Blog » LITIGATION IN HUNGARY AT FIRST INSTANCE – MODIFYING CLAIMS, SUBMITTING EVIDENCES
LITIGATION IN HUNGARY AT FIRST INSTANCE – MODIFYING CLAIMS, SUBMITTING EVIDENCES
12 October 2018
The new Civil Procedure Code (CPC) entered into force on 1st January 2018, with the aim to accelerate civil and business litigations in Hungary. One of its means is the strong limitation of modification of claims and submitting evidences during the procedure. We summarise the most important provisions in this subject below.
The CPC has radically limited both the modification of claims (and statement of defences) and the submission of evidences and motions for evidences in the first instance court procedure, in order to speed up the litigations in Hungary.
Based on the CPC, the modification of the claim (or the statement of defence) means the following:
- modification of statement of facts, including statement of new facts
- modification of statement of law or legal reasoning, including new statement of law or new legal reasoning;
- modification of claim, including the modification in amount or in content, or introduction of new claim.
As we discussed earlier, the first instance court procedure is divided into 2 parts, these are preparatory phase and the trial phase.
The basic purpose of the preparatory phase is to identify the frameworks of the legal dispute, while the objective of the trial phase is to conduct the evidentiary procedure, and at the end, it delivers the judgment.
For this reason, while in the preparatory phase the parties can almost freely modify their claims and counterclaims, and they can submit new evidences, in the second part of the court procedure, in the so-called trial phase, these opportunities are much more limited.
In the preparatory phase the modification of the claim (or the statement of defence) is possible, if the modified claim arises from the same legal relationship as the claim, or it arises from another legal relationship which is connected to the previous legal relationship on factual and legal basis.
The parties can modify their claim (statemen of defence) until the end of the preparatory phase, in the preparatory documents (claim letter, statement of defence, answer, counter answer) and on the preparatory court hearing.
Evidences and motions for evidence
The claimant must submit its evidences and its motions for evidence in the claim letter, while the defendant must do the same in its statement of defence, or counterclaim.
After receiving the statement of defence or counterclaim, upon the request of the judge, the claimant shall submit its answers, in which it can submit additional evidences and motions for evidence.
Upon request of the judge, the defendant shall submit its counter-answer, in which it can submit additional evidences and motions for evidence.
The parties can submit evidences and motions for evidences on the preparatory hearing, too, that’s why the personal presence of parties and its competence representative is crucial on this hearing.
Modifying claim in the trial phase
In the trial phase the modification of the claim (or the statement of defence) is much more limited than in the preparatory phase.
During trial phase, it is possible only if the modified claim arises from the same legal relationship as the claim, the court is competent to hear the modified claim, and
- in case of modification of statement of claim, the party invokes a fact which without its own fault came to his knowledge, after the closing order, or became important with regard to another fact which came to his knowledge after the closing order;
- in case of modification of statement of law or claim, if the modified statement of fact mentioned above, which is directly linked to it justifies it;
- it is justified by a court order issued regarding the direction of the case, delivered after the closing order.
The modification of the statement of defence is also possible in case of acknowledgment, if it is justified by the modified statement of fact above, and makes the acknowledgment manifestly unreasonable.
The modification of the claim (statement of defence) in the trial phase must be requested from the court within 15 days.
Evidences and motions for evidence in trial phase
After the closing order, the party may submit further evidence or may file for a further motion for evidence in the first instance procedure, if
- the evidence arose later or it came to his knowledge without his own fault later;
- it serves the rebuttal of another evidence, provided that this mean or method of counter-evidencing became recognizable from the evidentiary procedure;
- it serves the modified claim or statement of defence, if the court approved that;
- it is justified by a court order regarding the direction of the case, delivered after the closing order.
The additional evidence or motions for evidence shall be submitted within 15 days.
Based on the above provision of the CPC, before starting the litigation, the claimant has to plan carefully the litigation strategy through the whole first instance court procedure.
This strategic planning includes the preparation for the other parties’ eventual defence, so that the claimant can easily modify its claim, when necessary, before the closing order is issued.
In addition, prior collection all of the evidences, and other technical measures (e.g. the translation of foreign document) is also crucial, because during the preparatory phase, there are very tight time limits for submitting evidences, and after the closing order this opportunity is very limited in the trial phase.
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