HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN LATVIA

A nation in Northern Europe’s Baltic area, Latvia is officially known as the Republic of Latvia. Riga, the capital and biggest city, is the country’s largest and most populous city. Latvian is one of just two remaining Baltic languages, and it belongs to the Balts’ ethnic group. Nearly a quarter of the country’s population is Russian, making them the country’s most noticeable minority.

The Saeima, Latvia’s parliament, is located in Riga.

BACKGROUND

Every four years, the Saeima, Latvia’s unicameral parliament with a hundred seats, is elected by direct public vote. The Saeima elects the president in a separate election conducted every four years. The president picks a prime minister, who, together with their cabinet, constitutes the executive part of the government, which must have the Saeima’s confidence. The thirteen Secretaries of State are the most senior government officers.

Latvia is a unitary state with forty-three local government units. Selonia, a section of Zemgale, is frequently seen as a culturally separate area, although it is not an official separation. The boundaries of historical and cultural areas are seldom well defined, and they might differ across sources. The Riga region, which includes the capital and parts of other regions with strong ties to the capital, is frequently included in regional divisions. The Riga area contains a substantial portion of what is historically known as Vidzeme, Courland, and Zemgale. 

DOMESTIC SERVICE OF LEGAL PAPERS IN LATVIA

A statement of claim is the first step in the Latvian legal process. There are three possible outcomes for a statement of claim: [A.] the claim is accepted, and the judge begins proceedings; [B.] the claim is not accepted because it lacks certain mandatory details, or [C.] the claim is not even reviewed because it lacks certain mandatory details. The court sets a deadline for addressing these issues (at least twenty days). The judge prepares the case for trial after receiving a statement of claim in order to guarantee timely examination of a case. Participants submit their arguments and evidence, as well as any requests for the trial to include third parties, evidence or witnesses; experts; written or material evidence; or video conferencing; all at this phase. In order to make a decision on these petitions, the court may need to convene a preliminary hearing. 

Only legal and relevant evidence will be accepted by the court in a case. If a fact is universally known and acknowledged by the court, it does not need to be proven. If it is established by a civil case involving the same parties, it does not need to be proven. If criminal liability is established by a judgment or decision in a criminal case, it does not need to be proven. a few guidelines If the judge has established a different date for submitting evidence, the evidence must be submitted to the court no later than fourteen days prior to the court hearing. In certain cases, the court may be asked to help gather evidence. 

Extenuating circumstances may necessitate a request from the parties for the court to acquire evidence before it is no longer accessible or acceptable. Courts have the power to punish witnesses who dishonestly or unreasonably deny testifying in a criminal case.

HOW TO SERVE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PAPERS IN LATVIA

Latvia Process Service serves civil and commercial matters pursuant to the Hague Service Convention, an international treaty signed on November 15th, 1965, in The Hague, Netherlands, provides the basis for the use of Latvian process service in civil and commercial issues. It was created to provide litigants with a dependable and effective method of serving papers on parties that reside, operate, or are situated outside of the nation. Service of process in civil and commercial cases is covered by the convention’s rules, but criminal cases are not. Furthermore, the Convention does not apply if the recipient’s address is unknown.

Documents are received in the Central Authority and forwarded to the competent Bailiff of Latvia for the execution of the request.

In accordance with the Civil Procedure Law, documents can be served via [A.] registered mail; [B.] by registered mail with notification of receipt; [C.] by ordinary mail; [and D.] by electronic mail. Additionally, the judicial documents may also be delivered to the workplace of the person. If the addressee is absent, the documents may be handed to the administration of the place of employment to be forwarded to the addressee. Documents may be handed to an adult person met at the address indicated for service.

REQUIREMENTS FOR process SERVICE OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS IN LATVIA

Unless the document is created in Latvian or in a language that the recipient knows, translation is necessary. Otherwise, the served papers are likely to not be accepted by the recipient. To ensure the intended recipient’ actually gets the summons as necessary, documents of this kind are sent back to the country that requested them for translation into their native tongue. The translation is required if the addressee refuses to accept the document because the document is not prepared in the official language of Latvia (Latvian) or in a language that the addressee understands. In such a case the document is returned to the requesting State to be translated either into Latvian or any other language that the addressee has specified.

Bailiffs are required to notify the Council of Sworn Bailiffs of Latvia if they are unable to serve a document within the time limit specified in the request within one month after the document’s reception in the Council of Sworn Bailiffs of Latvia or within the time limit specified in the request.

It was made easier for parties to serve each other in other countries thanks to the Hague Service Convention. Under the convention, each contracting state is expected to appoint a central body to receive requests for assistance. A judicial official who is authorized to serve process in the state of origin may transmit a request for service directly to the central authority of the state where service is to be made. Requests for service are handled by the recipient state’s central authority, generally via a local court, upon receipt. Upon completing service, the central authority issues a certificate of service to the judicial officer who submitted the initial request for service. Latvia asks for a EUR 113,97 (including VAT) charge for each request for the service of documents. The payment must be settled through a bank transfer and all bank commission fees must be covered by the person who settles the principal payment for the service of documents.

how to serve legal papers BY MAIL in Latvia

Service by mail is possible only in states that have not objected to that method under Article 10(a) of the convention and if the jurisdiction where the court case takes place allows it under its applicable law

The major form of process service acceptable in Latvia is via the Latvian Central Authority. However, it must be noted that even in the case of personal service, there is no guarantee that the defendant will be ‘personally’ served. Additionally, Latvia charges a service fee in all instances where service is conducted via their Central Authority.

Alternatively, service to Latvia can be via mail, but the documents must first be translated into Latvian. Directly to Latvia’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention, requests should be filed in triplicate and with two sets of the papers to be served, as well as translations. An attorney or clerk of the court in the United States should sign the form. An attorney or a court clerk’s title should be included in the areas for the applicant’s name, address, and signature or stamp.

For this reason, mail delivery is permitted, since Latvia did not raise any objections under the terms of the Hague Service Convention‘s Article 10. 

THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY’S ROLE IN process SERVICE OF LEGAL PAPERS

In accordance with the convention, each signatory state is required to designate a Central Authority to undertake to receive the requests for service coming from the other contracting states. Accordingly, Latvia has designated, the Council of The Sworn Bailiffs, as the Central Authority under the convention.

Documents are received in the Central Authority and forwarded to the competent Bailiff of Latvia for the execution of the request. In accordance with the Civil Procedure Law, documents can be served using [A.] registered mail;[B.] by registered mail with notification of receipt; [C.] by ordinary mail; and [D,]  by electronic mail. The judicial documents may also be delivered to the workplace of the person. If the addressee is absent, the documents may be handed to the administration of the place of employment to be forwarded to the addressee. Documents may be handed to an adult person met at the address indicated for service.

If the service would not be complete, then the certificate would set out the reasons which would have prevented service. 

how to serve a SUMMONS OUTside OF LATVIA

Latvia process of service of summons outside Latvia is to be in accordance with the steps contemplated under the Convention.  The authority or the judicial officer competent under the law of the State of origin has to forward to the Central Authority of the concerned State, a request in the prescribed format along with the document to be served or a copy of the document to be served. 

If the request is in the prescribed format, then the Central Authority will itself serve the document or shall arrange to have it served by an appropriate agency, either by a method prescribed by its internal law or by a particular method requested by the applicant, unless incompatible with the law of the State addressed.  The Central Authority may require the document to be written in, or translated into, the official language or one of the official languages of the State addressed. 

 The Central Authority is required to provide the document to the addressee together with the portion of the request including a summary of that document. Expenses incurred by the use of a court official or a person competent under law, or costs incurred by the use of a specific mode of service would be borne by the Applicant. After the Central Authority completes service, the Applicant will get a certificate appended to the Convention stating that the document has been served and including the method, location, and date of service. If the service is not complete, the certificate will explain why it was not completed.

Under the provisions of the present Convention, when a writ of summons or an equivalent document had to be transmitted abroad for the purpose of service, and a judgment had been entered against the defendant who had not appeared, the judge may, without any fault on their part, grant relief from the time for appeal from the judgment if the defendant, without knowledge of the document insufficient time to defend, or if they were unaware of the document, did not have the opportunity to do so. It is only within a reasonable period of time after the defendant’s discovery of the judgment that an application for relief may be made.

There may be declarations by contracting states that an application will be rejected if it is submitted beyond a certain period but in no instance less than a year from the date of the ruling.

LETTERS ROGATORY

Criminal defendants and their legal counsel may use the letter’s rogatory procedure to request court help in gathering evidence or delivering documents to countries outside the United States. Regardless of the nationality of the witness, in Latvia, voluntary depositions may be performed if no force is employed.

Before a U.S. Government attorney or prosecutor may take a deposition in Latvia, the Latvian Central Authority must provide its approval.  Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys from the United States or Latvia at the U.S. Embassy, either on notice or pursuant to a commission.  If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter, and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly. 

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Sources

1. This system existed before World War II as well.

2. Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jrmala, Liepja, Rzekne, Riga, and Ventspils. Courland, Latgale, Vidzeme, and Zemgale are the four historical and cultural areas of Latvia recognized by the Latvian Constitution.

3. For example, Latvia has five planning regions which were established in 2009 to promote balanced development across the country.

4. The EU Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics duplicates this arrangement, but separates the Riga area into two sections, with the capital being a distinct region.  Riga is Latvia’s capital, Daugavpils is the second biggest city, and Liepaja is the third largest.

5. To begin with, if any of the facts on which the parties rely their claims and objections are not supported by any proof, the court will advise the parties of this fact. If it is impossible for the parties to submit evidence, the court will – at their reasonable request – order such evidence to be presented in court (e.g. from state institutions). An eyewitness account It is possible for parties to request to question witnesses, outlining what facts are pertinent to the case. To begin with, all parties in a case may interrogate a witness called by a court. Evidence is the sole exception to this rule; witnesses are questioned verbally (via videoconference, if required).

6. If a reasonable request is made, evidence may be presented during the trial if it does not hinder the trial or if the court judges the grounds for tardy submission of evidence justifiable, or if the evidence involves facts that have come to light during the trial.

7. Bank account information:
Registration No. 90001497619
Registered office: 27-32 Lāčplēša street, Riga, LV-1011, Latvia
Bank: Swedbank AS
Account No.: LV93HABA0551038096742
SWIFT code: HABALV22
Payment purpose: information on the addressee

8. Service to Latvia must be pursuant to the Hague Convention. Volkswagenwerk Aktiengesellschaft v. Schlunk – 486 U.S. 694, 108 S. Ct. 2104 (1988). Latvia only allows Hague service via its Central Authority or via mail

9. U.S. Embassy Riga

Samnera Velsa iela 1 

Riga LV-1510

Latvia

Telephone: +(371) 6710-7000

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(371) 6710-7000 or +(371) 2920-5708

Fax: +(371) 6710-7001

Email: askconsular-riga@state.gov

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