Chief Justice of the Supreme Court weighs achievements and disappointments during his term in the office
14 March, 2008
In his report in the annual Plenary Session which was held on March 14, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans analyzed not only the previous year of 2007, but also the achievements and disappointments of the Supreme Court during his second term in the office which expires this June.
A. Gulans thanked his colleagues for cooperation and admitted that he was proud and glad for the possibility to work in this position together with them. The fourteen years in the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court were for him an interesting challenge as it was the time of changes in the life of the country and the court system.
The establishment of the Department of Administrative Cases in 2004 was acknowledged by A. Gulans as the first significant accomplishment. The Department of Civil Cases and the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate were established already in 1995 by transforming the Supreme Court existing at that time, but the Department of Administrative Cases was created completely anew. A. Gulans considers that to a great extent due to the efforts of the first chief of the Department it has a highly professional collective of senators and organization of work, and one of the most valuable examples of this Department is the establishment of service of professional assistants to the senators and the skill to use it efficiently.
The second achievement – the establishment of the Division of Case-law the functions of which are to develop a uniform court practice and database of case law. A. Gulans is satisfied that the work on case law develops in the Supreme Court and “picks up speed”.
The establishment of the Supreme Court Administration in 2005 is the third greatest achievement in the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. A. Gulans admits that while transforming the model of management of the court, there were also disappointments and unpopular decisions, however, it was worth it because the Supreme Court has become a modern, open, independent state institution with good administration. The Chief Justice admitted that probably the interior information and clarification of the necessary decisions was not always sufficient, and it rather frequently caused perplexity regarding the changes. Disappointment about the lack of understanding and even negative attitude towards goals and work of the Administration were felt also in the address of the Head of the Administration Anita Kehre in the Plenary Session where she announced that she leaves the position at the end of the term of office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court noted with satisfaction the completion of the process of rehabilitation of persons having been subject to illegal retaliation, the worked out strategy of the Supreme Court for 2007 – 2010, international cooperation and alignment with the European court system, as well as the establishment of a new structural unit – the Division of Complaints.
The worst moments, in the opinion of A. Gulans, were the events when he announced publicly that the sanction to tap the telephone calls of the reporter Ilze Jaunalksne was issued by the Supreme Court judge Marija Goldsmite. Another one was the telephone conversations of the judges published in the book “Litigation as cuisine”. His position in both cases was not understood and was criticized by many colleagues. However, his goal was not to please, the Chief Justice acted with conviction, and it has always been significant for him to think about the image and prestige of the Supreme Court. A. Gulans considers that it is important that the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court also sees to it.
The term of office of A. Gulans in the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court expires this June. A Plenary Session will be convened already in May when the Supreme Court judges will nominate their candidate to the position of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Afterwards, the candidate nominated by the Plenary Session of the Supreme Court is confirmed by the Saeima (Parliament).
Information prepared by Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
Author: Rasma Zvejniece, Manager of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court
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