The article provides a theoretical analysis of the organization of the forensic examination in Latvia. In particular, the author investigates the organizational aspects of the forensic examination: legislative regulation of the status of the entity authorized to conduct the forensic examination; the possibility to conduct the forensic examination in criminal proceedings by private experts; peculiarities of taking up a position (obtaining a license to practice) and terminating a forensic expert etc.
It is determined that according to the legislation of Latvia the right to carry out expert activity in the Republic of Latvia belongs to both state and private experts: state experts are people who carry out their activity in the state expert institutions. Private experts are involved in carrying out expertise by concluding civil contracts as self-employed people or as the forensic experts who are members of professional non-governmental associations. There are five state expert institutions in Latvia: the State Bureau of Judicial Expertise (accredited in 2008), the Forensic Directorate of the State Police (accredited in 2006), the State Medical Examination Center (accredited in 2013), the Examination Service under the General Directorate of the State border guards and the State Riga Psychiatric and Drug Center LLC. Since 1996, the Association of Independent Experts of Latvia has been operating in Latvia, comprising private court experts.
All experts who may be involved in criminal proceedings must be certified. Certified expert information is placed in the Official Register of Forensic Experts. The Council of Forensic Experts is the compiler of the Register. The Register of Forensic Experts and any changes thereto shall be published on the website of the Judicial Administrations. In addition to the Register of Forensic Experts, there is a Register of Methods of Forensic Examination, which is also compiled by the Council of Forensic Experts.
It should be noted that in Latvia a unified standard and qualification requirements have been developed for persons wishing to carry out forensic activities, which are enshrined in the legislation of Latvia and a procedure has been developed for certification of experts, as well as certification of expert research methodologies.
At the same time, certain problems arise in practice (for example, the subjectively greater trust of the court in the expert’s conclusions provided by the state expert organization), requiring an urgent solution for the effective functioning of the system of forensic expert activity in Latvia.
Key words: forensic examination, special knowledge, forensic expert, forensic institution, Register of forensic experts.