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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 16.01.2019, 12:40

Constitutional Court in Latvia rules provision banning ex-convicts from education jobs unconstitutional

BC, Riga, 27.11.2017.Print version
The provision banning persons with criminal history from doing education jobs is unconstitutional, the Latvian Constitutional Court ruled in Latvia on November 24th.

The Constitutional Court’s representatives told LETA that the court did not hear compelling argumentation in favor of a complete ban on formerly convicted persons in education jobs as the only means for achieving the legitimate goal of the restriction. The court concluded that there are other, less drastic means, that could be employed to restrict the former convicts’ fundamental rights to a lesser degree, taking into consideration the interests threatened by the person’s criminal offense.

If the person’s criminal record is the only fact taken into account and each case is not assessed on an individual basis, it is not always possible to conclude with absolute certainty that the fact of conviction has irreversibly affected the potential teachers’ personality, the court said.

According to the Latvian Criminal Law, grave and especially grave crimes includes some offense against a person’s health, murder, sex offenses, as well as some corruption crimes.

Under the contested provision of the Latvian Education Law, persons who have been convicted of intentionally committed crimes are banned from education jobs, except for cases where a government-authorized institution has established that hiring such teacher would not harm the students’ interests.

The Constitutional Court heard the case based on an application filed by Raivis Veinbergs who had been working as a teacher since 1998. In 1994 he was convicted for committing a grave crime. Based on his conviction, he was fired from the schools where he had been working. The applicant argued that his constitutional rights to freely choose an occupation in accordance with his skills and qualifications were infringed.

To give lawmakers sufficient time to work out and adopt a new regulation, the Constitutional Court decided to invalidate the existing provision as of June 1, 2018.

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