An independent judicial authority exists in the Republic of Latvia alongside legislative and executive authority.
In the three-instance court system of Latvia, the Supreme Court or the Senate is the third, or the highest-level court, which adjudicates cases at the cassation instance.
The basis of Supreme Court authority is laid down in the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia. Articles included in Chapter 6 of the Constitution entitled “Courts” state that in Latvia, court cases shall be heard by district (city) courts, regional courts, and the Supreme Court; judges shall be independent and subject only to the law; judges shall be confirmed in the office by the Saeima (parliament) and they shall be irremovable.
The establishment, structure and competence of the Supreme Court is set out in the law “On Judicial Power”. The Law stipulates that the Supreme Court may also be called the Senate, which is a historical name of the cassation instance in Latvia.
The Supreme Court (Senate) includes three departments – the Department of Civil Cases, the Department of Criminal Cases, and the Department of Administrative Cases.
The procedural laws – the Civil Procedure Law, the Criminal Procedure Law and the Administrative Procedure Law – define the procedure for hearing cases under the cassation procedure.
Administratively, the Supreme Court is not related to district (city) or regional courts. The President of the Supreme Court and other judges of the Supreme Court may not control or instruct judges of lower instance courts about hearing particular cases, or on organisational matters. The link between courts at all levels is manifested only procedurally by examining appealed or disputed rulings by courts of lower instance, as well as by developing uniform case law.
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