Clarity of a Criminal Law Provision in the Case Law of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia | Pages 287-304 | PDF

Kristine Strada-Rozenberga, Dr. iur., Professor
Faculty of Law, University of Latvia, Latvia

Janis Rozenbergs, Dr. iur., Lecturer
Faculty of Law, University of Latvia, Latvia

Keywords: criminal law, clarity of provisions, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia, nullum crimen, nulla poena sine lege

The quality criteria for the provisions of criminal law follow from Art. 90 and the second sentence of Art. 92 of the Satversme [Constitution] of the Republic of Latvia. A person may be recognised as being guilty and punished only for such actions that have been recognised as being criminal in accordance with law. A person’s fundamental right to know his or her rights defines the framework for the legislator’s actions because only such a provision that complies with all the quality criteria of a legal provision may be recognised as being a law, i.e., as having been granted legal force. These fundamental rights require the legislator to take special care in drafting legal norms that envisage criminal liability, which is the most severe form of legal liability. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia has repeatedly engaged in assessing the quality of criminal law provisions. This study provides an insight into the Constitutional Court’s approach to reviewing the clarity of criminal law provisions and summarizes the most important findings made by the Constitutional Court regarding this issue.