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We are pleased to announce that a case of our stellar litigation team under the Act for Combating the Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property gave an opportunity of the Supreme Court of Cassation to clarify the procedural law in an  important court ruling concerning the application of Article 631, para 1 of the Civil Procedural Code. According to Ruling No. 138 of 21 March 2019, if the Court of the European Union has been asked to give a preliminary ruling on a certain issue by one civil court (in accordance with Article 267 TFEU), but the same issue is raised before another civil court in Bulgaria, then the second court (regardless which court instance it is) is obliged to suspend the proceedings before it on the ground of Article 633 in conjunction with Article 631, para 1 of the Civil Procedural Code. This is because the preliminary rulings of the Court of the European Union are mandatory for all courts in Bulgaria and not only for that court, which have asked the question. Article 631, para 1 of the Civil Procedural Code literally states that only the court asking the question shall suspend the proceedings before it and thus it was not clear whether other court panels can also rely on this provision to suspend their cases. The above ruling of the Supreme Court of Cassation clarifies that it is possible and thus shall remove the existing inconsistency in the court practice. Boyko Bratanov, Denitsa Koleva and Krassimir Mitkov worked on the case providing reasons in support of the above interpretation.

Date: 26 March 2019

Source: Spasov & Bratanov Lawyers’ Partnership

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