National ordinary courts

This section provides you with information on the organisation of courts of general jurisdiction in Latvia.

Courts of general jurisdiction: introduction

In Latvia, judicial power is exercised by city and district courtsregional courts and the Supreme Court.

Civil and criminal proceedings in Latvia can be heard in 40 courts, which are divided into three tiers: there are 34 city or district courts (rajonu vai pilsētu tiesas), five regional courts (apgabaltiesas), and the Supreme Court (Augstākā tiesa).

The city or district courts and regional courts in Latvia are:

No City and district court Territorial jurisdiction of the regional court
1. 1.1. Kuldīga District Court (Kuldīgas rajona tiesa) Kurzeme Regional Court (Kurzemes apgabaltiesa)
1.2. Liepāja City Court (Liepājas tiesa)
1.3. Saldus District Court (Saldus rajona tiesa)
1.4. Talsi District Court (Talsu rajona tiesa)
1.5. Ventspils City Court (Ventspils tiesa)
2. 2.1. Daugavpils City Court (Daugavpils tiesa) Latgale Regional Court (Latgales apgabaltiesa)
2.2. Rēzekne City Court (Rēzeknes tiesa)
3. 3.1. Ogre District Court (Ogres rajona tiesa) Riga Regional Court (Rīgas apgabaltiesa)
3.2. City of Riga Kurzeme District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Kurzemes rajona tiesa)
3.3. City of Riga Latgale District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Latgales priekšpilsētas tiesa)
3.4. City of Riga Vidzeme District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Vidzemes priekšpilsētas tiesa)
3.5. City of Riga Zemgale District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Zemgales priekšpilsētas tiesa)
3.6. City of Riga Northern District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Ziemeļu rajona tiesa)
3.7. Riga District Court (Rīgas rajona tiesa1
4. 4.1. Alūksne District Court (Alūksnes rajona tiesa) Vidzeme Regional Court (Vidzemes apgabaltiesa2
4.2. Cēsis District Court (Cēsu rajona tiesa)
4.3. Gulbene District Court (Gulbenes rajona tiesa)
4.4. Limbaži District Court (Limbažu rajona tiesa)
4.5. Madona District Court (Madonas rajona tiesa)
4.6. Valka District Court (Valkas rajona tiesa)
4.7. Valmiera District Court (Valmieras rajona tiesa)
5. 5.1. Aizkraukle District Court (Aizkraukles rajona tiesa) Zemgale Regional Court (Zemgales apgabaltiesa3
5.2. Bauska District Court (Bauskas rajona tiesa)
5.3. Dobele District Court (Dobeles rajona tiesa)
5.4. Jelgava City Court (Jelgavas tiesa)
5.5. Jēkabpils District Court (Jēkabpils rajona tiesa)
5.6. Tukums District Court (Tukuma rajona tiesa)
6. 6.1. District Administrative Court (Administratīvā rajona tiesa) Regional Administrative Court (Administratīvā apgabaltiesa)

1 Riga District Court has a courthouse in Jūrmala and its territorial jurisdiction corresponds to that of the Riga District Court.

2 Vidzeme Regional Court has a courthouse in Madona and its territorial jurisdiction corresponds to that of Alūksne, Gulbene and Madona District Courts.

3 Zemgale Regional Court has a courthouse in Aizkraukle and its territorial jurisdiction corresponds to that of Bauska, Aizkraukle and Jēkabpils District Courts.

Administrative proceedings are heard by:

  • the District Administrative Court (Administratīvā rajona tiesa),
  • the Regional Administrative Court (Administratīvā apgabaltiesa),
  • the Administrative Cases Division of the Supreme Court (Augstākās tiesas Administratīvo lietu departaments).

The territorial jurisdiction of the Regional Administrative Court and District Administrative Court covers the entire administrative territory of Latvia. The District Administrative Court has five courthouses, one in each judicial region, i.e. one each in Riga, Jelgava, Rēzekne, Valmiera and Liepāja.

The territorial jurisdiction of courts is set out in the Regulation on city and district courts, regional courts and territorial jurisdictions of these courts.

Jurisdiction by subject-matter

Pursuant to the Law on criminal procedure, a city or district court hears all criminal proceedings as the court of first instance. The City of Riga Vidzeme District Court has jurisdiction as court of first instance over criminal proceedings in which the case files refer to matters of State secrecy. A ruling of a district or city court appealed against under the full appeals procedure (apelācija) is considered by a regional court as the appellate court. Any judgment of any lower court may be appealed on a point of law only (kasācija) to the Criminal Cases Division of the Supreme Court (Augstākās tiesas Krimināllietu departaments). In city or district courts, criminal proceedings are heard by a single judge. If the criminal proceedings are particularly complex, the president of the court of first instance may determine that the case is to be tried by a panel of three of that court’s judges. Criminal appeals, whether full appeals or appeals on a point of law, are heard by a panel of judges.

According to the Law on civil procedure, proceedings are considered at first instance by a district or city court, except in the case of proceedings which by law are considered in a regional court. Claims for undisputed enforcement of obligations (bezstrīdus piespiedu izpildīšana) and enforcement of obligations on court notice (saistību piespiedu izpildīšana brīdinājuma kārtība) are considered by the land registry office of the relevant district or city court. Regional courts consider the following proceedings as courts of first instance:

  • proceedings in which there is a dispute over the right of ownership of immovable property, with the exception of the division of property between spouses;
  • proceedings concerning the protection of patent rights, trademarks and protected geographical indications;
  • proceedings concerning the insolvency and liquidation of credit institutions.

According to the Civil Procedure Law, if a case combines several claims of which some fall within the jurisdiction of a district or city court, while others fall within that of a regional court, or a city or district court has accepted a counterclaim which falls within the jurisdiction of a regional court, the case is to be heard before the regional court. Riga Regional Court has jurisdiction as court of first instance over civil proceedings in which the case files refer to a matter of State secrecy. In the court of first instance, civil cases are heard by a single judge, whereas on appeal (full appeal or appeal on a point of law) they are heard by a panel.

Cases concerning administrative infringements are heard by district or city courts and regional courts having jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. Pursuant to the Latvian Administrative Infringements Code, a decision adopted by a higher authority may be challenged in a district or city court. A ruling by the judge of a district or city court may be appealed to a regional court, if the Latvian Administrative Infringements Code explicitly provides for this. A ruling of an appellate court in administrative infringement proceedings cannot be appealed and takes effect on the day it is handed down.

Pursuant to the Law on administrative procedure, administrative proceedings are heard at first instance in a courthouse of the District Administrative Court, unless the law provides otherwise. If proceedings are heard in the District Administrative Court as court of first instance, and that court needs to verify information which involves a matter of State secrecy, the proceedings are heard in the courthouse of the District Administrative Court in Riga. If the law provides that administrative proceedings are to be heard at first instance by the Regional Administrative Court or the Administrative Cases Division of the Supreme Court rather than by the District Administrative Court, the relevant application is to be submitted to the Regional Administrative Court or the Administrative Cases Division of the Supreme Court as the case may be. A party in administrative proceedings may lodge a full appeal against a judgment or ancillary judgment of the court of first instance, except if the law provides that the judgment cannot be appealed, or can be appealed only on a point of law. A District Administrative Court judgment that has not yet taken effect may be appealed before the Regional Administrative Court. A party in administrative proceedings may lodge an appeal on a point of law against a judgment or ancillary judgment of the appellate court if the court has infringed substantive or procedural rules or has exceeded its remit during the proceedings. In the court of first instance, administrative proceedings are heard by a single judge or a panel of judges, whereas in a court of appeal – full appeal or appeal on a point of law – they are heard by a panel.

Pursuant to the Law on patents, Riga Regional Court hears the following cases concerning the legal protection of inventions in civil proceedings, as court of first instance:

  • cases concerning the restoration of rights to a patent;
  • cases concerning the declaration of a patent as invalid;
  • cases concerning pre-use rights;
  • cases concerning illegal use of a patent (infringement of a patent);
  • cases concerning the declaration of an infringement of a patent as null and void;
  • cases concerning the granting of a licence, the contractual provisions of a licence or compliance with those provisions;
  • cases concerning the right to compensation for the inability to use an invention publicly.

Pursuant to the Law on designs, Riga Regional Court hears the following disputes concerning the legal protection of designs as court of first instance:

  • disputes over the recognition of rights to a design;
  • disputes over a finding that the registration of a design is invalid;
  • disputes over illegal use of a design (infringement of a design);
  • disputes over the granting of a licence, the contractual provisions of a licence or compliance with those provisions.

The Supreme Court comprises the Division of Civil Cases, the Division of Criminal Cases, the Division of Administrative Cases and the Chamber of Civil Cases. The Chamber hears full appeals against judgments given at first instance by regional courts. The Division of Civil Cases, the Division of Criminal Cases and the Division of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court are the courts that hear appeals on points of law against all judgments of district or city courts and regional courts, and are the courts of first instance for cases relating to decisions of the Council of the State Audit Office (Valsts kontroles padome) adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 55 of the Law on the State Audit Office. In the Chamber, cases are heard by a panel composed of three judges; in the Divisions of the Supreme Court, cases are heard by a panel of three judges or, in certain cases prescribed in law, in extended composition.

Judges of the land registry offices (zemesgrāmatu nodaļas) register immovable property in land registries and confer the associated titles, consider claims for undisputed enforcement of obligations and enforcement of obligations on court notice. Judges of the land registry offices have the legal status of city and district court judges. Pursuant to the Law on land registryterritorial jurisdictions of the land registry offices correspond to those of the city and district courts, with the exception of City of Riga Land Registry Office, whose territorial jurisdiction covers that of City of Riga Kurzeme District Court, City of Riga Vidzeme District Court, City of Riga Northern District Court, City of Riga Central District Court, City of Riga Latgale District Court and City of Riga Zemgale District Court, whereas the territorial jurisdiction of Riga District Land Registry Office covers the territorial jurisdictions of Riga District Court (Rīgas rajona tiesa) and Sigulda City Court (Siguldas tiesa).

Legal databases

Name and URL of database

National Courts Portal

eTiesas - National Courts e-services portal

Supreme Court

Is access to the database free of charge?

Yes, access is free of charge.

Content of the database in brief

The National Courts Portal provides general up-to-date information about courts in Latvia.

In the National Courts e-services portal you can access a database of anonymised court judgments, follow judicial proceedings in electronic form, file e-claims to courts, calculate costs of judicial proceedings and paid services using a fee and duty calculator, receive and fill in e-forms, and access other e-services.

The Supreme Court Portal contains an archive of case-law rulings where you can find both topical Supreme Court rulings and compilations of case-law. The information can be found in the section Judikatūra (‘Case-law’).

Background

The information published in the National Courts Portal and the Supreme Court rulings and compilations of case-law published in the portal of the Supreme Court are currently available only in Latvian.

Last update: 15/04/2020

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