The Saeima1 has adopted
Law On Official Publications and Legal Information
Section 1. Purpose of the Law
The purpose of this Law is to ensure the right of private individuals to be informed regarding their rights and duties, regulating the proclamation, publication and validity of and access to legal acts and official notices binding thereto.
Section 2. Official Gazette Latvijas Vēstnesis and Legal Status of the Information Published Therein
(1) The official gazette Latvijas Vēstnesis (hereinafter - official gazette) is the official gazette of the Republic of Latvia, and the information published therein is an official publication. Information in the official gazette shall be published electronically on the website www.vestnesis.lv in accordance with the procedures laid down in this Law and other regulatory enactments.
(2) The official publication shall be publicly reliable and binding. No one can plead not knowing the legal acts or official notices published in the official gazette.
Section 3. Information to be Published in the Official Gazette
(1) External regulatory enactments, as well as other legal acts and official notices shall be published in the official gazette, if their publication in this gazette is provided for by external regulatory enactments. Binding regulations of local governments shall be published in the official gazette to the extent specified in the Law On Local Governments.
(2) Information containing an official secret and restricted access information shall not be published in the official gazette.
(3) If an external regulatory enactment provides for the publication of legal acts of specific type, however, the particular legal act of the relevant type contains an official secret and restricted access information, it shall not be published.
Section 4. Proclamation and Coming into Force of a Law
(1) A law shall be proclaimed within the time period specified in the Constitution by publishing it in the official gazette.
(2) If in the cases provided for in the Constitution, the Chairperson of the Saeima proclaims the law instead of the President, it shall be stated specifically.
(3) The time period for proclamation and the time period for coming into force of a law specified in the Constitution shall be counted from the day following the event that determines the beginning of the time period.
Section 5. Entering into Effect and Publication of a Decision of the Saeima
A decision of the Saeima shall enter into effect at the time of taking thereof, if another time period for entering into effect has not been specified in the decision itself. A decision of general significance taken by the Saeima or information regarding it shall be published in the official gazette.
Section 6. Coming into Force and Publication of Legal Acts of the President
A legal act issued by the President shall come into force at the time of signing thereof, if it has not been specified otherwise in an external regulatory enactment. A legal act of general significance of the President or information regarding it shall be published in the official gazette.
Section 7. Proclamation, Publication and Coming into Force of Legal Acts of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister
(1) Cabinet regulations, instructions or recommendations shall be proclaimed by publishing them in the official gazette.
(2) Cabinet regulations, instructions or recommendations shall come into force on the day following proclamation thereof, if another time period for coming into force thereof has not been specified in the legal act itself. If in accordance with law the Cabinet instructions, recommendations or part thereof have been granted the status of restricted access, the instructions or recommendations shall come into force on the day of issuance thereof, if another time period for coming into force thereof has not been specified in the legal act itself.
(3) A protocol decision of a Cabinet meeting shall come into force at the time of taking thereof. An order of the Cabinet and Prime Minister, except an administrative act, shall come into force at the time of signing thereof.
(4) The minutes of a Cabinet meeting, an order of the Cabinet or Prime Minister shall be published in the official gazette, except minutes, order or part thereof, in relation to which it is specifically indicated that it should not be published.
Section 8. Proclamation and Publication of Legal Acts in Extraordinary Cases
(1) In extraordinary cases the President or accordingly the Chairperson of the Saeima is entitled to proclaim a law, reading it in public electronic mass media or, if it is not available, then in another electronic mass media upon the choice of the proclaimer. A law thus proclaimed shall be, without delay, published in the official gazette, indicating the way and time of proclamation of the law.
(2) Legal acts of the President, decisions of the Saeima, as well as legal acts of the Cabinet and Prime Minister may be made known in accordance with the procedures laid down in Paragraph one of this Section in extraordinary cases.
Section 9. Application of External Regulatory Enactments
(1) The following hierarchy of the legal force of external regulatory enactments shall be complied with in applying regulatory enactments:
1) the Constitution;
3) Cabinet regulations;
4) binding regulations of local governments.
(2) External regulatory enactments, which have been issued by a derived legal person governed by public law in issues of the autonomous competence thereof (an autonomous public legal entity), shall be considered as equivalent to Cabinet regulations in the hierarchy of the legal force, unless specified otherwise by law.
(3) Application of international legal norms binding to Latvia and legal norms of the European Union shall be determined by international agreements and other legal acts.
(4) A regulatory enactment or part thereof shall not have a retrospective effect, except cases especially provided for in law.
(5) If the legal grounds for the issuance of the regulatory enactment is repealed (a higher legal norm of legal force, on the basis of which another regulatory enactment has been issued), the regulatory enactment or part thereof issued on such basis is also repealed.
(6) If a contradiction is detected between:
1) legal norms of differing legal force, the legal norm of higher legal force shall be applied;
2) a general and special legal norm of equal legal force, the general legal norm shall be applied insofar as it is not restricted by the special legal norm;
3) legal norms of equivalent legal force, the newest legal norm shall be applied (the date of adopting the legal norm shall be determinant);
4) a newer general legal norm and older special legal norm of equivalent legal force, the oldest special legal norm shall be applied insofar as the purpose thereof is not in contradiction with the purpose of the newest general legal norm.
Section 10. Publication of Official Notices
(1) Entries of public registers, announcements, notifications or information of bodies governed by public law, their officials and private individuals shall be published in the official gazette as official notices, if official publication thereof is provided for by external regulatory enactments.
(2) The President, the Chairperson of the Saeima and the Prime Minister may publish information of general significance in the official gazette.
Section 11. Submission of Information for Publication
(1) A provider of information shall ensure that the information submitted for publication conforms to the requirements for the protection of official secret, restricted access information and personal data protection.
(2) A body governed by public law shall submit information for publication in electronic form. If the original of the document to be published is in printed form, the provider of the relevant information shall be responsible for the conformity of the electronically submitted document with the original.
(3) A private individual shall submit information for publication in the way indicated in Paragraph two of this Section or in printed form, confirming the content of the document with a signature.
Section 12. Publication of Information in the Official Gazette
(1) The official gazette shall be published in electronic form as a periodical publication, indicating the number of the issue and date of publication.
(2) The publisher of the official gazette shall ensure the conformity of the published information with the submitted information and a possibility of ascertaining the unchangeability of the information published from the time when it was published.
Section 13. Costs of Provision of Official Publication
(1) The costs of provision of the official publication and access thereto shall be covered from the fee for the official publication paid by the submitter of information, unless it has been provided otherwise in law or Cabinet regulations. The Cabinet shall determine the amount of the fee for official publication, the procedures for collecting the fee and reliefs.
(2) Such submitters of information who submit the information referred to in Sections 4, 5, 6 and 7 and Section 10, Paragraph two of this Law, as well as State institutions financed from the State budget, which submit such legal acts for publication, the publication of which in the official gazette is provided for by external regulatory enactments, need not pay for the official publication.
Section 14. Authorities Responsible for Official Publication and Their Competence
(1) The Ministry of Justice is the managing (higher) authority in the field of official publication and systematisation of the information included therein.
(2) The State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis shall implement the State policy in the field of official publication and systematisation of the information included therein, including promote the understanding regarding the rights and duties of private individuals specified in regulatory enactments, as well as ensure the provision of State official information, the process of official publication and systematisation of the information included therein.
(3) The State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis shall be the issuer of the official gazette.
Section 15. Information System of Official Publications
(1) The information system of official publications is a State information system, in which the systematisation of official publications and the information included therein is ensured.
(2) The State of Latvia is the owner of the information system of official publications. The Ministry of Justice is the manager and State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis - the keeper of the information system of official publications.
(3) The maintenance and development of the information system of official publications shall be financed from a grant from the State budget, fee for official publications and other income.
Section 16. Systematisation of Legal Acts
(1) The State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis shall ensure systematisation of legal acts in the website www.likumi.lv. The Cabinet shall determine the minimum requirements and procedures for systematisation of legal acts.
(2) The systematised legal acts are not binding. If a contradiction is detected between the systematised legal act and the official publication of legal act, the official publication shall be taken into account.
Section 17. Access to the Official Gazette and Systematised Legal Acts
(1) The official gazette shall be accessible freely and free of charge in the permanent online mode on the website www.vestnesis.lv.
(2) Legal acts systematised by the State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis shall be accessible without restrictions and free of charge in the website www.likumi.lv.
(3) The State shall ensure that anyone may become acquainted with the official gazette and systematised legal acts at State and local government libraries, as well as public Internet access points ensured by the State and local governments free of charge.
(4) Anyone may request that the issuer of the official gazette ensures the preparation of a certified printout of the official publication in printed form for a fee that does not exceed the cost price thereof. Such printout shall be of informative nature.
Section 18. Re-use of Official Publication and Systematised Legal Acts
(1) Official publication and the legal acts systematised in the website www.likumi.lv shall be available for re-use in accordance with the procedures laid down in the regulatory enactments regarding freedom of information. The Cabinet shall determine the fee for the transfer of official publication and the legal acts systematised in the website www.likumi.lv for re-use.
(2) Re-use of information generated as a result of official publication and systematisation thereof shall be organised by the keeper of the information system of official publications. Re-use of the officially published entries of the Enterprise Register shall be ensured by the keeper of the information system of the Enterprise Register.
(3) In reproducing an external regulatory enactment, the conformity thereof with the official publication shall be ensured, as well as the date of the official publication and the number of the issue, in which the regulatory enactment and amendments thereto, if any, have been published, shall be indicated.
Section 19. Transfer of Official Publications to the Archives and Constant Preservation of the National Cultural Heritage
The issuer of the official gazette shall transfer the official publications:
1) for permanent national storage in the National Archives of Latvia. Official publications of the current year shall be transferred to national storage to the National Archives of Latvia until 31 December of the following year;
2) to the Latvian National Library within one working day from the day when the issue was published in order to ensure constant preservation of the official publication as the national cultural heritage, processing and use thereof.
1. With the coming into force of this Law the Law On the Procedures for the Proclamation, Publication, Coming into Force and Validity of Laws and Other Acts Adopted by the Saeima, President and Cabinet (Latvijas Republikas Saeimas un Ministru Kabineta Ziņotājs, 1994, No. 13; 2003, No. 8; Latvijas Vēstnesis, 2009, No. 205), is repealed.
2. Until 1 January 2013, the Cabinet shall issue the regulations provided for in this Law. Until the day of coming into force of the Cabinet regulations provided for in Section 16, Paragraph one of this Law Cabinet Regulation No. 279 of 13 April 2004, Regulations Regarding Systematisation of Regulatory Enactments, shall be applied, insofar as they are not in contradiction with this Law.
3. The Cabinet shall create a State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis until 1 January 2016. Until the creation of the State agency Latvijas Vēstnesis the fulfilment of the tasks thereof shall be ensured by the State limited liability company Latvijas Vēstnesis.
4. The coming into force of this Law shall not affect the validity of such official publications, which have been published prior to coming into force of this Law. Legal acts, which have been published officially prior to coming into force of this Law and are available in electronic form in the website www.vestnesis.lv, shall be of informative nature.
5. The numbering of issues of the official newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis shall be retained in the official gazette.
6. Until amendments to such regulatory enactments come into force, which provide for the proclamation or publication of legal acts and official notices in the newspaper Valdības Vēstnesis, the newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis or the official newspaper (gazette), such information shall be published in the official gazette.
7. Until 1 January 2013 the official newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis shall be issued concurrently with the official gazette. If there is a contradiction between an official publication in the official gazette and the official newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis, preference shall be given to the publication in the official newspaper Latvijas Vēstnesis.
8. Until the day when euro is introduced in the Republic of Latvia, information regarding the foreign exchange rate specified by the Bank of Latvia on the relevant day in relation to lat shall be published in the official gazette.
9. The Cabinet shall evaluate the safety of and access to the official gazette and until 1 November 2012 shall submit a report to the Saeima about it.
This Law shall come into force on 1 July 2012.
This Law has been adopted by the Saeima on 31 May 2012.
President A. Bērziņš
Rīga, 20 June 2012
1 The Parliament of the Republic of Latvia
Translation © 2013 Valsts valodas centrs (State Language Centre)