Latvia - National Report - World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) - 2nd Edition
Gaļina Žukova is an Attorney at White & Case LLP, Paris, as well as Associate Professor at the Riga Graduate School of Law (Latvia). Formerly, she was Counsel at the Secretariat of the ICC International Court of Arbitration (Paris), where she was leading Central and Eastern Europe case management team. Her academic credentials include LL.B (University of Latvia), LL.M (University of Exeter), and Ph.D. (European University Institute in Florence). Dr. Žukova has particular experience in international trade and dispute resolution and is the author of several publications on these subjects.
Inga Kačevska is an Attorney at Law at the Law Office of Inga Kačevska and Assistant Professor at the University of Latvia. Dr. Kačevska holds LL.B (University of Latvia), LL.M (Chicago Kent College of Law), Master of Orientalistics (University of Latvia), and Ph.D. (University of Latvia). Dr. Kačevska is a leading and reputable practitioner in the field of commercial litigation and arbitration with particular strength in international dispute resolution and application of international private law. She is the author of various publications and is regularly appointed as an arbitrator in international and national cases. She is a member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Originally from World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) - 2nd Edition
I. INTRODUCTION: ARBITRATION IN LATVIA — HISTORY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
A. History and Current Legislation on Arbitration
1. Historical evolution of law relating to arbitration
Latvia de facto declared itself an independent state on 18 November 1918 and was recognized de jure by the international community in 1921. In 1940, Latvia was incorporated into the Soviet Union, only to regain its independence in 1991. In 2004 Latvia joined NATO and the European Union.
Until 1940, the Russian Civil Procedure Law of 1864 as amended and modified during 1920 – 1940 governed domestic arbitrations in Latvia. During those years, two permanent arbitration institutes were established—one at the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and another at the Latvian Craftsmen Chamber. There is no data on whether any international arbitration cases were heard during this time.
During the Soviet period, all commercial disputes were settled by the State Arbitration Court or by the courts of general jurisdiction. Indeed, there were no permanent arbitration institutions in Latvia where domestic and international commercial disputes could be settled.
In 1991, Latvia’s independence was restored, which triggered a number of changes in the field of arbitration. Firstly, in 1992 Latvia signed and ratified the New York Convention. Secondly, in the same year the first permanent arbitration institution was established for the settlement of both domestic and international disputes when the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry approved the Statute of the Arbitration Court. Despite the availability of an arbitral institution, for a while the courts of general jurisdiction were the only available forum for resolving commercial disputes. However, the courts turned out to be quite inefficient in dealing with the ever-growing number of commercial disputes. Their caseload increased dramatically due to a burgeoning number of cases and the lengthy amount of time the courts took to issue rulings on the merits. The momentum for an alternative procedure of commercial dispute settlement was evident.