The limitation of claims in Bulgaria

The limitation is a specific time period. After its expiry, the legal entity loses the right to assert and legally enforce his claims.

Limitation periods

The general rules concerning the limitation are contained in the Bulgarian law of obligations and contracts but there exist special regulations providing shorter limitation periods and other regulations that differ from the general rules.

5-year limitation period - after the expiry of 5 years, all claims without legally provided limitation period prescribe (Article 110 of the law of obligations and contracts).

3-year limitation periodAccording to Article 111 of the law, the following claims prescribe after 3 years have passed:

a) claims derived from an employment relationship, if there is no other limitation period provided;

b) damage compensation claims and contractual penalties in case of non-performance of a contract;

c) claims derived from tenancies, interests and other regular payments;

Within the 3-year period, the cancellation claim regarding contracts prescribes as well. The 3-year period is applied in other cases that are provided by the law of obligations and contracts and other special laws.

1-year limitation period

The cancellation claim regarding contracts that have been concluded due to stringent necessity under obviously unfavourable conditions prescribes within a limitation period of one year after the conclusion of the contract. Regarding sales of immovable property with defects, the limitation period is one year as well (Article 197 of the law of obligations and contracts).

6-month limitation period

A limitation period of 6 months is provided regarding claims for defects of movable property (Art. 197 of the Bulgarian law of obligations and contracts) and other claims provided by the commercial law.

According to Article 113 of the law of obligations and contracts, agreements regarding a shortening or extension of fixed limitation periods as well as such regarding the renunciation of the limitation before it expired, are ineffective.

Start of the limitation period

The limitation period starts with the maturity of the claim. If agreed that the claim becomes due after request, the limitation period starts with the moment that the liability has been stated. Regarding tortious compensation claims, the limitation period starts from the point in time of acquiring knowledge of the offender. Regarding compensation claims on grounds of default, the limitation period starts with the day that the contractual penalty has been calculated.

Suspension of the limitation period

The time between the occurrence of reasons for the suspension and their disappearance is not included, hence the remaining limitation period continues.

The limitation period is suspended:

a) between children and their parents whereby parents exercise their parental rights;

b) between guardian and child for the duration of the guardianship;

c) between spouses;

d) regarding claims of persons whose assets are administrated by law or by an order of the court, against the administrator during the time of administration;

e) regarding claims for damages of legal entities against their manager during the time of their appointment;

f) regarding claims raised by minors or mentally immature persons for the time that they do not have a legal representative or guardian and 6 months starting from the time that a guardian has been appointed or the legal incapacity has been fixed;

g)nfor the duration of a trial regarding the claim.

Interruption of the limitation period

According to Article 116 of the law of obligations and contracts, the limitation is interrupted under the following circumstances:

a) if the debtor’s claim is approved;

b) if an action has been brought to court or in case of an appeal against the conciliation procedure; if the action or the appeal has been dismissed, the limitation period is uninterrupted;

c) if enforcement procedure has been started.

If a limitation period has been interrupted, a new limitation period begins. If the claim has been defined by the court, the limitation period is always 5 years. What has been performed to fulfil a claim barred by the statute of limitation cannot be reclaimed even if it has been performed due to ignorance of the limitation.