Costs

Bulgaria

This page provides information about litigation costs in Bulgaria.

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Bulgaria

Regulatory framework governing the fees in legal professions

Lawyers

Bar Act (Zakon za advokaturata):

Article 36(1) Lawyers (advokat) and lawyers from another EU Member State shall be entitled to remuneration for their work.

(2) The fee shall be determined in a contract concluded between the lawyer or the lawyer from another EU Member State and the client. The amount of the fee must be reasonable and justified and may not be less than the fee provided for in a regulation adopted by the Supreme Bar Council (Visshiya advokatski savet) for the type of work involved.

(3) Where no contract has been signed, the Supreme Bar Council shall determine, at the request of the lawyer, the lawyer from another EU Member State or the client, the fee to be paid in accordance with the regulation adopted by the Supreme Bar Council.

(4) The fee may be fixed in absolute terms and/or as a percentage of an amount that may, depending on the outcome of the proceedings, be awarded by the court. This excludes the fee for defence in criminal cases and for civil cases with non-material interest.

Article 38(1) Lawyers and lawyers from another EU Member State may provide free legal advice and assistance to:

  1. persons entitled to maintenance;
  2. persons in financial difficulty;
  3. immediate or extended family members or another legal professional.

(2) In the cases referred to in paragraph 1, if the opposing party in the proceedings is ordered to pay the costs, the lawyer or the lawyer from another EU Member State shall be entitled to remuneration. The court shall determine the amount of the fee, which may not be less than that provided for in the regulation referred to in Article 36(2), and shall order the other party to pay it.

The remuneration (fee) is determined in accordance with Article 36(6) of regulation No 1/2004 of the Supreme Bar Council on the minimum remuneration of lawyers.

Section II

Fees for advice, consultations, drafting of documents and contracts

Article 6(1) The fee for advice, consultations and drafting documents and contracts are as follows:

  1. for verbal advice, consultations regarding mediation without the involvement of a lawyer, obtaining information from court and administrative bodies, etc. — BGN 100;
  2. for a written consultation — BGN 200;
  3. for examining a matter and providing an opinion on it — BGN 450;
  4. for complaints and reports to the prosecution service, the police and central or local government authorities — BGN 200;
  5. for notarial invitations, applications for acceptance or refusal of inheritance, drafting documents subject to entry in notarial records, applications for debt cancellation and other applications — BGN 200;
  6. for applications for renunciation or restoration of Bulgarian citizenship — BGN 450;
  7. for drafting a will — BGN 300;
  8. for drawing up: written contracts, title deeds, sales, exchanges, gifts, mortgages, superficies and easements, out of court settlements, including the drafting of agreements reached in mediation procedures without the involvement of a lawyer, and for conducting checks and drafting reports on the circumstances relevant to a transaction based on the value of the relevant contract or deed:
    (a) if the material interest is up to BGN 1 000 — BGN 250;
    (b) if the material interest is between BGN 1 000 and BGN 10 000 — BGN 250 plus 3 per cent of the amount exceeding BGN 1 000;
    (c) if the material interest is between BGN 10 000 and BGN 100 000 — BGN 500 plus 2 per cent of the amount exceeding BGN 10 000;
    (d) if the material interest is between BGN 100 000 and BGN 1 000 000 — BGN 2 300 plus 1 per cent of the amount exceeding BGN 100 000;
    (e) if the material interest is above BGN 1 000 000 — BGN 11 300 plus 0.5 per cent of the amount exceeding BGN 1 000 000;
  9. for drawing up documents and applications for registration of circumstances and entry of acts concerning:
    (a) sole traders — BGN 250;
    (b) general partnerships — BGN 300;
    (c) limited partnerships — BGN 400;
    (d) limited liability companies — BGN 500;
    (e) joint stock companies — BGN 1 000;
    (f) cooperatives — BGN 750;
    (g) housing cooperatives — BGN 750;
    (h) foundations and non-profit associations — BGN 600;
  10. for submitting documents for the registration of circumstances and entering acts in the relevant registers, without drawing up any documents, the fee shall be half of those specified in subparagraph 9;
  11. for providing ongoing legal services under a contract concluded with a legal person or sole trader — BGN 800 per month, with a separate fee payable to the lawyer for appearing in court on behalf of the respective legal person or sole trader;
  12. for consultations provided on an hourly basis — BGN 120;
  13. 13. for the certification of copies of documents handed over to the lawyer in connection with or for the protection of the rights and legal interests of the client pursuant to Article 32 of the Bar Act — BGN 3 for the first page and BGN 2 for each subsequent page;
  14. 14. for drawing up documents for participation in procedures under the Public Procurement Act (Zakon za obshtestvenite porachki), tender and competition documents under the State Property Act (Zakona za darzhavnata sobstvenost), the Municipal Property Act (Zakona za obshtinskata sobstvenost) and the Concessions Act (Zakona za kontsesiite), the lawyer's fee shall be determined in accordance with the procedure under Article 6(1)(8) on the basis of the value of the procedure announced, but shall not be less than BGN 2 000.

(2) The fee referred to in paragraph 1 shall be increased by half if the legal aid is provided in a foreign language. Where documents are drafted in different languages, the client shall pay a separate fee in the amounts specified in paragraph 1 for each of the languages in which the documents are drafted.

(3) The fees referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be doubled for legal aid provided in an emergency or on non-working days.

Section III

Fees for civil and administrative proceedings in one instance


Article 7(1) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in civil matters shall be as follows:

  1. in the case of proceedings for revocation of a dismissal and reinstatement, the fee shall not be less than the amount of the minimum monthly wage in Bulgaria at the time of conclusion of the legal aid contract or at the time the fee is fixed in accordance with Article 2;
  2. in the case of court proceedings for dissolution of marriage — BGN 1 200, and in the case of divorce by mutual consent — BGN 800. In the latter case, where a property settlement agreement needs to be drafted, paragraph 4 shall also apply.
  3. for actions relating to paternity rights and contesting paternity — BGN 1 200;
  4. for other non-pecuniary actions — BGN 1 000;
  5. for non-contentious proceedings and preservation of evidence proceedings — BGN 750;
  6. for maintenance cases — BGN 500;
  7. in actions brought by private parties — one third of the minimum amount for dispute adjudication in one instance, depending on the subject matter and the benefit at stake for the party, but not less than the amount provided for in Article 11, and, where the action is brought against a ruling to stay proceedings, half of the minimum amount for dispute adjudication at once instance, but not less than the amount provided for in Article 11;
  8. (new in State Gazette (SG No 28/2014; repealed by Judgments No 13062 of 3 October 2019 and 5419 of 8 May 2020 of the Supreme Administrative Court (Varhoven administrativen sad) — SG No 45/2020, in force as from 15 May 2020);
  9. for legal representation, defence and assistance in cases of declaration of lack of capacity — BGN 1 000;
  10. for proceedings under the Commercial Act (Targovskiya zakon) on actions brought by partners or shareholders against the company, claims for the protection of membership rights, proceedings under the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act (Zakona za yuridicheskite litsa s nestopanska tsel), the Cooperatives Act (Zakon za kooperatsiite), the Commercial Register and Register of Non-Profit Legal Entities Act (Zakona za targovskiya registar i registara na yuridicheskite litsa s nestopanska tsel) and the BULSTAT Register Act (Zakona za registar BULSTAT), and for proceedings concerning registration under other laws and the associated entries — BGN 1 250.

(2) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in matters in which the material interest is known shall be as follows:

  1. if the material interest is up to BGN 1 000 — BGN 400;
  2. if the material interest is between BGN 1 000 and BGN 10 000 — BGN 400 plus 10% of the amount exceeding BGN 1 000;
  3. if the material interest is between BGN 10 000 and BGN 25 000 — BGN 1 300 plus 9% of the amount exceeding BGN 10 000;
  4. if the material interest is between BGN 25 000 and BGN 100 000 — BGN 2 650 plus 8% of the amount exceeding BGN 25 000;
  5. if the material interest is between BGN 100 000 and BGN 500 000 — BGN 8 650 plus 4% of the amount exceeding BGN 100 000;
  6. if the material interest is between BGN 500 000 and BGN 1 000 000 — BGN 24 650 plus 3% of the amount exceeding BGN 500 000;
  7. if the material interest is between BGN 1 000 000 and BGN 10 000 000 — BGN 39 650 plus 1.5% of the amount exceeding BGN 1 000 000;
  8. if the material interest is above BGN 10 000 000 — BGN 174 650 plus 0.6% of the amount exceeding BGN 10 000 000;

(3) The fees for legal representation, defence and assistance in bankruptcy proceedings shall be calculated on the basis of the value of the claims in respect of which the institution of bankruptcy proceedings is requested, in accordance with the methodology referred to in paragraph 2, but may not be less than BGN 1 500. The fee for drafting a petition to open insolvency proceedings and drafting an objection to a claim filed or accepted in insolvency proceedings, as well as for participation in proceedings in which objections raised are to be examined, shall be one half of the amount specified in paragraph 2, but not less than BGN 1 000. The fee for drafting an offer and participating in a procedure for acquisition of property from a bankruptcy estate, shall be determined in accordance with the procedure under Article 6(1)(8).

(4) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings for the division of property shall be determined according to the interest of the represented party as provided for in paragraph 2, but may not be less than BGN 1 500 for each stage of the proceedings. The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings for the division of agricultural land shall be determined according to the interest of the represented party as provided for in paragraph 2, but may not be less than BGN 750 for each stage of the proceedings.

(5) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in actions pursuant to Articles 75, 76 and 108 of the Property Act (Zakona za sobstvenosta) shall be determined according to the interest of the represented party as provided for in paragraph 2, but may not be less than BGN 800 for movable property, and BGN 1 500 for immovable property or property rights therein. The fee shall be determined on the basis of the market price of the property and, if no market price is available, on the basis of the tax assessment.

(6) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in cases concerning the existence, annulment or termination of contracts and for the conclusion of a final contract in respect of property rights shall be determined according to the interest of the represented party as provided for in paragraph 2, but may not be less than BGN 1 500. The fee shall be determined on the basis of the market price of the property and, if the market price cannot be ascertained, on the basis of the tax assessment.

(7) The fee for legal defence in proceedings to secure a future claim, proceedings for issuing a writ of execution under Article 405(3) and (4) of theCode of Civil Procedure (Grazhdanski protsesualen kodeks) and proceedings for issuing a writ of execution shall be determined in accordance with paragraph 2 on the basis of half of the amount of the claim.

(8) (repealed in SG No 2/2009; new in SG No 28/2014; ex-paragraph 6 in SG No 84/2016; repealed by Judgments No 13062 of 3 October 2019 and 5419 of 8 May 2020 on the record of the Supreme Administrative Court in SG No 45/2020, in force as from 15 May 2020).

(9) When legal representation is provided in a case that involves more than two hearings, an additional fee of BGN 250 shall be paid for each subsequent hearing.

Article 8 The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in administrative matters with a material interest shall be determined in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 7(2).

(2) For legal representation, defence and assistance in administrative matters without a material interest:

  1. the fee for matters under the Spatial Development Act (Zakona za ustroystvo na teritoriyata) and the Cadastre and Property Register Act (Zakona za kadastara i imotniya registar) shall be BGN 1 250;
  2. for matters under the Social Security Code (Kodeksa za sotsialno ociguryavane) the fee shall be BGN 500;
  3. for matters under the Ministry of Internal Affairs Act (Zakona za ministerstvoto na vatreshnite raboti)) the fee shall be BGN 750.
  4. for matters under the National Standardisation Act (Zakona na natsionalnata standardizatsiya) the fee shall be BGN 600;
  5. in appeals against decisions launching tender procedures, decisions for the selection of contractors or the termination of tender procedures by a contracting authority under the Public Procurement Act, the fee shall be determined in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 8(1) on the basis of the interest used to calculate the state fee paid for the institution of proceedings; in all other appeals of decisions of the contracting authority, the fee shall be BGN 1 500.
  6. for matters under the Bulgarian National Identity Documents Act (Zakona za balgarskite lichni dokumenti) the fee shall be BGN 600;
  7. for matters under the Support of Agricultural Producers Act (Zakona za podpomagane na zemedelskite proizvoditeli) the fee shall be BGN 800;
  8. for matters under the Protection of Competition Act (Zakona za zashtita na konkurentsiyata) before the Commission for the Protection of Competition (KZK) (Komisiya za zaashtita na konkurentsiata) the fee shall be BGN 1 500, and when a material interest (pecuniary penalty, fine or another penalty) is at stake, the fee shall be determined in accordance with Article 8(1).
  9. for matters under the Protection from Discrimination Act (Zakona za zashtita ot diskriminatsiya) before the Commission for Protection from Discrimination (KZD) (Komisiya za zashtita ot diskriminatsiyata) or a court, the fee shall be BGN 1 500;
  10. for matters under the Consumer Protection Act (Zakona za zashtita na potrebitelite) and the Personal Data Protection Act (Zakona za zashtita na lichnite danii) the fee shall be BGN 900.

(3) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in administrative matters without a defined material interest, except for the cases mentioned in paragraph 2, shall be BGN 1 000.

(4) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance before an administrative body shall be determined in accordance with the preceding paragraphs.

Article 9 The fee for drawing up a statement of claim and a written reply to a statement of claim, a statement of claim to be heard in interim appeal and a reply to a statement of claim to be heard in interim appeal without legal representation, and for examining a civil case and signing an appeal on a point of law under Article 284(2) of theCode of Civil Procedure, if the appeal has been drawn up by another lawyer, shall be 3/4 of the fees referred to in Article 7 or Article 8, but not less than BGN 400.

(2) The fee for drawing up an appeal on a point of law, including grounds for cassation under Article 280(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure without legal representation, shall be 3/4 of the fee referred to in Article 7 or Article 8, but not less than BGN 1 200.

(3) The fee for drawing up a reply to an appeal on a point of law, including grounds for cassation under Article 280(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure without legal representation, shall be 3/4 of the fee referred to in Article 7 or 8, but not less than BGN 1 200.

(4) The fee for legal representation in proceedings for the annulment of a decision that has entered into force shall be determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 7 or Article 8 but shall not be less than BGN 1 000. For drawing up an application for the annulment of a decision that has entered into force, or a reply to an application for annulment of a decision that has entered into force, without legal representation in open court, the fee shall be 3/4 of the fee determined in accordance with Article 7 or Article 8, but may not be less than BGN 750.

(5) The fee for drawing up an application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and a reference for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg without legal representation shall not be less than BGN 2 000.

(6) The fee for drawing up an appeal under the Public Procurement Act, a written reply, an objection to such an appeal without legal representation before the Commission for Protection of Competition or the Supreme Administrative Court, shall be 3/4 of the fee determined in accordance with Article 8, but not less than BGN 600.

(7) The fee for drafting an objection to be submitted to a supervising authority or an application to a court competent to adjudicate a dispute relating to financial corrections applied to projects implemented with EU assistance or under operational programmes, without legal representation, shall be 3/4 of the fee determined in accordance with Article 8, but not less than BGN 600.

Article 10 The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance of a party in enforcement (debt recovery) proceedings shall be as follows:

  1. for opening enforcement proceedings — BGN 200;
  2. for legal representation, defence and assistance of the parties in enforcement proceedings and taking action in order to satisfy a pecuniary claim — half of the fee referred to in Article 7(2);
  3. for legal representation, defence and assistance of the parties in enforcement proceedings for taking possession of a property or eviction — half of the respective fees referred to in Article 7(2), calculated on the basis of the property value;
  4. for legal representation, defence and assistance of the party in enforcement proceedings that require actions other than those specified in subparagraphs 2 and 3 — BGN 350;
  5. for an appeal against the actions of a bailiff — BGN 400, and when the appeal is heard in open court — BGN 600; the same fee shall be paid to the legal representative of the debtor.

Article 11 The fee for drafting a letter rogatory, drawing up a private appeal, and appeals against the actions of a bailiff, notary, registry judge and a registrar, shall be BGN 400, and when the appeal is heard in open court — BGN 600.

Section IV

Fees for criminal and administrative criminal proceedings in one instance

Article 12 The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in the pre-trial proceedings shall be in the amounts specified in Article 13(1), and in case of procedural actions on different days — BGN 250 for each day.

Article 13(1) The fee for defending the accused, a party bringing a private prosecution or a private applicant shall be as follows:

  1. in matters carrying a punishment of probation or a fine — BGN 600;
  2. in matters carrying a punishment of up to 5 years of imprisonment — BGN 1 000;
  3. in matters carrying a punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment — BGN 1 500;
  4. in matters carrying a punishment of up to 15 years of imprisonment — BGN 2 250;
  5. in matters carrying a punishment of more than 15 years of imprisonment — BGN 3 000;
  6. for offences carrying a punishment of life imprisonment —BGN 6 000;
  7. where a plea bargain is reached, provided that the lawyer was not involved in the criminal proceedings — BGN 750;
  8. (repealed in SG No 2/2009; ex-subparagraph 9; amended in SG No 28/2014; amendment published in SG No 28/2014 repealed by Judgments Nos 13062 of 3 October 2019 and 5419 of 8 May 2020 on the record of the Supreme Administrative Court — SG No 45/2020, in force as from 15 May 2020);
  9. for appearing before a court under a letter of authorisation in respect of supervision measures, provided that the lawyer was not involved in the criminal proceedings — BGN 900;
  10. (amended in SG No 2/2009; amended in SG No 28/2014; amendment published in SG No 28/2014 repealed by Judgments Nos 13062 of 3 October 2019 and 5419 of 8 May 2020 on the record of the Supreme Administrative Court — SG No 45/2020, in force as from 15 May 2020; repealed in SG No 68/2020).

(2) For legal representation, defence and assistance of an applicant or respondent in civil matters the fee shall be determined in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 7(2).

(3) For legal representation, defence and assistance of the accused, a party bringing a private prosecution or a private applicant in respect of several charges, the fee provided for in paragraph 1 shall be increased by half for the most serious charge.

(4) For the defence of more than one person, the fee for each defendant shall be determined in accordance with the procedure laid down in paragraph 1.

Article 14(1) Where the hearing in a criminal case lasts more than one day, the additional fee for each subsequent day shall be BGN 250.

(2) When legal representation is provided in a criminal or a criminal administrative case that involves more than two hearings, an additional fee of BGN 250 shall be paid for each subsequent hearing.

Article 15 The fee for drafting an appeal or an appeal on a point of law without legal representation shall be 3/4 of the fee referred to in Article 13.

Article 16 The fee for actions brought by private applicants in criminal cases shall be BGN 300 and BGN 600 for actions heard in open court.

Article 17 Negotiating a success fee, that depends on the outcome of criminal proceedings, even in the case of a civil action brought in the context of a criminal trial, is not allowed.

Article 18(1) The fee for drafting an appeal against a decision imposing a penalty without legal representation, shall be determined according to the rules set out in Article 7(2) on the basis of half of the amount of the penalty, or compensation, but not less than BGN 100.

(2) If the administrative penalty is in the form of a fine, pecuniary penalty and/or pecuniary compensation, the fee shall be determined in accordance with Article 7(2) on the basis of the amount of each fine, pecuniary penalty and/or pecuniary compensation imposed/awarded.

(3) (new in SG No 28/2014; repealed by Judgments No 13062 of 3 October 2019 and 5419 of 5 May 2020 of the Supreme Administrative Court in SG No 45/2020, in force as from 15 May 2020).

(4) (new in SG No 68/2020; amended in SG No 88/2022) The fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in cases of administrative offences other than those referred to in paragraph 2 shall be BGN 500.

Section V

Fees for participation in proceedings governed by special statute in one instance

Article 19 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Health Act (Zakona za Zdraveto) shall be BGN 500.

Article 20 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in stand-alone court proceedings under the Child Protection Act (Zakona za zakrila na deteto) shall be BGN 600.

Article 21 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under Chapters IX, X and XI of the Family Code (Semeyniya kodeks) shall be BGN 600.

Article 22 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Protection from Domestic Violence Act (Zakona za zashtita domashnoto nasilie) shall be BGN 600.

Article 23 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Extradition and European Arrest Warrant Act (Zakona za ekstraditsiya i evropeyskata zapoved za arest) shall be BGN 800.

Article 24 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Decree on combating anti-social behaviour (Ukaza za borba s drebnoto huliganstvo) shall be BGN 500.

Article 25 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in exequatur proceedings shall be BGN 500.

Article 26 The minimum fee for representation, defence and assistance in proceedings by delegation, where the lawyer is not involved in the entire case, shall be BGN 500.

Article 27 The minimum fee for legal aid and legal representation, defence and assistance to a witness under Article 122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Nakazatelno-protsesualniya kodeks), where the lawyer is not involved in the entire case, shall be BGN 500.

Article 28 The minimum fee for representation, defence and assistance in pre-trial detention proceedings, where the lawyer is not involved in the entire case, shall be BGN 900.

Article 29 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in cumulative penalty proceedings shall be BGN 600.

Article 30 The minimum fee for drafting the application referred to in Article 368 of the Code of Criminal Procedure shall be BGN 800.

Article 31(1) The fee for defending a party in a retrial may not be less than the minimum required fee for a trial in one instance.

(2) For drafting an application for retrial without an appearance in court, the minimum fee shall be 3/4 of the minimum fee referred to in paragraph 1.

Article 32 The minimum fee for defence in proceedings for the enforcement of a judgment of a foreign court pursuant to Article 457(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, shall be half of the minimum fee for one instance, depending on the type and severity of the sentence.

Article 33 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Law on combating anti-social behaviour of minors and underage persons (Zakon za borba s protivoobshtestvenite proyavi na maloletni i nepalnoletni) shall be BGN 500.

Article 34 (new in SG No 28/2014; amended in SG No 84/2016; repealed in SG No 88/2022)

Article 35 The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance in proceedings under the Asylum and Refugee Act (Zakona za ubezhishteto i bezhantsite) shall be BGN 600.

Article 35a The minimum fee for legal representation, defence and assistance of a detainee under the Ministry of Internal Affairs Act shall be BGN 300.

Article 36 The minimum fee for representation and assistance in mediation proceedings in civil and commercial matters, shall be 1/3 of the fee provided for in Article 7.

Bailiffs

Since 2006, bailiffs in Bulgaria have been private enforcement agents and State judicial officers. Statutory tariffs apply to both:

  1. Since 2008, the fees charged by State judicial officers have been governed by Section II of the Tariff of State fees collected by courts under the Code of Civil Procedure.
  2. The fees of private enforcement agents are governed by Article 78 of the Private Enforcement Agents Act (Zakona za chastnite sadebni izpalniteli) and by the Tariff of Fees and Costs of Enforcement set out in the Private Enforcement Agents Act (adopted by Council of Ministers’ Decree No 92 of 19 April 2006).

The fees set by both tariffs are the same.

A private enforcement agent charges an additional fee of 50% of the standard fee for serving documents on non-working days and holidays, sending subpoenas by post and making copies of the complaint, notices and papers.

Fixed costs

Fixed costs in civil proceedings

Fixed costs for litigants in civil proceedings

Since 2008, the fees for civil proceedings have been governed by Section I of the Tariff of State fees collected by the courts under the Code of Civil Procedure as follows: The fee for:

  • a civil claim is 4% of the claimed amount, but not less than EUR 25
  • a claim for moral damages is up to EUR 40, but not less than EUR 15
  • Divorce cases (including those settled by mutual agreement): 2% of the three-year total of each party’s share (according to the agreement on the division of matrimonial property and maintenance)
  • an enforcement order is 2% of the material interest, but not less than EUR 12.5
  • for adoption cases — EUR 12.5
  • for securing a future claim — EUR 20
  • for securing evidence — EUR 10
  • for insolvency cases — EUR 25 for a sole trader, EUR 125 for a commercial undertaking

Stage in the civil proceedings at which fixed costs must be paid

Each party must pay in advance to the court the costs of the service requested. At the request of both parties or at the court's initiative, all the costs are paid by both parties or by one of the parties, depending on the circumstances. (Article 76 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

Fixed costs in criminal proceedings

Fixed costs for litigants in criminal proceedings

The matter of costs and fees in criminal proceedings is governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Article 187: Covering costs

  1. The costs of criminal proceedings shall be covered by sums earmarked in the budget of the relevant institution, except in the cases specified by law.
  2. In criminal cases arising from a complaint by the victim and filed with the court, the private complainant must deposit the amount of the costs in advance. If the amount of the costs has not been deposited, the private complainant must be given seven days to deposit them.
  3. In cases arising from a complaint by the victim and filed with the court, the costs of evidentiary claims made by the defendant in court must be covered by the court’s budget.

The fixed costs of criminal proceedings (set in Tariff No 1 of the State fees collected by courts, prosecutors’ offices, investigation services and the Ministry of Justice, last amended in 2005) are as follows:

  • For complaints giving rise to criminal proceedings filed by private individuals — EUR 6
  • For private prosecutions in criminal proceedings — EUR 2.5
  • For applications for rehabilitation when a case remains open — EUR 3

Stage in the criminal proceedings where fixed costs must be paid

The costs described above must be deposited in advance by the party bringing a private prosecution (in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code). If they are not deposited, the party must be given seven days to do so.

Fixed costs in constitutional proceedings

Fixed costs for litigants in constitutional proceedings

  1. The Constitutional Court can be petitioned by at least one-fifth of the Members of Parliament, the President, the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Prosecutor General. Disputes concerning jurisdiction referred to in paragraph (1)(3) of the preceding Article may also be raised by municipal councils.
  2. Where the Supreme Court of Cassation or the Supreme Administrative Court find that the law is inconsistent with the Constitution, they suspend proceedings and refer the matter to the Constitutional Court.
  3. The Ombudsman may apply to the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional a law that violates the rights and freedoms of citizens.

Prior information to be provided by legal representatives

Rights and obligations of the parties

Article 40(3) of the Bar Act provides that ‘a lawyer or a lawyer from another Member State of the European Union shall accurately advise their client of their rights and obligations’. There is no express obligation for lawyers to inform their clients of the likely costs of legal proceedings. At the same time, the Code of Ethics of Lawyers (Etichniyat kodeks na advokatite) implies such an obligation.

Sources on costs

Where can I find information on the sources of costs in Bulgaria?

A natural person or legal person seeking to bring a case will not be able to find out how much litigation costs are likely to be, as there is no official or unofficial website or other public body that can provide such information in consolidated form. Clients therefore rely primarily on lawyers to inform them of the costs involved.

However, citizens can find the regulations governing court fees and litigation costs and make their own calculations on several public websites. These are: national law, the website of the Supreme Bar Council, the website of the Supreme Judicial Council (Visshiya sadeben savet) and the website of the National Legal Aid Bureau. The websites listed above are currently only available in Bulgarian.

In what languages can I obtain information on the sources of costs in Bulgaria?

The websites listed above are currently only available in Bulgarian.

Where can I find information on mediation?

Information on mediation is available on the website of the Ministry of Justice.

Where can I find additional information on costs? Where can I find information on the average length of time that different procedures take?

The annual and biennial reports on judicial activity at all levels are available on the website of the Supreme Judicial Council. They contain information on the number of cases resolved in the past 3 months, 6 months, a year, two years and longer. The Statistics Department of the Supreme Judicial Council provides analyses and information on the average length of court proceedings in civil, criminal and administrative matters.

Where can I find information on the average aggregate cost for a particular type of legal proceedings?

No such official public information is available.

Value Added Tax

How is this information provided? What are the applicable rates?

VAT (in accordance with the above tariffs and regulations) is included in the cost.

Legal aid

Applicable income threshold in the area of civil justice

The Legal Aid Act (Zakon za pravnata pomosht) does not differentiate between civil and criminal cases (see below):

Article 22 Legal aid under Article 21, subparagraphs (1) and (3) shall be free of charge and shall be granted to:

  1. persons and families who fulfil the requirements for receiving monthly assistance in accordance with Articles 9 and 10 of the Regulation on the implementation of the Social Assistance Act (Pravilnik za prilagane na zakona za pravnata pomosht);
  2. individuals and families eligible for targeted heating assistance for the previous or current heating season;
  3. persons using social or integrated health and social services for residential care, pregnant women and mothers at risk of abandoning their children using social services for the prevention of abandonment;
  4. children in foster families or in families of relatives under the Child Protection Act;
  5. a child at risk within the meaning of the Child Protection Act;
  6. persons referred to in Articles 143 and 144 of the Family Code, persons under the age of 21 years and persons over the age of 21 years in respect of maintenance obligations arising before the age of 21, in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 4/2009 of 18 December 2008 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations (OJ L 7/1 of 10 January 2009) and the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (OJ L 192/51 of 22 July 2011);
  7. victims of domestic or sexual abuse or human trafficking who do not have the means or are unwilling to avail themselves of legal defence;
  8. persons who have applied for or been granted international protection or temporary protection under the Asylum and Refugee Act and for whom the provision of legal aid is not based on any other legal ground;
  9. an alien who has been subjected to a coercive administrative measure and an alien who is accommodated in a special facility for temporary accommodation of aliens pursuant to the Aliens in the Republic of Bulgaria Act (Zakona za chuzhdentsite v republika balgaria) and who does not have the means or is unwilling to be defended by a lawyer;
  10. persons who have been denied the status of stateless person in Bulgaria or persons with regard to whom the procedure for granting the status of stateless person under the Aliens in the Republic of Bulgaria Act has been terminated, who do not have the financial means to retain a lawyer but wish to do so;
  11. persons sought to be declared incapable, as well as persons who have been declared incapable;
  12. persons with disabilities receiving monthly support under the Persons with Disabilities Act (Zakona za horata s uvrezhdaniya) whose monthly income is insufficient to retain the services of a lawyer.

(2) In the cases referred to in paragraph 1(7), (9), (10) and (12), the National Bureau for Legal Aid (NBPP) (Natsionalno byuro za pravna pomosht) shall decide on the granting of legal aid, taking into account the circumstances referred to in Article 23(3), established by documents from the relevant competent authorities, and the poverty line established in Bulgaria.

(3) The facts and circumstances referred to in paragraph 1 shall be ascertained on the basis of documents issued by the relevant competent authorities and by a model declaration in respect of the person’s family and property status approved by the NBPP.

(4) When the persons applying for legal aid fail to substantiate the circumstances referred to in paragraph 1, the NBPP shall decide on the granting of legal aid, taking into account the circumstances referred to in Article 23(3), established by documents from the relevant competent authorities, and the poverty line established in Bulgaria.

(5) In cases where legal aid is provided by the NBPP, the information referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3 shall be collected ex officio and the Bureau shall obtain the necessary documents in electronic form from the relevant competent authorities. The applicant for legal aid must provide evidence in respect of their income by means of a document or grant their consent for information on their income to be requested ex officio from the competent authorities.

Article 23(1) The legal aid system referred to in Article 21, subparagraph (2) covers the cases in which defence counsel, standby counsel or representation is required by law.

(2) The legal aid system shall also cover cases where the accused, the defendant or the party to a criminal, civil or administrative case does not have the means to pay for a lawyer, wishes to have a lawyer and the interests of justice so require. In such cases, the person shall not be liable for reimbursement of the cost of legal aid.

(3) In civil and administrative matters, legal aid is granted when, on the basis of evidence provided by the relevant competent authorities, the court or the Chairperson of the NBPP makes a determination that the party does not have means to pay the lawyer’s fee. The court or the head of the NBPP shall make their determination taking into account:

  1. the income of the party or that of their family;
  2. the property and assets of the party certified by a declaration;
  3. the party’s marital status;
  4. state of health;
  5. employment status;
  6. age;
  7. other circumstances.

(4) In criminal cases, the determination that the accused or the defendant does not have the means to pay a lawyer’s fee shall be made by the body which directs the proceedings, on the basis of the financial situation of the person in the specific case established ex officio and the circumstances referred to in paragraph 3(1), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7). For a party bringing a private prosecution, an applicant in civil proceedings, a defendant in civil proceedings and a private applicant in criminal proceedings, the determination shall be made in accordance with the procedure under paragraph 3.

Applicable income threshold in the area of criminal justice for defendants

The following criteria apply in addition to those established for criminal cases (Article 22 of the Legal Aid Act referred to above):

Article 23

  1. The legal aid system (referred to in Article 31(3)) shall cover cases where legal representation or defence is mandatory.
  2. The legal aid system also covers the cases in which a suspect, an accused, a person incriminated, a defendant or a party to a criminal, civil or administrative case is unable to pay for the assistance of a lawyer, wishes to have such assistance, and the interests of justice so require.
  3. In criminal matters, the assessment that the accused or the defendant does not have the means to pay a lawyer’s fee shall be made by the body which directs the proceedings, on the basis of the financial situation of the person in the specific case established ex officio and the circumstances referred to in paragraph 3(1), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7). For a party bringing a private prosecution, an applicant in civil proceedings, a defendant in civil proceedings and a private applicant in criminal proceedings, the determination shall be made in accordance with the procedure under paragraph 3.

Applicable income threshold in the area of criminal justice for victims

In criminal proceedings, the applicable threshold is the same as for other parties (see above).

Other conditions attached to the granting of legal aid to victims

There are no special provisions in the law regarding victims of crime. The general rules on legal aid in criminal proceedings apply (Articles 22 and 23 of the Legal Aid Act).

Other conditions attached to the granting of legal aid to the accused persons

There are no special provisions on the granting of legal aid to the defendants. The general rules on legal aid in criminal proceedings apply (Articles 22 and 23 of the Legal Aid Act).

Cost-free court proceedings

Article 83 of the Code of Civil Procedure by means of: waiving fees and costs

Article 83(1) Court fees and expenses do not have to be paid:

  1. by claimants who are workers, employees and members of cooperatives in applications arising from employment relationships;
  2. in maintenance claims;
  3. in actions brought by a prosecutor;
  4. by applicants in actions for wrongful damages resulting from crime, in connection with a conviction which has the force of res judicata;
  5. by court-appointed special representatives of a party whose address is unknown.
  6. (new in SG No 102/2022) by a party who has been granted legal aid in the proceedings under the conditions laid down in Article 23(2) of the Legal Aid Act.

(2) Court fees and expenses are not imposed on natural persons who are recognised by the court as having insufficient means. In the case of a request for exemption, the court takes into account:

  1. the income of the person and their family;
  2. the property and assets of the party certified by a declaration;
  3. the party’s marital status;
  4. state of health;
  5. employment status;
  6. age;
  7. other established circumstances.

(3) In the cases referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2, the cost of litigation shall be paid from the amounts earmarked in the court budget.

Article 84 of the Code of Civil Procedure: Exemption in special cases:

The following shall be exempt from payment of state fees but not from payment of costs:

  1. the State and the institutions of the State, except in cases involving private property of the State and in the case of private claims and rights of the State
  2. the Bulgarian Red Cross (Balgarski cherven krast)
  3. municipalities, except for private municipal claims and property rights in private municipal property

When does the losing party have to pay the winning party’s costs?

Civil matters

Article 78 of the Code of Civil Procedure : Award of costs

Article 78(1) The costs paid by the claimant (including the costs of the proceedings and the lawyer's fee (if the party had one) must be paid by the defendant in proportion to the amount awarded in the claim.

(2) If the defendant’s conduct has not given rise to the action and the defendant accepts the action, the costs shall be borne by the applicant.

(3) The defendant shall also be entitled to recover their costs in proportion to the part of the claim which is dismissed.

(4) (supplemented in SG No 11/2023, in force from 1 July 2024) The defendant shall also be entitled to costs if the proceedings are terminated, unless the termination is due to an agreement between the parties, in which case paragraph 9 shall apply.

(5) If the fee paid by a party to a lawyer is excessive in relation to the actual legal and factual complexity of the case, the court may, at the request of the opposing party, award a lower amount of costs that is commensurate with the work performed, but not less than the minimum amount determined in accordance with Article 36 of the Bar Act.

(6) Where a case is decided in favour of a party that is exempt from the payment of state fees or the costs of proceedings, the convicted party shall pay all fees and costs due. The respective amounts are awarded in favour of the court.

(7) If a case is decided in favour of a party who has been granted legal aid, the lawyer’s fee paid shall be awarded to the National Legal Aid Bureau in proportion to the part of the claim that is upheld or dismissed. If the case is decided against the party to whom legal aid has been granted under Article 23(2) of the Legal Aid Act, that party shall be liable for the costs in proportion to the part of the application which is upheld or dismissed, except for the costs of the legal aid granted.

(8) (amended in SG No 8/2017) Legal persons or sole traders shall also be awarded a fee in the amount determined by the court, if they have been defended by legal counsel. The amount of the fee awarded may not exceed the maximum amount for the type of case determined in accordance with Article 37 of the Legal Aid Act.

(9) (supplemented in SG No 11/2023, in force from 1 July 2024) If the case is concluded with a settlement, half of the state fees paid shall be refunded to the claimant, and if the settlement is the result of an agreement concluded in a mediation procedure pursuant to Articles 140a and 140b, or if the proceedings in the case are terminated due to the withdrawal or abandonment of the claim as a result of the settlement agreement, 75% of the state fees paid shall be refunded to the claimant. The costs of the proceedings and the settlement agreement shall be covered by the parties as incurred, unless otherwise agreed.

(10) A third party participating in the proceedings shall not be awarded costs, but shall be liable for the costs they have caused to be incurred in the proceedings.

(11) Where the public prosecutor is a party to the proceedings, the costs due shall be awarded to or paid by the State.

Criminal matters

Code of Criminal Procedure (Nakazatelno-protsesualen kodeks) — costs and fees

Article 187 Covering costs

Article 187(1) The costs of criminal proceedings shall be covered by the sums earmarked in the budget of the institution concerned, except in the cases provided for by law.

(2) In criminal cases arising from a complaint by a victim and filed with the court, the private complainant must deposit the amount of the costs in advance, failing which the party shall be given seven days to pay them.

(3) In cases arising from a complaint by the victim and filed with the court, the cost of evidentiary claims made by the defendant in court must be paid from the court’s budget.

Article 188 Determination of costs

Article 188(1) The costs shall be determined by the court or the body responsible for the pre-trial proceedings.

(2) The remuneration of witnesses who are workers or employees shall be determined by the court or the body responsible for the pre-trial proceedings.

Article 189 Award of costs

Article 189(1) The court shall decide the question of costs in the judgment or an order.

(2) The cost of an interpreter in pre-trial proceedings shall be borne by the relevant authority, while the cost of an interpreter in court proceedings shall be borne by the court.

(3) When the defendant is found guilty, the court shall order them to pay all costs, including lawyers’ fees and other expenses for an ex officio defence lawyer, as well as any costs incurred by the private applicant and the civil applicant, if such a request has been made. Where several defendants are convicted, the court shall determine the proportion each person must pay.

(4) Where the defendant is acquitted of some of the charges, the court shall order them to pay only the costs for the charge of which they were found guilty.

Article 190: Award of costs

Article 190(1) If the defendant is found not guilty or the criminal proceedings are discontinued, the costs of cases of a general nature shall be borne by the State, and the costs of cases brought before the court by the victim shall be borne by the private applicant.

(2) The court of first instance shall issue a writ of execution in respect of the awarded costs.

Expert witness fees

The Code of Civil Procedure lays down a general rule on the fees of expert witnesses

Determination of costs

Article 75 The remuneration of witnesses shall be determined by the court in light of the time spent and the costs incurred, and the fees of expert witnesses shall be determined by the court in light of the work performed and the costs incurred.

Regulation No N-1 of 14 February 2023 on the registration, qualifications and fees of expert witnesses

Article 1(1) This Regulation lays down:

  1. the procedure and time limits for proposals for inclusion in and amendments to the lists of professionals approved as expert witnesses;
  2. the conditions to be fulfilled by the professionals approved as expert witnesses;
  3. the conditions and procedure for determining the remuneration of expert witnesses;
  4. rules relating to the right to access the Single Register of Experts Witnesses information system and the data entered therein.

(2) This Regulation shall apply to expert witnesses appointed by the judicial authorities, the authorities responsible for pre-trial proceedings and the authorities responsible for enforcement proceedings.

Article 23(1) In setting the fee, the body that commissioned the expert report shall take into account and assess the following:

  1. the complexity and specificity of the tasks to be performed;
  2. the competence and level of qualification of the expert;
  3. the time required to carry out the expert report;
  4. the volume of the work performed;
  5. the costs necessary to carry out the expert report, such as the use of materials, consumables, tools, equipment, etc.;
  6. other conditions relevant to payment for work performed, including meeting deadlines, working on weekends and public holidays.

(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph 1 shall be established by the body which appointed the expert witness on the basis of a time sheet provided by the expert witness in accordance with Annex No 2. When considering and assessing the circumstances referred to in paragraph 1, the time sheet shall not bind the authority which appointed the expert witness.

(3) Where an expert report is carried out by an expert who is an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the costs of labour, consumables and overheads shall be determined by a model time sheet approved by an order of the Minister of Internal Affairs.

(4) Where the expert report is drawn up by more than one expert witness, the fee referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid to each expert witness.

(5) If the expert witness does not submit any supporting documents, the costs shall be paid at the discretion of the authority that appointed the expert witness.

Article 24(1) For each hour actually worked, a fee of 3% of the minimum wage in Bulgaria at the time the expert report is requested shall be paid.

(2) The number of hours actually worked shall be determined on the basis of the time sheet referred to in Annex No 2 or on the basis of the account referred to in Article 23(3).

Article 25(1) In the case of particularly complex and subject-specific expert reports provided by highly qualified experts, the fee may be increased by up to 100%.

(2) If it is necessary for the expert report to be given at weekends or on public holidays, this shall be stated in the act commissioning the expert report.

(3) The remuneration may be increased from 75% to 150% for expert reports given at weekends and from 100% to 200% for expert reports given on public holidays.

Article 26(1) The expert report shall be submitted together with a time sheet, accompanied by supporting documents relating to the costs incurred, or with the model time sheet referred to in Article 23(3).

(2) The following shall not be recognised as expenses, except for the cases referred to in Article 23(1)(6) — at the discretion of the appointing authority:

  1. the cost of air travel, except when the mission is abroad;
  2. travel expenses without presentation of a ticket or other document supporting the costs incurred;
  3. accommodation costs in excess of BGN 50.

(3) If the body which commissioned the expert report considers that there are grounds for increasing the fee initially fixed, it shall fix a final fee.

(4) If the expert does not submit a time sheet or if the body that commissioned the expert report does not consider that there are grounds for an increase in the remuneration, the fee shall remain in the amount originally determined.

Article 27(1) The fee and the expenses of the expert referred to in Article 18 shall be paid on the basis of a written order issued by the authority which appointed them. The sums shall be paid by bank transfer within 60 days of the acceptance of the expert witness report.

(2) The amounts shall be paid from the deposit or from the budget of the body that appointed the expert witness. The amounts shall be paid upon presentation by the expert witness of a document containing the requisites listed in Article 7 of the Accounting Act.

(3) If the body which has commissioned the expert report refuses to accept the conclusion of the expert for reasons for which the expert is responsible, the fixed fee shall not be paid. The refusal shall be justified.

(4) The body which appointed the expert may, where one of the grounds referred to in Article 23(1) applies, modify the amount of the fee payable to the expert. A justification must be given for the modifications made.

Article 28(1) If the expert witness is appointed at the request of parties who are not exempt from payment of the costs, the fee shall be fixed in advance and an initial deposit shall be remitted to the account of the body appointing the expert witness.

(2) In cases in which the parties are exempted from costs, an initial fee shall be fixed in accordance with Article 24(1).

(3) In the cases referred to in paragraph 1, an initial fee may also be fixed at a minimum level at the discretion of the authority which commissioned the expert report.

(4) A fee shall also be fixed if the report of the expert witness is supplemented orally.

(5) In cases where, after the appointment of an expert witness, the pre-trial proceedings are entrusted to another investigative body, the remuneration and expenses of the expert shall be determined by the body which accepted the report of the expert witness.

Article 29 Where there are grounds for a reduction in the amount of the fee originally fixed, a final fee shall be fixed by the body which commissioned the expert witness report. Reasons must be given for any reduction in the fee.

Article 30 Travel, subsistence and accommodation expenses incurred in preparing the report shall be paid from the deposit paid or from the budget respectively.

Article 31(1) The expert witness shall commence work after a deposit to cover the cost of their services has been paid.

(2) The remuneration of the expert witness may not be conditional or linked to the outcome of the case.

Article 32 The funds used by the judicial authorities to cover the remuneration and necessary expenses of expert witnesses are supervised by the Supreme Judicial Council.

Translators’ and interpreters’ fees

Civil matters

The rules for expert witnesses also apply to interpreters — see above.

Criminal matters

Code of Criminal Procedure Article 189(2)

The cost of an interpreter in pre-trial proceedings shall be borne by the relevant authority, while the cost of an interpreter in court proceedings shall be borne by the court.

Last update: 17/05/2024

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