The work at the conference will proceed in twelve sections:

The extraordinary events that the world has faced during the last couple of years have caused not only new challenges in the areas of economy, health care and public administration but also have affected significantly the area of private law. The new reality, in which the global society finds itself, advances numerous legal issues that have an impact upon legal certainty, legal civil circulation and civil law protection of persons. Changes in environment conditions raise various questions regarding aspects of employment, the obligation of meeting contractual commitments and exceptions to it, implementation of remote legal proceedings and ensuring the right to fair and effective legal proceedings, respecting patients’ rights, limits of privacy, liability pertaining to a delicate area – infecting a person, intentionally or unintentionally, with a dangerous disease. These are just some of the outlined issues that not only the legislator but also scholars of law have to work on. They must be able to identify the areas, where the changes in the environment have caused substantive modifications and require updating the existing legal regulation or even creating a new one.

To allow the legal science to give correct and comprehensive answers to the questions referred to above, it is planned to include in the private law section an extensive range of private law issues, analysing the challenges in various areas of private law, development trends and possible future improvements.

It is planned to divide the private law section into two parts, of which one will be held in Latvian, the other – in English. The speakers may choose freely the section for presenting their research.

The issues to be analysed by the participants of the Conference may include:

  • contract law,
  • rights in rem,
  • intellectual rights,
  • commercial law,
  • labour law,
  • family law,
  • inheritance law,
  • patients’ rights,
  • procedural rights, etc.

The global-scale challenges that the society has faced during recent years have lead to the need to find solutions also in the area of criminal law. The new reality has impacted a person’s fundamental rights, economy, natural environment, public security, and other areas. Also, it has affected manifestations of crime – crimes in the virtual environment are encountered more often, economic crimes are becoming more complicated, instances of fraud increase.

The fast development of information and communication technologies sets new tasks for the criminal law, the effectiveness of which in fair regulation of legal relationships continues to increase. Processes of change require a re-examination of the effectiveness of the current criminal law institutions and their suitability for the large-scale processes of transformation that raise numerous legal issues, leaving an impact on legal certainty.

Papers are welcome both in Latvian and English.

The issues to be analysed by participants of the Conference may include both substantive and procedural criminal law issues, aspects of criminology and forensic science, penal law and other areas of criminal law, including, but not solely:

  • complying with the requirements of legal certainty in drafting legal norms;
  • criminal offences in the virtual environment;
  • criminal liability for spreading fake news, etc.,
  • criminal law aspects in the legalisation of proceeds of crime;
  • criminal law liability of legal persons;
  • understanding and handling of the proceeds of crime;
  • reforms of the system of criminal punishments;
  • choice between the mandatory nature and the expedience of criminal proceedings.

The society of the 21st century faces new challenges more frequently; these are caused by various factors – both depending on the outcomes of human activities and influenced by external circumstances. To a large extent, they require re-examining various values existing in the society, influence also the development of legal science and lay the foundation for the development of new sub-branches of law. In a state governed by the rule of law, setting a reasonable balance between the interests of the society and an individual in various contexts of law remains a constant problem.

In the framework of this section, issues pertaining to the most recent trends in state law will be examined, initiating an exchange of opinions on issues that are relevant for each individual and the national sustainability.

Papers are welcome in both Latvian and English.

 Possible thematic lines of the section, reports on which are welcome:

  • Human rights, national values and national sustainable development;
  • Seeking the balance between personal data protection and society’s access to information;
  • Freedom of information vs. personal privacy;
  • New technologies and law;
  • Epidemiological safety and improving the legal regulation on it;
  • Topical issues in environmental law and spatial planning;
  • Challenges of the 21st century in the work of public institutions towards modern, accessible public administration;
  • Society’s involvement in the adoption of decisions important in the life of an individual and the state.

In the course of history, societies and states have faced threats to their existence that they had to overcome. Warfare and domestic unrest, outbreaks of lethal diseases and natural disasters have always been present as a threat to the existing order. Also, at least from the times of the Roman Republic, the state had been expected to function successfully in emergency conditions, envisaging for it a special legal regime, which differed from the normalcy.

The previous decade also has outlined new challenges. The global economic crisis, the revival of populism and the challenges of post-truth and fake news, as well as Covid-19 pandemic have substantially jeopardised the existence of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. All Western democracies are attempting to deal with these challenges, keeping the core of a democratic state governed by the rule of law intact. At the same time, non-liberal democracies have consolidated both outside the European Union and in some Member States of the European Union, offering real alternatives to a democratic state governed by the rule of law.

At times like these, extensive discussions of the possibilities for democratic states governed by the rule of law for overcoming these emergency conditions are needed, focusing on ways to foster their effectiveness and success in providing for the society’s needs. Amongst these challenges, it is important to examine and define “the minimum of rights”, that cannot be deviated from and that should be retained also in emergency conditions, analysing theoretical, philosophical, ethical aspects, as well as the aspects of historical experience and general theory of state in law.

Papers are welcome both in Latvian and English.

In this section, speakers are invited to offer papers on the following topics of discussion:

  • ambivalence of law – is the rule of law the same in emergency conditions and in times of peace;
  • historical experience in overcoming various threats and the restrictions on rights applied (in particular, evolution of these ideas in the work of the philosophers and scholars of law of the Baltic States);
  • types of threats, their legal meaning and models of the state’s actions in emergency conditions;
  • inviolability of human dignity as a restriction on the state in emergency conditions;
  • minimum of inviolable rights, derogations from which are inadmissible in emergency conditions;
  • protection of a person’s fundamental rights and the methodology for reviewing the restrictions needed in emergency conditions;
  • retaining democracy and the principle of separating the state powers in emergency conditions;
  • professional ethics of lawyers and responsibility for a democratic state governed by the rule of law;
  • public trust in law and the state’s power and the state’s communication with society.

Covid-19 pandemic does not differentiate between people on the basis of their nationality or place of residence. Therefore an effective fight against the pandemic itself and, even more, its consequences, has not only a national but also an international dimension. In the area of international public law, the pandemic calls for revisiting several aspects in the international law, e.g., the functioning and effectiveness of international organisations, environmental law, liability of states for infringements of international law. In the context of pandemic, the issues of human rights protection deserve special attention, from the interaction between human freedoms with the states’ rights to restrict these freedoms in emergency conditions, to the scope of the state’s positive obligations in circumstances of pandemic.

English is the working language of this section of the Conference.

Papers by the participants of the Conference may cover:

  • functioning of international organisations;
  • issues of states’ liability;
  • international environmental law;
  • relevant issues in applying the sources of international law;
  • positive obligations of the states in the area of human rights in the circumstances of pandemic;
  • international human rights standards and the state’s possibilities to restrict human rights in the conditions of pandemic;
  • other relevel issues of international law and human rights.

The European Union’s ability to respond to the challenges of the pandemic as a united, solidary community is a hard trial, ascertaining, whether the shared European values continue to be the priority for the states or whether they are substituted quickly by individual, purely national incentives for and models of actions. What is the place therein of the European Union law? Likewise, it is important to identify the challenges of international private law during this period, examining the relevant matters in courts’ jurisdictions, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of court judgements, as well as in other areas of international private law.

English is the working language of this section of the Conference.

Papers by the participants of the Conference may cover:

  • institutions of the European Union and the legal regulation on their functioning;
  • common market of the European Union;
  • functioning of the Schengen Zone and the challenges caused by the pandemic;
  • relevant issues in the data protection law within the European Union;
  • withdrawal of states from the European Union;
  • mutual recognition of the court judgements by the Member States of the European Union;
  • determining the law applicable in the courts of the European Union Member States;
  • relevant issues in the proceedings before the international arbitration courts;
  • other relevant issues of the European Union law and international private law.

Like science, higher education has a very important role in society. Its role has gained relevance in the current period of on-going 4th industrial revolution when artificial intelligence, big data, innovations and challenges have turned into a norm. During the emergency situation, higher education also faced major challenges. The challenges in the area of education are a relevant issue requiring in-depth examination. The problems that we encounter already now include the organisation of study process, ability of the faculty members and students to adapt to the new processes, as well as the regulation relating to the education process in regulatory enactments.

Many unclear issues arise, for example, “the contact hour”, regulated in the Law on Higher Education Institutions, in the current process of remote studies, the challenges in the processes of higher education in the context of sustainability, etc. Obviously, this is a time of stress for students and for faculty members, therefore, in this Section, we invite inter-disciplinary research of challenges in higher education – their psychological aspects, anthropological and, of course, legal perspectives on them.

Papers are welcome both in Latvian and English.

The issues analysed by the participants of the Conference may cover:

  • adjusting the study process to remote teaching and the related regulatory obstacles;
  • academic integrity and its role in remote studies;
  • reform of higher education institutions in the Republic of Latvia;
  • psychological perspective on how a faculty member and a student feels in these times;
  • modern solutions in the education programmes of legal science;
  • importance of big data and artificial intelligence in the study process;
  • issues of anthropology, e.g., impact of generations in study processes.

There is no doubt that the global pandemic caused by the virus has revealed not only the importance of health care, social responsibility, duty in the society but also the vulnerability of human rights protection. The daily upheavals make each member of society reflect on practical daily issues; however, this situation constantly sets new challenges for lawyers. Legal science cannot be separated from Covid-19 pandemic and identification of its consequences and, also, solutions to them. During this period, when reasoned and balanced decision-making is expected, the role of the legal science can only increase. It should be understood that curbing and co-existing with the virus will be impossible without a serious and substantive analysis of legal aspects.

Clearly, health is a value, and the current conditions require particular focus on it. Restrictions on fundamental human rights have been imposed to protect health, it is advanced as a new incentive for the government’s activity, essentially, all members of society think about health as a value.

This section welcomes interdisciplinary research pertaining to human rights, issues of ethics and medicine, reflecting on public health as a value, its content and application in practice.

Papers are welcome both in Latvian and English.

 

The issues analysed by the participants of the Conference may cover:

  • Application of legal norms where the protection of values is identified;
  • Case law in the area of public health;
  • The legislator’s actions in the emergency situation and related legal aspects in health protection;
  • Overcoming the consequences of Covid-19 and human rights;
  • Public health, which includes aspects of the medical law;
  • Protection of patients’ rights and collision of values, ethical aspects;
  • Understanding of values, issues of applying these in the area of health protection.

Effective application of law requires both qualitative legal norms and qualitative application of them. These cause quite a lot of challenges both to substantial and procedural law. Procedural law is the first to encounter various challenges of local, regional and global scope, caused by different changes. On the one hand, a constantly growing number of issues requiring procedural solutions, and, on the other hand, limited resources and the wish to reach a solution to the issue as fast as possible. Speed and quality. Greater benefits by consuming fewer resources. Public health and ensuring the right to participate in a trial – these are the dilemmas that the contemporary procedural law must deal with. And, as the fundamental requirement relating to all this

 – the need to ensure a person’s right to a fair trial. Where to find the balance between economy, expedience and effective protection of every person’s rights – these are the issues that we shall discuss and look for answers to them in the procedural law section.

              The issues to be analysed by participants of the Conference may cover all types of procedural law and apply, equally, to criminal procedure, civil procedure, administrative and administrative violations procedure, also – to the constitutional court or even the process of legislation.

Papers are welcome in both Latvian and English.

Papers may cover topics like:

  • ensuring access to court;
  • assessment of written proceedings;
  • remote adjudication of cases;
  • simplified procedural forms and a person’s procedural rights;
  • unreasoned court rulings and related problems;
  • public accessibility of court rulings for scientific research;
  • assessing the effectiveness of legal norms in the legislative process;
  • other topics, which are relevant and/ or problematic issues in the contemporary procedural law.

Although mediation has a certain history and the Mediation Law entered into force already seven years ago, the courts, likewise, recommend mediation as a form of dispute resolution, the range of issues requiring solution instead of diminishing keeps expanding.

Some of the activities relating to development and spread of mediation require in-depth research of topics pertaining to the course of mediation process, training, accessibility of mediation and many other issues.

It is expected that discussions in this section will focus on mediators and issues of both practical and theoretical nature important for mediators and mediation that mediators encounter in their professional activities.

Issues analysed by participants of the Conference may cover:

  • challenges of mediation in legal proceedings;
  • rights of the child and mediation;
  • interaction between legal proceedings and mediation;
  • mediation in medicine, i.e., resolving disputes between a patient and health care professionals;
  • mediation in school or higher education institutions;
  • teachers’ perspective - tools for dispute resolution.

The new technologies and online environment are developing rapidly and are playing an increasingly important role in all areas of life, while posing many new challenges that call for the review of existing rules and creating new regulation. The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related technologies has brought many benefits, at the same time also creating significant challenges, ranging from privacy, non-discrimination, accountability, transparency, making the AI regulation a political priority in the EU and globally. Digital services and online platforms, such as social media and e-commerce platforms, are also playing an increasingly important role and providing many opportunities in our social and economic life, while creating new risks to users and society, such as hate speech, disinformation, ensuring fairness in e-commerce. It is therefore necessary to review and update the current EU rules in order to address these challenges and to ensure legal certainty and respect for fundamental rights. The EU has begun the task to regulate digital platforms and other digital services, to define their responsibility and protect freedom of expression and consumer rights.

This section welcomes papers that explore various challenges that AI, other new digital technologies and online platforms pose to the existing regulatory framework and how they influence the development of the existing as well as possible future regulation.

Possible topics of the section:

  • The impact of AI on the legal and regulatory framework, including human rights, anti-discrimination law, data protection and liability regulation;
  • Possible future regulation of AI and related technologies;
  • Possible future regulation of social media platforms;
  • Future regulation of digital services and online platforms;
  • Legal challenges posed by AI, other new digital technologies and online platforms.

Consumer sale is one of the forms (types) of consumer rights protection, which applies to the protection of a consumer as a special subject in a particular type of contractual relationship, i.e., sale, and includes the protection of a consumer in entering into, implementation and suspension of a sales contract. The relevance of consumer sale is linked, in particular, to the European Union (EU) Directives, adopted in 2019 (Directives 2019/770 and 2019/771) related to consumer sale. These directives not only expand but also deepen the regulation on consumer sale in the EU law with respect to new objects of consumer sale, e.g., digital service and digital content.

Within the framework of the recent Directives on consumer sale, both the changes introduced by these Directives and the deficiencies in the regulation of these Directives need to be understood (in particular, in interconnection with some national approaches in the EU Member States and in other countries), which inevitably cause challenges for the national legislation in the process of transposing these Directives. Simultaneously, the transposition of these Directives into the national law of the EU Member States causes significant issues on the level of the national law. On the one hand, these issues are related to improving the regulation on consumer sale on the national level both in connection with the new regulation on the object of consumer sale and the possibilities for the national legislator envisaged in the Directives. On the other hand, transposition of the recent Directives on consumer sale may be linked to systemic solutions on the national level, through the interaction between the consumer protection law with other sub-branches of law, in particular, the general regulation on contractual law or data protection.

Hence, both the content of the recent Directives on consumer sale and transposition thereof in the national law require special attention to ensure effective and sustainable protection of consumers in the domestic market.

The section will be held in English.

The section is organised in the framework of Fundamental and Applied Research Project, approved by the Latvian Council of Science. However, not only the members of the research group of this project but other speakers are also welcome to propose a paper for this section.

The papers by the participants of the section may cover:

  • approaches in the regulation on consumer sale in the EU and national law, including non-EU states;
  • aspects in the regulation on consumer sale in the EU and national law, including non-EU states;
  • deficiencies in the recent Directives on consumer sale (Directives 2019/770 and 2019/771);
  • issues in the transposition of the recent Directives on consumer sale (Directives 2019/770 and 2019/771) and related problems;
  • interaction between the transposition of the recent Directives on consumer sale (Directives 2019/770 and 2019/771) with other sub-branches of law, in particular, contractual law or data protection law;
  • other issues related to consumer sale, in particular, in the digital world.