The Risks to Judicial Independence in Latvia: A View Eighteen Years Since EU Accession


  • Beatrice Monciunskaite Dublin City University


The European Union (EU) is in the midst of what could be deemed the biggest threat to its current order since its inception: Member States backsliding on EU founding values. Indeed, the EU is showing no sign of having the rule of law backsliding crisis under control in states such as Hungary and Poland, a decade since the first signs of populist takeovers emerged. Since the foundational values of liberal constitutional democracy were first challenged in these two Central Eastern European (CEE) countries, similar issues in other Member States have also come to light, such as in the Czech Republic and Malta, amongst others. However, little information is available about the democratic stability of other States that also acceded to the EU in 2004. This paper is a stocktaking exercise which aims to address this gap in relation to the fidelity of Latvia to the founding EU value of the rule of law 18 years since it became an EU member. It will examine the state of judicial independence in Latvia during the past few years. Attacks on judicial independence are the main battleground on which the EU is fighting Hungary and Poland, and a value that is considered central to the EU’s understanding of the rule of law. It is important to understand Latvia’s current state of judicial independence in order to build a broader picture of the status of the rule of law in all Member States. This knowledge will help to fight the EU’s rule of law crisis and the rise of populism. This is something that needs to be achieved sooner rather than later so that the EU can stand united against an ever more aggressive Russia to the East.

Keywords: Latvia, European Union, democracy, rule of law, backsliding, judicial independence.





This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution − Non-Commercial − No Derivatives 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation: B Monciunskaite, ‘The Risks to Judicial Independence in Latvia: A View Eighteen Years Since EU Accession’ (2022) 18 CYELP 129.




How to Cite

Monciunskaite, B. (2022). The Risks to Judicial Independence in Latvia: A View Eighteen Years Since EU Accession. Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy, 18, 129−149. Retrieved from