Dispute resolution in Lithuania: How to submit an Appeal
A court decision does not always satisfy the parties of the dispute. In such case, the best remedy might be to appeal the decision. However, for an appeal to be admitted by the court, a couple of key elements should be known.
Who can submit an appeal?
According to the provisions of the Art. 305 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – Code) an appeal can only be made by the parties of the case, i.e. the persons that have participated in the case. If one person files an appeal, other persons which have participated in the case can join the appeal. The request to join the appeal can be submitted within the term prescribed to file the appeal. According to the Art. 309 of the Code, persons joining the appeal cannot submit new requests.
Decisions to be appealed
Only court decisions that have not entered into the effect, can be appealed, as it is provided in the Art. 301 of the Code (exceptions to this rule are provided in the Code). A state fee shall also be paid when filing an appeal.
In Lithuania all the first instance civil cases are resolved in two types of courts: district courts and county courts. Appeals regarding the rulings adopted by the district court shall be submitted to the county court and appleals regarding the rulings adopted by the county court shall be submitted to the Court of Appeal of Lithuania (Art. 301 of the Code). However, it shall be noted, that once an appeal was submitted in the particular case, it cannot be sumitted again, meaning that cannot be appeal of an appeal. The decision that was appealed can only be reviewed in cassation which is performed by the Supreme Court.
Term to submit an appeal
An appeal can be submitted within thirty days which shall be counted from the day a particular court decision was adopted. Appeal period may be renewed if the court finds that the deadline was missed for important reasons. However, a request to renew the term of appeal cannot be submitted if more than three months have passed since the day the court decision was adopted (Art. 307 of the Code).
Information which an appeal shall contain
According to the Art. 306 of the Code, the request to appeal a court decision shall contain the following information and documents:
- The decision which is being appealed;
- The court which has adopted the above mentioned decision shall be indicated;
- If the object of the case is property or property (monetary) rights, the amount in question shall be indicated;
- Facts, evidence and legal norms which confirm that the decision (part of the decision) is illegitimate, legal arguments which justify the need for the submission of new evidence, in case new evidence is submitted;
- Requests of the appellant – what the appellant is trying to obtain;
- Request to hold oral hearings (if oral hearings are required);
- List of the materials provided with the case.
It shall be noted that when filing an appeal, new requests cannot be included. All the requests that are inextricably linked to the previously filed claim (e.g. request to award interest) are not regarded as new requests.
Rights of the court
According to the Art. 326 of the Code, the court which reviews the decision has the following rights:
- To leave the decision of the first instance court unchanged;
- To annull the decision (part of the decision);
- To change the decision;
- To annull the decision (part of the decision) and refer the case to the first instance court in order for the case to be resolved again and the decision reconsidered;
- To annull the decision (part of the decision) and leave the case unresolved following the Art. 293 and Art. 296 of the Code.
It is important to know that the court, which reviews the decision, cannot adopt a worse decision than the decision which is being appealed. If a court adopts a decision to annull the decision which was appealed and refer the case to the first instance court, it shall not be regarded as a worse decision.
Jovita Valatkaite, lawyer of the Gencs Valters Law Firm in Vilnius
Practising in fields of Dispute Resolution in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia
T: +370 52 61 10 00
F: +370 52 61 11 00