate court (or in cases prescribed by law - the first instance court) in cassation proceedings, if a court violated standards of material or procedural law or, when hearing a case, it has gone beyond its authority and such infringement has resulted, or could have resulted in misjudged case. Cassation complaint may be submitted in one month since the day of composition of a judgement.

Cassation complaint is to be lodged with the court, which delivered a judgement. If a cassation complaint is submitted timely to the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court directly, the term is not considered to be overdue. The Department of Administrative Cases decides on admissibility, advancement and recovery of overdue procedural term.

If a cassation complaint contains extensive reasoning, the judge may ask the complainant to submit its summary.

If a cassation complaint has been accepted, the Department of Administrative Cases sends copies of cassation complaints to participants of administrative proceedings and informs them that they have right to submit to the department their explanations on cassation complaints. Explanations are to be submitted in one-month period.

Co-applicant and a third person who participates in the proceedings on the side of the party, who has submitted a cassation complaint, may join the cassation complaint. The Department of Administrative cases shall be informed in written form within a period of one month from date of sending the copy of cassation complaint about the fact of joining the cassation complaint.

Party to administrative proceedings may submit a counter-complaint within period of month from the date of sending copy of cassation complaint.

The applicant may revoke his/her cassation complaint before review of the case on the merits is terminated.

Assignments sitting

The issue on initiation of cassation proceedings is decided by the panel of three judges of the department in an assignments sitting. By an unanimous decision of the assignments sitting, the initiation of cassation proceedings may be declined in the following cases:

  • If requirements to content of submission of a cassation complaint established in the law are not observed;
  • If the case-law of the Department of Administrative Cases already has similar cases, and the appealed judgment corresponds to this case-law;
  • If there are no doubts about lawfulness of judgment reversed, and the case to be reviewed has not significance in the development of case-law.

Along with the decision on declining initiation of the cassation proceedings, judgment reversed comes into force.

By decision adopted in assignment sitting, the case may be transferred for being reviewed in general meeting of the department.

Panel of judges of the department, pursuant to requests of participants of proceedings, may reprieve execution of judgment, as well as in cases established in the law, it may decide on reprieve of proceedings.

In the assignment sitting, judges’ panel may also decide on issue related to refusal to accept ancillary complaint submitted and other procedural issues, as well as to adopt decision to ask the European Court of Justice a question to adopt prejudicial decision or to submit an application to the Constitutional Court about compliance of legal standards with the Satversme (the Constitution) or with international legal standard.

The judge’s panel may decide to refer the case for drawing up additional judgement to court, judgement of which has been appealed, if the court has not examined a claim.

Decision of the assignments sitting to initiate cassation proceedings, to refer a case for review in a joint meeting or to refuse to accept the law incompatible with the cassation complaint, may be made in the form of resolution.

Examination of cassation appeals

A cassation complaint is reviewed by the Department of Administrative Cases in written proceedings.

If the department considers reviewing the case in court hearing to be more useful, it may, in its opinion, to establish this case for review in oral proceedings.

The court also informs participants of proceedings about time of review of a case. When reviewing the case in written proceedings, the court informs participants of proceedings in writing about composition of the court and explains their rights to declare refusal, as well as other procedural rights and duties.

If the department considers that settlement is possible in a case, it may explain to participants of proceedings possibilities of conclusion of settlement, as well as to provide suggestions of settlement conditions. The department may explain possibility of conclusion of settlement both in written proceedings and in court hearing. A court hearing may be convened to discuss this issue only.

Having reviewed the case, the Department of Administrative Cases may adopt one of the following judgements:

  • To leave the judgement unamended, and to decline the complaint;
  • To revoke the judgement in full or in a part, and to remand the case for new review to the appellate instance or the first instance court;
  • To revoke the judgement in full or in a part and to dismiss proceedings, or to leave the application without reviewing, if circumstances, which do not allow court proceedings in the respective case, have been found.

In administrative cases announcement of the judgement takes place, by providing parties to proceedings possibility to receive copy of judgement in court chancery after it is composed. Participants of the proceedings are informed about day of announcement of the judgement (it is, the day, when the judgement is composed and when it is possible to receive its copy) in advance.

If, when reviewing a case in composition of three judges of the department, the court does not come to a single conclusion or all judges consider the case to be heard at joint meeting of the department, the court adopts decision on reviewing a case in a joint meeting.

The department shall compose a judgement in 30 days. In exceptional cases, if the department, when composing a judgement, states that longer time is necessary to compose the judgement due to complexity of a case, it determines another date of composition of a judgement in nearest two months.

The judge, who had a diverse opinion about interpretation or application of legal provision, when reviewing the case in the general meeting of the department, can express his separate opinion in writing, and it has been added to the case.

Hearing ancillary complaints

Ancillary complaints, as well as petitions for suspense and renewal of operation of the administrative act and application of temporary regulation, and applications in relation to newly discovered circumstances are reviewed by the department in written proceedings.

If the court considers that hearing is needed to decide on concrete issue in oral proceedings, it can establish reviewing of the case in hearing.

During assignments sitting a judges’ panel may decide on the refusal to accept the submitted ancillary complaint, as well as on the refusal to consider ancillary complaint if it is manifestly unfounded.

When reviewing an ancillary complaint, the department verifies the lawfulness and validity of the appealed decision and adopts one of the following decisions:

  • To leave the decision unamended, and to decline the complaint;
  • To revoke the decision in full or in a part, and to remand the case for new reviewing to the court which had adopted the decision;
  • To revoke the decision in full or in a part, and by its decision to decide the matter on the merits;
  • To amend the decision.

If there are no objective impediments to decide the issue on the merits, the department,  when examining ancillary appeal, must decide the issue on the merits by its decision.

Coming into force of the rulings

Judgements and decisions of the Department of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court are not reversible and come into force on the day of announcement (composition).