Remedies and enforcement

AuthorKamenska, Anhelita
6.1 Judicial and/or administrative procedures (Article 7 Directive 2 000/43,
a) Available procedures for enforcing th e principle of equal tr eatment
In Latvia, the procedures tha t exist for enforcing the princip le of equal treatment incl ude
judicial and administrative measures, as well as forms of alternative dispute resolution
such as mediation (conciliation).
A number of remedies are availa ble to persons who consider themselves w ronged by
differential treatment; however, none of them is specifically aimed at ensuring equal
treatment. All procedures are b inding, except for those of the Omb udsman, who can
issue non-binding recommendations. In cases of discriminatory practices by public
institutions, the persons affected may appeal to the same public institution that has
treated them differently, or to a higher institution, the administrat ive court or the public
prosecutor’s office.
Article 76(2) of the Administrative Procedure Law allows an administrative act or factual
action including discriminatory acts and behaviour in civil service relationships in the
public sector to be challenged before a higher institution, and then, if no such higher
institution exists or if the institution fails to notify the applicant of the outcome of their
submission directly, before the administrative cou rt.
The Administrative Procedure Law sets out the principle of objective investigation by the
court and the possibility to opt for a written procedure if both parties agree. All three
instances of administrative courts are located in Riga, however first-instance
administrative courts a lso operate in four other region s.
According to Article 38 of this law, any personnot just a lawyermay be a
representative in an adm inistrative procedure. Article 16 of the Law on the Public
Prosecutor’s Office provides for the prosecutor’s involv ement in the protection of the
rights and lawful interests of disabled persons, minors and other person s who have
limited ability to protect their own rights. The resu lt of the prosecutor’s involvement is
not limited to a warning to the culprit or to the opening of a criminal case, but it may
also lead to initiating a civil case.
Courts of general jurisdiction
The provisions of Article 92 of the Constitution, which state that ‘Everyone has the right
to defend their rights and la wful interests in an imparti al court’, have been further
elaborated by the Judicial Powers Law. Article 5 of the law provides that, in civil matters,
the court shall hear cases related to th e protection of civil rights, labour rights, family
rights, and other rights and lawful interests of individuals and legal entities. The
procedure for adjudicating non-administrative cases, which includes cases arising from
labour relationships in th e private sector and in the publ ic sector outside the civil servi ce,
is determined by th e Civil Procedure La w.
The payment of court expen ses, as well as of the state levy , is waived in cases based on
an employment relationship and in cases that have been initiated by the prosecutor
(Article 43(1), paragraphs 1 and 5, of the Civil Procedure Law; Article 218 of the Labour
Law). This does not include l awyers’ fees, however, as, since the adopt ion of the law on
legal aid provided for by the state178 in 2005, a mechanism has existed whereby persons
178 Latvia, State-insured Legal Aid Law (Valsts nodrošints juridisks paldzbas likums), 17.03.2005.

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