On 25.10.2016 the latest amendments to the Ordinance on minimum legal fees were published at the Official Gazette. According to these amendements fees for legal protection in cases of great material interest were reduced to 6 times depending on the claim. The Supreme Bar Council introduced new thresholds for the calculation of the amounts after the Supreme Administrative Court overturned part of the Ordinance in the summer according to which remuneration for civil and administrative cases over 10 thousand levs was fixed and amounted in general to 3% of the material interest
There is also positive change for business in the regulation of insolvency cases for which as our work shows are becoming more topical. Before the changes the minimum wage was the same for everyone, regardless of whether a trader is actively involved in court proceedings or not. The new rules provide that for the preparation of an application to lodge a claim and other exhaustively enumerated actions without further litigation, the lawyer’s fee is in half. It turns out that if a trader has a claim amounting to for example 2 million levs from a company that is in bankruptcy proceedings and is willing to simply assert its claim and not to actively participate in the work, he had to pay his lawyer more than 60 thousand levs until the introduction of the changes,when after the changes the fee is about 16 thousand levs, ie approximately 4 times less.
A novelty in the regulation of the lawyers’ fees is the ability to negotiate fees below the minimum without penalty. In service to hospitals, orphanages for children, elderly or disabled, the lawyer can now determine а remuneration under the prescribed minimum but not less than ¼ of it. The social orientation of the provision is obvious. With the changes an opportunity is given to the Bar to meet the high public expectations and to help financially to a range of entities operating in unlimited public interest with predominant public funding.
With a view to fill the gaps in the Ordinance and its refinement, the amendments introduced minimum thresholds of remuneration for legal representation in proceedings under the Commercial Law, the Public Procurement Act, the Ownership Act, the Law on Asylum and Refugees, the Agricultural Producers Assistance Act and others. The fees for complaints to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and for the preparation of a preliminary ruling to the ECJ in Luxembourg have also been already regulated.
author: Vesela Velinova, attorney-at-law
Member of “Velinov and partners” Consulting House