Overview on dealing with Competition law issues: Latvia


The Article renders concise answers to the following questions and matters:

1 General.

1.1 Please the scope of claims that may be brought in Latvia for breach of competition law.

1.2 What is the legal basis for bringing an action for breach of competition law?

1.3 Is the legal basis for competition law claims derived from international, national or regional law?

1.4 Are there specialist courts in Latvia to which competition law cases are assigned?

1.5 Who has standing to bring an action for breach of competition law and what are the available mechanisms for multiple claimants? For instance, is there a possibility of collective claims, class actions, actions by representative bodies or any other form of public interest litigation?

1.6 What jurisdictional factors will determine whether a court is entitled to take on a competition law claim?

1.7 Is the judicial process adversarial or inquisitorial?

Judicial process in respect to civil law claims (claims for damages due to the breach of CoL) is adversarial. However, judicial process in respect to pure administrative law issues (administrative court proceedings in respect to the breach of CoL) is inquisitorial.

2 Interim Remedies.

2.1 Are interim remedies available in competition law cases?

2.2 What interim remedies are available and under what conditions will a court grant them?

3 Final Remedies.

3.1 Please identify the final remedies which may be available and describe in each case the tests which a court will apply in deciding whether to grant such a remedy.

3.2 If damages are an available remedy, on what bases can a court determine the amount of the award? Are exemplary damages available?

3.3 Are fines imposed by competition authorities taken into account by the court when calculating the award?

4 Evidence.

4.1 What is the standard of proof?

4.2 Who bears the evidential burden of proof?

4.3 Are there limitations on the forms of evidence which may be put forward by either side? Is expert evidence accepted by the courts?

4.4 What are the rules on disclosure? What, if any, documents can be obtained: (i) before proceedings have begun; (ii) during proceedings from the other party; and (iii) from third parties (including competition authorities)?

4.5 Can witnesses be forced to appear? To what extent, if any, is cross-examination of witnesses possible?

4.6 Does an infringement decision by a national or international competition authority, or an authority from another country, have probative value as to liability and enable claimants to pursue follow-on claims for damages in the courts?

4.7 How would courts deal with issues of commercial confidentiality that may arise in competition proceedings?

5. Defences.

5.1 Is a defence of justification/public interest available?

5.2 Is the "passing on defence" available and do indirect purchasers have legal standing to sue?

6 Timing.

6.1 Is there a limitation period for bringing a claim for breach of competition law, and if so how long is it and when does it start to run?

6.2 Broadly speaking, how long does a typical breach of competition law claim take to bring to trial and final judgment? Is it possible to expedite proceedings?

7 Settlement.

7.1 Do parties require the permission of the court to discontinue breach of competition law claims (for example if a settlement is reached)?

8 Costs.

8.1 Can the claimant/defendant recover its legal costs from the unsuccessful party?

8.2 Are lawyers permitted to act on a contingency fee basis?

8.3 Is third party funding of competition law claims permitted?

9 Appeal.

9.1 Can decisions of the court be appealed?

10 Leniency.

10.1 Is leniency offered by a national competition authority in Latvia? If so, is (a) a successful and (b) an unsuccessful applicant for leniency given immunity from civil claims?

10.2 Is (a) a successful and (b) an unsuccessful applicant for leniency permitted to withhold evidence disclosed by it when obtaining leniency in any subsequent court proceedings?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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