Substantial Amendments to the Civil Procedure Code
An Act to Amend and Supplement the Civil Procedure Code (the “Act”) was promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 86, dated 27 October 2017. The Act enters into force as of 31 October 2017 and introduces changes in general rules of civil proceedings, cassation proceedings, order and enforcement proceedings.
A summary of the more important amendments is presented below.
Amendments to the cassation proceedings
There are substantial changes in the grounds for admissibility to cassation appeal.
First, the contradiction with the interpretative practice of the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) is included in the grounds for admissibility. The judgments of the SCC on cassation appeals against judgments of appellate courts will no longer constitute mandatory court practice. The contradiction with these judgments of the SCC, however, preserves its importance as a ground for admissibility to cassation appeal.
The contradiction with acts of the Constitutional Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union are provided as new separate grounds for admissibility. The introduction of these new grounds extends significantly the possibilities for admissibility to cassation appeal.
On the other hand, the contradictory judgments of courts will be excluded from the grounds for admissibility.
A new element is that appellate court judgments (i.e. judgments of a second-instance court) will be admissible to cassation appeal for possible nullity or inadmissibility, as well as for obvious irregularity. This would mean in practice that, as early as the stage of assessing the admissibility, the cassation instance would have formed a preliminary opinion on the substance of the cassation appeal.
Article 291 of the Civil Procedure Code which governs the right of the SCC to align the practice of the courts through judgments in a particular court dispute is revoked. Thus, the constitutional right of the SCC to ensure the consistent application of laws by all courts will be mainly performed through interpretative judgments in the future.
Enforcement on industrial property rights
The Act introduces a completely new means of enforcement– enforcement on industrial property rights. It may be performed against rights over trademark, patent, utility, industrial design and other objects of industrial property. It is also possible to impose a garnishment over a debtor’s right over industrial property. The garnishment is subject to registration in the register for the respective industrial property right.
The sale of rights over industrial property will be performed by the means of public sale of real estate.
The enforcement on a separate part of a commercial enterprise will also be performed by the means of the public sale. This is also is a new means of enforcement introduced with the present amendments.
Amendments to the enforcement proceedings
A novelty in the enforcement proceedings is the regulation of electronic public auctions. The sale of real estate and movable property through an electronic public auction may be requested in writing by either party in the enforcement proceedings or ordered by the enforcement agent. Within 18 months as of the entry into force of the Act, the Ministry of Justice is to create an online platform to conduct electronic auctions.
For this type of auction, it is explicitly provided that the purchase of property may be financed by a credit institution. This amendment aims, on one hand, to increase the number of potential buyers in this type of auctions and, on the other, to help achieve higher sales prices.
Changes in the enforcement proceedings provide for more rights for debtors, namely, additional possibilities for appeal against acts of enforcement agents, new rules regarding personal income which may not be seized, requirements for proportionality of the security measures imposed and enforcement procedures taken, and others.
At the same time, a new function of private enforcement agents is introduced. They will be able to serve all kinds of invitations, communications and answers on civil matters, and, upon ruling of the court – communications and summons in civil court cases. This role of private enforcement agents is similar to the function of notary publics in the exchange of documents between private parties.
The present Act introduces other substantial changes in the civil proceedings. Some of these changes are related to the rules of summons, suspension of procedural terms, change of state fees for court claims and enforcement proceedings, changes in the order proceedings, new rules for public sales, and electronic seizure of bank accounts.