Allocution of Ivars Bickovics, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, at ceremony dedicated to the 90th anniversary of Latvian advocacy

The 17th of March, 2011

Today, greeting you on the 90th anniversary of Latvian advocacy, I would like to point out not only role of an advocate in provision and protection of fundamental human rights guaranteed by the Satversme (the Constitution), of each individual, but, turning to history, to remind of essential role and performance of advocates in creation and development of court system of the new independent Latvian State.

The next day after proclamation of Latvian State, on the 19th November, 1918, the Prime Minister asked Peteris Jurasevskis, the sworn advocate, to be the Minister of Justice, and Eduards Strautnieks, the sworn advocate, to be his deputy. Their first task was to develop the Law on Latvian Judiciary and to create Latvian court system, inter alia, Latvian Senate and the Court Chamber.

Looking back to creation of Latvian courts, Eduards Strautnieks wrote in his memoires: “In first days of formation of Latvia, there was not a single judge among Latvians, and judges were chosen among advocates. I can state with satisfaction that Latvian advocates with the greatest selflessness and self-devotion undertook hard judicial duties, not even asking what reward and post would be given to each of them”.

First senators of Latvian Senate - Kristaps Valters, Mikelis Gobins, Karlis Ozolins, Janis Graudins, Augusts Lebers and Voldemars Zamuels– were sworn advocates.Supporting new state was important decision for these people not only in term of material welfare; it was politically brave step as well. Also in later years of independent LatvianState, most of senators of Latvian Senate came from among sworn advocates.

Today, we – judges, prosecutors, advocates, notaries and bailiffs – have different tasks and functions within court system, but we have united target and task that has remained unchangeable since foundation of Latvian State, when Karlis Ulmanis, the Prime Minister, summoned to create state, which would be “the state of justice and law, where there will be no place neither for repression, nor for injustice”.

On behalf of the Supreme Court, greeting community of Latvian sworn advocates in historical anniversary, I wish you to remember promises given in advocate’s oath and to hold your vocational honour high always. Respecting one’s and colleagues’ work, we will form positive sense and evaluation of court system in general in society.