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Litigation in Bulgaria

Litigation in Bulgaria

Updated on Wednesday 15th February 2017

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Litigation and dispute resolutions in Bulgaria are performed according to the Civil Procedure Code and the Judiciary Act. Other legislative issues can be found in the Bar Act, the State Liability Acts and other documents. Our lawyers in Bulgaria are ready to help you, if you need to initiate a litigation procedure or if you want to settle a dispute. 
 
The Bulgarian legal system
 
The Bulgarian judicial system consists in:
 
- the Constitutional Court,
- two Supreme Courts (of Cassation and Administrative),
- regional courts,
- district courts,
- appellate courts,
- a military court.
 
The Bulgarian Constitutional Court was founded in 1991, when the Grand National Assembly adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. It is an independent body which guarantees the protection and the application of the Constitution regulations. The Constitutional Court is composed by twelve members. A chairman is elected for a period of three years. The elected judges must be Bulgarian citizens with legal studies and with fifteen years of experience in the law field. They are elected for a period of nine years and they cannot be re-elected.
 
The Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation is considered the highest judicial instance in criminal and civil cases. It hears appeals against the judgments of the district courts and the courts of appeal. The Supreme Court of Cassation is located in Sofia and it is composed of panels of three judges with a chairman. There are three colleges of the Supreme Court of Cassation: a criminal one, a civil one and a commercial one. The Supreme Administrative Court deals with cases where the state administration is involved (issues involving taxes, licenses and permits, conflicts with the local or central administration). It also hears the appeals of the Administrative Courts judgments. It’s situated in Sofia and it has jurisdiction in all country.
 
There are five Bulgarian appellate courts in: Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo that are responsible for hearing cases against the judgments of the district courts situated in these areas. The usual way of organization is in panels with three judges, but exceptions are possible.
 
The military court consists in one judge and one court assessors and it handles cases of military nature. The administrative courts have the role of first instance in cases of administration, unless the Supreme Court of Administration has full jurisdiction. There are 28 administrative courts.
 
There are 30 district courts, located in the same areas as the administrative courts, with jurisdiction on civil and commercial cases where the claims exceed 25,000 BGN. The district court also hears the real estate cases where the claims are above 50,000 BGN. The appeals in cases already judged by the regional courts are audited in a district court. The civil and commercial cases, where the claims are below 25,000 BGN, are brought in front of the regional courts. Also, real estate cases, in which the claims are below 50,000 BGN, are judged here.
 
Civil proceedings in Bulgaria
 
There are several main stages for civil proceedings in Bulgaria:
 
- the submission of the claim before the competent court;
- the service of the statement of claim to the respondent;
- an examination of the statement claim performed by the court;
- establishing all preliminary issues before the case is brought to trial;
- finally, the court hears the case in the presence of the parties or other designated persons.
 
There is no specific time-frame for a litigation procedure in Bulgaria. Various issues may influence the amount of time to settle a legal dispute. A litigation process in Bulgaria may take years, especially if there are appeals on the initial decision. 
 
Another legal option to settle legal disputes is arbitration. This method is used for dispute resolution and arbitration in Bulgaria has the same effect as a court judgment. One advantage is that arbitration process is generally much shorter, compared to other civil proceedings in Bulgaria. Arbitration in Bulgaria is governed by the International Commercial Arbitration Act. Our lawyers in Bulgaria can offer you more information about arbitration and other methods of dispute resolution in Bulgaria.
 
Please contact our law firm in Bulgaria if you need specialized legal services. Our team of Bulgarian lawyers can offer you adequate and efficient solutions for any legal dispute. We have also affliate attorneys in other countries, such as, United Kingdom, USA or Ireland and they are ready to offer you a wide range of legal services, such as immigration consultancy.
 

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