Chapter 37 – ‘Enforcement Proceedings’ – of the Code of Civil Procedure (State Gazette No 59 of 20 July 2007; in force from 1 March 2008; last amended in State Gazette No 86/2017) lays down a simplified procedure whereby claimants can collect receivables if their claim is unlikely to be contested by the defendant.
Enforcement orders may be issued under Article 410 of the Code of Civil Procedure at the request of creditors for the following claims:
The application must meet the requirements of Article 127(1) and (3) and Article 128(1) and (2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, and indicate a bank account or other method of payment.
Furthermore, Article 417 of the Code of Civil Procedure expressly provides that the applicant may also request the issue of an enforcement order where the claim, regardless of its value, concerns
If the application is accompanied by a document under Article 417 of the Code of Civil Procedure, on which the claim is based, the creditor may request the court to order immediate enforcement and issue a writ of execution.
Where the claim originates from some of the deeds under Article 417 of the Code of Civil Procedure, there is no upper limit in terms of its value.
Pursuant to the remaining provisions on pecuniary claims, claims for substitutable goods or transfer of moveable property, an enforcement order may be issued only where the claim falls within the jurisdiction of the district court. The district court is responsible for the claims in civil and commercial matters with value of the claim up to BGN 25,000, and all claims for maintenance, labour disputes and claims from notice of deficiency.
The use of the procedures is not obligatory. Even if prerequisites for the issue of an enforcement order exist, the claimant is not obliged to choose this procedure of defence, but may bring a claim under the general claims procedure.
An enforcement order is not issued where the debtor has no permanent address and usual residence, or seat and place of business in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The application is submitted to the district court for the permanent address or seat of the debtor, and the court has three days to carry out an official check of local jurisdiction. If the court declines jurisdiction, it passes the case on to the competent court.
The use of application forms approved by the Minister of Justice is obligatory. The applications constitute an annex to Regulation No 6 of 20 February 2008 on the approval of forms for enforcement orders, applications for the issue of an enforcement order and other papers related to the ‘order for payment’ procedure, issued by the Minister of Justice (Article 425 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
The application must set out the circumstances upon which the claim is based and the essence of the request.
Under Article 410 of the Code of Civil Procedure it is not necessary to attach to the application any evidence for establishing the claim. The applicant may attach such evidence; however, he/she is not obliged to do so, because the procedure is intended only to verify whether the claim is questionable. It is sufficient for the applicant to maintain that his/her claim exists. If the debtor contests the enforcement order, the verification of the existence of the claim is carried out within the claim proceedings. The application must be accompanied by a power of attorney if submitted by a proxy, as well as a proof of paid stamp fees and legal expenses, where appropriate.
The application for the issue of an enforcement order Under Article 410 of the Code of Civil Procedure is rejected in the following cases:
The enforcement order may not be appealed by the parties, except in the part regarding the costs. An order rejecting, wholly or partially, the application may be appealed by the applicant to the relevant regional court with a private appeal of which no copy of service is submitted. The order for immediate enforcement which the court issues in the cases of a document submitted in accordance with Article 417 of the Code of Civil Procedure is also subject to appeal. A private appeal against the order for immediate enforcement must be submitted together with the objection against the issued enforcement order and may be based only on considerations derived from the acts under Article 417 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Once debtors have received the enforcement order, they may lodge a written objection to it or part thereof within two weeks and no justification is required, except in the cases referred to in Article 414a of the Code of Civil Procedure:
- they have fulfilled their obligation
- they did not incur any costs because their conduct did not give rise to the lodging of the claim. In such cases, the objection must be sent to the applicant for observations within 3 days. If the applicant fails to submit observations, the court invalidates the order for payment, in whole or in part, including the part relating to costs. If a writ of execution has been issued on the basis of the enforcement order, it will also be invalidated in accordance with Article 208 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
Where the debtor lodges an objection within the time limit, when the enforcement order is served under the conditions of Article 47(5) of the Code of Civil Procedure (affixing a notice to the address) and where the court has refused to issue an enforcement order, the court instructs the applicant that he/she may bring an action to establish his/her claim within one month, paying the State fee due and ordering suspension of enforcement if it has issued a writ of execution under Article 418 of the Code of Civil Procedure. If the applicant fails to provide evidence that he/she has brought declaratory action within the specified deadline, the court invalidates the payment order, whether in whole or in the part for which no claim has been made.
Pursuant to Article 416 of the Code of Civil Procedure, if there is no objection submitted in due time, or the objection is withdrawn, the enforcement order becomes effective and on its basis the court issues a writ of execution, which will accordingly be stated on the order.
Within one month of becoming aware of an enforcement order, a debtor who has not been given the opportunity to contest the claim may submit an objection to the court of appeal, if:
The submission of this objection does not suspend the enforcement of the order, but at the request of the debtor and following presentation of the appropriate security by the latter, the court may suspend the enforcement (Article 423(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure).
The court accepts the objection if availability of the prerequisites listed above is found. If the court of appeal accepts the objection because the debtor has no permanent address or seat in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, or has no habitual residence or place of business in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, then it officially invalidates the enforcement order and the writ of execution issued thereon. Otherwise, if the court of appeal accepts the objection, it suspends the enforcement of the issued order and returns the case to the district court instructing the applicant that he/she may bring an action in respect of his/her claim within one month by paying the balance of the due stamp fee (Article 423(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure),
Furthermore, the debtor may contest, in a claims procedure, the claim for which an enforcement order has been issued if new facts or new written evidence of essential importance for the case are found that could not have been known to him/her during the period for filing the objection, or which he/she could not obtain within the same time limit. The action may be brought within three months from the date on which the new circumstance has become known to the debtor, or from the date on which he/she was able to obtain the new written evidence, but not later than one year from the end of the compulsory recovery of the claim (Article 424 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
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