The Constitutional Court of Latvia has adopted a decision in RC “ZELDA” client’s J.F. case

On 28 December 2010 the Constitutional Court of Latvia adopted a judgement in the RC “ZELDA’s” represented client’s J.F. case on compliance of Article 358 and Article 364 of the Civil Law with Article 96 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (Satversme).

The applicant in the complaint indicated that the contested norms restrict her right to inviolability of private life (Article 96 of the Satversme) at a greater extent that it is necessary, namely, based on the contested norms, a person is fully recognized as lacking the capacity to act and therefore he or she is denied the possibility to make substantial decision independently.

The Constitutional Court recognized that the norms do not comply with Article 96 of the Constitution. 

The Court indicated that legal capacity of a person cannot be restricted at a greater extent than it is necessary for protection of rights of the person. It also follows from international obligations of Latvia in the field of human rights that the State has the duty to establish such mechanisms for restricting capability to act that would include individual assessment of situation and selection of the most appropriate restriction for each particular situation. The regulatory framework that does not provide any liminalities, whilst establishes recognition of a person as entirely lacking the capacity to act is non-compliant with requirements of the human rights. The Constitutional Court recognized that more lenient solutions are available.

It ruled that Latvia has to improve legal regulation in order to align existing legal standards with Article 96 of the Constitution and international human rights documents, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It also concluded that the State has an obligation not only to make appropriate amendments to material and procedural provisions, but also to establish the material and institutional structure for such a system to successfully operate, to provide training for judges and other persons applying the legal provisions and to undertake other necessary measures. Taking into account that a reasonable period of time was required to implement the stated measures, the decision states that the disputed norms shall be invalid from 1 January 2012.

Full text of judgement is available here (89.50 KB) .


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