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»AMENDMENTS IN THE LEGAL REGIME OF THE LIABILITY OF THE STATE AND THE MUNICIPALITIES FOR DAMAGES
A Bill for Amendments and Supplementation of the State and Municipalities’ Liability for Damages Act (SMLDA) was promulgated in State Gazette, issue 94/ 29.11.2019. The amendments significantly expand the substantive applicability of SMLDA since the state and municipalities shall now be liable for damages caused by the application of acts of secondary legislation which have been proclaimed unlawful or invalid. Furthermore, new rules have been adopted as regards the procedure for adjudication of claims against the state and municipalities for damages due to infringement of EU law, as well as new procedural rules and amendments to the Administrative Violations and Sanctions Act. This article shall review the novelties in the legislation.

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»INTERPRETATIVE DECISION OF SCC ON ISSUES RELATED TO THE LABOR BOOK
On 2 December 2019 the Supreme Court of Cassation adopted an Interpretative Decision No 1/2019 on Interpretative Case No 1/2019, which resolved issues related to the labor book, on which is established contradictory case-law. In the interpretative decision the court clarifies from which moment arises the obligation for the employer to immediately deliver to the employee the duly completed labor book after the termination of the employment relationship, and when the obligation becomes due; at which point the employer delays in fulfilling this obligation, as well as when the labor book is wrongfully detained by the employer. More information on this topic can be found in the present publication.

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»NATALIA DIMITROVA, ATTORNEY-AT-LAW AND MANAGING PARTNER OF DIMITROVA & PARTNERS LAW FIRM, RECEIVED THE PRESTIGIOUS AWARD IN THE CATEGORY OF CONSULTING BUSINESS/SERVICES IN THE ANNUAL “MR. AND MRS. ECONOMICS” COMPETITION
On 12 November 2019 at Sofia Tech Park Natalia Dimitrova, Attorney-at-law and Managing Partner of Dimitrova & Partners Law Firm, received a prestigious award in the “Mr. and Mrs. Economics 2019” competition.

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»NEW REGULATION OF THE LEGAL REGIME OF THE OWNERSHIP AND USE OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS
A draft Decision by the Council of Ministers for the approval of a Draft Bill for the Agricultural Lands has been published in the Portal for Public Consultations. The main purpose of the Bill is to achieve “an organized and complete regulation of the agricultural relations”. By means of the adoption of the new Agricultural Lands Act, systematization will be achieved and various contradictions in the currently effective legislation shall be overcome. The present article shall review some of the major novelties in the regime of ownership and use of the agricultural lands, provided for in the new Draft Bill for the Agricultural Lands.

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»FORTHCOMING AMENDMENTS TO THE FOREIGN CURRENCY ACT
With a decision of Council of Ministers a Bill on the amendment and supplement to the Foreign Currency Act was approved. The Bill introduces new rules regarding the carrying cash across the border of the Republic of Bulgaria. More information on this topic could be found in the present publication.

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»DECISION OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EU REGARDING COOKIES CONSENT
On 1 October 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered its judgment in Case No C 673/17 on the giving of consent to the storage and processing of cookies. The Decision interprets main issues regarded to the content of the term "consent" within the meaning of the applicable EU legislation in the area of cookies and personal data protection. It is important for the clarification of the obligations regarding obtaining consent for the use of cookies under the new personal data protection regime.

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»THE SUPREME ADMINISTRATIVE COURT REPEALED THE STANDARD FORM FOR APPLICATION FOR ISSUANCE OF AN ENFORCEMENT ORDER UNDER ART. 410 OF CCP
With a final decision dated 22 October 2019 a five-judge panel of the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) repealed the standard forms of an enforcement order under Art. 410 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP). SAC repealed Art. 4 of the Ordinance, which is related to the standard form of enforcement order under Art. 410 of CCP due to violation of the proceeding rules within drafting the Ordinance. More information on this topic could be found in the present publication.

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»CURRENT ISSUES REGARDING THE LABOUR BOOK
The labour book is again subject of discussions. The existence of conflicting court practice on issues related to the obligation of the employer to return to the employee the completed labour book after termination of the employment has provoked the institution of Interpretative case No. 1/2019 of the General Assembly of the Civil Division of the Supreme Court of Cassation. The General Assembly is expected to adopt an interpretative decision to unify the conflicting court practice. Subject of public discussion is new Ordinance on the labour book and the employment service, which shall establish a new model of labour book. More information on this topic can be found in the present publication.

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»NEW DIRECTIVE ON THE TRANSPARENT AND PREDICTABLE WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
A new directive has been published in the OJEU as regards the transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union. Among its provisions one can find extensive information rights of employees, as well as several minimum requirements for working conditions, among which are rules on the maximum duration of the probationary period, parallel employment and mandatory training and a right of the employee to transition to another form of employment. The Directive also sets out rules regarding protection of the employees who have exercised their rights thereunder from adverse treatment from their employers. The aim of this article is to briefly review the key provisions of the Directive and how they relate to current Bulgarian legislation.

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»THE NEW EUROPEAN LABOUR AUTHORITY BEGINS OPERATION IN OCTOBER
The European Labour Authority (ELA) – a new EU agency in the field of Labour Law will begin to function in October 2019. ELA is expected to reach its full functional capacity in 2024 in its seat – the city of Bratislava (Slovakia). Тhis article will give some insight on the role, structure and importance of this new EU agency.

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»INTERRUPTION OF THE USE OF UNPAID LEAVE
There are frequent cases of interruption of the use of unpaid leave. Unlike the expressly regulated in the legislation procedure and grounds for interruption of the annual paid leave, the interruption of the unpaid leave raises several questions that cannot be answered unequivocally by the current legislation framework. Here you can read more about the procedure for interruption of the use of unpaid leave.

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»SOME TOPICAL QUESTIONS RELATED TO THE APPLICATION OF THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
The amendments to the Measures Against Money Laundering Act from the end of April 2019 brought to some interesting practical questions, to which we would like to point your attention. How the liable persons can effectively perform their obligation under the said Act in absence of some of the main acts related to its application?

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»COULD A EUROPEAN ACCOUNT PRESERVATION ORDER BE ISSUED ON THE GROUNDS OF AN ENFORCEMENT ORDER FOR RECEIVABLES OF SUMS OF MONEY UNDER ART. 410 OF CPC?
With the adoption of Regulation (EU) No 655/2014 (the Regulation), a procedure for the obtaining of a European Account Preservation Order (EAPO) against a debtor is established. The Regulation defines the procedure as “an alternative to preservation measures” under national law. The request for issuing of a EAPO can be based on a judgment, a court settlement or an authentic instrument within the meaning given by the Regulation. With the referral of a request for a preliminary ruling, Sofia Regional Court requests the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to interpret the Regulation for the first time, due to a request for issuing of a EAPO.

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»DATA LEAK FROM THE NRA – OPTIONS FOR LEGAL DEFENSE OF THE AFFECTED PERSONS
On 15.07.2019, a number of publications were disseminated in the media that a security breach of the data, stored by the NRA had been committed. The CPDP, in its capacity as a national data protection supervisory authority, announced on 19.07.2019 that a check was initiated in the NRA about the personal data leak. Subsequently, the revenue administration published clarifications on its website regarding the leaked personal data and the recommended response measures, and also an application was distributed to obtain information about whether data of natural persons had been disseminated. Here you can read more about the options for defense of the rights of the affected persons.

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»NEW CPDP OPINION REGARDING THE STORAGE TERM FOR PERSONAL DATA OF JOB APPLICANTS
On 11 July 2019, the CPDP published its opinion on controversial issues about the maximum term for personal data storage provided by job applicants within a selection procedure. The Opinion addresses the specific link between the storage term for personal data under the the Personal Data Protection Act and the limitation term under the Protection against Discrimination Act.

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»NEW EUROPEAN RULES TO IMPROVE FAIRNESS OF ONLINE PLATFORMS’ TRADING PRACTICES
On 14 June 2019 the Council of the European Union approved a Regulation on fairness and transparency of online platforms' trading practices. It establishes new rules and requirements for the providers of online intermediation services. More information on this topic could be found in the present publication.

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»DISREGARD OF DECISIONS OF SAC BY SCC AND CIVIL COURTS
Basic principle of the judiciary in Bulgaria is the rule of law, which is binding on the highest judicial authorities – the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) and the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC). Nevertheless, there is a contradictory practice, consisting in disregard of the SAC's decisions by the SCC and the civil courts which raises doubts about the effective implementation of legal provisions. More information and details can be found in the present publication.

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»NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
In issue No 42 of State Gazette, dated 28 May 2019, an Act for Amendments and Supplementations to the Measures against Money Laundering Act was promulgated. The procedure for disclosure of the beneficial owners of the non-profit legal entities was facilitated by the adopted amendments. More information on this topic can be found in the present publication.

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»SINGLE NATIONAL WEBSITE ON POSTING OF WORKERS
A single national website on the posting of workers, developed by General Labour Inspectorate Executive Agency under the requirements of Art. 5 of Directive 2014/67 / EU and in accordance with Art. 12, para. 2 of the Ordinance on the conditions and procedure for sending to business trips workers and employees within the frames of provision of services, is already functioning in Bulgaria. More information and details about the site can be found in the present publication.

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»INTERPRETATIVE DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT OF CASSATION CLARIFYING THE ORDER FOR REPAYMENT OF MONETARY OBLIGATIONS
On 27 March 2019 the General Assembly of the Civil and Commercial Colleges (GACCC) of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) passed an Interpretative Decision No 3/2017 under Interpretative Case No 3/2017, for reconciliation the contradictory practice of the courts with regard to the order of repayment of monetary obligations regarding: (1) when the payment made by the debtor is insufficient and the debtor has not indicated which debt is repaid, the costs are repaid first, then the interest (including the statutory interest for delay) and finally the principal; and (2) upon early repayment the creditor is entitled to receive the outstanding principal and the statutory interest from the date of the early repayment up to the date of the received payment, without being entitled to remunerative interest until the end of the original credit term.

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»FORTHCOMING AMENDMENTS TO THE CCP FOR EXTENSION OF THE DEBTOR'S PROTECTION IN THE ORDER FOR PAYMENT PROCEEDINGS
In order to implement the instructions, given by the European Commission, a Bill for amendment and supplement of the Code of Civil Procedure was brought in the National Assembly on 28 February 2019. The amendments aim to extend the terms for filing an opposition and voluntary compliance by the debtor, adopting special rules for claims under customer contracts and changes with regard to the stay of enforcement as a result of filing an opposition.

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»CONDITIONS AND PROCEDURE OF FULFILMENT OF THE EMPLOYERS’ OBLIGATION FOR RECRUITMENT OF DISABLED PEOPLE
In issue 27 of State Gazette, dated 2 April 2019, were promulgated Regulations for application of the Persons with Disabilities Act. By the adoption of the secondary legislation was determined the procedure of fulfilment of the employers' obligation for recruitment of people with disabilities. More information on this topic can be found in the present publication.

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»AMENDMENTS IN REGARD TO THE TERM FOR ADOPTION OF INTERNAL RULES FOR CONTROL AND PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND FINANCING OF TERRORISM AND DROPPING OUT THEIR SUBMISSION TO SANS FOR APPROVAL ARE EXPECTED
The Parliament is discussing the approval of amendments regarding the Measures Against Money Laundering Act related to the Internal Rules for Control and Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism. What are the expected amendments and how they will affect the liable persons?

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»THE NEW SPECIALIZED ELECTRONIC SYSTEM FOR TRACKING AND ANALYSIS OF MEDICINAL PRODUCTS
Until 7 April 2019 is open the public discussion on the new draft Regulation on the Specialized Electronic System for Tracking and Analysis of Medicinal Products of the Ministry of Health. The draft Regulation provides for the participants on the drugs market (marketing authorization holders, holders of authorizations for parallel import, wholesalers, pharmacies, medical care facilities, etc.) to submit regularly to the System information on the quantities of medicinal products from the Positive Drugs List delivered by them or to them, the quantities of medicinal products on stock in their warehouses, etc. Based on the information from the new System the Bulgarian Drug Agency will execute a List of the medicinal products from the Positive Drugs List, for which are established shortages on the territory of the country and these drugs will be prohibited for export.

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»THE ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDING AGAINST EMPLOYER, WHO PAID GARNISHED REMUNERATION ACCORDING TO INTERPRETATIVE JUDGEMENT OF SCC
The contradictory case law on the issue whether the payer of the debtor's remuneration notwithstanding the garnishment imposed, has the capacity of debtor in the enforcement proceeding or of a third party for the enforcement, has provoked the institution of Interpretative Case No. 4 of 2017 of the General Assembly of the Civil and Commercial Colleges (GACCC) of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC). Interpretative judgement of SCC of 11 March 2019 provides an answer to the question which of the different opinions is correct.

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»THE TERM “WHOLESALER” UNDER THE MEASURES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
The wholesalers are liable under the Measures against Money Laundering Act. In this capacity they shall apply the measures for prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering purposes. Nevertheless, it is not clear which persons exactly shall be considered wholesalers. What risks does this raise and what are the possible solutions?

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»DRAFT DIRECTIVE TO AMEND EU COMPANY LAW
On 04.02.2019 the European Council announced that it reached an agreement with the European Parliament on the text of a draft Directive for the amendment of EU company law rules, which shall facilitate and promote the use of online solutions throughout a company’s life cycle. The proposed directive complements the existing rules on EU company law, codified in Directive (EU) 2017/ 1132 of 14 June 2017, and forms a part of the efforts for modernisation of EU company law.

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»ABOLITION OF THE APOSTILLE REQUIREMENT WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION
The requirement for presentation of apostille on official documents attesting facts about civil status, when issued and used within the European Union, will not apply as of 16 February 2019. The rules in Regulation 2016/1191 aim to simplify the administrative procedures concerning the presentation of official documents in the Member States. About the documents falling under the scope of the Regulation and the other simplifications provided for therein, you can read in this publication.

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»NEW OBLIGATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS PURSUANT TO THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (PDA)
The new Persons with Disabilities Act (the Act or PDA) was promulgated on 18 December 2018, No 105 of the State Gazette, which repealed the previously in force Integration of Persons with Disabilities Act. The Act is in effect as of 1 January 2019. The PDA further elaborates and refines the already existing legal framework regarding the rights of persons with disabilities, through which they are provided with the necessary and adequate socio-economic state support for their inclusion in society. The subject of this presentation are the new obligations for Bulgarian employers, provided for by the Act.

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