In the emergency situation due to COVID-19 the rules of the civil litigation were modified: the most important change was that courts did not held court hearings at all or only through electronic telecommunication channels. Because of the moderation of the epidemic, from 1st June 2020 the civil litigations can return to “normality” with a few slight changes. In our short article we summarize the new rules.
1. Will there be „courtroom hearings” again?
The biggest change in comparison with the rules effective from 31 March 2020 is that as a main rule court can hold court hearings in the „traditional” way, in the building of the courtroom with the presence of the parties.
In case the court has set an “electronical” court hearing for a date after 1st June 2020, based on the rules of the emergency situation, then the court will inform the parties about the venue of the hearing and will hold it in the court building.
However, if pandemic instructions justify, courts can still hold hearings through electronic telecommunication channels. For example, if the party whose presence would be necessary on the hearing, is under quarantine, the court will hold the hearing electronically.
Moreover, the court may exclude the public from the hearing if this is necessary in order to ensure epidemic instructions (e.g. social distancing).
2. What happens in the cases where the court proceeded based on the transitional rules?
Specific rules apply to those cases where the court proceeded based on the “emergency situation” rules effective from 31 March 2020.
If the parties have filed all statements in the case initiation stage in writing, then the court warns the parties, clauses the case initiation stage and sets the merit hearing. Nevertheless, if the parties have not filed all statements, then the court sets a case initiation hearing.
If the court warned the parties that he is in the position to decide the case and the parties have filed their submissions or the deadline elapsed without it, the court delivers the judgement without a court hearing.
3. How remedy procedures will work?
From 31 March 2020 the parties could not request the court to hold a hearing in their appeal or judicial review procedure.
In case the court informed the parties until 1st June 2020 that he will decide the case without a hearing, then the court will deliver the judgement in writing. However, if the parties mutually request a hearing then the court sets the appeal or judicial review hearing.
From 1st June 2020 in accordance with the “ordinary” rules, the parties can request the court to hold a hearing in their motion for appeal or judicial review.
Slowly the civil litigation procedures can go back to “normal”, but the new transitional rules provide the possibility to the courts to react to the epidemic related measures (e.g. quarantine or to ensure social distancing).
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