02 Februar 2021
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Defining the Modern Family

In November 2020, the Constitutional Court of Latvia recognised that the Constitution of Latvia (Satversme) obliges the state to protect all families, including those established by same-sex couples. The judgement was met with considerable political backlash and at the beginning of January prompted the right‑wing party Nacionālā Apvienība to submit an initiative to amend the Satversme with a new, excluding definition of family. Perhaps more worrisome is how the amendment and the associated campaign openly attack the authority of the Constitutional Court. Continue reading >>
23 Juni 2020

Riga and Venice on a Collision Course

After the judgment on minority languages in public schools more than a year ago, the Latvian Constitutional Court has passed several other judgments regarding the restrictions on using such languages in education. A recent opinion of the Venice Commission raises questions about the quality of analysis from the point of view of international law. Continue reading >>
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02 Mai 2020

COVID-19 in Latvia: Precaution Above All

The Government of Latvia adopted the decision on emergency situation due to COVID-19 on 12 March to apply until 14 April. For the time being, this period has been extended once to 12 May. This post considers the applicable legal framework, concrete limitations adopted by the Saeima (Parliament) and the Government are described, followed by an assessment from the point of view of European Union values. Continue reading >>
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03 Oktober 2019

A Judicial Path to Nowhere?

On 25 September 2019, the Constitutional Court of Latvia opened a case on the constitutionality of several provisions regarding pre-school education for minorities. The complainants are not likely to succeed with their appeal, though, as the Constitutional Court has so far used the country’s Soviet history as well as Latvia’s cultural identity as arguments to uphold the restriction of minority rights. Continue reading >>
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13 Mai 2019

Autonomy in Decline? A Commentary on Rimšēvičs and ECB v Latvia

In the world of European central banking, the corruption case against Ilmars Rimšēvičs, Governor of the Central Bank of Latvia, is a major issue. Ordinary European lawyers like the present author could be excused for having missed the Rimšēvičs case pending before the EU Court of Justice (Cases C-202/18 and C-238/18). In its judgment of 26 February 2019, the Court of Justice for the first time had the opportunity to define the scope of the review conducted in an infringement proceeding pursuant to Article 14.2 of the Statute of the ESCB and of the ECB (‘the Statute’) and to determine the legal effect of a judgment rendered in this context. The latter gives the case a constitutional significance far beyond the field of central banking. Continue reading >>
10 Mai 2019

Eurofederalists under Threat: The Latvian Supreme Court’s Ruling on Independence

On 10 April 2019, Latvia's highest criminal court confirmed a judgment of the Riga Regional Court which convicted the accused for publicly inviting to take action against the national independence of the Republic of Latvia. This decision of the Senate not only contradicts European and international human rights law but is also inconsistent with the case law of Latvia’s Constitutional Court. Continue reading >>
02 Mai 2019

A Dangerous Precedent for Minority Rights: the Latvian Constitutional Court’s Ruling on Minority Schools

On 23 April 2019, the Constitutional Court of Latvia delivered its judgment in the case on minority schools. This judgment might become a dangerous precedent for the rights of persons belonging to minorities under the Union values enshrined in Article 2 TEU. Continue reading >>
04 März 2019

Crossing the Baltic Rubicon

Last week, a constitutional moment took place in the European Union. In a rather technical area of law, the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, the Court of Justice ruled for the first time in a case that ensued in the annulment of a decision of a Member State. The Court did not declare that a Member State had failed to fulfill its obligations under EU Law. What the Court did was much more ambitious. Continue reading >>
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12 September 2018
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Self-Protecting Democracy and Electoral Rights

On October 6 the Republic of Latvia will hold its general election. The air is already sparkling with emotions: populism, fake news and other nowadays much discussed components of election campaigns are all part of it. Even the Constitutional Court of Latvia had its say in the upcoming events by delivering a judgment on a law denying access to stand as a candidate in the election. Continue reading >>
06 September 2016

Unionsbürger und Art. 16 II GG: Unangenehme Neuigkeiten für Karlsruhe

Schützt das verfassungsrechtliche Verbot, eigene Staatsbürger an ausländische Staaten auszuliefern, auch Unionsbürger? Nein, sagt das Bundesverfassungsgericht und hielt es bisher nicht für nötig, diese Frage dem EuGH vorzulegen. Jetzt hat dieser ein Urteil gefällt, das Karlsruhe diametral widerspricht. Continue reading >>
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