Civil legal expert examination in Latvia: Situation

Extract from the final Eurexpertise report

All rights reserved EEEI © 2012

Contributing correspondent

  • Linda STRAZDINA, Assistant to the First President of the Supreme Court


  • Philippe JACQUEMIN, Expert, EEEI Vice-President
  • Béatrice DESHAYES, Avocat & Rechtsanwältin – Partner HW&H

Other administrative order


I. Procedural rules in calling for an expert examination

I. 1) On the initiative of

In civil law, the expert examination is determined if the litigation calls for it.

Appointment is by joint agreement between the parties.

I.2) Mandatory expert examinations

No, only in criminal trials.

I. 3) Decision-maker

If the appointment does not satisfy the court or if the litigants disagree, the magistrate makes the decision.

I.4) Is a pre-trial expert examination possible ?


II. Choice and appointment of the expert(s)

II. 1) Register

Two kinds of experts :

– state legal experts, holding a qualification valid for five years

– private experts holding accreditation from the government in the case where no legal expert had the necessary skills.

II. 2) Oath

For state experts, once only ; for private accredited experts, every time.

II. 3) Choice of the Expert

The judge

II. 4) Participation by the parties in the appointment process


Appointment by consensus (the judge has the final decision if the litigants’ choice does not fulfil the conditions set by the Court)

II. 5) Nationality

Given the qualification or accreditation required, it seems clear that the choice of the expert is biased towards (or even imposes) nationality

II. 6) Recusal by the litigant parties


II. 7) Expert’s withdrawal (refusal of a mission)

Yes : not competent, not independent…

II. 8) Possibility of adding another expert

The judge can appoint an expert panel that will jointly sign the report and is collectively responsible for it.

II. 9) Possibility of being assisted by a colleague

Yes, but only the appointed expert will sign the report and is responsible for its content.

III. Definition of the expert’s mission

III. 1) Who determines the mission ?

The judge.

In civil law, the litigants may request an expert examination from the court and suggest what questions they would like the expert to answer.

III. 2) Type of mission

The expert cannot be assigned with determining legal facts.

IV. Progress of the expert’s mission

The expert’s mission is set by the code of procedure in question.

IV. 1) Judge supervision


When carrying out his mission, the expert is independent.

IV. 2) Form of contradictory procedure

This principle bears no relation to the expert’s work.

IV. 3) Participation in the hearing

On request

The expert can be called in to offer precisions or additional information to his report and/or answer questions from the players in the trial.

V. Close of the expert examination

V. 1) Does conciliation put an end to the expert’s mission ?


V. 2) Form imposed on the report

YES. The report must be written.Itmust answer all the questions asked, describe the process that was followed,the methods used, and the measures taken by the expert to reach hisconclusions.

V. 3) Does the report put an end to the expert’s mission ?

No, the expert can be asked to provide more details or more information in his report and/or to answer questions during the hearing.

V. 4) Is there an imposed structure for the report ?


He must answer all the questions asked, describe the process followed, the methods used and meas-ures taken to reach his conclusions.

V. 5) Is a preliminary report mandatory ?


V. 6) Is the judge bound by the expert’s conclusions ?

NO, the expert’s report is evidence that has no higher value than other pieces of evidence.

V. 7) Possibility of a second opinion


VI. Funding for the expert examination

VI. 1) Security-Payment


VI. 2) Determining the amount of payment due


VI. 3) Possibility of additional payment


VI. 4) Determining fees and costs

In civil law, for “private” expert examinations, the fees and costs are set by mutual understanding.

For legal expert examinations, the fees are set by a ruling of the Council of Ministers.

VI. 5) Possibility of contesting the fees


VII. Expert liability within proceedings

VII. 1) Are there any laws governing expert examinations ?

YESVII. 2) Expert liability

Civil and criminal

VII. 3) Mandatory insurance for the expert


VIII. The expert’s status

VIII. 1) Existence of selection criteria (accreditation)


The accreditation and certification procedures are not specified.

VIII. 2) Classification of skills

There is a classification of expert skills set by each state based on the area of expertise and methods used.

For other fields, the experts are classified along the usual skills in matters of expert opinions.

VIII. 3) Required qualifications


VIII. 4) Grant of accreditation

By the Justice Department

The requirements to apply for legal expert accreditation are set by the law which states, beyond the need to be independent, the expert’s duties :

  • to give an objective and scientifically based opinion on all his missions,
  • to refuse any mission outside of his area of knowledge,
  • to carry out his mission according to the Code of Procedure, acknowledged methods, scientifically approved and authorised by the Council of legal experts,
  • to only communicate the results to the persons allowed to receive them (confidentiality),
  • to respect the person, especially a child, who might be the object of his expert examination,
  • to regularly maintain his level of skills.

An expert commission can be created to cover more than one specialty.

VIII. 5) Possibility of accrediting a legal person

No, the expert is a natural person, there is no private expert structure in Latvia.

VIII. 6) f) Validity period for the accreditation

Five years

VIII. 7) Regular assessment tests

There is a supervising institution (“Board of legal experts”) which periodically organises acreditation, decides on potential suspensions or strikes from the register, supervises and controls the activity of legal experts.

Accredited experts are represented by an association : the “Latvian Association of Independent Experts” :

VIII. 8) Supervision of the expert’s mission


Qualitative and quantitative

VIII. 9) Expert’s activity report


VIII. 10) Code of ethics


VIII. 11) Good practice

Yes, a guide to good practice has been published for experts of the various specialisations, but it is not compulsory.

VIII. 12) Possibility of penalties


In administrative and civil law : possible punishment with a fine

VIII. 13) Laws governing the expert’s status


IX. Bibliography


Useful links:

  • Experts Companies : Latvijas Neatkarīgo Ekspertu Asociācija (Lettish association of independent experts)