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Edited and Translated by The Latvia Law Institute

LAW

 "ON ARCHIVES"

Enacted: March 26, 1991 Amended: October 21, 1993

The Republic of Latvia Law "On Archives" determines the basic principles for the formation, preservation, use and management of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

The National Archival Fonds of Latvia consists of documents originated in the process of the national, economic, political, social and cultural development of the Latvian nation and those national groups which have lived or still live in Latvia, and which contain information significant to the public, regardless of the place and time such documents were made or their method of perpetuation.

TERMS USED IN THE LAW

Archives administration - a sector of state and public activity involving the organization of the storage and use of all documents of the archives.

Archival fonds - an accumulation of documents formed during the operations of an institute or a person to be kept by the State Archives.

Certified copy of a document - a copy of a document certified by the State Archives.

Document - fixation of artefacts of objective reality and information about human ideas through characters, graphics, photography, sound recording and other means on any type of information carrier (paper, film, disk etc.).

Article 1

National Archival Fonds of Latvia

The National Archival Fonds of Latvia includes:

1) The State Archival Fonds. This fond consists of documents accumulated by the state archives, other state record centers, institutions of higher and local state authority and administration, the courts, arbitration, office of the public prosecutors, other state institutions, enterprises and organizations (regardless of subordination);

2) The Public Archival Fonds of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities. This fond is formed of documents with informative value accumulated during the operations of social, cooperative and religious organizations, public movements, creative associations and organizations, business enterprises and other legal entities;

3) records (documents) of physical persons. This fond is formed of documents with informative value accumulated during the life and activities of physical persons, their families and ancestors.

The National Archival Fonds of Latvia is a national treasure of the Republic of Latvia and is placed under its jurisdiction. The forming and preservation of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia is the duty of all state institutions and social organizations and each citizen of the Republic of Latvia.

Article 2

Property of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

The State Archival Fonds is state property of the Republic of Latvia. Documents of the State Archival Fonds are not subject to purchase or sale or to other transactions as a result of which the ownership rights of the state to such documents are breached.

The archives of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities are the property of those legal entities. The transfer of ownership rights of the archives of a legal entity to another entity (person) must be coordinated with the supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

The archives (documents) of physical persons are the private property of those persons. The State Archives may obtain these into its ownership pursuant to an agreement with their owners. If documents or all the archives of a physical person are sold at auction, the State Archives have the first right to purchase the same at the bid price.

If the owner of an archive is unknown or if he/she has lost his/her ownership rights to the property, or if an archive has become ownerless property, the archive becomes state property as provided by law.

If social, cooperative and religious organizations or other legal entities fail to report their archives or fail to ensure their preservation and use in accordance with proper provisions; such archives may be expropriated as provided by law and transferred into state property. The costs related to the processing of such documents shall be borne by the previous owner of the archives.

Article 3

Recovery of documents of the historic heritage of Latvia displaced in other states

It is the duty of the Cabinet of Ministers and officials of state institutions of the Republic of Latvia to promote, support and finance the recovery of documents of the historic heritage of Latvia displaced outside the Republic of Latvia.

Article 4

State supervision of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

The state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia shall be the Directorate General of Latvia State Archives and the state archives. Regulatory acts issued by them in relation to the National Archival Fonds of Latvia are binding upon state and local government institutions, as well as all types of enterprises and organizations. The state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia shall monitor the creation, recording, preservation and use of the Archival Fonds.

Article 5

State archival system

The State Archival system is formed by the state archives, regional state archives, the State Archive of Personnel Files, as well as structural units of archives for special assignments. The State Archival system is managed by the Directorate General of Latvia State Archives. State archives are legal entities.

Article 6

Director-General of the State Archives

The State Archival system of the Republic of Latvia is headed by the Director-General of the State Archives, appointed by the Saeima pursuant to a recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Directorate General of Latvia State Archives is under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. The Director-General of the State Archives is responsible to the Cabinet of Ministers. The Director-General of the State Archives shall submit to the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers a written report on the activities of the State Archival system and the Directorate General of Latvia State Archives for review at least once a year.

The Director-General of State Archives appoints his/ her deputy.

The Director-General of State Archives forms the Directorate General of State Archives in order to perform his/her functions, appoints the Directors of the state archives and the heads of structural units directly under him/her, and approves the regulations for the structural units of the State Archival system.

The Director-General of the State Archives issues instructions and other documents on matters of organizing the work of the archives and state supervision of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia which are binding upon officials of state institutions and officials of all types of enterprises and organizations.

The Director-General of the State Archives coordinates matters of financing, material supplies and capital constructions for the State Archival system with the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia.

Article 7

[Deleted by the Law of October 21, 1993]

Article 8

State Archives

The state archives accumulate documents, ensures their preservation and their efficient use in the national, public and citizens' interests. For this purpose the state archives organize and engage in scientific research, edit informative publications and prepare publications of documents, provides methodological assistance to legal entities and physical persons in the recording, preservation and use of documents.

The state archives may, by agreement, take over the archives of legal entities or physical persons for preservation for a charge or free of charge.

The state archives, upon agreement with physical persons or legal entities, may require or make copies of important documents in their possession.

Article 9

Archives of state institutions, enterprises and organizations

Institutions under state authority and administration, and institutions, enterprises and organizations shall ensure the accumulation, recording, preservation and use of documents of informative importance in accordance with the requirements of state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

Heads of institutions of state authority and administration, institutions, enterprises and organizations are responsible for the accumulation, recording, preservation and use of documents.

Archives shall be transferred for preservation to the state archives by dates determined by state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

State Archives may freely deal with documents transferred to them provided it is not in conflict with this law or other laws of the Republic of Latvia.

Article 10

Other state depositories

The Director-General may affirm the rights as a state depository according to proposals of the state administration or local government institutions also to those institutions where the documents of National Archival Fonds of Latvia are historically created or accumulated. The collections of those depositories shall not be supplemented with current office documents to be transferred to state archives.

Article 11

Archives of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities

The accumulation, recording and preservation of the archives of public, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities shall be ensured by the holder of the archives, observing the provisions of the state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

Social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities may transfer their archives to the state archives for permanent or depository preservation.

Article 12

Transfer of the archives of institutions of state authority and administration, enterprises and organizations, as well as social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities, to be liquidated and reorganized

If institutions of state authority and administration, enterprises and organizations, and also social, cooperative and religious organizations, businesses and other legal entities are liquidated or reorganized, the transfer of their archives for further preservation shall be coordinated with state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

The heads of respective institutions, enterprises or organizations and other legal entities shall be responsible for the preservation and transferring for further preservation of the archives of the institution, enterprise or organization and other legal entities to be liquidated or reorganized.

Article 13

Recording of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

State supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia shall list in the central catalogue of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia the material in the archives of state institutions, enterprises and organizations, and also social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities. The aforementioned organizations shall submit records in accordance with duly provided forms to the state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia annually.

The central catalogue may list material and collections of physical persons of special significance to the history and culture of Latvia, if the holder of the material agrees to it.

Article 14

Financing the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia shall ensure and finance the operations of the state archives and the forming of their material and technical base. Voluntary donations and other income may supplement finances of the state archives. Local governments shall support the ensuring of the material and technical base of the state archives.

Other state depositories, as well as state institutions, enterprises and organizations must maintain their archives at their own expense.

Archives of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities are maintained at the cost of the holders of such material.

The state may assist holders of archives (documents) of legal entities and physical persons from its collections.

Article 15

Use of documents of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

Citizens of Latvia and of other states; institutions, enterprises and organizations are entitled to use documents of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia as authorized.

All materials of the archives may be used in the reading rooms free of charge, except for additional services provided.

Documents in the possession of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities may be used with their consent only.

Citizens may request information from state archives, state institutions, enterprises, organizations and other legal entities regarding themselves, their dependents and deceased relatives.

State archives shall provide such information upon the request of citizens and institutions based on all of the documents at their disposal.

State institutions, enterprises, organizations, also social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities shall provide information based on the documents originated in the course of the operations of these institutions. These archives shall keep personnel files for 75years until transfer to the state archives Documents containing secret information may be used in the procedure provided by laws of the Republic of Latvia.

Article 16

Prohibition to destroy documents of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia

It is forbidden to destroy documents of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia, documents of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities without the permission of state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia. The procedure for destroying documents is determined by the state supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia.

Article 17

Prohibition to take documents of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia out of the state

It is forbidden to take out of the territory of the Republic of Latvia the State Archival Fonds and/or documents and copies of archives of social, cooperative and religious organizations and other legal entities.

State supervisory institutions of the National Archival Fonds of Latvia provide the procedure for taking certified copies of documents out of the Republic of Latvia.

Article 18

Liability for violations of this Law

Officials and other persons who have violated requirements of the provisions of the Republic of Latvia Law "On Archives" are liable according to the procedure stipulated in legislative acts of the Republic of Latvia.