Ever since the adoption of the amendments to the Administrative Procedure Code (APC) as of September 2018 many arguments and controversies have arisen – both in theory and in practice. After the President’s referral to the Constitutional Court, according to the opinion of the court (Resolution No. 5 as of April 19th, 2019 on case No. 12 as of 2018), neither the new flat-rate fees (“simple fees”), nor the proportionate fees calculated on the amount claimed are unconstitutional.
The amendments adopted increased the amount of the fees in cassation proceedings. They are differentiated:
According to the type of the appellant:
- For individuals the fee is BGN 70;
- For legal entities and non-for profit organizations (companies, sole traders, cooperatives, associations, foundations, etc.) – 370 BGN.
According to the subject of the case, if it regards pensions, health and social security matters:
- For individuals and sole traders the fee is BGN 30;
- For organizations, state and municipal authorities, entities performing public functions or entities providing public services – 200 BGN.
In its opinion, the Plenum of the Supreme Administrative Court states that the amount of the individuals’ fee is not excessive because it “proportionally corresponds” to the minimum monthly remuneration (BGN 560 for 2019) and, therefore, does not contravene the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
For the first time it is introduced, that the administrative authorities are obliged to pay state fees in the proceedings where they act as parties, as well. This regulation is consistent with the principle of equal treatment of the parties involved in the proceedings.
A system for proportional calculation of the state fee has been introduced in cases with a “determinable claim amount”. Although there is no legal definition, “determinable” is a non-fixed claim amount, without specific amount, where the basis is a range between two amounts. In cases with such “determinable” claim amount, the fee is defined as a percentage of the claim amount – 0.8 %, which percentage:
- for claims amounting up to BGN 10 million, the fee should not exceed BGN 1700, i.e. the following formula applies:
[claim amount ≤ 10,000,000] x 0,8/100 ≥ BGN 1700;
- for claim amounts exceeding BGN 10 million the fee is fixed – BGN 4500, i.e. the following formula applies:
[claim amount ≥ 10,000,000] x 0,8/100 = BGN 4500.
Regarding the fees for private appeals against orders and regulations and the fees in proceedings for annulment of enforceable legal acts, simple fees differentiated according to the type of appellant are also introduced:
- For individuals – 30 BGN;
- For legal entities and organizations (companies, sole traders, cooperatives, associations, foundations, etc.) – 150 BGN.
No fee is payable for private appeals against orders and regulations and in proceedings for annulment of enforceable judicial acts in cases for pensions, health and social security matters.
The amendments adopted do not apply for the fees in administrative-penal proceedings. There is no state fee for appeals against penal decrees. As well as that, there is no fee for appeals against court resolutions rejecting appeals against penal decrees.
An essential part of the amendments is the fact that the legislation on fees in administrative proceedings has been enforced by means of a law unlike the preceding enforcement through regulations and orders. Before the adoption of the amendments to the APC, the fees were set out in Tariff No. 1 to the State Fees and the Fees Collected by the Courts and the Ministry of Justice Law, adopted with Decree No. 167 of the Council of Ministers as of August 28th, 1992, promulgated in State Gazette, issue 71 as of September 1st, 1992.