28 April, 2020
The Supreme Court, like all Latvian courts, continues its work and also in the state of emergency fully ensures the right of citizens to defend their rights and legal interests in a fair court.
Taking into account the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of March 12, 2020 on the declaration of a state of emergency to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as further amendments to the Cabinet of Ministers Order No 103 “On the declaration of a state of emergency”, courts continue to work strictly observing safety precautions and adjusting their agenda in a way that is in the public health interest.
In the state of emergency, courts examine only certain categories of cases in oral proceedings
On March 16, Ivars Bickovics, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, met with the chairs of district (city) courts and regional courts to discuss and agree on the further work of the courts in connection with the state of emergency declared in Latvia.
In order to mitigate potential risks, oral hearings scheduled during an emergency will only take place in cases involving significant infringements of rights and objective urgency (for example, in matters relating to deprivation of liberty, restriction of legal capacity, etc.).
The courts must inform the parties in due time of the adjournment of the oral hearing. When the state of emergency ends, examination of adjourned cases shall be ensured in an exceptional manner.
The Supreme Court will not receive visitors in person until May 12
Due to the declaration of the state of emergency in Latvia, in order to limit the spread of Covid-19, the Court will not receive visitors in person until May 12. The Chancery of the Court ensures the circulation of documents electronically and by post.
Documents can be submitted by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by post – Brīvības bulvāris 36, Rīga, Latvija, LV-1511, or submitted electronically on the unified state and local government services portal www.latvija.lv. Documents can also be left in the mailbox in the Court lobby.
Heads of state constitutional bodies: the existence of the state, society and everyone must be protected also during the state of emergency
On March 23, Ivars Bickovics, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, participated in a meeting of heads of state constitutional bodies convened by Egils Levits, President of Latvia, to decide on the basic principles of operation of the State in the emergency situation.
President of Latvia Egils Levits, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins, Speaker of the Saeima Inara Murniece, President of the Constitutional Court Ineta Ziemele and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics discussed how to legitimize the continuation of the state administration during the time when Saeima deputies and government members have to self-isolate for 14 days due to outbreak of Covid-19.
During the meeting a legal document was adopted stating a fundamental principle, that the existence of the State, society and every human being must be protected in all circumstances, including in emergency situations, and all state institutions, authorities and officials must organize their work to secure that purpose.
After the meeting, State President emphasized that this is the first forum of its kind in the history of Latvia, when all state officials, representing all powers of the state, come together to discuss the basic principles of how the State shall function.