Legal procedures in Bulgaria
A creditor with money claims has two options to initiate a legal procedure against the debtor in Bulgaria – the ordinary court procedure or a simplified legal procedure.
The simplified legal procedure can be an option for smaller claims up to 12 500 EUR.
The application for enforcement can be submitted based only on a statement of account or open invoices, directly by creditor or via attorney. After receiving the application for enforcement, the court issues enforcement order which is sent to debtor. If debtor does not object to the enforcement order within two weeks after document was delivered to him, such court’s order will become final. The court issues a Writ of Execution and procedure continues with a Receiver (Bailiff). The most common enforcement measure is to block debtor’s bank accounts and transfer the balance by debtor’s bank. If there are no assets on debtor’s bank accounts, other enforcement measures can be proposed, like sale of debtor’s property, etc.
If the debtor appeals in time, the creditor can either withdraw from legal action (and consequently loose paid fees and taxes) or continue by filing a lawsuit against the debtor and settle an additional court fee for legal action. If creditor fails to settle a court fee for legal action in time, the court will assume that the creditor has withdrawn from a lawsuit.
If the creditor settles court tax in time and presents a lawsuit, supported with full documentation about the case, the court will set a date for examination of the case. All documents have to be legally translated into Bulgarian language.
When the claim is served upon the defendant, we can say that the legal proceeding was fully instituted. The defendant has to send his answer, supported with proofs within one month; otherwise the court will issue a default judgment. When the court receives an answer to the complaint from the defendant, it sets a date for court hearing. At the court hearing both parties present their proofs and statements. If necessary, the judge can demand hearing of a witness or a court expert (expertise is paid additionally). If the court decides in creditor’s favor and debtor does not pay, the creditor can start an enforcement procedure on the ground of the final judgment.
Period for lodging the claim in bankruptcy procedure is two months after decision of court and additional one month. Late applications are accepted very rarely.
General limitation period of commercial claims in Bulgaria is 5 years.