1. Is the use of a lawyer mandatory for legal advice or litigation?

No, the law does not impose such a requirement. Attorney's defense is mandatory only in certain cases of defense in criminal cases. In a cassation appeal before the Supreme Court of Cassation or the Supreme Administrative Court, the cassation complaint is required to be signed by a lawyer.

The use of attorney's services is recommended in cases of legal and/or factual complexity, for example when purchasing a real estate, entering into a contract, litigation in court, etc.

1.1. When acquiring or selling a real estate.
Registration of acts related to the transfer of real property rights (of ownership, use, superficies and way), as well as property encumbrances (foreclosures, mortgages, special pledges, claim applications, court decisions, leases, copyhold, etc.) is currently performed under the so-called "personal system" which does not allow giving a definite answer on property and limited property rights, as well as the existence of encumbrances on the property, even when real estate encumbrances certificate is issued by the Registry Agency. This requires study the entire history of the property, including the possible complications associated with transformation of property rights (change in regulation, issuance of construction permits, registration in the cadastre, etc.).

1.2. When conlcluding, amending, rescinding or terminating contracts.
The conclusion of a contract is usually accompanied by default clauses (interests, penalties, deposits, securities, etc.) and clauses on the conditions for termination or rescinding of the contract, which usually require more in-depth study of possible hypotheses.

1.3. In litigation.
The law imposes special requirements on the form and content of complaints and claims, which sometimes require the assistance of a specialist. The performance of procedural rights is often associated with time-limits, after which the procedural rights and opportunities expire, which requires the exercise of the procedural rights to the fullest extent and on time. Proving and contesting evidence also requires specific knowledge and experience that cannot be acquired without the necessary preparation. For example, often an invitation to the debtor is a prerequisite for default of the debt. If the deadline for objection (for limitation period, set-off, etc.) or for presentation of evidence is missed in the judicial phase, the court shall refuse to admit it and consider it at a later stage of the proceedings. In this way, the party may lose the trial, although it has all the necessary evidence and legal arguments in its favour.

2. What are my chances to win the trial?

It is impossible to give a definite answer to this question. Thus placed, it requires the establishment of a plural number of facts and circumstances and determination of probabilities, which is impossible with the current development of science and technology. Winning the case depends on many factors, such as:

  • legal grounds arising from the law and other legal sources, including the case law;
  • availability of sufficient convincing evidence;
  • absense of sufficient convincing evidence of the other party;
  • high level of lawyer's competence and professionalism, good knowledge of legislation and relevant case law;
  • high level of objectivity, impartiality, competence and professionalism of the judge/judges and lack of corruption influence over them;
  • impact of random factors.

It should be borne in mind that if the lawyer promises the certain winning the trial, it means that he or she is not telling the truth, or has corruptive influence over the court. There is always a probability that the case will be lost, even if it may not appear at first.

3. How much shall I pay for the litigation?

There are several groups of expenses in the case:

3.1. Court fees.

The litigation fees are paid to the account of the respective court before which the proceedings will be conducted. Fees are paid for each instance separately. They are paid in advance, and their payment is a condition for consideration of the claim or complaint. The law also provides for exceptions - for example, in cases of division of property, the fees are determined by the court with the decision setting the quotas of the co-owners. In some cases, the parties are exempted from paying fees - for example, in maintenance cases, in labour cases, and when a person has asked the court to be exempted from paying fees because there he or she hasn't enough money to pay them. The court takes into consideraton: the income of the person and his family; his property, certified by a declaration; marital status; health status; employment; age; other established circumstances.

The fees are simple and proportional, and the rule is that the fees in cases of material interest are proportional, while the others are simple. For example, in a case for payment of a certain amount, the fees are proportional to the amount.

In civil cases the proportional fees are, as follows:

1. For the first instance - 4% of the amount of the claim, but not less than 50 BGN (fifty leva). When several objectively joined claims are filed, a separate fee is charged for each claim. Where the subject matter of the case is ownership right or other property rights over a real estate, as well as claims for the existence, voidability or rescinding of a contract with a subject of rights over a real estate, or for concluding a final contract with such object, the amount of the state fee shall be determined on one quarter (1/4) of the amount of the claim, in which case the amount of the cost of the claim is the tax evaluation, and if not - the market price of the property right.

2. For the second (appellate) instance - half of the first instance fee, i.e. 2% of the amount of the claim. Obligated by the appellant, i.e. the one who has lost all or part of the case at the first instance.

3. For the third (cassation) instance - a simple fee of BGN 30 (thirty leva) is first paid for the proceedings for admissibility assessment of the cassation appeal, and if the cassation appeal is admitted for consideration in substance - the fee is half of the fee at the first instance, i.e. 2% of the amount of the claim. Obligated by the appellant, i.e. the one who has lost all or part of the appellate instance case.

Upon application for an enforcement order, the amount of the state fee is 2% of the amount claimed. If the debtor objects to the enforcement order and a claim is filed, a fee of 2% of the cost of the claim (the amount claimed) shall be paid.

The amount of simple fees depends on the type of the case, for example: upon request for a name change - 15 BGN; upon request for divource - at the filing of the claim - 25 BGN; in the resolution of the case - up to 50 BGN, but not less than 20 BGN; in case of a divource by mutual agreement - up to 40 BGN. In cases of invaluable interest in filing a claim, a fee of up to 80 BGN is collected, but not less than 30 BGN.

In administrative cases the fees are, as follows:

1. For the first instance: for complaints by nonprofit organizations and by non-commercial individuals - 10 BGN; for other legal entities and sole traders under the Commercial Act - 50 BGN.

For claims for compensation under the State and Municipalities Liability Liability Act the citizens, sole traders and nonprofit organizations pay a fee of 10 BGN, and the remaining legal entities - 25 BGN.

No fees shall be payable on appeal of penal acts (imposing fines and pecuniary sanctions).

When complaining againts individual administrative acts under the Law on Governing the Assets from the European Structural and Investment Funds, the state fees are proportional in amount of 1% of the material interest, but not more than 1700 BGN, and in cases where the material interest is over 10 000 000 BGN - the fee is 4500 BGN.

2. For cassation instance: for citizens, sole traders, state and municipal authorities - 70 BGN; for organizations - 370 BGN. Where there is a identifiable material interest in the case (for example, in tax cases), the state fee for citizens, sole traders, organizations, state and municipal bodies is proportional and amounts to 0.8% of the material interest, but not more than 1700 BGN, and in cases where the material interest is over 10,000,000 BGN - the fee is 4,500 BGN.

The fees for cassation appeal in cases of pension, health and social insurance are 30 BGN for citizens and sole traders, and 200 BGN for organizations, state and municipal bodies. In all other cases the fee shall be equal to half of the fee at the first instance.

3.2. Lawyer's remunerations.

The principle is that lawyer's fees are freely negotiated with the lawyer. The amount of remuneration is determined in two ways:

  • as a fixed amount payable in advance upon conclusion of the contract, but may be deferred in several installments. In any event, it must be paid in full eventually by the end of the oral proceedings before the court instance concerned, since the law and the case law require that the lawyer's fees should be paid in real terms at the end of the case in order to award the winning party and the respondent party to be ordered to pay it. The Bar Act requires this remuneration to be fair and not less than the amount provided for in Regulation of the Supreme Bar Council for the corresponding type of work. To help you calculate this amount you may use the calculator, available on this site. According to the Bar Law, a lawyer's lower remuneration is a ground for imposing a disciplinary punishment on the lawyer. Regulation № of 09.07.2004 for the minimum amounts of the attorney's remunerations has been imposed by the Supreme Bar Council and these minimum amounts are not dependent on the particular attorney at law who has no real legal opportunity to negotiate a lower remuneration according to his client's financial capacity. In cases of a higher degree of factual and legal complexity, attorneys' fees can be negotiated to a greater extent, the regulation defines only the minimum amount of the remuneration.

  • as a percentage of a particular amount according to the outcome of the case.
  • Pursuant to Regulation № of 09.07.2004 for the minimum amounts of the attorney's remunerations the attorney's fees for legal representation are due for each instance individually, including upon the return of the case for reconsideration.

    The attorney at law can provide free legal assistance to: individuals entitled to maintenance; financially handicapped persons; relatives, close persons or another lawyer. If the other party is adjudged of costs in the respective proceedings, the attorney at law shall be entitled to a lawyer's remuneration, which shall be determined by the court at a rate not lower than that provided for in Regulation № of 09.07.2004 for the minimum amounts of the attorney's remunerations and the court orders the other party to pay it.

    Individuals who do not have the financial means to pay the attotney's fees can apply to National Legal Aid Bureau and request for the provision of free legal aid. If the case is already pending, the party may ask the court to appoint an attorney at law, who is assigned by the National Legal Aid Bureau and appointed by the court. The attorney's remuneration is paid by the state.

    3.3. Experts' fees.

    The amount of such fees is not fixed by law. It is up to each court to determine the amount of the fee due, taking into account and assessing the complexity and specificity of the tasks assigned; the competence and level of qualification of the expert; the time required for the examination; the volume of work performed; the necessary costs for carrying out the expertise, such as the use of materials, consumables, supplies, equipment and more; other conditions affecting the remuneration of work performed, including term of performance, work on weekends and national holidays.

    These circumstances shall be established by the authority which appointed the expertise, on the basis of a decalaration from the expert, which shall be presented together with the expertise and documents grounding the expenses incurred shall be attached. Where the expertise is prepared by more than one expert, the fee shall be paid to each of them. If the expert does not submit the documents for the expenses, they shall be paid at the discretion of the authority which appointed the expertise.

    For each actual hour worked, a remuneration of 2.3% of the established minimum wage for the country at the date of the expertise is paid (14.03 BGN per hour by 2020).

    The expert shall also be paid the travel, living and lodging expenses necessary to prepare the assigned expertise.

    Typically, the fees for accounting expertises vary from 200 to 500 BGN, and in bankruptcy cases - up to 1000 BGN; technical expertises - vary from 200 to 500 BGN; graphological expertises - vary from 200 to 500 BGN, etc. However, the court may also appoint larger or smaller amounts of expert fees.

    3.4. Other expenses - for witnesses, travel, business trip, translation, postage and others.

    3.5. Expenses of the opposite party.
    It is important to know that the fees paid by the winning party, the costs of the proceedings and the remuneration of one attorney at law or legal adviser (if any) are paid by the losing party in proportion to the lost part of the claim or complaint. To do this, the winning party must prove their actual payment and indicate their size with a list atatched. This means that if the applicant/claimant loses the case, he or she will pay not only his own costs but also the costs of the defendant. If the defendant loses the case, he or she also pays the applicant's/claimant's costs. This requires careful analysis of the chances of winning the case and the amount of the claim.

    3.6. Costs at agreement.
    At the conclusion of the case by agreement, half of the state fee paid shall be returned to the claimant/applicant. The costs of procedure and of the agreement shall remain on behalf of the parties as they were done, unless otherwise agreed.

    4. Shall I receive an invoice and a cash receipt for the lawyer's services?
    The attorney at law is a "freelancer" pursuant to § 1, item 29 of the additional provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA).
    Pursuant to Art. 4, par. 8 of Regulation № N-18/2006 on reporting of sales through fiscal devices the freelancer is not obliged to register through a fiscal device and an integrated automated system for management of business activity the sales performed by him or her as a freelancer.
    Pursuant to Art. 9, para. 2 of the Personal Income Tax Act, the taxable persons, who are not obliged to issue a cash receipt from a fiscal device, issue a document for their income from business activity, containing the requisites under Art. 6, para. 1 of the Accountancy Act, namely:
    1. the name and number of the document containing only Arabic numerals;
    2. date of issue
    3. name, address and unique identification code under the Commercial Register, or a unique identification code under the Bulstat Register, or a personal identification number or a number of a foreigner of the issuer and the recipient;
    4. the object, natural and valuable expression of the business transaction.
    In other words, the lawyer does not issue cash receipts, and the legal aid contract is a primary accounting document that replaces the invoice if it contains the requisites under Art. 6, para. 1 of the Accounting Act.
    The attorney at law must issue invoices only if he is registered under the VAT Act. These are the cases when the attorney at law has income for the last 12 months amounting to over BGN 50,000 BGN (mandatory registration) or if he has voluntarily registered under the VAT Act.