On 24 March 2023, a Dutch investor, Van Ansem Participaties BV, submitted a notice of dispute to Latvia for violating the minimum standard of treatment under customary international law and invoking the protection under Article 49 of the TFEU and Article 17 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Van Ansem Participaties BV owns a mink farming business in Latvia. On 22 September 2022, Latvia adopted a complete ban on mink farming, to be implemented as of 1 January 2028. The law was adopted without consulting with the industry or providing compensation mechanisms for the businesses to be closed.
Van Ansem Participaties BV has announced that it is seeking no less than EUR 56 million in damages due to being forced to close down its business in Latvia within such a short period, especially when global demand for furs is expected to surge over the upcoming years.
The ban has also been challenged as unconstitutional and is now pending before the Constitutional Court of Latvia.
This will be the first intra-EU investment dispute to be heard by the recently founded Court of Economic Matters in Latvia, which has the jurisdiction to hear investment disputes as per the Latvian Civil Procedure Law.
Van Ansem Participaties BV is being represented in the investment dispute by Sorainen Latvia partner Valts Nerets and senior associate Agita Sprūde. Senior associate Katrīne Pļaviņa-Mika and partner Andris Tauriņš are leading the constitutional case.