The Doctrine of “in Loco Parentis” in Anglo-Saxon Legal Systems and in the Republic of Latvia




in loco parentis, education law, parents’ rights and duties, liability, schooling, parens patriae


This publication analyses the “in loco parentis” doctrine of Anglo-Saxon law, which means “in place of parents”. In particular, the authors seek to reveal the content, historical aspects of this concept and its expression in the Latvian legal system. This can be applied, for example, to the duty of employees of an educational institution who are required as part of their role to exercise a duty of care, as well as to enforce discipline, as aspects of cooperation between parents and the school. The practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in connection with the “in loco parentis” doctrine is highlighted. The authors conduct a study using methods of interpreting the rules of law adopted in legal science: grammatical, historical, comparative, teleological method. An educational institution as a structure authorized by the state per se can be viewed as having an equivalent responsibility to that of a child’s parents. That is, the school, like parents, has an obligation to take care of the child, especially in relation to the child’s psycho-emotional well-being and physical safety. So, should the school staff take care of the child the same way the parents do? In the case of the Republic of Latvia, this is most clearly reflected in the scientific knowledge of pedagogy and in the practice of daily education.

Author Biographies

Rihards Erdmanis, Riga Stradiņš University

Mg. iur., Bc. paed. 
Riga Stradiņš University
Lecturer at Faculty of Law

Ivans Jānis Mihailovs, Riga Stradiņš University

Dr. iur.
Riga Stradiņš University
Assistant Professor at Faculty of Communication


Garner, B. A., (ed.). Black, Henry Campbell, 1860–1927. Law Dictionary. St. Paul, MN: Thomson Reuters, 5th ed., 2016, 890 pages.

Case briefings “Law and Society”. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Curtis, G. B. The Checkered Career of Parens Patriae: The State as Parent or Tyrant? 25 DePaul L. Rev. 895, 1976. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Dayton, J. Education Law: Principles, Policies, and Practice. Wisdom Builders Press, 2012.

Gailīte, D. Piekāst likumu [To hell with the law]. Jurista Vārds Nr. 22 (773), 04.06.2013.

Hall, A. J., Manins, M. In Loco Parentis and the Professional Responsibilities of Teachers. Waikato Journal of Education, 7, 2001, pp. 117–128.

Jarinovska K. Ne vien uzdrošināšanās, bet arī centība un paklausība ir tikumi [Not Only Daring, but Also Diligence and Obedience are Virtues]. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Johnson, D. E. Schools We Trust? Leadership in Loco Parentis and the Failure to Protect Students from Bullying and Harassment. In: Samier, E. A., Schmidt, M. (eds). Trust and Betrayal in Educational Administration and Leadership. New York, London: Routledge, 2010, p. 143.

Keiss, M. In Loco Parentis. 08.08.2007. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Kilkelly, U. The Best of Both Worlds for Children’s Rights? Interpreting the European Convention on Human Rights in the Light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Human Rights Quarterly Johns Hopkins University Press, Vol. 23, No. 2, May 2001, pp. 308–326.

Konceptuālais ziņojums “Par ņirgāšanās izplatības mazināšanu izglītības vidē” [Conceptual report “Reducing Prevalence of Mockery in the Educational Environment”]. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Merrick, R. M. “Is it dead or alive?” An Analysis of the Doctrine and Policy of in Loco Parentis at American universities. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Mihailovs, I. J. Līgums par bērna izglītošanu izglītības iestādē un disciplīnas pārkāpumu novēršana [Agreement on the Education of a Child in an Educational Institution and Prevention of Violation of Discipline]. Socrates RSU Elektroniskais juridisko zinātnisko rakstu žurnāls Nr. 1(1), 2015. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Nīmante, D. Klasvadība. Rokasgrāmata skolotājiem [Class management. A Guide for Teachers]. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2008.

Smiltēna, A. Parens patriae doktrīna – valsts intervence bērna labākajās interesēs [The Doctrine of Parens Patriae – State Intervention in the Best Interests of the Child. Jurista Vārds, 30.03.2021.

Stuart, S. In Loco Parentis in the Public Schools: Abused, Confused and in Need of Change University of Cincinnati Law Review, Forthcoming; Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10–03, February 5, 2010. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

M. F. Quintilianus. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard UP1996. Vol. 1: Books 1–3, Butler, H. E. (Engl. transl.), XIV, 1996. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Van Breda, M. J. Guidelines for Empowering Secondary School Educators, in Loco Parentis, in Addressing Truancy Among Early Adolescent Leaners. University of South Africa. Theses, 2006, 285 pp.

White, B. Student Rights: From In Loco Parentis to Sine Parentibus and Back Again? Understanding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in Higher Education. BYU Educ. & L.J. 321, 2007. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Latinskie juridicheskie izrechenija [Latin legal sayings] sost. E. I. Temnov. Moskva : Jurist, 1996, 398 s.

Latinsko-russkij slovar’ juridicheskih terminov i vyrazhenij dlja specialistov i perevodchikov anglijskogo jazyka [Latin-Russian dictionary of legal terms and expressions for specialists and translators of the English language]. Gamzatov, M. (Avt.-sost.). Sankt-Peterburgskij gosudarstvennyj universitet. Sankt-Peterburg : Izdatel’stvo Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 2002, 505 s.

Bērnu tiesību konvencija: Apvienoto Nāciju Organizācijas konvencija [Convention on the Rights of the Child]. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Izglītības likums [Education Law]. 17.11.1998. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Iustiniani Digesta Recognovit Theodorus Mommsen / Retractavit Paulus Krueger. Corpus Iuris Civilis, Vol. I. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Kārtība, kādā nodrošināma izglītojamo drošība izglītības iestādēs un to organizētajos pasākumos: Ministru kabineta 24.11.2009. noteikumi Nr. 1338 [Procedures for Ensuring Safety of Educatees in Educational Institutions and at Events Organized by Them]. 27.11.2009. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Ministru kabineta noteikumu projekta “Grozījumi Ministru kabineta 2009. gada 24. novembra noteikumos Nr.1338 “Kārtība, kādā nodrošināma izglītojamo drošība izglītības iestādēs un to organizētajos pasākumos”” sākotnējās ietekmes novērtējuma ziņojums (anotācija) [Preliminary Impact Assessment Report of the Draft Cabinet Regulation “Amendments to Cabinet Regulation No. 1338 of 24 November 2009 “Procedures for Ensuring the Safety of Learners in Educational Institutions and Events Organized by Them” (annotation)]. Available: ttp:// [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Digesty Justiniana [Digests of Justinian]. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Supreme Court of North Carolina State v. Pendergrass19 N.C. 365 (N.C. 1837) Decided Jun 1, 1837. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Case of Costello Roberts v. The United Kingdom, App. No(s). 13134/87. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Case of Tyrer v. the United Kingdom App. No(s). 5856/72. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Case of Scozzari and Giunta v. Italy. App. No(s). 39221/98; 41963/98. Available: [last viewed 20.02.2022].

Case of O’Keeffe v. Ireland App. No(s). 35810/09 Available: 001-140235 [last viewed 20.02.2022]




How to Cite

Erdmanis, R., & Mihailovs, I. J. (2022). The Doctrine of “in Loco Parentis” in Anglo-Saxon Legal Systems and in the Republic of Latvia. Journal of the University of Latvia. Law, 15, 293–308.