You are here:

Latvia / Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia / Case No.2020-33-11

20 members of the Parliament against the Parliament

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
05/05/2021
Key facts of the case:

On 12 June 2018 the Parliament adopted and on 1 January 2019 amendments to the Law on Establishment of Higher Institution providing that all establishments of higher education - state and private must implement study programmes in official language1 only, except in few cases defined by Article 56(3) of the law in question. The few cases when use of foreign languages is permitted are following: 1) if the study programmes are implements under EU programmes or international agreements use of official EU languages is permitted; 2) if the use of official languages of the EU does not exceed 1/5 of a study programme; 3) if use of foreign language is necessary for the attainment of the study aim according to the classification system in study programmes relating languages, culture and language studies; 4) if study programme is implemented in cooperation with establishments of higher institutions of other countries, however, in EU official languages only. 20 members of the Parliament submitted the application to the Constitutional Court on the compatibility of respective norm (further – Contested norm) with Articles 1 (general principles of law (legal certainty), 105 (right to property, freedom to conduct the business) and Article 112 (right to education). On the basis of this application case No.2019-12-01 was initiated. In this case the Constitutional Court adopted two principal decisions: first, that Contested norm is not compatible with Articles 112 and 113 (academic freedom) of the Constitution and, second, that separate case has to be initiated on compatibility of the contested norm with Article 1 (general principles of law – legal certainty) and Article 105 (right to property, freedom to conduct the business). On 14 July 2020 the Constitutional Court decided to refer the questions to the CJEU to in order to establish: (1) if restrictions on the use of foreign languages in establishments of higher education also restricts the right to free movement of services as provided by Article 56 of the TFEU and freedom of establishment as provided by Article 49 of the TFEU and freedom to conduct business as provided by Article 16 of the CFREU;

(2) which considerations should be taken into account in assessing compatibility and proportionality of respective restrictions with the right of the Member States to protect official language as part of national identity (Article 165 of the TFEU)?

 
Key legal question raised by the Court:
1) if restrictions on the use of foreign languages in establishments of higher education also restrict the right to free movement of services as provided by Article 56 of the TFEU and freedom of establishment as provided by Article 49 of the TFEU and freedom to conduct business as provided by Article 16 of the CFREU; (2) which considerations should be taken into account in assessing the compatibility and proportionality of respective restrictions with the right of the Member States to protect their official language as part of national identity (Article 165 of the TFEU and Article 4 of the TEU)?
 
Outcome of the case:
Subject to the interpretation provided by the CJEU and further application of such interpretation by the Constitutional Court.