Latvijas Republikas Augstākā tiesa
Date of establishment: 1918
Date of restoration: 1990
Address and e-mail of the court:
36 Brivibas boulevard
Riga, LV – 1511
Position of the Supreme Court in the national court system is
The cassation instance court
What does the court decide about:
The Departments of the Supreme Court are the cassation instance in all cases reviewed by district (city) courts and regional courts.
The principals of procedure:
Basic principles of hearing cases are defined in the law “On Judicial Power”, and in procedural laws – the Civil Procedure Law, the Criminal Procedure Law, and the Administrative Procedure Law. Depending on the type of procedure, principles of hearing may differ; for instance, one of the basic principles of civil procedure is the principle of adversarial proceedings, where the parties exercise their procedural rights adversarially, and the court decides the case depending on the evidence and arguments submitted by the parties. Administrative procedure, in turn, is based on the principle of impartial investigation, which – unlike the principle of adversarial proceedings – requires active participation of the court in clarifying the circumstances and collecting evidence. In criminal procedure, the prosecution on behalf of the state is upheld by the prosecutor, and the criminal procedure is conducted for the public good, irrespectively of the person’s, who had inflicted damage, wish, abiding by the presumption of innocence, i.e., no person can be considered guilty until proven being guilty of a crime according to the procedure stipulated by the law.
Some common basic principles exist for hearing cases within civil procedure, criminal procedure, and administrative procedure, with “the principle of all principles” being that the court ensures an individual’s right to a fair trial.
The principle of fairness. The court must hear the case fairly – in each specific case the principle of fairness must be abided by. The judgement of the court must be fair. The fair trial of a case is closely linked with a substantiated decision, conforming to the legal norms.
The principle of impartiality and neutrality. The Court, when hearing a particular case, is free from any personal opinions and prejudices against parties of the case. The court is only interested in correct application of the law.
The principle of independence. The judges are independent and subject only to law.
The principle of procedural equity. The parties in the proceedings have equal rights. The court must ensure that parties have an equal opportunity to use their procedural rights to defend their interests.
Judicial proceedings in the Supreme Court are conducted in the official language of the State. For those participants to a case, who are not fluent in the language of the proceedings, the court must ensure that they may familiarize themselves with case materials and take part in court proceedings with the help of an interpreter, as well as to address the court during the hearing in the language that the person is proficient in. This does not apply to representatives of legal entities in civil cases.
The number of justices and panels:
As from 1 January 2017, there are 36 Justices in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court consists of three departments – the Supreme Court Department of Civil Cases, the Supreme Court Department of Criminal Cases and the Supreme Court Department of Administrative Cases;
How are the justices appointed:
The candidate for the office of the judge of the Supreme Court has been advanced for approval in the office by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, on the ground of positive statement of the Judicial Qualification Committee.
The judge of the Supreme Court has been approved in the office by the Saeima (Parliament), by proposal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, for an unlimited period of time. The maximum age for serving as a judge of the Supreme Court is 70 years.