A case initiated regarding compliance of the guaranteed minimum income level with the Satversme
On 21st October 2019, the 3rd Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of Para 2 of the Cabinet Regulation of 18 December 2012 No. 913 “Regulation on the Guaranteed Minimum Income Level” with Article 1 and Article 109 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”.
The Contested Norm
Para 2 of the Cabinet Regulation of 18 December 2012 No. 913 “Regulation on the Guaranteed Minimum Income Level”:
“The guaranteed minimum income level for a person shall be 53 EUR per month.”
The Norms of Higher Legal Force
Article 1 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia (hereinafter – the Satversme): “Latvia is an independent democratic republic.”
Article 109 of the Satversme: “Everyone has the right to social security in old age, for work disability, for unemployment and in other cases as provided by law.”
The case has been initiated on the basis of the Ombudsman’s application. The Ombudsman holds that the guaranteed minimum income level determined by the Cabinet is incompatible with the principle of a socially responsible state, does not ensure protection of human dignity and does not fulfil the positive obligation of the State, which follows from Article 109 of the Satversme, to provide to a person the necessary social assistance.
The Ombudsman notes that the Government, for a long time, has not increased the guaranteed minimum income level to make it compatible with the Satversme. The State must orient its policy towards equalisation of social and financial status, instead of reinforcing and expanding social and financial differences. Currently, the guaranteed minimum income level is said to be insufficient to provide for a person’s basic needs, thus, it cannot ensure a standard of living compatible with human dignity.
The Legal Proceedings
The Constitutional Court has requested the institution, which issued the contested act, the Cabinet, to submit a written reply on the facts of the case and the legal reasoning by 23 December 2019.
The term for preparing the case is 21 March 2020. The Court will decide on the type of procedure and the date for hearing the case after the case has been prepared.
Linked case: 2019-24-03