HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN LITHUANIA

Lithuania is a land-locked country in Eastern Europe. A member of the Baltic Triumvirate, it is situated on the eastern coast of the sea. One of the few extant Baltic languages, Lithuanian, belongs to the ethnolinguistic group of the Balts and is spoken by Lithuanians.

Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Eurozone, the Nordic Investment Bank, the Schengen Agreement, NATO, and the OECD, among other organizations. One of the Nordic-Baltic Eight (NB8) regional cooperation formats, it is a permanent observer of the Nordic Council.

BACKGROUND

Lithuania became a member of the United Nations on 18th September 1991 and is a signatory to a number of its organizations and other international agreements. It is also a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as NATO and its adjunct North Atlantic Coordinating Council. Lithuania gained membership in the World Trade Organization on 31ST May 2001, and joined the OECD on 5th  July 2018, while also seeking membership in other Western organizations.

The court system of the Republic of Lithuania is made up of courts of general jurisdiction and courts of special jurisdiction. The Supreme Court of Lithuania is the single highest court in Lithuania followed by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. There are additionally five regional courts and twelve district courts which are courts of general jurisdiction dealing with civil and criminal cases. District courts also hear cases of administrative offenses coming within their jurisdiction by law. The regional courts, the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of Lithuania have the Civil Division and the Criminal Division.

HOW ARE LEGAL PAPERS SERVED IN LITHUANIA

In accordance with the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania legal documents must be formally served. There are two categories of legal documents, being [A.] documents of the parties to the proceedings; and [B.] procedural documents of the court. They also include bailiffs’ documents (call notices, orders, summonses).

Regional courts consist of two divisions for criminal and civil cases. Civil cases are allocated to the judges in numerical order according to the list of judges prepared by the chairman of the regional court. The first instance court hears and tries the case based on its merits, acquiring and assessing evidence.

An important part of the legal process is the filing of a lawsuit in a district or regional court. It is necessary to make a claim in writing to the appropriate court. A copy of the court’s decision is then sent to the defendant, along with instructions for the next action. When the debtor’s address is known, a specified online request form may be used to commence summary proceedings for financial claims.

Letters are addressed to the postal address listed in the complaint. The defendant has between fourteen and thirty days to respond to the court’s order. The defendant may seek an extension of this time period of up to sixty days. Defendants who fail to respond after being served with the claim will have their case decided by the court without their input.

After receiving the defendant’s response, the court can set a date for the preliminary hearing or ask the parties to each provide one additional written response.  After the preliminary hearing or exchange of additional responses by the parties, the court sets a date for the main hearing. The average time for civil litigation varies greatly, and it can take from six months to two years for the court of the first instance to reach a decision.

After the court’s judgment enters into force, the claimant has a right to ask the court to issue a writ of execution, which is submitted to the court bailiff for execution. A court order issued in the summary (documentary) process is a writ of execution in itself and does not require any additional recognition by the court. It can be directly submitted to the court bailiff for execution.

international process service of a summons in lithuania

Lithuanian courts are required to communicate particular information with courts in other signatory nations under the HCCH Convention on Taking Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters 1970 (Hague Evidence Convention). Under EU law and treaties, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for coordinating the transmission of judicial aid.

In order to obtain evidence from another EU member state, the asking court must submit a request using the template accepted. The Lithuanian court delivers confirmation to the sender within seven days of receiving the request. Within ninety days after receiving a request, the Lithuanian court begins gathering evidence. 

Lithuanian law dictates how documents are served. The papers to be served on a natural person are deemed served under the Code of Civil Procedure when they are delivered in-person to that person’s home, workplace, or the office of judicial authority. When a document is served to an adult member of the receiver’s family, or if there are none, to the management of the building’s community in which the receiver lives or works, the document is regarded duly delivered to a natural person. Typically, the certificate of receipt of the document identifies who accepted the document (first name, surname, relationship with the addressee, or position). When serving documents to a legal person, the Head of the legal entity, the management body, the employee of the office, and another employee if there is no office are regarded to have served the documents.

international process service of legal papers IN LITHUANIA

Documents may be served (delivered) to a person in Lithuania as [A.]  sent by registered letter at the residential, official or registered office address of the person (the addressee); [B.] served Lithuania Process Service personally upon signed acknowledgment at the residence, official or registered office address of the person (the addressee); or [C.] other methods of service acceptable. There must be a Central Authority for service to be adequate. In Lithuania, the forwarding authorities are the Courts of the Republic of Lithuania.  Service may be made by formal service through the Central Authority which itself arranges for Lithuania Process Service by methods prescribed in that country. Documents to be served in accordance with this method must be translated into the official language of the country where the documents will be served. The time frame can range from two to three months.

The fee for the service of documents in the Republic of Lithuania is EUR 110 (one hundred ten euro). The application for service of documents must be accompanied with the evidence supporting the payment of the fee by a bank transfer to the account of the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania.

Where in relation to the submission of the application the fee of EUR 110 is not paid, and no documents supporting the payment of the fee are submitted, the Central Authority will return the documents in the same order as they were received, indicate the reason for returning the documents, and provide the information about the amount of the fee and possible payment methods. The return of the documents does not mean the documents cannot be submitted for service repeatedly.

Within the Republic of Lithuania, the documents can be served without having paid the fee of EUR 110, provided the applicant submits the evidence that the fee has been paid or compensated from the funds of the State-guaranteed legal assistance. In case the application includes a request for service of the documents in a specific way requiring additional expenses the applicant WILL defray the expenses not included in the fee of EUR 110 in advance and in the specific required way according to the documents supporting the amount of the specific expenses submitted by the Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania (bailiffs.)

how to serve legal papers by ALTERNATE METHODS IN LITHUANIA

Derogatory channels (bilateral or multilateral agreements or internal law permitting other transmission channels) are also a means of serving papers over international borders in Lithuania. Bilateral conventions on judicial cooperation currently exist in Lithuania between Azerbaijan, Belarus, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. Defendants and their legal counsel may use the letter’s rogatory procedure to request court help in gathering evidence or delivering documents to countries outside the United States.

Regardless of the nationality of the witness, in Lithuania, voluntary depositions may be performed if no force is employed. Before a U.S. Government attorney or prosecutor may take a deposition in Lithuania, the Lithuanian Central Authority must provide its approval.

Currently, Informal Service is not available in Lithuania. However, Letters Rogatory can still be used for obtaining evidence or serving pleadings in countries that are not signatories of the Hague Service Convention. They are a request from a court in the United States to a court in a foreign country requesting international judicial assistance related to Lithuania Process Service. The use of this method may result in habitual time delays of up to a year in the execution of requests. This method should only be used if no treaty is in force or if one is serving a Subpoena.

Most countries require the documents to be translated into the official language of the nation where they are to be served (in this case, Lithuanian). The U.S. State Department recommends translation, but it is not a requirement unless the formal method is used. It is possible, although rare, that a demurer could be filed based upon a lack of understanding by the defendant as to the nature and meaning of un-translated documents.

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Sources

1. Vilnius the country’s capital and biggest city, as well as Kaunas and Klaipeda, are also significant

2. Disputes such as those related to tax or competition law are heard by the administrative courts. Administrative cases are heard in accordance with the Law on Administrative Proceedings (LAP). 

3. Including their claims, counterclaims, defense, responses to counterclaims, replies (the applicant’s statements of defense to the defendant’s defense), rejoinders (the defendant’s statements of defense to the reply), separate appeals, appeals and cassation appeals, statements of defense to appeals and other documents in which their applications, claims, replications or explanations are submitted during a written procedure (Article 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure).

4. judgments, orders, rulings, decisions, resolutions, minutes of hearings, summonses, and notifications

5. Each party is given up to 14 days to submit their additional responses (Article 227, CCP).

6. Certain disputes can be resolved by summary (documentary) proceedings if, for example, all evidence is in written form and the dispute only relates to financial claims.

A case can be terminated before trial if a party proves one of the following grounds set out in law:

  • The case does not fall in the court’s jurisdiction.
  • The dispute has already been resolved by another court or arbitration tribunal.
  • The claimant has withdrawn the claim.
  • The parties have concluded a settlement agreement.

If the case is terminated another claim for the same dispute cannot be submitted.

The claim can also be left unresolved by the court if, for example:

  • The parties have failed to use compulsory pre-trial dispute resolution methods.
  • A similar dispute is already being resolved in another case.
  • The application fee has not been paid.
  • The parties had agreed that disputes would be resolved by arbitration.

The claim being left unresolved does not prevent the claimant from submitting a new claim, after removing the conditions that made the claim unresolved.

7. Certain decisions of the court, for example in relation to interim measures, can also be executed directly (submitted to the court bailiff to take appropriate action).

8. Rules governing requests for evidence in civil and commercial cases from courts of EU members include the Regulation No. 1206/2001 on judicial cooperation and the Service Regulation (Evidence Regulation

9. Annex A of the Regulation on Evidence (Evidence Regulation).

10. Form Annex H of the Evidence Regulation is completed and delivered back to the asking court with additional attached papers as soon as evidence is gathered.

11. provided this method of service (delivery) ensures that the document is served (the entire information contained therein will be delivered (will become known to) the recipient.

12. The courts of the Republic of Lithuania (all instances, i.e., district courts of cities and regions – in total 49 -, county courts – in total 5 -, the Lithuanian Court of Appeals and the Lithuanian Supreme Court) examining civil or commercial cases are competent to forward a request for service of documents to the foreign Central Authority.

13. Chamber of Judicial Officers of Lithuania

Address: Konstitucijos Ave. 15, LT-09319 Vilnius, Republic of Lithuania Account No. LT92 4010 0424 0031 5815, AB “DnB bankas”,

bank code 40100 Data accumulated and stored in the Register of Legal Entities, code 126198978.

Tel. +370 5 2750067, +370 5 275 0068

E-mail: info@antstoliurumai.lt

Website: www.antstoliurumai.lt

14. Ministry of Justice

Gedimino ave. 30

LT-01104

+370 (5) 266 2940

+370 (5) 262 5940

tbs@tm.lt

http://www.tm.lt/

Ms. Andrada Bavejan

Head of International Co-operation

Division of International Law Department

Lithuanian, English, French, German, Russian

15. Agreement between Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia on legal assistance and legal relations.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1393/2007 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters (Strasbourg, 13 November 2007) (European Judicial Atlas – Service of Documents).

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