In mid-November, in the Bulgarian State Gazette was promulgated the Law on Amendments of The Civil Procedure Code (CPC) The latter amends not only the Civil Procedure Code, but also the Code of Administrative Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The purpose of the CPC is to outline the new legislation in regard to the use of videoconferencing in civil and administrative proceedings, as well as to expand the possibilities for the use of videoconference in criminal proceedings.
The use of videoconferencing is intended to be used during interrogations and hearings in civil and administrative proceedings. This method is used when the administrative body or the court panel and the witnesses, experts, parties, translators or interpreters are physically located in different places on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria.
At present, court proceedings in civil and administrative cases are conducted in courtrooms, with all participants present in person. With the entry into force of the LACPC, this shortcoming has been overcome. In addition, the possibility of using videoconferencing in the above-mentioned proceedings makes it possible to gather evidence at a distance, without prejudice to anyone’s procedural rights. In addition to these advantages, it should be noted that videoconferencing reduces the costs of civil, administrative and criminal proceedings.
The main legislative changes in the Code of Civil Procedure are related to:
- The regulation of the possibility to perform translation by videoconference.
This possibility is also valid for the interpreters. The use of videoconferencing in this regard will reduce cases of adjournment due to the lack of translator or interpreter. In this way, the costs that the judiciary pays to these people for the services provided by them will be reduced.
- Gathering evidence by videoconference.
The advantages of videoconferencing in this direction are connected to the reduction of the total time for closing the respective court cases.
- Preparation of a protocol for procedural actions performed by videoconference.
The huge advantage in this regard is that when it is necessary to amend or supplement the protocol of the hearing, which was prepared by videoconference – it can only be done on the basis of the videoconference recording.
- Creating a legal definition of the term “videoconferencing”.
Videoconferencing – a communication link through technical means for simultaneous transmission and reception of image and sound between participants in the process, located in different places.