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Last update: 21-08-2007
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Service of documents - Latvia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What does the term “service of documents” mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the service of documents? 1.
2. Which documents need to be served formally? 2.
3. Who is responsible for serving a document? 3.
4. How is a document normally served in practice? 4.
5. What happens when service to the addressee in person is not possible (e.g. because they are not at home)? 5.
6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served? 6.
7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)? Can delivery of a document be considered to have taken place and to be valid (for instance, is it possible to prevent violation of legislative provisions), or do documents have to be reissued? 7.
8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much? 8.

 

1. What does the term “service of documents” mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules on the service of documents?

Service of documents refers to the way in which an addressee is informed about a written document or procedure in accordance with national legislation, providing the addressee with the opportunity to find out about the document in good time.

Specific rules exist on the service of certain written documents to ensure the procedural rights of the participants in a case and equal entitlement to take advantage of their rights. For instance, the Act on Civil Procedures lays down the rights and obligations of the parties, including their right to receive copies of judgments, decisions and other documents relating to a case.

2. Which documents need to be served formally?

A natural or legal person defending his or her infringed or contested rights brings a claim by means of a written application whereby the person notifies the court of his or her claim. This is done in the form of a claim application submitted to the office of the clerk of court or sent to the court by post.

The Act on Civil Procedures also imposes an obligation on the courts to provide for the service of documents on case participants by the following means:

  1. serving court summons on the parties;
  2. sending copies of claim applications and attached documents to the opposing parties in a case, and upon receipt of the defendant's response forwarding copies of this response to the plaintiff and third parties;
  3. submitting or sending of copies of court decisions to parties to the case;
  4. issuing enforcement orders and forwarding enforcement orders to bailiffs where assets to be recovered are payable into the State budget.

3. Who is responsible for serving a document?

In general documents are served by the courts. However, in individual cases specified under legislation and with the judge's approval a court summons can be received by a party to the case for transmission to another person being invited or summoned to participate in the case. In such cases the person being invited or summoned must provide a signature to certify receipt of the summons and the signed part of the summons must be returned to the court.

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Where the person serving the summons finds that the addressee is not present at their home address the summons is given to another adult family member living in the same household. Where the person serving the summons finds that the addressee is not present at their place of work the summons is given to an administrator at the workplace for transmission to the addressee. In the above cases the person receiving the summons must provide their first and last names and their relationship to the addressee or their position at the workplace on the part of the summons intended for the recipient's signature and must pass the summons on to the addressee at the earliest opportunity.

Where a summons has been sent in accordance with procedures it is considered that the person being invited or summoned has been notified about the time and place of the hearing, except where the addressee is not present at their home address and their whereabouts is unknown. In such a case the person delivering the summons records the circumstances on the part of the summons intended for the recipient's signature, together with a statement setting out where the addressee has gone and when he or she is expected to return if it has been possible to ascertain this information (Section 56 of the Act on Civil Procedures).

4. How is a document normally served in practice?

The most common means of serving a document is by post or directly to a person participating in a trial (in the case of court rulings, summons, other court documents) whereby the addressee signs a case notification form to certify receipt of the document. Latvia's legislation also provides for the possibility of delivering summons by telegram, telephone message, facsimile or courier.

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5. What happens when service to the addressee in person is not possible (e.g. because they are not at home)?

Where the person serving the summons finds that the addressee is not present at their home address the summons is given to another adult family member living in the same household. Where the person serving the summons finds that the addressee is not present at their workplace the summons is given to an administrator at the workplace for transmission to the addressee. In the above cases the person receiving the summons must provide their first and last names and their relationship to the addressee or their position at the workplace on the part of the summons intended for the recipient's signature and must pass the summons on to the addressee at the earliest opportunity.

6. Is there any written proof that the document has been served?

Where a summons is delivered by a courier or by another participant in a case it must be delivered in person and a signature must be provided by the person being invited or summoned to certify receipt of the summons. The signed part of the summons must be returned to the court.

Where a summons is being served under the circumstances referred to in question 5 the recipient must provide their first and last names and their relationship to the addressee or their position at the workplace on the part of the summons intended for the recipient's signature and must pass the summons on to the addressee at the earliest opportunity.

The following items are considered proof of delivery/receipt of a document:

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  1. proof of postage or transmission (for natural and legal persons);
  2. confirmation by the addressee that court documents have been received;
  3. the addressee's signature and the date on a postal receipt certificate;
  4. the addressee's signature on a case notification form, a special form or on a record of proceedings.

7. What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served to a third person)? Can delivery of a document be considered to have taken place and to be valid (for instance, is it possible to prevent violation of legislative provisions), or do documents have to be reissued?

Where a legal person has not received a document but there is proof that the document was sent to the person's registered address the document is considered as served.

A court summons addressed to a natural person is considered as served if it was delivered to any adult family member living in the same household as the addressee. Where the natural person's actual place of residence is unknown or the person is absent from their place of residence the person is considered to have been notified where the summons to appear in court has been published in the official journal Latvijas Vēstnesis at least one month before the hearing takes place. A defendant's absence from their place of residence or the fact that the place of residence is unknown can be ascertained by the postal authorities or by a sworn bailiff.

However, if a party to a case has not been notified of the time and place of court proceedings the hearing must be postponed.

Where a court of first instance has failed to observe legislative provisions relating to notification of the time and place of a court hearing and has proceeded to hear the case the court judgment is repealed and the case is resubmitted for a new hearing.

(See question 5)

8. Do I have to pay for the service of a document, and if so, how much?

Section 40 of the Act on Civil Procedures lays down that costs relating to case proceedings must be paid in advance of the hearing by the party submitting the claim unless exemption from payment of court costs to the State applies. Payments represent actual costs.

Where documents have been served by a sworn notary or court bailiff remuneration is calculated in accordance with the applicable rates charged by the notary or the bailiff for the execution of procedural tasks.

Charges are not applicable for the first issue of an extract of a court ruling. Participants in a case are subject to an administrative fee of LVL 2 only where an extract is requested a second or subsequent time; where the person enforcing a judgement is found to have lost, destroyed or stolen an enforcement order, the issue of a duplicate is subject to a fee of LVL 5; the issue of a document certifying the entry into force of a court ruling where this ruling is for submission to a foreign authority is subject to a fee of LVL 3.

« Service of documents - General information | Latvia - General information »

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Last update: 21-08-2007

 
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