Covid-19 in Latvia: The state of emergency has been extended until 12 May 2020, additional remedial measures, changes in legal proceedings and other current events

07.04.2020 Covid-19 in Latvia: The state of emergency has been extended until 12 May 2020, additional remedial measures, changes in legal proceedings and other current events

Covid-19 in Latvia: At the meeting of April 7, the Cabinet of Ministers extended the State of Emergency until May 12, 2020. In turn, at an extraordinary session on April 3, the Parliament of Latvia adopted several amendments to the regulatory enactments due to the spread of Covid-19.

 

Extension of the powers of the Cabinet of Ministers

 Right to extend the state of emergency

  • Pursuant to the amendments to the law On Emergency Situation and State of Exception, the Cabinet of Ministers has the right to extend the declared emergency situation more than once. Previously, the law stipulated that the Cabinet of Ministers has the right to extend the declared emergency situation only once for a period not exceeding three months

Measures for prevention of Covid-19 hazard and elimination of consequences have been updated

 The limitation period for liability rights has been suspended and the amount of default interest has been limited

  • During the period from 1 April 2020 to 1 September 2020, default interest for late payment of a civil obligation may not exceed statutory interest – for late payment of a monetary debt agreed as compensation in a contract for the supply of goods, purchase or provision of services, 8% above the basic interest rate per annum, but in contractual relations with consumers and in other cases 6% per annum.

Members of associations and cooperative companies may participate and vote at general meetings remotely

  • Until 1 September 2020, a member of an association or cooperative company has the right to participate and vote at the general meeting of members remotely or to vote in writing before the meeting of members;
  • An association and a cooperative company shall ensure the recording and fixing of the course of the general meeting of members on data carriers and the storage of the relevant materials of the meeting.

Measures of insolvency proceedings can be carried out remotely

  • Although creditors will not be able to file for insolvency until 1 September 2020, it can be done by the debtors themselves. From now on, debtors - legal entities and private individuals - can file for insolvency proceedings electronically;
  • During the emergency situation caused by the spread of Covid-19, creditor meetings may be held remotely within the framework of the insolvency proceedings. When convening a creditor meeting, the insolvency administrator shall determine one of the following types of participation:

1. the participants of the meeting participate and vote at the meeting in person;

2. the participants of the meeting participate and vote at the meeting remotely;

3. the participants of the meeting vote in writing on the issues included in the agenda of the meeting and submit their vote at least on the day preceding the day of the creditor meeting.

The deadlines for measures of the legal protection proceedings have been extended

  • It is stipulated that, if an application for approval or amendment of the plan of measures of the legal protection proceedings is submitted during the emergency situation caused by the spread of Covid-19 and six months thereafter, the term of implementation of the legal protection proceedings may not exceed a period of four years;
  • If the period for implementation of the legal protection proceedings is extended and due to the proliferation of Covid-19 the debtor is prevented from complying with the plan of measures of the legal protection proceedings, the period for implementation of the legal protection proceedings may be extended by one year with the consent of the majority of creditors.

Changes in the activities of the State institutions during the emergency situation related to the spread of Covid-19

 Submissions to institutions shall be made in writing, procedural deadlines shall be extended

  • An application for the issue of an administrative deed, receipt of a reference or an application for contesting an administrative deed may be submitted only in writing. In certain cases, a telephone application for the issuance of an administrative deed may be accepted, if the institution has other possibilities to identify the applicant and his/her claim.
  • During the emergency situation, the law allows both the authorities and applicants in proceedings not directly related to Covid-19 to extend the procedural deadlines.

Changes in legal proceedings

  • Oral court hearings in courts are held in cases related to significant violation of personal rights and objective urgency;
  • Civil cases are heard by the court in written proceedings, if it is possible to ensure the observance of the procedural rights of the participants in the case and if the court has not recognized it necessary to adjudicate the case in a court session;
  • Criminal cases subject to the appellate procedure may also be adjudicated in written proceedings in cases not mentioned in the Criminal Procedure Law, unless the prosecutor or a person whose interests and rights are infringed by the complaint or protest objects thereto;
  • The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, having consulted with the chairpersons of regional courts and district (city) courts, may determine the procedure for the organization of court proceedings during the emergency situation;
  • After termination of the emergency situation, the court shall ensure the extraordinary hearing of the cases, the adjudication whereof was postponed or adjourned in relation to the emergency situation.

Penalties for violating the restrictions imposed during the emergency situation have been increased

By amending the Latvian Administrative Violations Code, the penalty for violation of the requirements of epidemiological safety, as well as for violation of restrictions or prohibitions established during an emergency situation has been increased.

  • Penalties for private individuals are in the range from EUR 10 to EUR 2,000;
  • Penalties for legal entities are in the range from EUR 140 to EUR 5,000.

 Administrative responsibility shall be imposed on a person, who does not provide information that he or she is suffering from an infectious disease, has been in contact with an infected person or has been in the focus of infection at the time, when the emergency situation has been announced in the state due to the spread of the respective infectious disease.

  • Penalty is up to EUR 2,000.

 Administrative liability has been established for violation of the requirements for receipt of the idle time benefit

  • Penalty for private individuals is up to EUR 1,500;
  • Penalty for a management board member is up to EUR 1,500, with or without the deprivation of the right to hold certain positions in commercial companies.

Restrictions related to the spread of Covid-19 have been added

  • A merchant, whose employees arrive in Latvia after work abroad, is obliged to transport them to their place of residence without using public transport;
  • Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) shall provide support to merchants, whose employees need to return to Latvia, as well as to merchants, who need to send employees to work in other European Union Member States or import foreign employees to Latvia in order to fulfil orders.