Under Latvian Civil Procedure Law, a court can rule that the judgment must be executed immediately even though it can be further appealed. This applies in certain cases, including claims related to payment of work remuneration. In practice, from time to time this leads to a situation when a higher instance court decides the case differently, ie in favour of the employer. So far the problematic issue for employers has been recovery of work remuneration paid to an employee on the basis of a mistaken lower court judgment. In essence, under the Civil Procedure Law, recovery was possible only if the judgment of the lower court was based on false information or forged documents submitted by the employee.
In all other cases, including the situation where the judgment of the lower court has simply been mistaken due to incorrect interpretation of the law, the employer was actually made responsible for the mistake of the court, as it was not possible to claim back from the employee or anybody else any amounts paid under a mistaken judgment which had already been executed. Moreover, under Latvian law the term “work remuneration” is interpreted widely and includes an employee’s salary, various supplements, bonuses, severance pay, compensation for forced absence from work, and the like.
On 16 April 2015, the Latvian Constitutional Court (the Court) ended this problem by delivering judgment in case No. 2014-13-01, by which the Court ruled that Section 635 part 6 of the Civil Procedure Law does not comply with the first sentence of Section 92 of the Constitution of Latvia providing that “everyone has the right to defend his/her rights and lawful interests in a fair court”, to the extent that it relates to stringent rules with respect to reversal of enforcement of judgment in cases concerning recovery of work remuneration. The Court also ruled that this provision of the Civil Procedure Law is no longer in force starting from 1 November 2015.