Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure will enter into force on 1 July, which will speed up and reduce the cost of informing participants in the forced debt recovery process.
“For the most part, the sending of judicial officers' procedural documents have been transferred to the electronic space. Enforcement of each debt recovery will now cost an average of € 20 less for individuals. You will no longer have to pay for many registered postal items,” says Inga Karalienė, the Chairwoman of the Presidium of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania.
Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure (Law No. XIII-2721) initiated by the Lithuanian Chamber of Judicial Officers aim to reduce the burden of bureaucracy in the debt recovery process. Judicial officers will now send only one paper letter instead of the 8-10 procedural documents previously sent by registered mail. And at the written request of a proceeding participants, all procedural documents, regardless of the nature of the debt, will be sent by electronic means.
Article 605 of the amended Code of Civil Procedure established three possible methods of serving judicial officer’s procedural documents: service by signature, by registered mail, and by electronic means. The specific means of conveyance will be determined by the nature of the judicial officer’s actions, and the choice of participants in the proceedings.
When recovering debts up to EUR 1,000, the judicial officer will only send the original procedural document by registered mail. The debtor will be explained that the forced recovery of the debt and costs will begin, as well as he/she will be informed about the service of subsequent procedural documents by electronic means - through the judicial officers' information system. For the recovery of other debts, procedural documents will be submitted in electronic form only after the any document sent by registered mail will be served.
An important innovation is that participants in the proceedings are given the opportunity to choose a cheaper way of obtaining information themselves. Upon written request to the judicial officer, they will be able to receive procedural documents only by electronic means.
According to I. Karalienė, such regulation will help debtors and debt-collectors to fulfill one of the most important proceeding participant duties established in the law - to actively cooperate with the judicial officer.
The need for the adopted amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure was dictated by the practice of judicial officers, when about 60% of procedural documents sent by registered mail would be returned unserved. Postal couriers could not find the addressee at home, he/she would not pick up the letter at the postal office, the addressee would no longer live at the address specified in the enforcement document, a messy mailbox would obstruct serving the document, and so on. Considered to be the most reliable way of informing the proceeding participants a few years ago, nowadays the mandatory sending of procedural documents by registered mail no longer ensures the right of individuals to receive information about the actions of judicial officers. And under Article 604 of the Code of Civil Procedure, there has hitherto been a presumption that procedural documents sent to the parties of the enforcement proceedings by registered letter shall be served five days after they were sent.
Inefficient information procedures have also become an unjustifiable waste of funds. According to preliminary estimates, around 100 thousand debtors fulfilling their obligations during the recovery proceedings incurred approximately 20 million euros of registered mail costs. They had no choice, although it would have been much more convenient for many to receive judicial officer information by email.