Enforcement is understood to mean ensuring fulfilment of obligations imposed by judicial decision on parties in legal proceedings so that, when implementing the judicial decision, the parties perform the actions required of them.
Some judicial decisions do not specifically require enforcement. This applies, for example, to decisions on recognition and the suspension, modification or establishment of legal relations.
A judicial decision may be implemented either on the basis of the parties' goodwill, i.e. without enforcement measures being taken, or by force.
If the addressee of a judicial decision does not implement the decision voluntarily, the creditor in question is entitled to apply to the court for the issue of an enforcement order and to submit it to a bailiff. Bailiffs are persons authorised by the State to act at a creditor's request to ensure that a judicial decision which is not implemented voluntarily is implemented by means of coercive enforcement measures.
The enforcement of judicial decisions is regulated by Section VI of the Code of Civil Procedure (Enforcement proceedings) and the Instructions on the enforcement of decisions adopted by order of the Minister of Justice. Specific rules regulating the enforcement of decisions may be laid down by other legal acts.
The enforcement order issued on the basis of a judicial decision is submitted to a bailiff by the person entitled to do so, i.e. the claimant or his/her representative. If the enforcement order is submitted by a representative, his/her right to do so must by law be conferred by means of an authorisation duly issued and drawn up, i.e. authorisations issued by natural persons must be notarised, and those issued by legal persons may also be approved by the appropriate body within the legal person in question. If a lawyer or lawyer's assistant submits the enforcement order to a bailiff, he/she must also provide the bailiff with a written agreement with the client or another document attesting to his/her rights and obligations and their scope.
After having received the enforcement instrument, the bailiff must, within three days or, in urgent cases, immediately, confirm that there are no obvious grounds for not accepting it.
The enforcement instrument is submitted to the bailiff operating on the territory on which the debtor has his/her residence or place of work or on which the debtor's assets are located. If recovery is to be implemented from a legal person, the enforcement instrument is submitted to the bailiff operating on the territory of the head office of the debtor – i.e. the legal person – or the place where the latter's assets are located.
An enforcement order is accepted when the claimant pays the bailiff the total execution fee. Depending on the claimant's (natural person's) financial situation, the bailiff may waive payment of all or part of that fee or defer payment until such time as enforcement proceedings have ended. If a legal person submits the enforcement instrument, the bailiff is entitled not to defer payment of more than half of the total fee.
Possible enforcement measures are:
More than one enforcement measure may be applied at the same time.
Enforcement measures and procedures vary depending on whether a monetary or non-monetary obligation is being enforced and on whether recovery occurs from the debtor's funds, income or other assets.
If a monetary obligation is being enforced and recovery is directed at the debtor's funds held by a bank or third party, the bailiff will send an order in due form to the bank, other credit institution or person, instructing them to verify whether they hold monetary funds on the debtor's behalf and, if so, to suspend payments from those funds to the extent necessary to cover recoverable sums and the costs of enforcement. On receiving a reply from the bank confirming that payments from the debtor's funds have been suspended, the debtor's funds are attached and transferred to the bailiff's account.
If the bailiff finds that the debtor's funds or other assets are held by third parties (the bailiff is entitled to receive this information and also information as to whether the third party is required to pay funds or provide other assets to the debtor), these funds are attached.
If a monetary obligation is being enforced and recovery is directed at the debtor's income, the bailiff will submit the enforcement order to the debtor's employer or to another person who pays him/her. Deductions will be made from the debtor's wages and similar payments to the extent necessary to cover recoverable amounts.
If a monetary obligation is being enforced and recovery is directed at the debtor's assets, these assets will be attached and sold. Recovery may not be directed at the debtor's monetary assets if the debtor provides evidence to the bailiff that the monies can be recovered within six months by making deductions of the statutory amount from the debtor's income. Recovery may be directed at residential property belonging to the debtor and in which he/she resides solely if the amount to be recovered is greater that LTL 7 000. At the request of the debtor or his/her family members after an apartment or house has been made subject to attachment with a view to recovering amounts not paid for energy bills, municipal services and other services, the court may rule that no recovery may be made from the last apartment, house or part thereof in which the persons in question need to live. In so doing, the court will take account of the financial situation and interests of children, disabled persons and disadvantaged groups.
Attachment of a debtor's assets is a temporary injunction or restriction of ownership or individual component of ownership (management, use or disposal) imposed on the debtor's assets.
Attachment may be carried out by a court or bailiff.
A court carries out an attachment of assets by means of a decision involving the implementation of temporary protective measures. The amount of funds or assets attached may not exceed the amount of the claimant's claim. The court may revoke such a decision at the request of interested parties or, in certain predetermined cases, at its own initiative. When the court has examined a case and has rejected a claim, temporary protection measures remain in force until such time as its decision comes into effect, and if, after the court has applied temporary protection measures, the claim is met, the temporary protection measures apply until such time as its decision has been implemented.
A bailiff who is implementing an enforcement decision must, when carrying out an attachment of the debtor's assets, sign the attachment order. A bailiff may revoke an attachment order only if he/she carried out the attachment. A bailiff may not in principle attach more of the debtor's assets than are required to cover the recoverable amount and the costs of enforcement.
Realisation of assets – the compulsory sale by auction via firms which engage in trade in or conversion of assets, the transfer to the claimant, the sale to a buyer suggested by the debtor or the realisation by other means of attached assets belonging to the debtor or collateral provider. Depending on the reasons for attachment and the type of assets involved, attached assets are realised in accordance with the law by a bailiff, offices of the State Tax Inspectorate or brokers and firms active in public trading in securities.
Immovable assets and other assets registered by law belonging to the debtor and other movable property of a unit value of more than one hundred thousand litas are realised by being sold at auction. Other assets may be realised by other means.
The debtor is entitled to find a buyer for the assets being sold before the start of the auction. If the debtor does find a buyer before the auction, the assets must be sold to that buyer. Assets may be sold to the buyer found by the debtor for an amount that is not less than the value indicated in the attachment order, or for a lower amount that is sufficient to cover all of the debt and costs of enforcement.
The realisation of attached assets extinguishes all attachments of those assets.
If enforcement instruments are submitted regarding counter-claims of the debtor and the claimant, the bailiff will offset these amounts in accordance with the prescribed procedure. If it is possible in accordance with the prescribed procedure to recover the entire amount by means of offsetting, no other compulsory enforcement measures are taken. Offsetting cannot be used to recover alimony.
The specific requirements applicable to non-monetary enforcement of obligations are laid down by law.
In enforcing a judicial decision on the transfer of custody of children, a bailiff will involve the person to whom custody of the child is to be transferred and a representative of the public body responsible for defending the child's rights. The defence of the child's rights must be ensured.
If the claimant is awarded certain articles referred to in the judicial decision, the bailiff will confiscate those articles from the debtor and transfer them to the claimant.
Depending on the judicial decision, only those persons specified in the enforcement order may be installed in (or removed from) residential premises. If necessary, police assistance may be requested.
If a decision requiring a debtor to perform or terminate certain actions not related to the transfer of assets or funds is not enforced, the bailiff will draw up a report to that effect. This report is then forwarded to the district court of the place of enforcement, which will rule that the consequences referred to in the original decision be brought into effect (i.e. that if the defendant has not implemented the decision within the stipulated time limit, the plaintiff will be entitled to perform actions or take measures to ensure the termination of actions using the defendant's funds and, at the same time, recover the required expenses from the defendant), and if consequences are not referred to in the decision, the court will address the matter of amending the arrangements for the enforcement of the original decision.
If the actions referred to in the judicial decision may be performed or terminated only by the defendant himself and he/she fails to comply with the decision, the defendant may be fined for the benefit of the plaintiff and a new time limit set for the enforcement of the decision. Payment of the fine by the debtor does not release him/her from the obligation to perform or terminate the actions referred to in the judicial decision.
Depending on the decision in question, enforcement orders may be submitted for enforcement within ten years of the decision coming into effect. The time limit for submitting enforcement orders in respect of judicial decisions which need to be enforced urgently runs from the day after the decision was adopted. Enforcement instruments regarding reinstatement in employment may be submitted for enforcement within one month of the day after the decision was adopted.
Depending on the decision in question, if periodic payments are being claimed, enforcement documents are valid for the entire period for which payments are awarded, and the time limit for them to be submitted for enforcement begins on any date on which a payment deadline expires.
Specific time limits are laid down for enforceable decisions of other officials or institutions to be submitted for enforcement.
If the time limit to submit an enforcement document for enforcement is extended for reasons which the court deems important, the court may renew the extension except as otherwise laid down by law.
Enforcement measures taken by a bailiff will remain in force until they are revoked by the bailiff in question. If an appeal is lodged challenging the legality of the bailiff's actions and the court has acknowledged that the appeal is justified or partly justified, all or some of the measures taken may be revoked by the court hearing the appeal.
The attachment of assets or other temporary protection measures applied by the court will remain in force until such time as they are revoked (or replaced by another measure), have been applied by the court or, in the event of an appeal, have been revoked by a higher court.
The realisation of attached assets extinguishes all attachments of those assets.
See also the reply to question 3.2.
Actions of a bailiff may be appealed against not later than 10 days after the date on which the person lodging the complaint became or should have become aware of the performance of or failure to perform the action in question, but not later than 30 days after the performance of the action. The appeal must be lodged with the district court of the territory on which the bailiff operates.
Measures taken by a court may be revoked or changed by the same court or, if an appeal is lodged with a higher court, by decision of that court.Top
Last update: 11-12-2008