Taking into account the fact that legal aid systems exist in all the member states of the European Union, according to the Council Directive 2003/8/EC of 27 January 2003, which aims to improve access to justice in cross-border disputes by establishing minimum common rules relating to legal aid for such disputes, the persons shall be entitled to request state legal aid in cross-border disputes in civil matters.
A cross-border dispute is a dispute in which the permanent residence (domicile) of the party applying for legal aid at the time of receipt of the respective application for legal aid is not in a state where the court sitting takes place or the court adjudication is to be enforced. Consequently, there are two possibilities:
1) cross-border dispute takes place in Latvia; In such cases, the Legal Aid Administration receives relevant application transmitted in a cross-border dispute by competent authority from another EU Member State or person ordinarily resident or domiciled in another EU Member State, and it is examined under procedure provided by the State Ensured Legal Aid Law;
2) cross-border dispute takes place outside Latvia. If a person is ordinarily resident or domiciled in the Republic of Latvia, and wishing to obtain legal aid in cross-border dispute, the Legal Aid Administration shall submit the appropriate application - a form request for legal aid in another European Union Member State and shall enclose the necessary documents. The form is available at https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_legal_aid_forms-157-en.do
In such cases, the Legal Aid Administration shall ensure that the application is accompanied by all the supporting documents and their translations, of which it is known that these are necessary to consider the request and within seven days after receipt of all translations, together with processed legal aid transmitting request form and the necessary documents shall send to competent authority of the relevant European Union Member State.
For information on opportunities and procedures for the receipt of legal aid in cross-border disputes please refer to website of the European Judicial Atlas in Civil Matters, under section - Legal Aid, by attendance in person to the Legal Aid Administration at Pils laukums 4, Riga or by calling toll-free information telephone number 80001801.
Legal assistance in criminal proceedings the Member States in their jurisdiction shall grant under statutory procedures. European Union law currently does not cover legal aid in cross-border criminal proceedings.