Determining the rights and obligations of institutions and individuals during the spread of Covid–19 by Law 01.04.2020
On Tuesday, 31 March, the Cabinet of Ministers supported the draft law regarding the “Law on the Activities of Institutions Due to the Spread of Covid-19”. The aim of the draft law is to determine the activities, rights and obligations of institutions, as well as the rights and obligations of individuals for the prevention and management of threats to the State and their consequences in relation to the spread of Covid-19.
Until now, the authorization provided for by the Cabinet of Ministers in the Law on Emergency Situation and State of Exception, and the Epidemiological Safety Law was not sufficient to create a regulatory framework for the activities of institutions and the rights of individuals to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The new law will combine the proposals of the Ministry of Justice and other institutions with regard to the organizing of the specific and special activities of institutions during an emergency situation in order to ensure that the authorities are able to reorganize their work as effectively as possible, as well as to provide solutions for the prevention of an emergency situation.
The draft law provides for the possibility to suspend the issuance of supporting documents and the extension of time periods in cases when receiving them would require a personal presence, for example, to take an exam or to take photos. During the emergency situation, it shall be possible to suspend the issuance of certificates, licences, affidavits, certificates, passes, permits and other documents, which are issued by the Cabinet of Ministers, institutions subordinate to the Cabinet of Ministers, or State-owned capital companies, as well as individuals performing State delegated tasks. At the same time, a decision is taken to extend the period of validity of a document already issued, which may not exceed three months after the end of the emergency situation. For example, during the emergency situation, there is a limited possibility for drivers to exchange a driving licence that has expired. Under the new rules, it shall be possible to use it for driving a corresponding category vehicle during the emergency situation, provided that there are no obstacles to the exchange of such a certificate.
Among other things, the draft law also provides the possibility, as far as possible, for a replacement of oral proceedings in courts with written procedures.
The draft law also stipulates that it shall be possible to submit applications to institutions for decision-making only in writing, and that in some cases institutions shall be able to accept an application for decision-making by telephone if the institution has other possibilities to identify the applicant and the request expressed by him or her.
The draft law also stipulates that with regard to administrative infringement cases, which cannot be examined at the place where the infringement was committed, it shall be possible for institutions to examine them by taking a decision by written procedure in order to reduce a physical contact of persons and to reduce the risk of infection. Cases of administrative infringements of the court, regardless of the request of persons to examine them in the oral proceedings, shall also be dealt with by written procedure.
The draft law also stipulates that administrative violation cases which cannot be reviewed at the place of the violation shall be reviewed by the respective institution by written procedure in order to reduce face-to-face contact and to reduce the risk of infection. Cases of administrative violations of the court shall also be examined by written procedure regardless of the request of persons to examine them in oral proceedings.
The draft law has yet to be reviewed by the Saeima, and it will enter into force on the day after its promulgation.