1 What does the legal term "service of documents" mean in practical terms? Why are there specific rules regarding the "service of documents"?
The service of documents is a procedural act carried out and approved following the procedure established by law.
There are specific rules on the service of documents to ensure that a person receives a document and is informed, and to ensure the rights of the individual to defend their interests during proceedings.
2 Which documents need to be served formally?
In accordance with Article 117(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Code of Civil Procedure’), legal documents must be formally served. There are two categories of legal documents:
– documents of the parties to the proceedings, including their claims, counterclaims, defence, responses to counterclaims, replies (the applicant’s statements of defence to the defendant’s defence), rejoinders (the defendant’s statements of defence to the reply), separate appeals, appeals and cassation appeals, statements of defence to appeals and other documents in which their applications, claims, replications or explanations are submitted during a written procedure (Article 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure);
– procedural documents of the court (judgments, orders, rulings, decisions, resolutions, minutes of hearings, summonses, and notifications) are procedural documents adopted by the court in the course of proceedings (Article 116 of the Code of Civil Procedure). They also include bailiffs’ documents (call notices, orders, summonses).
3 Who is responsible for serving a document?
The court is usually responsible for serving a document. However, if documents are served by registered post or through bailiffs, couriers, a party to the proceedings, or a lawyer, etc., the person serving the document is also responsible for service.
4 Address inquiries
4.1 Under Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 November 2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters, does the requested authority in this Member State on its own initiative, try and establish the whereabouts of the addressee of the documents to be served if the addressee no longer resides at the address known to the requesting authority?
Yes, courts and bailiffs can carry out checks in public registers.
4.2 Do foreign judicial authorities and/or parties to judicial proceedings have access to registers or services in this Member State enabling the establishment of the person’s current address? If yes, which registers or services exist and what procedure must be followed? What fee, if any, should be paid?
Foreign states do not have free access to register data.
4.3 How do the authorities in this Member State deal with a request sent under the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1206/2001 of 28 May 2001 on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters aimed at discovering a person’s current address?
The Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania distributes documents to bailiffs for service. Bailiffs carry out the service of documents. If the recipient’s address is unknown, bailiffs check the registers.
5 How is the document normally served in practice? Are there alternative methods which may be used (other than substituted service referred to in point 7 below)?
The Code of Civil Procedure lays down the following methods of the service of procedural documents:
- documents are served upon the addressee directly in court against signature, thereby confirming their receipt (Article 127);
- documents are served by registered post, through bailiffs or couriers and, where appropriate, using telecommunications terminal equipment (Article 117(1));
- subject to the consent of a party to the proceedings, the court may issue a procedural document to that party for service upon the addressee (Article 117(2));
- if a party or a third party handles a case through a representative, procedural documents relating to the case must be served solely upon the representative (Article 118);
- if lawyers represent both parties to a dispute, the lawyer of one party should forward the document relating to the case directly to the lawyer of the other party (Article 119).
If a party to the proceedings is a natural person, the procedural documents must be served upon them personally or upon their representative; if the person does not have civil procedural capacity, documents must be served upon their legal representative. Procedural documents addressed to legal persons should be served upon the manager, management bodies or clerical staff of that legal person (Article 123 of the Code of Civil Procedure). Procedural documents addressed to paramilitary organisations must be served upon the commander or an officer on duty of the appropriate organisation or its unit (Article 125 of the Code of Civil Procedure); procedural documents addressed to incarcerated persons must be served via the prison administration concerned (Article 126 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
6 Is electronic service of documents (service of judicial or extrajudicial documents through remote means of electronic communication, such as e-mail, internet based secured application, fax, sms etc.) permitted in civil proceedings? If so, for which types of proceedings is this method foreseen? Are there restrictions with regard to the availability/access of this method of service of documents depending on who the addressee is (legal professional, legal person, company or other business actor, etc.)?
Part I, Chapter XI, Section Two of the Code of Civil Procedure lays down the procedure on service of documents, which is mandatory. Article 117(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure lays down the main methods of the service of procedural documents: by registered mail, through bailiffs or courier service providers, and other methods referred to in the Code of Civil Procedure. Different methods of the service of procedural documents may include: service upon a representative (Article 118 of the Code of Civil Procedure), upon a lawyer (Article 119 of the Code of Civil Procedure), in court (Article 127 of the Code of Civil Procedure), upon a curator (Article 129 of the Code of Civil Procedure), by means of communication to the public (Article 130 of Code of Civil Procedure), etc.
At the person’s request, documents may be sent and served by e-mail.
LITEKO: Chapter IV of the Description of the Procedure for the Production of Documents to the Court and Service thereof upon Individuals by Electronic Means of Communication, approved by Order No 1R-332 of the Minister for Justice of the Republic of Lithuania of 13 December 2012 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Description’), regulates the service of procedural documents upon individuals by electronic means of communication. Point 22 of this Description states that if the addressee is required to receive procedural documents by electronic means of communication or has consented to having procedural documents delivered to their account at the Public Electronic Services Subsystem of the Lithuanian Court Information System (hereinafter referred to as the ‘LITEKO PES subsystem/ESS system’), and subject to their LITEKO PES subsystem account being active, the designated court employee must send the procedural documents to the addressee’s LITEKO PES subsystem account. A participant in proceedings is informed of this by means of an electronic notification on their LITEKO PES subsystem account and via the e-mail address provided. This depends on who the addressee is since correspondence between the institutions can only be carried out by e-mail or via e-delivery.
The national electronic mail delivery information system – e-delivery – is an electronic alternative to sending official letters by registered mail. Free access to the e-delivery system allows various official documents, statements, applications, etc. to be submitted to public authorities online.
E-correspondence can be sent in the e-delivery system if the consignee and/or consignor is a public authority. E-correspondence may be sent:
- between public authorities;
- between legal persons and public authorities;
- between natural persons and public authorities.
The Bailiffs’ Information System (AIS) is the electronic enforcement proceedings portal allowing persons to participate in the enforcement process online.
This portal can be used for:
- checking whether you are subject to recovery proceedings;
- applying to a bailiff for an electronic enforcement order;
- submitting a free-form document to a bailiff;
- reviewing information about the enforcement proceedings and actions taken by the bailiff in the enforcement process and consulting case documents in real time.
7 'Substituted' service
7.1 Does the law of this Member State allow for other methods of service in cases where it has not been possible to serve the documents to the addressee (e.g. notification to the home address, to the bailiff office, by postal service, or by poster advertising)?
Yes, it is allowed. If a person serving a procedural document does not find the addressee at their place of residence or workplace, the document should be served upon an adult family member who resides with the addressee, unless the family members have a conflicting legal interest in the outcome of the case; if no family members are available either, the document should be served upon the administration of the house/community, the apartment management organisation, the civil parish administrator, or the administration of the addressee's workplace (Article 123(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure).
If a person serving a procedural document does not find the addressee at the domicile of the legal entity or another place designated by the legal entity, the procedural document should be served upon any employee of the legal entity available at the place of service. If that is not possible, procedural documents should be served upon the head of administration or members of the management body referred to in the register of legal persons, as natural persons, or the adult members of their family (Article 123(4) of the Code of Civil Procedure).
If a copy of a claim or other procedural documents giving rise to the need to defend the rights of a party has to be served upon a party whose place of residence and workplace are unknown or who does not have a representative, the said documents may be served upon a curator appointed by the court hearing the case at the request of an interested party until such time as the place of residence or workplace of that party becomes known or their representative enters into the procedure (Article 129 of the Code of Civil Procedure).
7.2 If other methods are applied, when are the documents deemed to have been served?
The general rules on the service of procedural documents apply from the moment the document is deposited at the appropriate place.
7.3 If another method of service is the deposit of the documents in a particular place (e.g. at a post office) how is the addressee informed of that deposit?
The addressee receives notification of correspondence received, which must be collected within the prescribed time limit.
7.4 If the addressee refuses to accept service of the documents, what are the consequences? Are the documents regarded as effectively served if the refusal wasn’t legitimate?
Any refusal to accept a summons or a copy of claim or to sign an acknowledgement of receipt will be treated as equivalent to the service thereof, except if the documents are served by a party involved in the proceedings. The person serving documents must note the refusal to accept the summons or a copy of the claim and the reasons for the refusal. If the summons or copies of the claim are served using telecommunications terminal equipment, a person shall be deemed to have refused to accept such procedural documents if they do not sign the acknowledgement by electronic signature within three days of service or otherwise fail to confirm that the documents have been served upon them.
8 Postal service from abroad (Article 14 of the Service Regulation)
8.1 If the postal service delivers a document sent from abroad to an addressee in this Member State in a situation where acknowledgment of receipt is required (Article 14 of the Service Regulation), does the postal service deliver the document only to the addressee himself/herself or may it, in accordance with national rules of postal delivery, deliver the document also to another person at the same address?
Under the Code of Civil Procedure, if a person involved in the proceedings is a natural person, procedural documents must be served upon them in person or, if the person does not have civil procedural capacity, upon their legal representative.
Procedural documents addressed to legal entities must be served upon the manager of that legal entity, other members of the management bodies referred to in the register of legal persons, representatives of the legal entity in court or clerical staff.
8.2 Under the rules of postal delivery in this Member State how can the service of documents from abroad, under Article 14 of the Service Regulation No. 1393/2007, be effected if neither the addressee nor any other person authorised to receive the delivery (if possible under national rules of postal delivery – see above) has been reached at the address of delivery?
If a person serving a procedural document does not find the addressee at their place of residence or another place designated for service of procedural documents, or at their workplace, the procedural document should be served upon an adult family member who resides with the addressee (children (adopted children), parents (adoptive parents), spouse, etc.), unless the family members have a conflicting legal interest in the outcome of the case; if no family members are available either, the document should be served upon the administration of the addressee's workplace. If a procedural document cannot be served upon a natural person at their indicated place of residence or another place designated for service of procedural documents, the person serving the procedural document should serve it at the declared place of residence of the natural person. If the address of a natural person’s place of residence or another location designated for service of procedural documents is the same as that of the declared place of residence of the natural person, procedural documents should only be served once. If a procedural document cannot be served upon a natural person under the above procedure, the person serving the procedural document should leave a notice concerning the procedural documents to be served at the addressee’s declared place of residence, indicating that they have done so in the acknowledgement to be returned to the court. In this case, a procedural document shall be deemed to have been served within thirty days of after the date on which the said notice was left at the addressee’s declared place of residence. The procedure for the service of procedural documents and the process by which a notice of procedural documents to be served is to be left at the addressee's declared place of residence, including the form which such a notice should take, is laid down by the Government.
Postal items that cannot be left in the addressee’s mailbox or which cannot be delivered to the addressee by a postal distributor are held at the addressee’s district post office so that the addressee can subsequently collect them within the stipulated time limit, which is indicated in the notice concerning the item left in the addressee’s mailbox. After the time limit for collection has expired, items are returned to the sender, if known.
8.3 Does the post office allow a specific period of time for collection of the documents before sending the documents back as undelivered? If yes, how is the addressee informed that there is mail for him to collect at the post office?
If the addressee cannot be found at the indicated address, the registered letter is not served. Instead, a notice concerning the postal item received is left in the addressee's mailbox. After the time limit for collection has expired, items are returned to the sender.
9 Is there any written proof that the document has been served?
Written proof of the service of documents is a statement relating to the service of a document indicating whether the documents have been served or not. The bailiff’s receipt of delivery, which is signed by the addressee (the recipient) confirming the receipt of the documents, may also be used. If the service of documents fails, the bailiff will draw up a statement indicating that the documents have not been served or that the addressee has refused to accept the documents. Documents attesting to the service of documents are held at bailiffs’ offices.
10 What happens if something goes wrong and the addressee does not receive the document or the service is effected in violation of the law (e.g. the document is served on a third person)? Can the service of the document nevertheless be valid (e.g. can violations of the law be remedied) or must a new effort to serve the document be made?
If service of documents was not possible or documents were served upon a third party in breach of the law, a further attempt may be made to serve the documents if there is sufficient time and there is no specified time limit for service.
11 Do I have to pay for service of a document, and if so, how much?
In accordance with item 5 of the Procedure for Charging for the Service of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters adopted by Order No 1R-16 of the Minister for Justice of the Republic of Lithuania of 20 January 2016 (recast of Order No 1R-312 of 9 December 2016), the fee for the service of documents in Lithuania is EUR 110 if the service of the documents and their transmission for enforcement by bailiffs is organised and coordinated by the Lithuanian Chamber of Judicial Officers.
Proof of payment of this fee (a copy of a bank statement) must be provided together with the documents to be served. This fee shall be paid to:
Lithuanian Chamber of Judicial Officers
Address: Konstitucijos pr. 15, LT-09319 Vilnius, Lithuania
Account No: LT92 4010 0424 0031 5815, AB Luminor Bank,
Bank code 40100. Data are collected and stored in the Register of Legal Entities, under register No
Phone: +370 5 2750067, +370 5 275 0068
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