The Judicial Council has taken the following provisional measures in connection with COVID-19:
- oral hearings are to be held online or, where impossible – to postpone the oral hearings for fourteen days (until 29th March 2020). This will cover all commercial disputes.
- physical oral hearings are to be organised only where imminent (for the purpose of granting and/or extending detention periods, taking a child out of an unsafe environment, etc.). In this case, as far as possible, a distance of at least 2 meters between the participants to the proceedings must be ensured and with only the indispensable persons present.
Responding to the instructions, the courts have proposed that cases be adjudicated either by written procedure or adjourned. The vast majority of courts have the technical capability to handle cases using online video tools. As a result of the quarantine, the oral proceedings should be also held online.
Issues addressed by the written procedure will continue to be dealt with effectively; the decision should not be delayed.
Parties are able to submit procedural documents via website www.e.teismas.lt. As such, matters related to appeal and cassation proceedings, as well as interim measures, should not be affected by the new regime. The restrictions will apply until 29 March 2020. However, the quarantine, already set until 30 March 2020, is likely to be extended.
As a result, the litigation is likely to remain affected by the provisional measures above for a longer period.
In addition to the changes in the court’s work, the Ministry of Justice will ask Judicial Officers who are responsible for the enforcement of the court judgments, to provide only online services. Therefore, in order to be able to file a court judgment or order for enforcement, its digital copy will be needed.
We will keep you updated on the developments related to commercial litigation.