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Our law firm in Latvia participated in Study concerning the application of Directive 2003/8/CE of the Council of 27th January, 2003 on legal aid and the judicial conformity of the national transposition measures, organized by the European Commission

4 April 2012
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The final reports download at this address:

EU legal aid :





Eligibility criteria

According to the State Ensured Legal Aid Law, the following persons have the right to legal aid:

-                a citizen of Latvia;

-                a non-citizen of Latvia;

-                a stateless person;

-                a European Union citizen who is not a citizen of the Republic of Latvia, but resides legally in the Republic of Latvia;

-                a third-country national (including a refugee and a person who has been granted the alternative status in the Republic of Latvia) who is not a citizen of a European Union Member State, if he or she legally resides in the Republic of Latvia and has received a permanent residence permit;

-                a person who has the right to legal aid ensured by the Republic of Latvia in accordance with the international agreements entered into by the Republic of Latvia;

-                an asylum seeker; and

-                a person whose permanent place of residence or domicile is one of the European Union Member States, in cross-boundary disputes.

A person does not have the right to abuse his or her special situation, state of property and income level for the receipt of legal aid.

A person has the duty to request legal aid in a timely manner, except where it has not been possible due to objective circumstances

The State shall ensure legal aid for the out-of-court and in-the-court settlement of matters of legal nature or for the protection of infringed or contested rights of a person or for his or her interests to be protected.

The State shall ensure legal aid for an asylum seeker in the appeal procedures during the process of granting an asylum. The institution, which is responsible for the examination of an application for asylum, shall ensure the evaluation of the need for legal aid and the communication of the applicant for legal aid with the provider of legal aid.

The State shall grant legal aid to a person after checking his/her application, the information provided and making sure that the applicant’s situation meets the necessary requirements to receive legal aid.


Legal aid procedures

In Latvia, legal aid procedure is governed by the State Ensured Legal Aid Law. The purpose of the Law is to promote the right of a natural person to a fair court protection by ensuring State-guaranteed financial support and the granting of legal aid.

The State provides legal aid only to persons who are on low-income and recognized as such, to persons who find themselves suddenly in a situation and material condition which prevent  them from protecting their rights and to persons who are on  the State or local government full support.

Legal aid is ensured in extrajudicial matters, Civil Matters, Cross-border Disputes and Criminal Matters.

Within the framework of one case a person can obtain:

-                legal consultations;

-                assistance in preparation of legal (procedural) documents;

-                representation in court.


Extrajudicial Legal Aid

According to the State Ensured Legal Aid Law, Section 9 establishes that the State shall ensure legal consultations and the drawing up of procedural documents:

            1) for the protection of the infringed or contested rights of a person or his or her interests protected by the law in a civil legal dispute;

            2) for a person who has suffered from a criminal offence in order to clarify his or her rights and duties in the commencement of criminal procedures with a private panel  and in order to draw up the procedural documents related thereto; and

            3) in order to prepare an application or a claim to the court or a settlement document, if a person is involved in a dispute of legal nature, in which legal proceedings are possible.


Legal Aid in Civil Matters

A person may request legal aid in civil matters until the court ruling takes effect.

The State shall ensure the following legal aid during legal proceedings in a civil matter:

1) legal consultations;

2) the drawing up of procedural documents; and

3) representation in court.


Legal Aid in Cross-border Disputes

The State shall ensure legal aid in cross-border disputes outside the court and in the court.

A person may apply for legal aid in a cross-border dispute whilst a court adjudication or public act has not been executed.

The State shall ensure the following in matters of cross-border disputes:

-                legal consultations;

-                the drawing up of procedural documents; and

-                representation in court.

In addition a person has the right to receive:

-                 the services of an interpreter;

-                a translation of such document requested by the court or the competent authority and submitted by the recipient of legal aid, which is necessary for adjudication of the matter; and

-                the payment of such expenses which are related to attendance at court sittings, if the presence of the person in court is provided for in law or if the court requests it, deciding that the relevant person cannot be heard in another way.


Legal Aid in Administrative Matters

The State shall ensure legal aid in administrative matters in the appeal procedure during the granting of asylum, and a person may request it until the time when the final court ruling takes effect.

The State shall ensure the following in administrative matters:

-                legal consultations;

-                the drawing up of procedural documents; and

-                representation in court.


Legal Aid in Criminal Matters

A person who, in accordance with the law, has the right to defence and representation may request legal aid until such time when the final court ruling takes effect.

The State shall provide the following help in criminal matters:

-                the provision of consultations and the drawing up of the procedural documents for the initiation of criminal proceedings in private panel cases;

-                the drawing up of procedural documents in criminal proceedings; and

-                defence or representation in criminal proceedings.

A State-ensured advocate shall be called for the defence of a person in criminal proceedings, in the cases and according to the procedures specified in the Criminal Procedure Law.

A person who wishes to receive legal aid shall submit to the Legal Aid Administration the following:

-                a submission for legal aid – a completed legal aid application form.

-                if necessary, copies of the documents certifying the information referred to in the form;

-                the documents certifying the applicant’s special situation, or a document (statement) issued in accordance with the procedures specified in regulatory enactments, certifying that the applicant’s financial situation conforms to the criteria of low-income and that he/she might be considered as a  destitute..

            A person may obtain the legal aid application form, as well as information regarding the completion of the form and the documents to be attached thereto at the Legal Aid Administration office or at the local government office, in the administrative territory where the person has his or her place of residence or where he or she legally resides.

The legal aid application form and information regarding the completion thereof shall be issued free of charge.

A person has to submit an application for legal aid (a completed legal aid application form) to the Legal Aid Administration office.

The Legal Aid Administration has to reply within 21 days, but in matters which affect the rights of children, within 14 days from the date of the application for legal aid or an application for further legal aid was received. The Administration will have to evaluate the necessity and extent of the provision for legal aid and take a decision regarding the granting of or refusal of legal aid.

If the Legal Aid Administration determines that additional information is necessary in order to take a decision, it shall, within seven days from the day of receipt of the application, request additional information from the legal aid applicant and, if necessary, the provider of legal aid, State and local government institutions, will inform the legal aid applicant thereof.

Requesting additional information shall suspend the limitation period referred to in Paragraph one of this Section for the decision to be taken.

If the Legal Aid Administration does not receive the information requested from a legal aid applicant within 15 days, it shall decide to refuse granting legal aid.

The decision regarding the granting of or refusal of legal aid is an administrative act.

A decision regarding the granting or refusal of legal aid shall be notified in writing. Such notification will be sent to the address indicated by the legal aid applicant or delivered in person.

A person may contest a decision of the Legal Aid Administration and appeal it.


Organizations involved in legal aid

Until the establishment of the Legal Aid Administration, the functions of Legal aid administration were performed by the Legal aid department of the Ministry of Justice.

On January 1st, 2006, the Legal aid administration started to operate and now Legal aid in Latvia is granted by the Legal aid administration. The Legal aid Administration Office is located in Riga, Brīvības gatve 214, LV-1039.

The Legal Aid Administration is a direct administration institution subject to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia.

In accordance with the Law of State providing legal aid, the law “On State compensation to crime victims ” and  the Regulation of Legal Aid Administration, there are  two functions that the Administration performs: 

-                It ensures access to fair legal protection for the population of moderate means and economically disadvantaged people, and persons whose property status and income level is in a specific range;

-                It develops a fair and adequate state compensation mechanism for victims of deliberate and violent criminal actions.


The Legal aid provider can be:

-                a person who, in accordance with the Advocacy Law, may be an advocate in the Republic of Latvia;

-                a sworn notary;

-                a sworn bailiff;

-                a state-recognised higher education institution which has been implementing an accredited study programme for no less than five years, at the end of it a lawyer qualification is awarded and in which a course or unit established for providing of legal aid is headed by a Doctor of Law;

-                 a natural person with the capacity to act, who has completed an accredited study programme in law in a higher education institution (academic study programme in law or a second-level higher vocational study programme in law and a lawyer qualification), is fluent in the official language, is of good repute, and has done at least five years of work experience in any of the law specialities.

All above mentioned persons may provide legal aid after entering into a legal aid contract with the Legal Aid Administration.

When taking a decision regarding the granting of legal aid, the Legal Aid Administration assigns a legal aid provider to a specific matter, taking into account his or her:

-                competence;

-                specialisation;

-                workload;

-                ability to provide legal aid in a specific matter (for example, evaluate the possibility of a conflict of interests); and

-                location in order to evaluate the distance a person has to take in order to receive legal aid.


A person who has received legal aid shall reimburse the expenses related to legal aid in full amount if the Legal Aid Administration determines that:


-                the person has given false information leading to the granting of legal aid;

-                the person abuses his or her rights to legal aid; or

-                the person has received undue legal aid;

A person, requesting legal aid in a cross-border dispute, shall pay for the translation expenses that are covered by the State budget if the competent authority of another state refuses the provision of legal aid.

The expenses repaid related to legal aid shall be transferred back to the State budget.


Online legal aid procedure

There is no online access to legal aid.  Information is available at

However, theoretically the Legal aid Administration has provided citizens with the possibility to submit electronically signed and filled out secured legal aid applications

On the above website, general information  can be found on legal aid, Contact points regarding the legal aid administration, frequently asked questions on legal aid, enables to download legal aid application forms, Legal Aid Administration regulations, structure, history, strategy, Current events (press releases, researches, statistics, budget, vacancies).


For questions, please, contact Valters Gencs, attorney at law at

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The material contained here is not to be construed as legal advice or opinion.

© Gencs Valters Law Firm, 2016
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Doing Business Guide in the Baltics.