The Legal 500

Latvia

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Editorial

Legal market overview

EU membership and connection to CIS countries continue to impact Latvia’s economy, particularly in the real estate sector. Domestic investors, as well as those from Nordic and CIS countries, especially Russia, bolstered Latvia’s property market in 2014. Since then, there have been fears Russia’s appetite for Latvian high-end properties will falter, in light of Russia’s shrinking economy, political tensions over Ukraine and Latvia’s decision to increase the cost of residency rights from €150,000 to €250,000. The consumer goods and important food production markets also suffered from Russian sanctions, with milk prices falling sharply.

In January 2015, arbitration amendments were enforced following 2014’s introduction of a three-tier court structure. The Register of Enterprises will now handle court registration to reduce Latvia’s high number of arbitration courts. Abolishing the Supreme Court’s Criminal Case Chamber also helped move towards a more trusted system.

Personal income tax was reduced to 23% in 2015, and in January 2016 further tax amendments were introduced with the enforcement of the Micro-enterprise Tax Law, which will affect social contributions made by employers and employees. Other significant changes included the adoption of a new industrial property law.

Borenius’ merger with Cobalt became official in January 2016, seeing Indrikis Liepa, Gatis Flinters and new managing partner Lauris Liepa join the latter firm. This came not long after the separation of Lawin and Raidla Lejins & Norcous, in which Raidla’s Latvian and Lithuanian teams joined Lawin’s Estonian office to form Cobalt.

New firms include Skopina & Azanda, Law Office Spridzans and KPMG Law Firm. Redot, Attorneys at Law now operates under its new name Primus, Attorneys at Law.

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