Referring to the decision of the Saeima’s Judicial committee meeting of April 21 last week to suspend the Economic Affairs Court before the third reading in Saeima, the Foreign Investors’ Council in Latvia (FICIL) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Latvia (AmCham) see the recent events as a basis for discussion with policy makers and professionals to find the best solution for the further development of the State’s justice system. FICIL and AmCham recall the importance of enhancing the efficiency and quality of the judiciary by ensuring further specialisation of courts and judges in certain categories of cases.

As Zinta Jansone, Chairman and President of the Board of AmCham, emphasises:AmCham and FICIL call for continued work to improve the judicial system by introducing a specialised court for resolving commercial disputes. Court specialisation would allow for effective and qualitative handling cases in complex economic matters. This has become a necessity today more than ever to restore Latvia’s economy after the crisis and boost the investor confidence.

A specialised court would solve disputes related to, for example, legal protection process, large-scale claims in commercial disputes, application of the provisions of the Financial Collateral Law on claims based on violations of the norms of the Competition Law, etc. It is clear that addressing these issues requires specific knowledge in financial instruments, capital markets, Competition Law, investment protection, economics and finance; therefore, we believe that court specialisation in certain case categories is one way to ensure this. 

Māris Vainovskis, FICIL Investment Protection and Court Efficiency work group leader, reminds:The opinion of entrepreneurs and judicial system professionals about the need for specialisation and its positive impact on efficient and professional resolution of commercial disputes is unified. It is necessary to work together to achieve the best solution. In the light of international issues in resolving investment protection disputes within the European Union, the Latvian state must ensure the specialisation of courts in this area as well.

The state should be able to ensure efficient and professional handling of commercial court proceedings within a reasonable period of time; therefore, FICIL and AmCham hope that discussions will continue to find the best solution in the interests of the state’s economy and investment protection.

FICIL is a non-governmental organisation that unites 38 largest foreign capital companies from various industries, 10 foreign chambers of commerce in Latvia, French Foreign Trade Advisers and Stockholm School of Economics in Riga. The goal of FICIL is to improve Latvia’s business environment and overall competitiveness in attracting foreign investment, using the experience and knowledge of its members to provide recommendations to Government and state institutions.

 AmCham consists of more than 140 companies and individual members. ATPL is the leading foreign chamber of commerce in Latvia, whose members include companies that have direct trade links with the United States, as well as other international and local companies that support AmCham’s mission and goals. The objectives of the ATPL are rooted in four basic principles: honesty, responsibility, collaboration and excellence-oriented action.