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Recognition of foreign judgments

One of the core consequences of globalisation has been the rapid increase in trans-national litigation and the associated need to enforce judgments across national borders. Recognition and enforcement of foreign countries’ court decisions in another country has always been a delicate and difficult issue.

It is known that the system does not have a universal rule and each country adopts its own valued judgment with regard to foreign decisions.

There is also a clear and relatively easy procedure for the enforcement of judgments and other acts passed in other EU Member States.

The Civil process Code does not contain provisions on recognition and enforcement of decisions and acts of countries other than EU Member States.

The Regulation Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments

Recognition and enforcement of judgments rendered in non-EU countries should be subject to different procedures under the Code of international private law act.

According to part four of the CMR, the conditions introduced in Art. 117 The Code of international private law act for recognition and enforcement is as follows:

The decisions and acts of foreign courts and other bodies are recognized when:

  1. – the foreign court or authority was competent under the provisions of Bulgarian law:
  2. – the defendant was served with a copy of the application, the parties were regularly summoned and the basic principles of Bulgarian law related to the defense were not violated ;
  3. – if between the same parties, on the same grounds and for the same request, no decision of a Bulgarian court has entered into force;
  4. – if there is no pending trial between the same parties, on the same grounds and for the same claim, before a Bulgarian court
  5. – recognition or admission of performance is not contrary to the Bulgarian public order.

Legal frame of recognition of foreign judgments

The Recognition of foreign Judgments is made by the body before it.

In the event of a dispute over the conditions for recognition of the foreign judgment, a settlement action may be brought before the Sofia City Court.

A claim is made before the Sofia City Court to allow enforcement of a foreign judgment.

The application shall be accompanied by a copy of the decision certified by the court which issued it and a certificate by the same court that the decision has entered into force.

These documents needs to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The court shall examine of its own motion the conditions under Art. 117.

The defendant in the procedure for recognition and enforcement of the foreign decision can not invoke violations under Art. 117, item 2, which he could have pointed out before the foreign court.

The court does not go into the examination of the substance of the dispute, resolved by the foreign court. 

The debtor may object to the discharge of the obligation on the basis of circumstances that have arisen after the entry into force of the foreign decision.

The debtor may not object to the discharge of the obligation on the basis of the circumstances after the enforcement decision has entered into force.

Regarding the recognition of the consequences of foreign enforcement and security acts – the regulation is in Art. 124 International law act in Bulgaria-

If there is a claim before a Bulgarian court for the recognition of a judgment given in a non-EU country and there are no other international instruments in the field of family law that have been signed and ratified by both countries.

The foreign state at the same time as the CPC does not contain provisions on recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments other than EU Member States, the recognition procedure will be Part Four of the CMR, considering the legal conditions under Art. 117 KMCP.

The court procedure in Bulgaria

A decision certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria must be submitted to the court, that it is apparent that the same has entered into force.

Recognition foreign decisions, Bulgarian lawyers recognition of court decision, Court decisions in Bulgaria, Bulgaria recognition court decision lawyerAfter assessing the conditions under Art. 117 CMMR and to check whether it is contrary to the Bulgarian public order, the court decides whether it admits or not.

It is important to note that, according to the provision of Art. 121 para. 1 Code international private law act, the court in the exequatur procedure does not examine the merits of the dispute.

European Arrest Warrant in Bulgaria

Many clients asked for drafting and preparation of the following legal procedure for European Arrest Warrant Bulgaria. 

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) is a legal decision issued in an EU Member State

This is a legal instrument with the purpose of detaining and surrendering an individual wanted in another Member State for prosecution.

Sometimes there are some activities for execution of a custodial sentence, or a detention order.

Our law firm, D. Vladimirov & Partners, specializes in international criminal law, particularly in cases involving

  1. drug abuse
  2. violations,
  3. money laundering,European Arrest Warrant in Bulgaria
  4. white-collar crimes,
  5. forgery,
  6. counterfeiting,
  7. fraud,
  8. financial crimes,
  9. tax fraud offenses,
  10. driving, and traffic crimes.

Our legal actitvities 

Our expertise allows us to handle international criminal law issues at a high professional level, often collaborating with foreign colleagues in

A/ Extradition or

B/ Legal work on procedures of european Arrest Warrant cases involving Bulgaria.

We prioritize providing reliable legal services to our clients as defense counsel, offering assistance in criminal and extradition order services.

The European Arrest Warrant, governed by the Law on Extradition and European Arrest Warrant in Bulgaria, aims to combat international terrorism and organized crime post-10/11/2001.

The warrant simplifies cross-border judicial surrender procedures, replacing the previously lengthy extradition processes between EU countries.

The EAW, based on the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions, allows for the recognition and execution of a warrant issued by one EU country’s judicial authority throughout the entire EU territory.

The issuing authority must assess the risk of inhuman or degrading treatment before deciding on surrender if evidence of such a risk exists.

Under the Bulgarian Law on Extradition and European Arrest Warrant, the Court may refuse to execute the warrant in cases of amnesty, an entered into force sentence, or if the requested person is underage according to Bulgarian legislation.

The decision on the execution of the European arrest warrant must be made within 60 days after the person’s arrest, and if the person consents, the surrender decision must be taken within 10 days.

How start the procedure ? Appealing administrative acts

The surrender procedure, initiated by a European Arrest Warrant, takes place in one of the 28 district courts.

The requested person can consent to surrender, leading to a restricted verification procedure.

If the person refuses, the court examines the legal details and checks for reasons preventing transfer, such as double jeopardy, terminated criminal proceedings in Bulgaria, or expired punishment under Bulgarian law.

Despite instances of foreign courts refusing to hand over individuals to Bulgaria due to concerns over prison conditions

Our law office, D. Vladimirov & Partners, emphasizes the need for amendments to align Bulgarian legislation with human rights standards.

If you require legal assistance, feel free to contact us at +359 897 90 43 91 or send your inquiry to office@lawyer-bulgaria.bg

What is the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and how does it function?

The EAW is a mechanism based on mutual recognition of judicial decisions among EU countries. It involves a judicial authority in one EU country requesting the arrest and surrender of a person located in another Member State for prosecution or to execute a custodial sentence.

How does the EAW differ from traditional extradition?

Unlike traditional extradition, the EAW imposes strict time limits. The executing state must make a final decision on the execution of the warrant within 60 days after the person's arrest, with a surrender decision required within 10 days if the person consents. The surrender must occur within 10 days of the final decision.

What changes have been made regarding double criminality checks?

For 32 categories of offenses, there is no longer a need for a double criminality check. The only requirement is that the act must be punishable by a maximum period of at least 3 years of imprisonment in the issuing state. For other offenses, surrender may be subject to the condition that the act constitutes an offense in the executing state.

How is political involvement addressed in the EAW process?

Decisions related to the EAW are made solely by judicial authorities, eliminating any political considerations. This ensures an unbiased and legal approach to the surrender process.

Can EU countries refuse to surrender their own nationals under the EAW?

EU countries can no longer refuse to surrender their nationals under the EAW, except if they opt to take over the execution of the prison sentence against the requested person.

What guarantees can be imposed by the executing judicial authority?

The executing judicial authority may require guarantees, including the right to request a review after a certain period, especially for life sentences, and the possibility for the wanted person to serve any resulting prison time in the executing country if they are a national or habitual resident.

Under what grounds can the executing judicial authority refuse surrender?

Refusal to surrender is limited to specific grounds. Mandatory grounds include cases of amnesty, previous judgment for the same offense, or the person being a minor. Optional grounds include lack of double criminality, territorial jurisdiction, pending criminal procedure, and statute of limitations, among others.

How is the EAW designed to protect the procedural rights of suspects or accused persons?

In applying the EAW, authorities must respect the procedural rights of suspects or accused persons, including the right to information, legal representation, an interpreter, and legal aid, as stipulated by the law in the country where the arrest takes place.

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