Case No. 2000-08-0109 Constitutional Court of Latvia (On Compliance of Item 1 of the Transitional Provisions of the Law On Social Insurance with Articles 1 and 109 of the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia and Articles 9 and 11 (the
Latvian parliamentarians claimed before the Constitutional Court that certain employers were not paying social insurance premiums into a fund for their employees; failure of State to ensure all social insurance premiums paid by employers; use of international human rights law; State obliged to develop efficient mechanism of implementation for guaranteeing right to social security; social insurance legislation ineffective.
Twenty deputies of the Latvian Parliament (the Saeima) claimed that certain employers were not paying social insurance premiums into a fund for their employees. The deputies asserted a breach of the constitutional right to social security and Articles 9 and 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) since the State had failed to ensure the relevant legislation ensured that premiums were paid by employers. The Court found that the law was inconsistent with the right to social security The Court noted that General Comments 3 and 9 of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Limburg Principles had advanced the understanding of the more discrete obligations of Member States. The State had the discretion to choose the manner of implementation of the right to social security in the Latvian case a system of social insurance (through premiums) and social assistance for those in need but that the State must develop an efficient mechanism for the implementation of the norms in order to guarantee the right. Failure to collect taxes (or premiums) would not be a proper utilisation of all of its resources in implementing social rights. The Court acknowledged the legislation was developed in a standardized and institutionalized way that several State institutions were authorized to oversee its implementation and there was a theoretical possibility that employees could bring a claim for compensation for violation of their constitutional rights. However, the law was inconsistent with the right to social security since it effectively allowed non-compliance by employers, to the detriment of employees.
Keywords: Case No. 2000-08-0109 Constitutional Court of Latvia (On Compliance of Item 1 of the Transitional Provisions of the Law On Social Insurance with Articles 1 and 109 of the Satversme (Constitution) of the Republic of Latvia and Articles 9 and 11), Justiciability, Enforcement, ESCR
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Claimant: Representative of Deputies Leader of Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party Tel: 7087205 Email: Egils.Baldzens@saeima.lv Claimant’s Lawyer: Vairis REINHOLDS Blugers un PLaude Vīlandes ielā 12, Riga LV–1010, Latvia Tel: +371 7 225231, Tel: +371 7 220718, Tel: +371 7 221050, Fax: +371 7 820612 Parliament’s Lawyer: Gunârs Kusiòð Saeima Jekaba iela 11 Riga LV 1811 Latvia Tel: +371 708 7154 Fax: Saeima Presidium: 7830333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The case demonstrates the potential for Constitutional Courts to apply international and constitutional standards on economic, social and cultural rights and monitor the implementation of programmes designed to realise social security rights, particular the regulation of private actors.