Having examined the request of a judge of Vidzeme District Court to establish the jurisdiction of a case, it was explained at the meeting of the chairs of the Senate Departments that the Prison Administration's claim against a prisoner for recovery of expenses related to the medical examination performed to determine the effects of intoxicating substances is not subject to civil procedure. The institution must issue an administrative act obliging the prisoner to cover the costs of the medical examination.

The prisoner in the case was sent for a medical examination to check whether he had violated the requirements of the penitentiary regime, which is the basis for imposing a disciplinary sanction. As a result of the examination, the effect of the relevant substances was confirmed, therefore the prisoner was issued an invoice for the medical examination. The prisoner did not make the payment voluntarily. Valmiera Prison filed a claim to a district court against the prisoner for the recovery of damages.

The judge of Vidzeme District Court had doubts about the jurisdiction of the case, therefore she addressed the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, asking to decide according to which procedure the issue of recovery of expenses related to medical examination to determine the effect of intoxicants should be decided. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court convened a meeting of the chairs of the Senate Departments to decide the issue.

The decision adopted at the meeting explains that the imposition of a disciplinary sanction on a prisoner takes place according to the administrative procedure and the referral of a prisoner to a medical examination in accordance with the Procedure for Detecting the Influence of Toxic Substances is aimed at issuing an administrative act on disciplinary punishment of the prisoner and is an integral part of this procedure.

The Procedure for Detecting the Influence of Toxic Substances does not provide for the institution to recover costs from the prisoner if he does not voluntarily cover them, i.e., whether the institution recovers costs in civil proceedings or the institution issues an administrative act ordering reimbursement of medical examination. Thus, in the present case, the nature of the legal relationship is crucial – the institution and the person specifically subordinate to it, as well as the fact that the medical examination takes place in the process of issuing an administrative act.

The Procedure for Detecting the Influence of Toxic Substances does not stipulate that the institution should take a decision (issue an administrative act) on the obligation to reimburse the expenses related to the medical examination. However, according to this procedure, there is an obligation to reimburse them. Consequently, it is recognized that the institution has to issue an administrative act, which obliges the prisoner to cover the costs of the medical examination. If a prisoner does not voluntarily perform the obligation imposed by an administrative act, the administrative act shall be enforced in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedure Law.

 

Information prepared by

Rasma Zvejniece, the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: +371 67020396, +371 28652211