1. Applicable Law

1.1.1 The new Bulgarian Civil Procedure Code (CPC) entered into force on 1 March 2008. It superseded the long-standing previous Civil Procedure Code from 1952.

1.1.2 The CPC contains the general provisions on interim (i.e. provisional and protective) measures in civil cases (Articles 389 – 403 therein).

1.1.3 For cases with international elements, the Code of Private International Law (CPIL) and Council Regulation No 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (Brussels I Regulation) are the main relevant instruments (see section 9.2 below).

2. Jurisdiction

2.1 International and geographical jurisdiction – the venue

2.1.1 An application for interim measures may be filed either (1) in the course of pending court proceedings or (2) prior to filing for the commencement of court proceedings.

2.1.2 In the first case, the application should be filed with the court where the procedure on the merits of the dispute (the main claim) is pending.1 Interim measures may be requested not only at first instance but also in the appellate courts. On appeal, an application may be filed before the collection of any new evidence is completed.

2.1.3 In the second case, it is possible to apply for interim measures prior to filing for the commencement of the proceedings relating to the main claim (which deals with the subject-matter of the dispute).2 Bulgarian legal theory and practice terms this “security for a future claim”.

2.1.4 The Brussels I Regulation and the CPIL regulate interim measures in cases with international elements. The Brussels I Regulation has primacy in respect of cases arising within the EU, while the CPIL applies to the areas not covered by the Brussels I Regulation.

2.1.5 Under Article 35 of the Brussels I Regulation, Bulgarian courts are empowered to grant provisional, including protective, measures even if they are not competent to rule on the main claim. The measures that the courts are competent to impose are those provided for in the domestic law of the respective Member State. According to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)3 there should be a “real connecting link” between the court granting interim relief and the subject-matter of the interim measures. Therefore, Bulgarian courts are primarily competent to grant measures with respect to any subject-matter within the Bulgarian territory. The question of which particular Bulgarian courts are competent in this situation is decided by having regard to internal procedural rules, i.e. the CPC.

2.1.6 According to Article 25 CPIL, which is triggered when the Brussels I Regulation is not applicable, Bulgarian courts are competent to grant interim measures where the subject-matter of the measure is located in Bulgaria and the decision on the main claim by the foreign court would be capable of being recognised and enforced in Bulgaria. This rule sets out a higher threshold than the one under the Brussels I Regulation. The rules of the CPC governing subject-matter jurisdiction of Bulgarian courts (Articles 103-117 CPC) determine which particular Bulgarian court is competent to deal with the application for interim measures.

2.2 The effect of jurisdiction clauses

2.2.1 As a matter of principle, parties are not entitled to vary judicial competence on interim measures by agreement, including via jurisdiction clauses. Jurisdiction under Bulgarian law is considered mandatory. If parties insert a jurisdiction clause to alter the jurisdiction on the merits (on the main claim), the jurisdiction to grant interim measures may also be altered. However, this is allowed only where the rights that form the subject-matter of the claim have pecuniary value.

2.3 Subject-matter jurisdiction

2.3.1 If the interim measure is sought in proceedings that are already pending or ongoing, the competent court is the one deciding on the merits of the case (the main claim).4 Jurisdiction should be determined in accordance with the general rules on jurisdiction in the CPC (Articles 103-117 CPC), be it statutorily defined or specified by agreement between the parties to the dispute, regardless of the subject matter of the dispute.

2.3.2 The applicant for pre-action interim relief (security for a future claim) may seek relief from the court at the location of either the applicant’s domicile (permanent address) for natural persons, or at the registered seat for corporate entities. If the subject-matter of the requested interim measure is real estate property, the competent court is the one at the property’s location. If the requested measure is a stay of enforcement proceedings, the competent court is the one at the location of the execution of the enforcement proceedings in question.

3. Types of Interim Measures and their Criteria

3.1 General criteria on interim measures

3.1.1 The measure that is granted should be adequate to address the risks identified by the applicant. Case law suggests that the court should consider all the circumstances and the nature of the rights that are to be protected.5The interim measure should not unduly restrict the rights of the respondent as compared to the necessity of any measure and the interests of the applicant.6 According to case law, there is a rebuttable presumption in favour of necessity in any given case, unless sufficient evidence is provided to prove the contrary.7

3.1.2 The CPC lays down some restrictions on the imposition of interim measures so as to safeguard vulnerable categories of debtors. A distraint cannot be imposed on receivables that cannot be subject to enforcement.8 Certain property cannot be enforced against, for instance: fuel for three months; tools and machines used by craftsmen; a sole home (household) property, etc.9 Enforcement against the salary or pension of a debtor is possible if the debtor has a salary or pension above the threshold of the minimum wage or pension and only to a certain extent, provided for in detail in the CPC.10 The purpose behind both provisions is to ensure there are sufficient resources for a minimum standard of living. Moreover, budgetary subsidies transferred to the bank accounts of authorities supported by the state budget cannot be enforced against, and likewise cannot be subject to distraint.11

3.2 Categories of interim measures

3.2.1 The general aim of interim measures is to safeguard the status quo so that the applicant may exercise his rights or, alternatively, that the applicant is not prevented from exercising his rights if the main claim is successful.

3.2.2 Neither the CPC nor other legislative instruments lay down an exhaustive list of interim measures that may be used to protect the applicant’s rights. The CPC defines some measures and provides that the court has discretion to grant any other measure that it deems adequate with regard to the applicant’s request for relief.

3.2.3 Strictly speaking, Article 397 CPC enumerates three types of measures:   

  1. attachment of real estate property;
  2. distraint (seizure) of moveable property and receivables (money claims); and
  3. any other measures that the court determines as appropriate. The CPC explicitly includes within the scope of these measures a stay of enforcement proceedings, or arrest of a motor vehicle. These are examples only and are not intended to restrict the scope of the measures that the court may impose.

The court may grant several interim measures in order to secure the full extent of the main claim.

3.2.4 However, notwithstanding the fact that there is no exhaustive list, it is possible to outline three general categories of measures. The first category seeks to secure pecuniary claims. The second category aims at restricting the disposal of rights over real estate or other property. The third category deals with securing any other rights. With respect to the latter, possible rights that may be protected by such measures are rights without pecuniary value, such as family relations, child protection, etc.

3.3 Various interim measures and criteria

Attachment

3.3.1 Attachment is imposed only on real estate (immovable) property. It is granted by the court at the location of that property (if the measure applied for is security for a future claim), or by the court where the main claim is pending. The attachment seeks to prevent a party to the dispute (pending or future) from disposing of its rights over the property before the dispute is settled, thereby depriving the applicant (claimant) of the possibility of using the property as security for enforcement of the final court decision.

3.3.2 A proprietary disposition contrary to the imposed attachment is invalid with respect to the applicant. If its application is granted, the applicant is entitled to enforce against the attached property notwithstanding the rights acquired by any third parties after the attachment was imposed, especially if the property is transferred. If a third party enforces against an attached property, the applicant is entitled to participate in the distribution of the proceeds from the value of the property.12

3.3.3 Where the claim arises out of a contract that identifies real estate property as security for the performance of the contract, the attachment should be imposed on that particular asset.13 This is not applicable if the property is not available or it has already been encumbered by third party rights.

Distraint

3.3.4 Distraints are imposed on moveable property and receivables (monetary claims). The effects of dispositions contrary to the imposed interim measures are similar to those for attachments, namely that such dispositions are invalid with regard to the applicant and it can enforce against the distraint assets even if they are transferred to a third party. In other words, the applicant can reach these assets no matter who owns them.

3.3.5 Most often applicants request that a distraint on receivables is imposed on the bank accounts of the debtor (the respondent). The distraint may be imposed on receivables due from other third parties. In such cases, third parties are notified not to pay the debtor directly but to pay an enforcement agent (bailiff) acting for the applicant. The purpose is to prevent the respondent from making use of the sums paid by the debtors; the sum is to be held in an account managed by the enforcement agent for the period during which the distraint is imposed.

Other measures

3.3.6 As outlined in section 3.2 above, it is within the court’s discretion to grant other interim measures as it deems appropriate. The court may stay enforcement proceedings, which operates as an injunction addressed to the enforcement agent conducting the enforcement on another case. The court may oblige a party to follow, or refrain from, certain conduct, and breach of this obligation triggers a pecuniary sanction by an enforcement agent for up to BGN 200 (ca. EUR 100) for each occurrence of non-compliance.

4. Procedural and Evidential Requirements for Interim Measures

4.1 Procedural requirements

Form of the request

4.1.1 The application should be in writing.14 The application can be incorporated into the statement of claim that initiates the main claim proceedings.

Content of the request

4.1.2 The application should state the nature of the interim measure requested and the value of the main claim15 The CPC does not explicitly provide for any other mandatory elements of the application but according to case law the application should meet the formal requirements for a statement of claim.16 Accordingly, the application should be written in Bulgarian, it should state the seized court, provide details identifying the respondent (name, address, telephone/fax number, etc.), and be signed by the applicant or its representative.

Enclosures of the request

4.1.3 Article 395 CPC does not contain specific requirements as to the enclosures to the application. However, since the application should be based on persuasive evidence (see section 4.3 below), sufficient documentary evidence should be enclosed with the application.

4.2 Implementation of the procedure

4.2.1 The procedure is initiated by the applicant. The only exceptions are disputes regarding alimony, where the court may grant interim measures upon its own motion. The court where the application is submitted should make a ruling on it within a day of it being filed. No hearing is held. In practice, courts usually process and deal with such applications within 3-5 days.

4.2.2 The procedure at first instance is ex parte (unilateral). The respondent is not notified of the application and the procedure, and it is not served with a copy of the application. It is therefore prevented from making submissions and raising any objections to the application. The purpose behind this rule is to reduce the risk that the respondent will swiftly dispose of its assets, thus harming the applicant.

4.2.3 The court considers the application and issues a ruling. If the court is satisfied that the prerequisites for granting the interim measure(s) requested are satisfied (see section 4.3 below), the court issues a ruling and an injunctive order.17 In cases where a guarantee has to be provided (see paragraph 4.3.6 below), the order is not issued until the guarantee is provided. Where the applicant seeks security for a future claim, the court will require the applicant to submit evidence that the claim has been brought within the period specified by the court (which, according to Article 390, Para 3 of the CPC, cannot exceed one month).

4.3 Evidential requirements

4.3.1 The application is granted if (1) the enforcement of the decision on the merits of the dispute would otherwise be rendered impossible or hindered, and (2) there is either (a) persuasive written evidence in this regard, or (b) the applicant provides a guarantee even though the evidence is not persuasive.

Necessity

4.3.2 A key factor for the granting of the requested interim measure is that the measure requested must be necessary. Necessity would be present where, as the CPC states in its Article 391, the realisation of the rights of the applicant under the final decision would be impossible or impeded if no interim measure were granted. The necessity may arise prior to bringing a claim, as soon as the claim is brought, or in the course of the court proceedings on the main claim. Necessity may arise in the context of both pecuniary and non-pecuniary claims.

Possible justification of the merits of the claim

4.3.3 The CPC does not expressly stipulate it, but both doctrine and case law consider that the other significant criterion should be that the claim is likely to be proven as justified in substance. The court undertakes a prima facie analysis of the claim to determine whether the application demonstrates the existence of the rights which are disputed. Such justification would be recognised where the evidence enclosed with the application indicates facts that are capable of giving rise to, or prove the existence of, the rights forming the subject-matter of the dispute, either in the pending proceedings or in those that would constitute a future claim.

Guarantee

4.3.4 Even if the main claim is not found to be justified, the court may still grant interim measures. The applicant may obtain an interim measure on the condition that it provides a guarantee.18 The purpose of the guarantee is to provide compensation for the direct damage that the respondent may suffer from a measure that is subsequently found to have been imposed without justification. The applicable rules for guarantees are in the Obligations and Contracts Act(OCA). According to 180-181 of the OCA, the guarantee may be in the form of a:

  • Monetary pledge;
  • Pledge of securities; or
  • Mortgage over real estate property.

The money and the securities have to be deposited in a bank account of the court to which the application is submitted. The mortgage is established by a written declaration of consent notarized by a notary public and registered with the Property Register at the Registry Agency. It is possible for a third party (i.e. not the applicant) to stand as a guarantor. The pledges and the mortgage may be lifted only by a court order. The state, governmental institutions and hospitals are exempted from the obligation to provide a guarantee even where there are grounds for the provision of a guarantee.

4.3.5 The court has the power to combine several different measures in order to secure the full extent of the value of the claim. If the evidence cannot prove the application in full, the court may impose a measure that secures only the proven extent of the value of the claim.19 Accordingly, the applicant may be requested to provide partial security for its claim. Interim measures may be granted only on the condition of a guarantee even if the applicant submits persuasive written evidence.20 The guiding principle in this regard is to secure compensation for the damage that the respondent may suffer.

4.3.6 A stay of enforcement proceedings is granted only when a guarantee is provided.

Exceptions

4.3.7 Interim measures for monetary claims against the state, governmental institutions and hospitals are not admissible.21 The rationale behind the rule is that these entities are subsidised by the state. It is deemed that the state will be able to provide payment. Likewise, enforcement against state assets, including assets of governmental institutions and of hospitals, is prohibited.

5. Legal Safeguards for the Respondent

5.1 Ex parte proceedings

5.1.1 As the procedure for granting of interim measures is ex parte (unilateral) at first instance, the respondent does not have the opportunity to participate and submit objections or a statement of defence. Therefore the respondent cannot take action at first instance to protect its rights at that stage of the proceedings. However, the respondent is allowed to appeal a ruling that allows the interim measures once the order has been made. The appeal procedure is bilateral (see section 8.2 below).

5.2 Safeguards

5.2.1 There are various safeguards in place to protect the respondent – some of them are to be found in the course of the proceedings initiated by the application for interim measures, some after the measures have already been imposed, and some after the proceedings in respect of the main claim are completed. These are summarized below and dealt with in greater detail in the relevant sections of this chapter:   

  • The court should not grant the requested interim measure if the measure is not adequate to address the risks identified by the applicant, which means undue restriction on the rights of the respondent is not allowed (see paragraph 3.1.1 above).
  • There are restrictions on the imposition of attachments and distraints (see paragraph 3.1.2 above).
  • The respondent may appeal the ruling which allows the interim measures (see section 8.2 below).
  • The respondent may request modification of the interim measures (see paragraph 8.1.1 below).
  • If the main claim is rejected as inadmissible, or in the case of security for a future claim, if the claim is not submitted within the period required by the court, or if the case is terminated, the respondent may seek compensation from the claimant/applicant for the damage incurred by the imposition of the interim measures applied for.22

6. Timing of Interim Measures

6.1 Similarities and differences when filing a request before or after the case on the main claim is pending

6.1.1 Bulgarian law does not recognise any differences between these two situations. See paragraph 6.2.1 below on the duration of the interim measure procedure in general.

6.2 Duration of an interim measure procedure

6.2.1 The seized court should make a ruling on the application for interim measures on the same day it is submitted.23There is no difference between making application while the case is pending or before it is initiated. As the procedure isex parte, a copy is not served on the respondent and therefore the procedure has to be extremely speedy. However, it is very likely that in practice a court, especially a very busy one, will delay the issuance of the ruling longer than the statutory period. Once the ruling is made, it is immediately enforceable. The respondent is notified of the interim measure granted by the court after it is imposed. The respondent is informed of the imposition of the measures by (i) a notification from the Property Register when attachment of real estate property is registered, (ii) an enforcement agent when the distraint is imposed, or (iii) the court for other interim measures. The interim measure will last as long as the main claim continues, unless the prerequisites for it cease to exist. A party may file a request with the court for the measure to be repealed (cancelled).

7. Costs

7.1 Court costs

7.1.1 Costs relating to interim measures are regulated by the Tariff on the state fees collected by the courts under the CPC (Tariff). Article 22 of the Tariff stipulates that the fee for an application for security for a future claim is BGN 40 (ca. EUR 20). It does not deal with applications made in the course of a pending case, so it may be inferred that no specific fees are due in such situations in addition to the general fees payable for the initiation of a case. If the applicant is successful in the main claim, it can be reimbursed for costs incurred in respect of the interim measures application.

8. Remedies Against the Decision on Interim Measures

8.1 Modification and cancellation

8.1.1 It is possible to ask the court to modify interim measures that have been imposed (Article 398 CPC). Modification allows for the substitution of an interim measure for another one. It does not function as an appeal. Modification can be initiated by either the applicant or the respondent, or both. Where a party files a motion for modification, the court grants a three-day period for the other party to submit objections with respect to the requested modification. In the case of interim measures regarding pecuniary claims, except for disputes regarding property rights, the respondent is entitled to request the substitution of the interim measure with a guarantee (for guarantees see paragraph 4.3.4).24The substitution in this case does not require the consent of the applicant.

8.1.2 Cancellation of interim measures imposed by the court is possible in several cases:   

  • If the respondent has appealed the ruling imposing the interim measures, and the ruling has been revoked.
  • If the applicant withdraws the application upon its own motion.
  • If the claim procedure is terminated because the claim is proven to be without justification, or the future claim is found to be inadmissible, or the claimant withdraws or waives its claim.

8.2 Appellate remedies

Outline of the Bulgarian appellate system

8.2.1 Bulgaria features a three-instance judicial system. First-instance courts are regional and district courts. Regional courts deal with cases below BGN 25,000 (ca. EUR 11,500). District courts entertain cases above this threshold and disputes regarding property rights of a value exceeding BGN 50,000 (ca. EUR 25,000); and disputes regarding adoption, custody and registration in public registers. The decisions of regional courts are challenged before the district courts, while the decisions of district courts are challenged before one of the five appellate courts.

8.2.2 There are limited grounds for an appeal to the highest court, the Supreme Court of Cassation. The Supreme Court of Cassation reviews only issues in second-instance decisions that (1) conflict with the case law of the Supreme Court of Cassation, (2) have been decided by courts in a contradictory manner, or (3) are important for the accurate application of the law and its development.25 Furthermore, even if the above requirements are met, cassation appeals are permitted only for rulings issued by the second-instance court that grant the requested interim measure/s for the first time (i.e., where the first-instance court rejected the interim relief application).

8.2.3 Claims with a value below BGN 5,000 (ca. EUR 2500) in civil cases and BGN 20,000 (ca. EUR 10,000) in commercial cases cannot be subject to appeals to the Supreme Court of Cassation in any event.

8.2.4 The current regime on cassation provides very limited grounds for appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation.

8.2.5 Both the applicant and the respondent have the standing to appeal the ruling on the requested interim measures before the second instance courts, but on different grounds.26

  • If the first-instance court rejects the application for interim measures, this ruling may be appealed by the applicant within a 7-day period before the second instance court. As at that point the procedure is ex parte, the respondent is not informed of the rejection and a copy of the appeal is not served on the respondent. If the second-instance court permits the interim measures, then the respondent is entitled to appeal this decision before the Supreme Court of Cassation, subject to the conditions outlined in paragraph 8.2.2 above.
  • The respondent may appeal the ruling of the first-instance court granting interim measures. The respondent is informed of the imposition of the measures by (i) a notification from the Property Register for attachment of real estate property, by (ii) an enforcement agent in the case of a distraint, or by (iii) the court for other interim measures. The respondent has a 7-day period from being notified of the imposed measure in which to submit an appeal. The procedure then becomes bilateral. A copy of the appeal is served on the applicant, who may submit a reply within three days. The second-instance court makes decision without holding a hearing. According to the mandatory interpretation by the Supreme Court of Cassation,27 second-instance rulings reviewing first-instance court rulings that impose interim measures cannot be appealed before the Supreme Court of Cassation. In this case the ruling of second-instance court is final and non-appealable.

8.2.6 The appeal against the ruling of the first instance court does not suspend its enforcement and the measures can be imposed while the procedure at the second instance is pending.

9. Enforcement of an Interim Measure

9.1 Enforcement of interim measures issued by national courts

9.1.1 The basis for the imposition of interim measures is the court ruling and the injunctive order issued on the basis of such ruling. The latter evidences to the relevant parties (e.g. enforcement agent, Property Register, Commercial Register) that the measures granted by the court are to be complied with. Article 400 CPC stipulates that once the order is issued by the court (which happens ex officio), the applicant has to undertake its own actions for the realisation of the measures.

9.1.2 Depending upon the particular measure imposed, the enforcement procedure will be entrusted to different parties. Below follows a brief description of the main methods of enforcement:   

  • For an attachment on real estate property, the order should be submitted by the applicant to the Property Register. The attachment is registered. The Register notifies the property owner.
  • A distraint may take a variety of forms – on moveable property (vehicles, chattels, etc.), receivables, shares, securities, etc. The distraint is imposed by an enforcement agent. The enforcement agent has official functions but it is not always a state authority. In the case of moveable property the agent draws up a descriptive protocol (inventory) of the property. Afterwards the property is entrusted to a third party acting as a depository. As for a distraint on receivables, the enforcement agent sends notification to the debtor and the third party. A distraint on company shares is imposed by an enforcement agent sending a notification to the Commercial Register. As for other securities, the enforcement agent prepares a descriptive protocol, takes possession of the securities and deposits them in a bank. In case of dematerialized shares, the distraint is notified to the Central Depository (being the institution which organizes and maintains dematerialized shares) and these shares should, from this point on, be managed by the public enforcement agent.
  • Where the measure is a stay on enforcement proceedings, the order has to be submitted by the applicant to the enforcement agent conducting the enforcement procedure.

9.2 Enforcement of interim measures issued by foreign courts

9.2.1 Interim measures issued by foreign courts can be enforced under the EU Regulations governing enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, for example Council Regulation No 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (the Brussels I Regulation); Council Regulation No. 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility; Council Regulation No. 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations, or the Bulgarian Code on Private International Law. In most cases enforcement will be based on the Brussels I Regulation or the CPIL.

9.2.2 When considering the enforcement of interim measures granted by other EU Member State courts under the Brussels I Regulation or another EU Regulation, it should be borne in mind that in its case law the Court of Justice of the European Union28 has reasoned that there should be a “real connecting link” between the issuing court and the subject-matter of the requested measure. Otherwise, the request may lead to undue expansion of the jurisdiction of the issuing court and infringe the scope of sovereignty of the EU Member State where enforcement would be sought. In practical terms, if a court in another EU Member State allows an interim measure, e.g. the freezing of a bank account in Bulgaria, it is questionable whether this measure would be enforced in Bulgaria. The Bulgarian case law on this aspect has not yet developed. Therefore, parties seeking interim relief regarding assets located in Bulgaria may prefer to request measures directly from the Bulgarian court instead of obtaining interim relief abroad and trying to enforce it in Bulgaria afterwards.

9.2.3 If the issuing court is not within the EU, enforcement of any interim measure ordered would be under the CPIL (Article 117). This sets out the general procedure regulating any enforcement of judgments of foreign judicial authorities. The competent court for such enforcement procedures is the Sofia City Court. The court is not allowed to rule on the substance of the matter decided by the foreign authority, but may only review whether it complies with the statutory requirements in Article 117 CPIL being:   

  1. the foreign court or authority had jurisdiction according to the provisions of Bulgarian law, but not if the nationality of the claimant or the registration thereof in the state of the court seized was the only ground for the foreign jurisdiction over pecuniary claims;
  2. the respondent was served with a copy of the statement of claim, the parties were duly summoned, and fundamental principles of Bulgarian law relating to the defence of the parties have not been prejudiced;
  3. the Bulgarian court has not ruled in proceedings on the same facts, involving the same cause of action and between the same parties;
  4. no proceedings based on the same facts, involving the same cause of action and between the same parties, are brought before a Bulgarian court earlier than a case instituted before the foreign court in the matter on which the judgment (in respect of which recognition and enforcement is sought) has been rendered;
  5. the recognition or enforcement is not contrary to Bulgarian public policy.

10. Interim Measures in International Commercial Arbitration

10.1 Interim measures by state courts

10.1.1 The relevant legislative instrument regulating arbitration, including international commercial arbitrations, is the International Commercial Arbitration Act (ICAA). According to Article 9 ICAA, Bulgarian state courts have jurisdiction to grant interim measures regarding a dispute which is subject to arbitration proceedings. The measures may be granted both prior to the commencement of arbitration or while the case is pending before the arbitral tribunal. The rules and procedure of the CPC are applicable to the interim measures procedure.

10.2 Interim measures by an arbitral tribunal with its seat in Bulgaria

10.2.1 An arbitral tribunal with its seat in Bulgaria is subject to the application of the ICAA (Article 1). According to Article 21 ICAA, where no contrary agreement exists, the parties to arbitration proceedings may request interim measures from the arbitral tribunal. The ICAA stipulates that upon the application by one of the parties, the tribunal may oblige the other party to undertake appropriate measures to secure the rights of the applicant party. There is no specific indication of what these measures may be. The tribunal may require the provision of a guarantee from the applicant.

10.2.2 The ICAA does not provide the arbitral tribunal with an absolute jurisdiction to grant interim measures. Some types of interim measures available in Bulgaria are difficult to reconcile with the powers of the arbitral tribunal, since most measures require assistance from public officials who are not obliged to comply with any order issued by the arbitral tribunal. Moreover, the case law of the most commonly chosen Bulgarian arbitral institution – the Arbitration Court at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – suggests that interim measures imposed by the arbitral tribunal may be binding only upon the parties to the dispute and should not affect rights of third parties.29

10.2.3 In this regard, the arbitral tribunal is entitled to request assistance from the competent state court for the granting of interim measures that fall outside the powers of the arbitral tribunal, including interim relief that may affect rights of third parties.

10.3 Interim measures by an arbitral tribunal with its seat abroad

10.3.1 The ICAA does not cover arbitration proceedings with a seat outside Bulgaria, and there is no other Bulgarian legislation that provides for a special regime for such cases. With respect to the enforcement of interim measures granted by an arbitral tribunal with its seat abroad, the proper procedure to be followed should be the one laid down by the CPIL as set out in section 9.2 above.