During the last few months number of laws and regulations have been passed in Latvia which have an impact on construction processes, investment in the Latvian real estate and project development.
On January 18, 2021, CEE Legal Matters reported that Cobalt had advised Practica Capital on its investment in Lithuanian start-up Biomatter Designs – part of the latter's EUR 500,000 investment round. CEEIHM spoke with Donatas Keras, Co-Founding Partner at Practica Capital to learn more about the matter.
In February, 2020, the Latvian authorities breathed a sigh of relief after the Financial Action Task Force voted against adding Latvia to the so-called “grey list” of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering deficiencies. Prior to that, MONEYVAL, the permanent monitoring body of the Council of Europe entrusted with the task of assessing compliance with the principal international standards to counter money laundering, found that Latvian financial institutions had failed to introduce sufficient methods to identify suspicious funds primarily associated with clients from the former Soviet bloc countries.
In 2015, the word Cobalt took on a new meaning in the legal markets of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, when a new pan-Baltic law firm with that name opened its doors, immediately entrenched in the top tier of the region’s legal markets. That firm owes much of its success and reputation to the Managing Partner of its Lithuanian office and Chairman of the firm-wide Management Board, Irmantas Norkus.
In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners across Central and Eastern Europe about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time: “What one ongoing pro bono initiative or project or charity/volunteering project that your firm is involved with has the most meaning for you personally, and why?”
The mandatory procurement of electricity (a “feed-in tariff,” or FIT) is one of the main schemes implemented in Latvia to support the production of renewable energy. FIT is a guaranteed right to sell a certain annual amount of electricity to the public entity for a fixed period of time at a price that exceeds the market price. The advantageous system is made available to combined heat and power (CHP) plants of high efficiency and producers using renewable energy. FIT is an important component of each renewable energy project, as renewable energy production without these rights is uncompetitive.
In accordance with statistical data from 2018 and 2019, Latvia’s State Agency of Medicines concluded that there is a high risk of unavailability of state-reimbursed medicines in the Latvian pharmaceutical market, mainly as a consequence of the behavior of the wholesalers. The same conclusion was reached by the Competition Council of the Republic of Latvia which, in late 2018 and 2019, published two reports on the availability of medicines. Accordingly, it was concluded that the existing regulatory framework was unable to provide an effective market protection mechanism to reduce the risk that patients in Latvia might not have access to state-reimbursed medicines, because after these medicines are made available in Latvia by producers or importers, they are exported to third countries or other EU member states by other market participants.
In August 2007 crime fiction admirers in Latvia were thrilled to read a book, Kitchen Justice, describing an influential litigation attorney, the trial cases his office handled, and his secret relationship with judges and public figures. The protagonist was immediately recognized by readers, and the legal community was able to identify heroes less known to the public: the judges in the legal proceedings, who were privately communicating with the prominent attorney about the cases they were working on. It was apparent that the disguised author had based his fictional novel on a real-life characters and cases, and without delay, Latvia’s Chief Justice convened an extraordinary session of Supreme Court judges to set up a special panel of five reputable judges with a mandate to investigate the novel’s plot. The commission interviewed dozens of judges who had been identified in Kitchen Justice.
In 2019, amidst the money-laundering scandal of a Latvian bank and the increasing risk that the country would be included in the Financial Action Task Force’s so-called “Grey List,” Latvia’s Financial and Capital Market Commission introduced new regulations on Anti-Money-Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) and Sanctions.
The Labor Law of Latvia states that an employer is generally prohibited from dismissing employees with disabilities and has to provide such employees with adequate jobs. Employees with disabilities can be dismissed, however, on these grounds (and only these grounds): a) misbehavior; b) inability to perform the contracted job; or c) the employer’s liquidation. Additionally, until a recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Latvia, employers were unable to bring actions in court seeking the dismissal of employees with disabilities.
Theis Klauberg took a circuitous route to managing his eponymous firm in the Baltics. He began his education in Germany, at the University of Hamburg, Heidelberg University, and Humboldt University of Berlin, before obtaining an LL.M. at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, then concluding his formal education with an MBA at the Baltic Management Institute. His professional career has been no less diverse, as he has worked in Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, and Zimbabwe.
The law on carriage of goods is a well-harmonized area of international law – a streamlined set of rules that allows cargo owners and carriers to save valuable time and resources. While freight forwarders are an important element of every consignment it is surprising that many elements of forwarder’s liability are still regulated by national law.
The Baltic real estate and construction markets remain active, with a number of sizeable transactions completed during the first few months of 2019 and investment pouring into the development of infrastructure, commercial, and residential projects. For the past decade, the Estonian and Lithuanian real estate markets have been more active than the Latvian market. Now, however, with Estonian and Lithuanian markets becoming more and more saturated, Latvia is attracting an increased amount of interest from developers and investors.