As the popularity of alternative dispute resolution (legal arbitration and legal mediation) in Bulgaria grows, the need for raising the awareness of the validity and enforceability of the acts issued as a result of such procedures becomes obvious.
This brief article is aimed at outlining the steps for enforcement of arbitral awards issued by a domestic (i.e. Bulgarian) arbitration tribunal or arbiter in Bulgaria. Enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is regulated by the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and will be subject of a different publication.
Although obtaining a favourable arbitral award in Bulgaria is always considered an advantage, it is not necessarily followed by voluntary satisfaction of the plaintiff’s claim by the defendant. The defendant may continue to disregard his obligations and disobey the stipulations of the award.
In these cases the plaintiff should seek enforcement of the arbitral award through a Bulgarian enforcement agent. But in order to do so, the plaintiff must obtain a writ of execution issued by Sofia City Court.
The writ of execution is issued upon a special request filed by the plaintiff with Sofia City Court. The arbitral award (result of the legal mediation or arbitration) itself as well as evidence for the service of the award to the defendant should be attached to the request.
The court rules the plaintiff’s request for issuance of a writ of execution after a formal check of the arbitral award without observation of the correctness of the arbitral award.
The court’s ruling of the request is subject to appeal by both the plaintiff (if the request is rejected) and by the defendant (if the request is sustained but only after the writ of execution is served to him by the enforcement agent).
After obtaining a writ of execution the plaintiff is entitled to initiate execution proceedings against the debtor by filing the relevant request for initiation of execution proceedings with an enforcement agent.
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