During 2022, judicial officers collected and returned 225.3 million euros of debts to creditors. This is the largest sum collected in the 20 years that private judicial officers have been in operation in Lithuania. In comparison to 2021, the amount of debts recovered last year increased by 35%, or 58.8 million euros.
Private natural persons and legal entities received a total of 192.3 million euros in refunds (24% more than in 2021). This amount includes unpaid wages to employees, child support payments, court-ordered compensation, debts for communication and communal services, debts to credit and payment institutions, etc. Last year, the state budget received an additional 32.8 million euros in recovered debts (41% more than in 2021). This sum includes forcibly collected taxes and fines for offences and violations of administrative or civil law.
According to the data from the Judicial Officers' Information System, more than half of all collection processes completed in 2022 were successful and fully met creditors' demands.
The statistical average of debt recovered in euros is growing steadily. By completing one process, judicial officers have recovered an average of 952 euros in 2022 (in 2021- 703 euros). This means that creditors approach judicial officers for the recovery of larger debt and that the enforcement proceedings are increasingly being used only for important reasons, when creditors are unable to recover solid amounts without enforceable means.
Although auctions are perhaps the most widely known aspect of judicial officers’ activities, they only accounted for only 0.5% of all debt collection processes completed last year.
The number of auctions announced by judicial officers continues to fall, as it has in previous years. In total, judicial officers announced 3,232 auctions in 2022 (17% fewer than in 2021), 1,077 of which took place (13% less than in 2021).
As long as real estate prices remain high, it makes more financial sense for indebted landowners and building owners to sell their property and pay off their debts themselves, rather than waiting for creditors to turn to judicial officers. Many people actively exercise the debtor’s right to propose a buyer for the seized property. The auction is cancelled if the buyer suggested by the debtor pays the required sums of money into the judicial officer’s deposit account in accordance with the procedure established in Article 704 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania.
In total, creditors filed 211.2 thousand requests to enforce judgements in 2022. This is nearly 10% more than what was submitted in 2021.
In particular, the need to collect periodic maintenance payments (so-called alimony) has grown. Compared to 2021, 15% more such requests were submitted in 2022 (2,275 in total). This rise is clearly related to a higher consumer price index caused by inflation. Maintenance payments were to be increased by 10.6% beginning 1 February 2022, and by 21.7% beginning February 2023. The increase is significant. As a result, when persons paying maintenance refuse to apply indexation in good faith, mothers raising children must apply to the courts and judicial officers.
The amount of debt demanded by new applications, on the other hand, decreased significantly in 2022. It amounted to 591 million euros, which was 26% less than the amount requested in the applications submitted in 2021. In total, judicial officers had carried out 1.46 million forced recovery processes by the end of 2022.
Currently, 109 judicial officers and approximately 600 hired employees (assistants, lawyers, administrators and others) work in the enforcement system of the Republic of Lithuania, which includes 95 judicial officers’ offices and 7 branches of such offices.