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Last update: 05-12-2008
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Applicable law - Latvia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Sources of law I.
I.1. National legislation I.1.
I.2. Multilateral conventions I.2.
I.3. Bilateral conventions I.3.
II. Application of conflict-of-law rules II.
II.1. Official application of conflict-of-law rules II.1.
III. Conflict-of-law rules III.
III.1. Legal personality III.1.
III.2. Paternity, kinship between parents and children, and adoption III.2.
III.3. Marriage, partnership, divorce III.3.
III.4. Ownership of spousal property III.4.
III.5. Inheritance III.5.
III.6. Proprietary rights III.6.
III.7. Insolvency III.7.

 

I. Sources of law

I.1. National legislation

The hierarchy of legislation is organised according to the legal force of its norms. The legal force of legislation issued by an institution may vary depending on the procedure employed in doing so. Legal force determines whether the norms contained within a piece of legislation prevail over lower norms or are subordinate to higher norms.

Latvian legislation is subject to the following hierarchy:

  1. the Constitution (Satversme) of the Republic of Latvia;
  2. laws adopted by Parliament (the Saeima ), international legal norms ratified by it and laws on the approval of international agreements;
  3. Cabinet Regulations effective as Acts;
  4. Cabinet Regulations and international legal norms approved by the Cabinet;
  5. compulsory local authority regulations.

I.2. Multilateral conventions

  • 1980 Rome Convention on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations;
  • The Hague Convention of 1 March 1954 relating to Civil Procedure;
  • The Hague Convention of 15 November 1965 on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters;
  • The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters;
  • The Hague Convention of 18 March 1970 on international access to justice.

I.3. Bilateral conventions

  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Russian Federation on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Belarus on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Uzbekistan on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, Labour and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Kyrgyz Republic on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Moldova on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and Ukraine on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, Labour and Criminal Matters;
  • Agreement on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations between the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Lithuania;
  • Agreement between the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Poland on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil, Family, Labour and Criminal Matters.

II. Application of conflict-of-law rules

II.1. Official application of conflict-of-law rules

Where Latvian law permits the application of the law of a foreign State, the substance thereof is determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Act on Civil Procedures. Where this is not possible, it is presumed that the legal system in the relevant foreign State, in the area of law under consideration, conforms to the Latvian legal system in the same area. Where in accordance with the Civil Code the law of a foreign State must be applied, but this law in turn stipulates that Latvian law is applicable, then Latvian law must be applied.

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The law of a foreign State is not applicable in Latvia if it is in conflict with the social model or moral ideals of Latvia, or mandatory or prohibitive norms of Latvian law.

III. Conflict-of-law rules

III.1. Legal personality

A natural person's legal capacity and capacity to act is determined in accordance with the law of their place of residence. If a person has a number of places of residence and one of these is Latvia, then this person’s legal capacity and capacity to act, as well as the consequences of his or her legal acts, are adjudicated upon in accordance with Latvian law.

Foreign nationals who do not have the capacity to act, but who could be acknowledged as having such capacity pursuant to Latvian law, are bound by their legal acts performed in Latvia where this is required in the interests of administering justice.

A legal person's legal capacity and capacity to act is determined pursuant to the law of the place where its board of directors is located.

The provisions of Latvian laws restricting the legal capacity or capacity to act of foreign nationals in Latvia are not affected.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.2. Paternity, kinship between parents and children, and adoption

Legal relations pertaining to a child's paternity and contestation of the same are adjudicated upon in accordance with Latvian law if at the time of the child’s birth the place of residence of the child’s mother was in Latvia.

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Latvian law is also applicable where a dispute over a child’s paternity arises in Latvia.

Where a child's assigned place of residence is in Latvia, legal relations between parents and the child are subject to Latvian law.

Guardianship and trusteeship are established in accordance with Latvian law, if the place of residence of the persons subject to guardianship or trusteeship is in Latvia. If the property of these persons is located in Latvia, they are subject to Latvian law in respect of this property, even if they do not have a place of residence in Latvia.

The adoption of the child of a spouse is approved in accordance with Latvian law if the place of residence of the adoptee is in Latvia.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.3. Marriage, partnership, divorce

If a marriage is entered into in Latvia the right to marry, the formalities of entering into marriage and the effect of marriage are determined in accordance with Latvian law.

Similarly, the right of a Latvian citizen to marry in a foreign State is determined in accordance with Latvian law. In such cases the law of the State where the marriage is entered into shall determine the formalities of entering into marriage.

Dissolution and annulment of marriage, if done in a Latvian court, shall be adjudicated upon in accordance with Latvian law irrespective of the nationality of the spouses. In this respect, an exception may be allowed from the provision that any relations under civil law shall be adjudicated upon in accordance with the law in force at the time when such relations are created, altered or terminated.

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The relations of spouses before they become subject to Latvian law may also be adjudicated upon in accordance with Latvian law. Previously acquired rights shall not be affected.

A dissolution or annulment of marriage involving Latvian citizens done in a foreign State is also recognised in Latvia, except where the grounds submitted as the basis for the dissolution or annulment are not consistent with Latvian law or are in conflict with the social model or moral ideals of Latvia.

Ther personal and property relations of spouses are determined in accordance with Latvian law. If the property of the spouses is located in Latvia they are subject to Latvian law in respect of this property even if they do not have a place of residence in Latvia.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.4. Ownership of spousal property

The personal and property relations of spouses are determined in accordance with Latvian law. If the property of the spouses is located in Latvia they are subject to Latvian law in respect of this property even if they do not have a place of residence in Latvia.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.5. Inheritance

Inheritance rights regarding an inheritance located in Latvia shall be considered in accordance with Latvian law.

Distribution of an inheritance in a foreign State is allowed only after lawful claims against the inheritance of persons whose place of residence is in Latvia have been satisfied.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.6. Proprietary rights

Property rights, including possession, are determined in accordance with the law of the place where the property is located.

If there is a change in the location of movable property, third persons' property rights, acquired pursuant to the laws of the place where the movable property was previously located, are not affected.

The consequences of the elapse of prescriptive periods or periods of limitation with regard to property rights are adjudicated upon in accordance with the law of the place where the property is located when the period elapses.

In terms of form and substance, the acquisition, alteration and termination of property rights, if related to immovable property located in Latvia, and obligation rights arising from legal transactions on the basis of which such property rights may be acquired, altered or terminated, are determined solely in accordance with Latvian law, regardless of who performed the relevant legal transactions and where this was done. Conflicting provisions and forms contained in such legal transactions are not in force in Latvia.

The aforementioned provisions are applicable insofar as it is not provided otherwise in international legislation binding on the Republic of Latvia.

III.7. Insolvency

(Please consult the page dealing with insolvency).

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Last update: 05-12-2008

 
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