Legal proceedings in Macedonia
The Macedonian legal system gives to a creditor two options to commence legal action. The creditor can either file a lawsuit or start Enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument.
Power of attorney must be confirmed by Macedonian Embassy or by an authorized foreign solicitor.
Documentation has to be verified by an authorized foreign solicitor (Notarius) and translated to Macedonian language by a certified legal translator.
Court experts are commonly involved in every legal proceeding. One expertize costs usually between 200 and 500 EUR.
The execution of any legal decision requires a separate action by official state independent executors.
Enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument
The types of authentic instruments are prescribed by law. Most common authentic instruments are invoices, a statement of account, cheques and bill of exchange. The enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument is advisable only when it is expected that the debtor will not object to payment. Application and all evidence about the claim are submitted to Notary Public. The Notary Public issues a decision and services it to the debtor. If the debtor doesn't object within eight days,
the case is assumed by an executor who issues a writ of execution. The debtor has three days to appeal to the President of the First Instance Court. This type of procedure takes the longest 40 days.
If the debtor objects in time, the court will set aside the decision and pass the file to the litigation court. The creditor will have to prepare the complaint and support it with full documentation about the claim (invoices, contract, proof of delivery etc.). The creditor can also withdraw from lawsuit by settling a court fee for withdrawal from legal action. If the complaint is not submitted in time or the court fee for legal action is not settled in time, the court will reject creditor's application.
The creditor can also file a lawsuit without having first to institute the Enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument.
If the claim is supported by an authentic instrument, the court should issue a payment order, ordering to the debtor to settle the claim within 8 days or to file an objection. The court must service the lawsuit (and the payment order) to defendant in 30 days. If defendant's objection against payment order was justified, the court will set aside the payment order and continue with the litigation procedure.
If the court hasn't issued the payment order, the court must serve the lawsuit to the defendant within 30 days. Unless the defendant files an answer to lawsuit within 30 days, the court will issue a default judgement in plaintiffs favour, on condition that all proofs support plaintiff's claim. The court must service the defendant's answer to the plaintiff in 30 days. In emergency cases the court can set a date for a court hearing immediately after checking the lawsuit, without servicing the complaint to the defendant. Usually several court hearings are necessary before the court renders the judgement.
The court always asks the parties to try to solve the dispute by mediation. The creditor can refuse to attend the mediation. The parties can also conclude the court settlement at the court hearing.
The judgement must be issued in 30 days from the last court hearing. Both parties have 15 days to appeal against the judgement. If none of both parties appeal, the judgement becomes final and enforceable.
The creditor will have to prepare the complaint and support it with full documentation about the claim (invoices, contract, proof of delivery etc.). The creditor can also withdraw from lawsuit by settling a court fee for withdrawal from legal action. If the complaint is not submitted in time or the court fee for legal action is not settled in time, the court will reject creditor's application.
Courts accept only documentation in official language; therefore all documents must be translated into Macedonian language by the court certified translators.
The creditor can also avail himself of protective measures (e.g. freezing of debtor's assets) such as preliminary order and interim order. Debtor's objections and appeals against protective measures don't stay the proceedings.
Period for lodging the claim in bankruptcy procedure is 3 months and for compulsory settlements (composition, reorganisation) the lodgement period is only 1 month. Late applications are accepted very rarely, e.g. if the creditor was not informed about debtor’s insolvency by the trustee. Trustees examine lodged claims in 30-40 days from the expiry of deadline for lodging the claim and publish a list of lodged claims. If the claim is disputed, the creditor must file a lawsuit within one month, otherwise the creditor automatically loses every right to payment.
In compulsory settlement the debtor offers the creditors payment of 50% of claims (or more) within 4 years (or sooner). If majority of creditor don’t support debtor’s payment proposal, the court automatically declares bankruptcy. Only creditors who have lodged their claims in time (in one month) have a right to vote for or against terms of forced settlement. Lodgement of claim in compulsory settlement also interrupts limitation period. Ballot for voting is published by the court. Creditors can vote by sending a ballot by post to the court or via an attorney. If the compulsory settlement is confirmed, the debtor’s company continues with business.
In bankruptcy procedure the trustee tries to cash in all debtors’ property and to collect debtor’s claim. At the end of bankruptcy the bankruptcy estate is divided proportionally only to those creditors who have lodged their claims. The bankruptcy procedure ends with debtor’s company being cancelled from court register.
General limitation period for commercial claims in Macedonia is 3 years.
The limitation of the execution is limited for 10 years after the court judgement.