From the beginning of 2014 a unified court system has started to function, following the merger of common and commercial courts. The reform is based on several Presidential Decrees and Edicts.
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus (Supreme Court) became the single supreme authority among general courts. A new judicial panel for commercial matters was introduced within the Supreme Court along with existing panels for civil, criminal, and intellectual property matters. The new panel will consider cases at first instance, cassation instance, and upon discovery of new facts. From 1 July 2014 the military panel will be abolished as well as the whole military court system. Military court functions will be transferred to regional, Minsk City, and district (city) common courts.
Powers of the supervisory instance are transferred to the Presidium and the Plenum of the Supreme Court which include representatives of all judicial panels of the Supreme Court. The Plenum will also issue Resolutions on certain areas of court practice which are legal acts under local law.
Since 1 January 2014 a unified system of enforcement departments has been in operation, consisting of the main enforcement department and regional departments of the Ministry of Justice. A new law on enforcement procedures is expected soon.
The enforcement fee to be withheld from the debtors has been increased. Currently the fee is 10% of the amount collected based on proprietary claims, and 5 basic units (approx EUR 50) on non-proprietary claims by a natural person or 10 basic units (approx EUR 100) on non-proprietary claims by a legal entity for every execution order.
The stated purpose of court system reform is to increase the quality of justice, specialisation among courts and judges, and greater uniformity of judicial practice.