Information concerning the applications received and cases initiated at the Constitutional Court concerning restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic
Since emergency situation was declared in Latvia in the spring of 2020 until 16 June 2021 the Constitutional Court has received 33 applications pertaining to restrictions related to the Covid‑19 pandemic. 32 applications were constitutional complaints submitted by private persons (three of these applications were collective ones, with multiple applicants). One application was received from a municipal council and it pertained to the procedure according to which the state granted loans to municipalities during the emergency situation.
In December of 2020 a judgment was adopted pertaining to four joint cases (no. 2020-26-0106, no. 2020-27-01, no. 2020-32-01, and no. 2020-56-01). In the joint case no. 2020-26-0106, the Constitutional Court found that the restrictions placed on in-person gambling are compatible with the Constitution, while restrictions placed to online gambling are unconstitutional. The judgment is available here. Concerning the fifth case that had been initiated (no. 2020-62-01) a decision to terminate proceedings was adopted in January 2021, because this case pertained to an issue that had already been examined in the case no. 2020-26-0106. The decision on the termination of proceedings is only available in Latvian.
On 24 March 2021 the Constitutional Court initiated a case concerning the obligation to undergo Covid‑19 testing prior to travelling to Latvia. Case no. 2021-10-03.
On 7 June 2021 the Constitutional Court initiated a case concerning a legal provision which restricted commercial activities in large shopping centres. Case no. 2021-24-03.
Panels of the Constitutional Court have adopted decisions on refusing to initiate a case with respect to 23 applications. Most of the applications have been rejected because it has not been substantiated that the disputed measures for limiting the spread of Covid‑19 or dealing with the consequences thereof have interfered with the fundamental rights of a person but some have been rejected because the respective issue falls withing the competence of administrative courts. No applications have been rejected due to insufficient legal argumentation.
Currently two applications pertaining to restrictions related to the Covid‑19 pandemic are pending before the panels of the Constitutional Court:
- an application pertaining to different rules that apply towards persons who have recovered from Covid‑19 and/or have been vaccinated as opposed persons who have not been infected with Covid‑19 and have not been vaccinated and are not planning to undergo vaccination.
- An application concerning the restrictions with regard to the operation of certain types of stores located in shopping centres.
If a panel will decide to initiate a case, the corresponding information will be published on the web page of the Constitutional Court and a press release will be sent out.
The Constitutional Court has received applications in relation to: the wearing of face masks; the purchase of certified face masks; restrictions of assemblies; the impossibility to establish a political party; the disbursement of benefits to compensate for lost income; restrictions of gambling; restrictions of the working hours of establishments where food and drinks are sold; the impossibility to fully exercise the functions of municipalities; restrictions of the freedom of movement; the dangers linked with the attendance of schools; restrictions on the exercise of religious rituals; the protection of the rights of low-income persons; the definition of the emergency situation as such; restrictions on the sale of books; the obligation not to disclose information concerning cases of infectious diseases; the prohibition to travel to Latvia from abroad if a Covid‑19 test has not been carried out while abroad; restrictions with regard to the operation of certain types of stores located in shopping centres and other similar restrictions; and state support to companies affected by the Covid‑19 crisis.