The Senate recognizes the right of a US citizen arising from an international agreement to claim the granting of a Latvian state old-age pension for the insurance period accumulated in Latvia
23 December, 2020
On December 23, the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate revoked the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court rejecting the claim for granting an old-age pension to an applicant who resides in the United States and has US citizenship and insurance experience in Latvia. The Senate acknowledged that the court should re-evaluate the circumstances of the case and the Agreement of November 5, 1992 between the Government of the Republic of Latvia and the Government of the United States of America on Mutual Payment of Pensions (hereinafter – the Bilateral Agreement). The case has been remitted to the Regional Administrative Court.
Having examined the applicant's cassation appeal against the judgment of the Regional Administrative Court, the Senate acknowledged that when deciding on a claim to issue a favourable administrative act in the field of social rights, the court must assess for reasons of procedural economy circumstances which did not exist at the time the institution decided to issue an administrative act. In the present case, the Senate concluded that the appellate court had not taken into account the fact that the applicant had applied for granting an old-age pension from a certain date, namely from the moment when the precondition stated in legal provision for granting the requested benefit occurs.
The Senate also acknowledged that what is provided for in the Bilateral Agreement is relevant in the present case. The Senate concluded that by concluding the Bilateral Agreement, Latvia has accepted the procedure for granting a pension to US citizens as established in the United States, namely providing that those who qualify for an old-age pension can claim it regardless of their place of residence. Having assessed the binding force of the Agreement, the Senate acknowledged that the legal regulation, which was established during the restoration of Latvia's independence in relation to those international agreements concluded in the field of social security, is an exception, namely that the provisions of international agreements in the field of social security regardless of the type of agreement takes precedence over the regulation of national law. At the same time, the Senate acknowledged that even regardless of the state's obligation to fulfil its obligations under an international agreement in good faith, such obligation is provided by the principle pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept), which is based on "good faith" as a legal principle in itself.
Case No SKA-109/2020; A420132016
Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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