Case No 2009-69-03

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia
9 March 2010


The applicants, Mr. Raumanis and Mr. Ēcis, complained that Cabinet regulations prescribed that prisoners receive less food than the amount recommended by the Ministry of Welfare for the inhabitants of Latvia. In particular the applicants complained that the insufficient amount of food does not guarantee the necessary daily norm of vitamins A and C. They complained that such situation in the long run can cause deterioration of heath and violate their right to health.

Court’s ruling

The Court reiterated that the right to health enshrined in Article 111 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia (Satversme) obliges the state to ensure for every person the highest attainable standard of health. This obligation among others involves a duty to set up medical care system, ensure availability of medicines and medical services and ensure that everyone receives sufficient amount of food to prevent hunger. Therefore in certain situations, such as in case of prisoners, Article 111 obliges the state to provide prisoners with food of sufficient energetic value. Prisoner’s right to sufficient amount of food cannot be restricted.

In the case at hand the Court found that the rules on the food norms for prisoners allowed prisoners to receive less food, in particular insufficient amount of calcium and vitamins A and C, than advisable. The Court emphasized that the lack of proper food can cause health problems in the long run. Therefore the Court concluded that the contested norm violated the prisoner’s right to health and was incompatible with Article 111 of the Constitution.

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Last updated 08/11/2023