The Latvian Law of Obligations: The Current Situation and Perspectives

Author:Kaspars Balodis
Position:Associate Professor Faculty of Law, University of Latvia
Kaspars Balodis
Associate Professor
Faculty of Law, University of Latvia
The Latvian Law of Obligations:
The Current Situation and
1. Introduction
The Latvian system of private law is based on the Civil Law, which was adopted in 1937 and came into force
on 1 January 1938. After the restoration of independence, Latvia, in a departure from the approach of the
other two Baltic States, did not draft a new civil law but, in the early 1990s, reinstated the law that had
been adopted prior to World War II. The Civil Law has more than 2,400 sections, which unite and organise
within a uniform system the most important provisions of private law. The Civil Law consists of an intro-
duction and four parts: on family, inheritance, property, and the law of obligations. When reinstating the
Civil Law, the legislator modernised it to the extent necessary to resume its application under the conditions
of the last decade of the 20th century. The amendments that have been made to the Civil Law since the rst
half of the 1990s have affected mainly family and inheritance law. The amendments to the part on the law of
obligations have not been too great; however, most of them have been essential. Over the last two decades,
the Civil Law has proved its viability and practical suitability. The high degree of abstraction typical of the
Civil Law’s provisions signi cantly facilitates their application in practice.
The purpose of this report is to clarify how the law of obligations incorporated into the Civil Law corre-
sponds to the legal needs of contemporary Latvia. Furthermore, this paper examines the reforms needed for
improvement of the law of obligations. This research task is accomplished through discussion of the general
characteristics of the Latvian law of obligations, examination of the amendments to the law-of-obligations
part, and outlining of the prospects for modernising the law of obligations.
2. General characteristics of the
Latvian law of obligations
In its scope, the law of obligations is the most extensive part of the Civil Law. The law of obligations is cov-
ered in Sections 1401–2400 of the Civil Law. The latter part of the Civil Law consists largely of the pandect
legal provisions derived from Roman law, which have been successfully fused with elements of modern civil
1 Report for the conference called ‘Kümme aastat võlaõigusseadust Eestis ja võlaõiguse areng Euroopas’ [‘Ten years of the
Law of Obligations in Estonia and developments of the law of obligation in Europe’], held in Tartu on 29–30.11.2012.

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