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To promote a business environment based on the rule of law, the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia (FICIL) organized a panel discussion and a high-council meeting with the Government, thus continuing the cooperation over many years with the aim to attract quality investments.

In the panel discussion of 26th May, Mr. Māris Vainovskis, Senior Partner of the law office, represented FICIL Working Group on the Efficiency of Judicial System and Investment Protection, speaking on the matters of the rule of law in Latvia.

“Delayed justice is injustice. During the time of our activities, considerable improvements have been introduced in the area of investment protection – the Government has taken on board more than 60% of suggestions on how to improve and modernise the judicial environment. In the area of raising the efficiency of insolvency proceedings more than 80% of suggestions proposed by the Council have been implemented. However, it is not enough to have well-intended laws in place to improve the legal environment, that is evidenced by practical problems. The laws must also be correctly implemented and enforced. The contents must take priority over the form”, said Mr. Vainovskis, describing the work done by the Foreign Investors' Council and the Government.

The justice system was represented in the discussion by Mr. Dzintars Rasnačs, the Justice Minister. Dr.iur. Jānis Neimanis, a Judge of the Supreme Court, uttered his opinions, and Mr. Stephan Oldfield,  a  partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers from the United Kingdom, shared his practical experience in insolvency administration. Mr. Robert Kirkup, the Board Chairman of Vitol, represented the views of foreign investors.

On the next day after the discussion, the 27th of May, a high-level meeting between FICIL and Cabinet ministers took place. This was already the twentieth meeting on this level, therefore the discussion was about what has been achieved so far in the designated priority areas and suggestions considered on how to improve the efficiency of the justice system, as well as other improvements to the business environment.

During the meeting, matters were discussed related to safety of the business environment and investments in Latvia. Consensus was reached that this is one of the most significant elements in raising the country’s competitiveness. Therefore work should be continued to improve the efficiency of courts, to secure that laws and regulations are enforced uniformly and predictably. To promote comprehensive and safe use of the e-environment, and to implement other measures enhancing the trust of the public and certainty in the force of judiciary and the rule of law in the country.

Alongside other issues during the meeting, discussion was about the Progress Report on implementation of FICIL recommendations in investment protection. The Report highlights that several FICIL proposals for strengthening the courts and the force of court decisions have been implemented. “The force, justification and fairness of court decisions is supported by training of judges and civil servants, by conferences and other continuing professional development opportunities”, the Report says.

The uniformity of judicial practice is secured by the public having access to court decisions, the Report stresses, and appreciation is given to the fact that FICIL suggestions were taken on board in the process of levelling out the workload of courts.

About participation of Eversheds Bitāns in the Foreign Investors' Council in Latvia:

Eversheds Bitāns has been active in working with the Foreign Investors' Council for six years already. The law office is taking part in several working groups which prepare suggestions for the Government on how to improve the investment environment in Latvia:

Ilze Kramiņa and Ģirts Rūda, attorneys at law - Construction Working Group

Māris Vainovskis, Senior Partner, and Elīna Vilde, lawyer - Working Group on the Efficiency of Judicial System and Investment Protection

Jūlija Sauša, lawyer – Working Group on Tax Policy and Tax Administration

Māris Logins, attorney at law, and Elīna Umbraško, assistant attorney at law – Employment Law Group

Māris Logins, attorney at law – Public Procurement Working Group