The court of general jurisdiction issued decisions concerning undisputed compulsory enforcement of the applicant’s contractual obligations by selling the mortgaged real estate of the applicants, Mr. Lejnieks, Mr. Rudzītis and Ms. Pole. The obligations of the applicants were secured with a public mortgage, which could be made without publicly credible notarized acts. According to the applicants, the decisions were issued before the date stated in the public register and upon which their obligations had to be fulfilled. The applicants were not heard by the court and the decisions were based only on the arguments of the creditors claiming that the applicants were late with their current payments.
The applicants complained that the fact that the court could not hear them in undisputed debt procedure before issuing a decision concerning their real estate violated the principle of adversarial hearing.
The Court stated that the procedural aspect of the right to a fair trial involves multiple interconnected rights such as right to access the court, equality of arms, right to an adversarial hearing, right to be heard, right to a reasoned decision etc. The Court emphasized that adversarial hearing is one of the main features of civil procedure - both parties must prove their allegations before the court. However in some cases where the court is not examining a dispute between parties, the principle of adversarial hearing, including, right to be heard, can be restricted. The Court emphasized that the aim of the undisputed compulsory enforcement procedure is to provide for a simplified and accelerated procedure for recovery of debts which are undisputable, rather than to settle disputes of rights between parties. Therefore the right to adversarial hearing and equality can be limited in the proceedings regarding undisputed compulsory enforcement. In those cases, however, the debtor must be notified in advance about the commencement of these proceedings in order to give him an opportunity if necessary to bring proceedings challenging the debt on the merits. Additionally the Court took into account that the applicants could appeal the court’s decision under undisputed compulsory enforcement proceedings. Consequently the Court ruled that the legal norms were compatible with the right to a fair trial.