On 3 July 2015 the Bulgarian National Assembly’s amendments to the Civil Procedure Code were published in the State Gazette. The amendments were adopted on 19 June 2015 and came into force on 6 July 2015. The key changes to the Civil Procedure Code include:
- Restriction of appeal to the Supreme Cassation Court by:
- Increasing the jurisdictional amount for commercial claims from BGN 10, 000 to BGN 20, 000 (approximately EUR 5,000 and EUR 10,000, respectively). (The jurisdictional amount for civil cases remains unchanged (BGN 5,000 - approximately EUR 2,500) and appeals on property/real estate related claims are permitted regardless of the amount in dispute.);
- Excluding certain second instance court decisions from further appeal to the Supreme Cassation Court, irrespective of the amount in dispute. Excluded claims include, among others, certain claims under the Family Code, the Condominium Ownership Management Act, and the Agricultural Land Ownership and Use Act;
- Excluding second instance court decisions on labour disputes from further appeal to the Supreme Cassation Court, except for claims involving unfair dismissal, reinstatement or labour remuneration and compensations over BGN 5000 (approximately EUR 2,500).
Cassation appeals filed before the entry into force of the amendment will be heard according to the rules in force at the time of filing.
- During enforcement proceedings, in the first public sale of immovable property the enforcement agent may not set the price lower than the tax assessment value of the real estate.
- Establishing the procedure for initiation of enforcement proceedings in Bulgaria based directly on a court decision from another Member State, without the need for recognition proceedings or the issuance of a writ of execution. In that regard, the debtor will be able to file an application asking the court to refuse recognition/enforcement of the decision rendered in the other Member State.
This new procedure applies to court decisions in proceedings initiated after 10 January 2015 and other deeds formally prepared or registered, approved or made after 10 January 2015, according to EU Regulation No 1215/2012.
- New procedures allow debtors to apply for refusals of enforcement and stays or limitations of enforcement of European orders for payment, in compliance with Article 22 and Article 23 of EC Regulation No 1896/2006.