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Basis of authority and functions

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 (the 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 procedural laws – Civil Procedure LawCriminal Procedure Law and 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 Chief Justice 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 manifest only procedurally by examining appealed or disputed rulings by courts of lower instance, as well as by developing uniform case law.


Basic functions of the Supreme Court are:

  •    Administration of justice at cassation instance

  •    Review of cases in the Disciplinary Court

  •    Creation of uniform case-law and development of legal thought


Additional functions of the Supreme Court are:

  •    Ensuring the operation of the Judicial Council

  •    Approving special investigational activities  and the requests for disclosing confidential information at the disposal of credit institutions


More about the Supreme Court:

  •    See a short film about the Supreme Court here

  •    A book about the Supreme Court is available here