Civil proceedings

You can commence or be involved in civil proceedings in court where you have a dispute with another person or company. These disputes must be of a private nature, for example, about contracts, labour issues, damages, inheritance or marriage.

In civil proceedings, the court examines disputes between private parties. Your opponent in civil proceedings will generally be another person or a company.

example If you have paid a furniture company for the delivery of a kitchen table, but it refuses to deliver it, you can bring a civil claim to court. 

In certain situations your opponent may also be a state institution. This may happen when the state has not exercised a public power, but acts instead as any other company or individual. 

example You can commence civil proceedings in court if the state has rented a bus from you and refuses to pay for the services which you have delivered.

Right to a fair trial

In court, you and your opponent are guaranteed the right to a fair trial. The right to a fair trial starts from the moment you submit a claim to the court or from the moment it has been filed against you. It extends to the proceedings including the implementation of the final judgement. 

The right to a fair trial guarantees that civil proceedings are adversarial and based on the equality of both parties. This means that:

  • You have the right to participate in court hearings and present your case on equal conditions with your opponent
  • You have the same rights and opportunities as your opponent to submit evidence, express your observations and arguments and present your case
  • The court itself does not gather the evidence to find out the truth behind the dispute. It only follows the law. Therefore, the case will be won by the party which is legally correct and presents the most convincing arguments and evidence

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