Decided case, as precondition for reopening civil proceedings

Stasys Vėlyvis, Darius Bolzanas


The article discusses the concept of the decided case as one of the conditions to reopen the civil proceedings. The article also analyzes whether the Lithuanian legislature provides for the right to reopen the proceedings only in decided cases and whether such legal regulation corresponds to principle of legitimate expectations.
Neither the procedural law nor the court practice define the concept of decided case. However, this concept can be established by consistent interpretation of procedural law norms. A civil case is considered to be decided when a court tries the case on merits and it is executed in the final act of the court, which has to come into force. A civil claim or an application is considered to be decided on merits in case the court manages to settle the claim between the parties (or the application in accordance with the rules on special legal proceedings), i.e. in case the court also examines and evaluates the factual circumstances relied on by the parties to the case and executes the achieved results by the means of the procedural document, which states whether the civil claim (counter claim, application) has been fully or partly satisfied, or rejected.
The court of first instance usually decides the case while awarding a judgement. However, in some instances a civil case may as well be decided while issuing a court order, an interlocutory judgement or a judgement by default (provided there are no objections or applications related to these procedural documents submitted), and while reaching decisions in particular cases tried according to the rules on special legal proceedings. A civil case is also considered decided when a court dismisses the case provided there is at least one reason to dismiss the case, because in such situation the same procedural legal consequences occur as if the case had been tried on merits.
Courts do not always properly apply legal norms that regulate decided cases during the stage of reopening of proceedings. The proceedings cannot be reopened in relation to the judgement, which has become effective in bankruptcy proceedings, because bankruptcy proceedings cannot be ended by such a judgement and bankruptcy procedure must be followed. In bankruptcy proceedings, a judgement may become effective due to confirmation of the creditors’ financial claims, while in general civil proceedings, a judgement may become effective due to the child’s repatriation. These types of cases are thus considered decided because claims between the company and its creditors in the former example or claims between the child’s parents in the latter example are fully settled.


civil procedure; resumption of the proceeding; decided case

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236