On Thursday, 4 August, the Saeima adopted in the final reading amendments to several laws aimed at improving the protection of a child’s interests by facilitating a speedy return to his or her place of permanent residence after the child has been illegally relocated and by improving the execution of decisions taken in relevant cases in Latvia.
In drafting these amendments, foreign experience and court practice have been taken into account; thus there will be an option to comply voluntarily with the ruling regarding the return of the child. If one complies with the ruling voluntarily, one can request assistance from an orphans’ court in preparing the return of the child to his or her country of residence. The court will have to specify the term for voluntary execution of the ruling on the child’s return to his or her foreign country of residence; the term may not be longer than 30 days from the enforcement of the ruling. In reviewing the petition, the child’s preference is ascertained if he or she is old enough and mature enough to articulate it.
If there is no voluntary compliance with the ruling, the person in question will be fined, and forced execution of the ruling will begin. If the person who requested the return of the child does not take part in the forced execution, the child is turned over to a representative of the relevant orphans’ court.
The Saeima ruled that the person who requests the return of the child must pay the state fee and cover related expenses; the funds are to be transferred to the deposit account of the bailiff when submitting the court ruling for execution. Regarding expenses related to the execution of the ruling, the bailiff will claim them from the defendant in the given case.
Pertinent amendments have been introduced to the Law on Orphans’ Courts, the Civil Procedure Law and the Law on Protection of the Rights of the Child.
Amendments to the Civil Procedure Law also change the procedure for appealing against a court ruling on submitting a request to a foreign country for a child’s return to Latvia from abroad. Until now, the ruling had to be executed without delay. From now on, the ruling of a court of first instance will come into force after the end of the term for lodging an appeal, which for special appeals is 10 days after a copy of the ruling is issued.
The amendments to the Civil Procedure Law will also change provisions regarding the security for claims and the procedure for submitting and examining special appeals. Several amendments related to defining the competence of judges of land registers were also added to the Civil Procedure Law.
Amendments to the Civil Procedure Law require a party to submit documentary proof if he or she informs the court that he or she is unable to attend a court sitting.
The amendments to these laws will come into force on 1 October.
Saeima Press service