The Criminal Procedure Code (Nakazatelno-procesualen kodeks) of the Republic of Bulgaria lays down the procedure for crime victims to bring actions for damages in criminal proceedings. If the victim does not claim damages in the criminal proceedings or believes that the compensation awarded does not cover all damages sustained, the victim is entitled to bring an action for damages under the Obligations and Contracts Act (Zakon za zadalzheniata i dogovorite) before a civil court, which will examine the case under the Civil Procedure Code (Grazhdanski procesionalen kodeks).
A civil claim for damages and for the victim's civil action to be joined to the judicial proceedings must be brought before the start of the preliminary hearing before the court of first instance. The court sends out a notification of the preliminary hearing. Within 7 days of receiving the notification, the victim or their successors can apply for their civil action or private prosecution to be joined, while legal persons can do so as a civil party.
The civil claim can be filed by the victim or the victim’s counsel. The application can be oral or written. The civil claim has to contain: the full name of the claimant and of the person against whom the action is brought; the criminal case in which the civil claim is being filed; the criminal offence that caused the damages and the nature and amount of damages claimed. The civil claim in judicial proceedings can be brought against the defendant and against any other persons bearing civil liability for the damages caused by the offence.
No, there is not.
The evidence has to be submitted in the judicial proceedings. The party bringing the civil action is entitled to: participate in the judicial proceedings; request a protective measure to secure the civil claim; review the material in the case and obtain the necessary excerpts; submit evidence; file requests, notes, and objections and contest decisions of the court which infringe upon the party’s rights and legitimate interest.
The victim is not required to pay court fees or other costs linked to the victim’s civil claim.
The victim or the party bringing civil action can appoint a lawyer. If the victim/civil party provides evidence that they cannot afford a lawyer but wants one and this serves the interests of justice, the court of first instance appoints a lawyer.
The court of first instance rules on the civil claim in a decision which is announced in the preliminary hearing. If the court refuses to adjudicate on the claim, it must state its reasons. The refusal is not open to appeal.
The refusal of a criminal court to adjudicate on a civil claim is not open to appeal. The victim is entitled to bring an action for damages before a civil court, with the case being heard under the Civil Procedure Code. If the criminal proceedings are ongoing, the civil claim before a civil court will be stayed until the criminal proceedings have come to an end.
Once the offender has been convicted, the victim can file an application with the court for a writ of execution. A writ of execution allows the victim to instruct a bailiff for the purposes of obtaining the compensation awarded by the court.
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