Time bars under Latvian law
Latvian Civil law (general law for civil relationships)
|General time bar (Sec. 1885)||10 years for all obligations rights, if laws don’t contemplate a shorter term, counting from the day when the time of fulfilment of the obligation became due.|
Maritime code (special law for maritime matters)
|Nature of Claim||Time Bar|
|Liens on cargo (Sec. 40)||1 year from the time it arose.|
Lien on cargo ceases to exist if the cargo is delivered, if it is sold by forced sale or if it is sold on the account of the owner of the cargo.
|Claims secured by a maritime lien (Sec.325)|
For the maritime liens, if it is not otherwise prescribed, the time bar is one year if before the expiry of this time period the ship has not been arrested and sold by way of forced sale procedure.
The time bar for the maritime liens shall commence:
The time bar may not be interrupted or suspended. The time period shall not include the time when the ship has been under unreasonable arrest.
|Claims arising out of collisions of ships (Sec.327)||2 years from the date of collision.|
|Claims arising out of pollution (Sec.328)||3 years from the time when the damage or loss arose, or the payments were made. An action cannot be brought if from the moment of the accident six years have passed. If the damage, loss or payments arise in a series of several accidents which have one cause, the six year period shall be counted from the time when the first accident occurred.|
|Claims arising out of carriage of goods by sea (Sec.329)||1 year for claims arising in a case of loss or damage of cargo or in connection therewith, or in relation to incorrect or incomplete statements in a bill of lading, counting from the day when the cargo should have been delivered or it was delivered (if the cargo is subsequently delivered).|
1 year for claims which has arisen due to failing to present a bill of lading during delivery of the cargo or delivering the cargo to another person, counting from the day when the cargo should have been delivered or it was delivered (if the cargo is subsequently delivered).
For regress claims – 1 year, counting from the day when the claim was settled.
|Claims arising out of carriage of passengers by sea (Sec.330)|
Time bar is 2 years. The commencement of the prescriptive period is calculated as follows:
|Claims arising out of General average (Sec.331)|
1 year for a claim regarding payment of general average, as well as compensation for damage and loss obtained in general average, counting from the day when the ship reached port after the general average.
1 year for a claim regarding payment of general average compensation, counting from the time of calculation of expenditures of the general average.
|Salvage claims (Sec. 332)||2 years for a claim regarding salvage reward or special compensation, counting from the day when the salvage measures (operations) are completed.|
1 year for a claim regarding apportionment of a salvage reward or special compensation, counting from the day when the notice regarding the amount of the compensation and the plan for apportioning it was sent.
|Wreck removal claims (Sec. 333)||3 years, counting from the day when assessment of the hazardousness of the wreck is completed, but not more than six years, counting from the day when the ship became a wreck.|
|Other maritime claims (Sec.334)|
1 year, counting from the day when the basis for the claim arose.
Commercial Law (special law for commercial dials)
|Nature of Claim||Time Bar|
|Claims arising out of commercial deals (Sec. 406)||Within 3 years from the breach of the contract, if no special time bar contemplated by the law.|
|Claims against forwarders (Sec.445)||Claims against a forwarder regarding damages, perishing, shortfall, destruction or loss of goods transferred for forwarding, as well as for delivery of the goods shall expire within one year. If the forwarder has acted in bad faith or allowed gross negligence, the referred to claims shall expire within three years. All other claims against the forwarder shall expire within three years.|
If the goods transferred for forwarding has not been preserved due to damages, perishing or shortfall, the limitation period shall begin from the day on which the goods were delivered to the consignee, but due to destruction, loss of the goods or delay of delivery of the goods – on the day when the goods should have been delivered to the consignee.
|Claims against a bailee (Sec.456)|
Rules of “special laws” have a priority over the rules of “general laws”. The International and EU regulations, compulsory for Latvia, have a priority over the rules of internal legislative acts (excluding Staversme (Constitution). Thus, for marine matters, the following sources of law should be checked, and in the following sequence: International conventions (ratified by Latvia) - Maritime code – Commercial law – Civil law. If the rules of the lower priority level legislative act contradict to rules of a higher level legislative act, the rules of the higher level legislative act apply.
It should also be noted that time bar can be suspended and/or interrupted.
The suspension is contemplated in very specific situations, which doesn’t concern marine/commercial relationships.
The limitation period interrupts in the following situations:
When the limitation period is interrupted, the same new limitation period begins to flow. The law can provide specific rules regarding suspension and interruption of the limitation period (for example, restriction provided by Section 325 (Maritime liens) of the Maritime code).