Enforcement is a stage in civil proceedings whereby court bailiffs enforce a ruling made by courts, other institutions or officials if a debtor (defendant) fails to comply voluntarily with such a ruling within the period of time laid down in legislation or by the court.
See “Legal professions: Latvia” on the enforcement measures a court bailiff is entitled to apply.
Court bailiffs enforce decisions by courts and other institutions as well as carry out other activities specified in legislation.
Judicial decisions are enforceable following their entry into force, except where legislation or court rulings provide for their immediate enforcement. Court bailiffs are entitled to instigate enforcement procedures on the basis of an enforcement document.
Under the procedure for court ruling enforcement, the following decisions by courts, judges and other institutions must be enforced:
Except where specified otherwise under legislation, the following are also subject to procedures for the enforcement of court rulings:
An enforcement document is:
Judicial and out-of-court decisions are enforceable following their entry into force, except where legislation or court rulings provide for their immediate enforcement. If a voluntary enforcement period is laid down regarding execution of a court ruling and the ruling is not enforced, the court draws up an enforcement order when the voluntary enforcement period has expired. Court bailiffs are entitled to instigate enforcement procedures on the basis of an enforcement document.
An enforcement order is issued on request to the enforcement officer by the court adjudicating the case at the time. One enforcement order must be issued for each ruling. If the ruling is to be enforced at different places, the ruling is to be enforced immediately in any part of it or if the ruling is made in favour of several claimants or against several defendants, the court must issue several enforcement orders upon the request of the enforcement officer. When issuing several enforcement orders, the exact place of enforcement or the part of the ruling which has to be enforced according to the enforcement order must be specified in each of such enforcement orders; and, in case of solidary obligations, the defendant against whom the enforcement is to implemented according to the enforcement order concerned must be indicated.
To initiate enforcement of a ruling, the enforcement order granted to the enforcement officer or their authorised representative must be submitted to a court bailiff together with a letter of application.
The Law on Bailiffs and Regulation No 202 “Regulation regarding the record-keeping of sworn bailiffs” adopted by the Cabinet of Ministers on 14 March 2006 govern the general issues related to the activity and record-keeping of sworn bailiffs.
Application of enforcement measures laid down in the Civil Procedure Law in the procedure of enforcement of decisions by the court and decisions by other institutions is aimed at restricting the debtor's rights with the intention to restore the balance between the rights of the person, whose civil rights or interests protected by the law were involved, and the debtor's obligation to comply with the decision of the court (other institution).
Court bailiffs are entitled to take enforcement action against a debtor's movable property – including any property deposited with other persons – and intangible assets, against money owed to the debtor by other persons (remuneration for work, equivalent payments, the debtor's other income, investments in credit institutions), and against immovable property.
Certain assets specified in legislation and objects belonging wholly or partially to the debtor are not subjected to enforcement action under enforcement orders (for instance household fittings and equipment, clothing, food, books, instruments and tools required by the debtor for their day-to-day work providing the means needed for subsistence etc.).
The following objects belonging wholly or partially to the debtor are not subject to enforcement action under enforcement orders:
Similarly, the enforcement action cannot be taken on:
When enforcement action is taken against a debtor's movable assets, immovable property or income, the debtor is no longer entitled to dispose of them freely.
Where a bailiff's requirements or orders are not complied with, the bailiff draws up a deed and submits it to the court for a decision on liability. The court can impose a fine on the guilty parties – up to 360 euro in the case of a natural person, or up to 750 euro in the case of an official. An ancillary complaint on the court decision can be submitted.
In certain case categories, specific sanctions can be laid down for the non-compliance with the bailiff's requirements.
If the bailiff encounters any resistance when taking enforcement action, the police may be called to assist.
If a debtor fails to appear before a bailiff in compliance with a summons, or refuses to offer explanations or legally required information, the bailiff is entitled to take the matter to court for a decision on this person's liability. The court may adopt a decision to force the debtor to appear, and to impose a fine: up to 80 euro in the case of a natural person, or up to 360 euro in the case of an official. An ancillary complaint on the court decision can be submitted.
If it emerges that a debtor has intentionally provided false information, the bailiff must send an application to the public prosecutor.
An enforcement document can be submitted for enforcement within 10 years of the entry into force of a court or judge's ruling unless other periods are specified in the regulatory acts. If a court ruling imposes payment by instalments, the enforcement document remains in force for the whole period during which payments are due and the 10 year period begins from final date of each payment.
The enforcement procedure is initiated on the basis of a valid enforcement order issued by the court or other institution. The person obliged with a duty upon a decision by the court or other institution may appeal (contest) it under the general procedure laid down in the regulatory acts for appealing (contesting) decisions by the courts or other institutions.
Upon application by a party to the case and in view of the proprietorial status or other circumstances of the parties involved, the court responsible for adjudicating a given case is entitled to adopt a decision to postpone enforcement of the ruling, to divide enforcement into instalments, or to amend the form or procedure by which the ruling is enforced. An ancillary complaint relating to a court decision to postpone enforcement of a ruling, to divide enforcement of the ruling into instalments or to amend the form or procedure by which it is enforced may be brought before a higher court within 10 days. Where circumstances hinder or prevent the enforcement of a court ruling, the bailiff is also entitled to submit to the court responsible for the ruling a proposal to postpone enforcement of a ruling, to divide enforcement of the ruling into instalments or to amend the form or procedure by which it is enforced.
A bailiff can postpone enforcement on the basis of an application by an enforcement officer or a decision by the court or a judge to postpone enforcement action or suspend sale of property, or a court decision to postpone enforcement or divide enforcement of the ruling into instalments.
A creditor or a debtor, by submitting a reasoned complaint, may appeal the actions of a bailiff in executing a judgment or the bailiff's refusal to perform such actions, except regarding an invalid auction, to the district (city) court according to the official appointment location of the bailiff within 10 days from the day when the appealed actions are taken or the day when a complainant, who has not been notified of the time and place of actions to be taken, becomes informed of such actions.
A complaint must be examined at a court hearing within 15 days. The debtor and the creditor, as well as the bailiff, must be notified of the court hearing. Failure of such persons to attend must not constitute a bar for the examination of the issue.
On the basis of a reasoned request from the person submitting a complaint, a judge may take a decision on the staying of enforcement activities, prohibition to transfer money to a bailiff or creditor or debtor or the suspension of the sale of property. The decision must be implemented as soon as it has been taken.
An ancillary complaint on the court decision can be submitted.
http://www.tm.gov.lv/ – website of the Ministry of Justice
http://www.lzti.lv/ – Council of Latvian Sworn Bailiffs
http://www.tiesas.lv/ – portal of Latvian courts
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