The Present State of Harmonisation of Bulgarian Private Law, and Future Perspectives: Historical Development and Scope of the Private Law - Compliance with European Private Law

Author:Christian Takoff
Position:Doctor iuris, University of Sofia

1. Historical development - 2. The three domains of Bulgarian law of contract - 3. The influence of the PECL/CFR and other systems on Bulgarian private law


Christian Takoff

Doctor iuris, University of Sofia

The Present State of Harmonisation of Bulgarian Private Law, and Future Perspectives: Historical Development and Scope of the Private Law - Compliance with European Private Law

1. Historical development

There are three main eras in the development of the Bulgarian law of contract. The first one was influenced mainly by the French legal tradition and doctrine; the second was predetermined by the same Roman approach to legislation, on the one hand, but also by German scholarship, on the other; and the third is subject to the influence of the market economy and the domination of European law.

In the period 1892-1950 (between the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottomans and a short time after the socialist period), the resolutions of the French Code Civil were followed primarily, adopted through the old Italian Codice Civile. This led logically to adoption of the French and Italian doctrinal underpinnings.

The reception of the French tradition was not absolute or complete, however. Just as an example, commercial and bankruptcy law followed the German model, received through Hungarian and Rumanian patterns. The procedural law was under strong Russian influence.

In 1950-1989 (from a few years after the seizure of power through the Communists until the political changes of 1989), a full 'clearing away' of the 'old' law took place. As an interesting example one could mention the law on the repeal of all laws adopted prior to 9 September 19441. This 'clearing away' was not, however, a radical one. Most of the ideas of the civilian tradition were kept, although garnished with several ideological patterns. Here should be mentioned the following important legal acts:

- The structure of the new Law on Obligations and Contracts (LOC) of the year 1950 2 was changed in comparison to that of the old one (this structure was more or less influenced by the structure of the general part and the contract law portion of the German BGB). Many of the shortcomings of the old LOC were avoided here; new institutes were introduced (such as representation and unilateral transactions); and material on matters regulated in other laws was included and transposed from other sedes materiae and abrogated laws: (1) donation matters (from the Inheritance Law), (2) bill of exchange effects (from the Commercial Law), (3) prescription (from the Law on Prescription), and (4) privileges and mortgages (from the Law on Privileges and Mortgages);

- The Ownership Law (1951) 3 was written to be much shorter than the preceding Law on Property, Ownership, and Easements;

- The Inheritance Law (1949) 4 established the abolition of unequal treatment of the sexes and limited the scope of the institution of legal heirs;

- The Civil Procedure Code (1950) 5 was made much shorter than the previous Law on Civil Legal Procedure, and ex officio principles of the civil procedure were introduced;

- Family law saw a rapid and dynamic development through the years - here are to be mentioned only three main acts: the Law on Persons and Family (1949) 6 , the Family Code (1968) 7 , and the Family Code from 1985 8 (which is still in force); and

- The private international law had for a long time no central legal regulation; separate provisions are set forth in numerous statutory instruments and bilateral legal assistance contracts.

In spite of the power of the Communist regime in Bulgaria, private law has remained unaffected overall by tendencies to imbue works overly with ideology. However, its...

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