Profession

The Institute of Judicial Officers in Lithuania was formed in 2003 after the reorganisation of the state judicial system of judicial officers' offices and after granting judicial officers the status of persons providing professional services. Judicial officers are appointed and dismissed by the Minister of Justice. Judicial officers operate on a territorial basis by performing functions only within their areas of jurisdiction. There are a total of 17 areas of jurisdiction. Currently, 114 judicial officers operate in Lithuania. Offices of judicial officers’ (96) and office branches (16) operate in all towns and regional centres.

Debt recovery has improved five-fold since the reform, although there are nearly three times less judicial officers than before. Judicial officers now close three times more proceedings per year, and the entire system does not cost anything to taxpayers. According to the data of the Doing Business rating compiled by the World Bank, based on the quality of assurance of property claims, Lithuanian judicial officers maintain leading positions in the world and were ranked fourth in 2018. Instead of a high-priced and weak former bailiffs’ firms system, which was annually allocated with nearly 10 million Litas from the state budget, now there is operating an independent, result-oriented enforcement system. Private venture judicial officers of Lithuania annually repay 30-40 pct. of claimed debts to creditors.
 
In economic terms, activities of judicial officers offices are equivalent to the ones of businesses, though, judicial officers’ activities are strictly regulated by Law and supervised by the State.
 
 

The Institute of Judicial Officers in Lithuania is the only establishment entrusted with the enforcement of all decisions submitted both by private plaintiffs, and by all types of public authorities. These are court judgements, sentences, rulings and decrees, as well as enforcement orders issued on the basis of arbitration decisions and orders; court orders and resolutions of institutions and officials regarding application of interim measures; court judgements regarding restriction of legal entity activities and legal entity liquidation; resolutions of institutions and officials in proceedings relating to administrative law violations to the extent they relate to the exaction of possessions; prosecutor's sanctions regarding eviction of natural persons from residential premises and other orders of the prosecutor to the extent they relate to the exaction of possessions; notarial executive records according to protested or unprotested bills of exchange or checks and notarial enforcement orders regarding the drawing up of an inventory of inherited property (supplementation of the inventory of inherited property); resolutions of the Labour Disputes Commission; resolutions of institutions examining consumer disputes; and resolutions of other institutions and officials whose enforcement in civil proceedings is determined by law.

According to the Republic of Lithuania Law on Judicial Officers, a judicial officer shall be a person authorised by the State and empowered by it to perform the functions of enforcement of enforceable documents, statement of factual circumstances, transfer of documents and any other functions stipulated by law. A judicial officer may also provide services specified in the Law on Judicial Officers, provided that this does not prevent the judicial officer from performing his/her main functions. In other words, the activities of a judicial officer are twofold: a judicial officer performs functions prescribed by the state and provides private legal services by request.

Unless this interferes with the performance of the judicial officers functions, judicial officers may also provide the following services set forth in the Law on Judicial Officers:
  • make statements of facts;
  • enforce pre-trial debt recovery (mediate in the performance of property obligations);
  • serve judicial and extrajudicial foreign documents;
  • transfer and serve documents without a court order on natural and legal persons in the Republic of Lithuania;
  • provide bankruptcy administration services;
  • dispose of movable and immovable property by auction;
  • provide legal advice, excluding representation in court or representation in relations with third parties;
  • keep/administer assets during the process of enforcement;
  • provide legal advice, excluding representation in court or representation in relations with third parties;
  • provide mediation services in resolving disputes.

 

Distinctive features

90 percent of enforcement procedures are executed electronically. This ensures transparency, greater speed of procedures and the lowest possible cost.

Judicial officers' information system. The system that has been operating since 2003 was substantially modernised in 2013. Currently, most enforceable titles are prepared and stored in the updated system. The system is linked to 25 official state registers enabling judicial offices to receive all the necessary data in real time. Parties to the proceedings can now directly track the enforcement of decisions, submit requests and initiate procedural actions electronically. Each month, around 10.7 million procedural actions are performed, and around 283 thousand procedural documents are served upon participants to the proceedings via the system.

Cash restrictions information system. A unique innovation with no analogues anywhere in the world has been implemented in Lithuania in September of 2015. Centralised, proportionate write-off of debtor funds to all creditors executed via the said system ensures equal opportunities to recover debts. Ordersof judicial officers to restrict the disposal of cash or enforce the write-off of debtor funds are submitted to all credit institutions via electronic means of communication. As many as 12 commercial banks operating in Lithuania, including their branches and other credit institutions, as well as several dozens of credit unions belonging to the Lithuanian Central Credit Union are connected to the system. This system ensuresequality among all plaintiffs: both public institutions, legal entities and natural persons receive an appropriate share of recovered funds at the same time.

100 percent electronic auctions. E. auction system started functioning on 2 January 2013. Lithuania was the first in the region who introduced a fully electronic bidding process. The information about all property being sold by e. auction is announced on the special Internet site www.evarzytynes.lt. The time of the auction, the category of the property and the place of the property, the original sale price and size of the fee of a participant in the auction are specified in every announcement. Also, a short description of the property is presented, pictures of the property and any other additional information can be attached to the announcement. Citizens of Lithuania or foreign countries and legal entities that make use of electronic banking systems in effect in Lithuania or who have an electronic signature issued in Lithuania have the right to register themselves at a distance for and participate in the auction. In the course of one day following the end of the auction the judicial officer who organized the e-auction receives a notification about the winner of the auction. A notification is sent to the winner of the auction about winning the auction. Within three working days after the full price of the whole property has been paid, the judicial officer prepares a Report of Sale of the property sold by auction. After the buyer has signed the Report, the right to ownership of the property sold by auction is transferred to him/her. 

                     

Appeals against the procedural actions of judicial officers are firstly examined in judicial officers' offices. As of 1 October 2011, appeals against the procedural actions of judicial officers must firstly be lodged to judicial officers themselves. If such appeals are rejected by judicial officers, they may be examined by court. The procedure of mandatory appealing to the judicial officer has proven to be successful: judicial officers' offices satisfy approximately one fifth of all appeals against the procedural actions of judicial officers, thus reducing the number of appeals taken to court and easing the workload of courts.

In the period of 2017-2019, the number of appeals to court against the actions of judicial officers has decreased by 52 percent in the course of two years. On average, only 1 of 4 125 executive proceedings are appealed against. Only 14.4 percent of appeals examined in court are partially or fully satisfied, while others are either rejected or not examined.