On April 14, the Department of Civil Cases of the Supreme Court (Senate) decided not to initiate cassation proceedings in the case. With the decision of the Senate, the judgment of Latgale Regional Court enters into force, rejecting the claim of the claimant – public joint stock company “Gomeltransneft Druzhba” registered in the Republic of Belarus for recovery of more than 66 million euros from the limited liability company “LatRosTrans” for recovery of damages. In the decision, the Senate acknowledges that the appellate court, when re-examining the case, has comprehensively and completely clarified the circumstances of the case and objectively examined and assessed them in connection with the evidence, as well as taken into account the interpretation of substantive legal provisions provided in the Senate’s judgment of July 9, 2020, on the legal nature of an international agreement.

In its judgment of July 9, 2020, in the present case, the Senate provided an interpretation of substantive law on the legal nature of an international agreement and pointed out the essential features (registration of the agreement with the UN, publication and registration of the agreement with the responsible institutions and the respective authorization to conclude a specific agreement) that have to be taken into account in order to establish whether the Protocol of June 17, 1992 and the Act of June 18, 1992 constitute an international agreement.

The appellate court based its opinion on the incompatibility of the said documents with the legal nature of an international agreement on the basis of a comprehensive, complete and objective assessment of the said documents. Having found that the documents were not signed by duly authorized state officials and were not registered with the relevant international institutions, as well as not published, the regional court made reasonable conclusions about non-compliance of these documents with international agreements by which the Latvian state would transfer ownership of technological oil to the Republic of Belarus or its company.

The circumstances of the case are as follows:

The Novopolotsk Republican Unitary Oil Transportation Enterprise Druzhba, whose successor in the case is the open joint-stock company " Gomeltransneft Druzhba", brought an action before the court, considering that the technological oil contained in the oil pipelines owned by LatRosTrans Ltd was the property of the claimant. The claimant initially asked the court to recognize the claimant's property rights and possession, as well as to prohibit LatRosTrans Ltd from using and/or utilizing technological oil located in the main oil pipelines Polock-Ventspils and Polock-Biržai-Mažeikiai owned by LatRosTrans Ltd, as well as oil located in the internal pipelines of the oil transfer stations “Skrudaliena 1”, “Skrudaliena 2”, “Džūkste” and the oil acceptance-transfer point “Ventspils”, without the claimant's consent. In the appellate court, by clarifying the claim, the claimant asked the court to recover the value of the oil to be recovered from LatRosTrans Ltd and to recover losses from LatRosTrans Ltd due to the pumped-out oil.

On June 7, 2018, having examined the case under appellate procedure, the Latgale Regional Court partially satisfied the claim and recovered losses of EUR 66,744,966.24, a state fee of EUR 66,883.47 and costs related to the conduct of the case for the payment of a lawyer's assistance EUR 49,800, a total of EUR 66,861,649.71 from the limited liability company LatRosTrans in favour of the public limited company Polocktransneft Druzhba.

Having examined the case in connection with the cassation complaint of LatRosTrans Ltd against the judgment of the Chamber of Civil Cases of Latgale Regional Court of June 7, 2018, the Senate annulled the judgment of the appellate court and remitted the case for re-examination.

Case No SKC-628/2021; C12307410

 

Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
Tel.: +371 67020396; e-mail: baiba.kataja@at.gov.lv