Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2020
Bulgaria has traditionally been an arbitration-friendly jurisdiction, both for domestic and international disputes.1 Arbitration as a means of dispute resolution was first implemented in Bulgaria at the end of the nineteenth century with the first Civil Procedure Act (1892). At this time arbitration was used mainly to solve commercial disputes between merchants with the assistance of local and national chambers of commerce. In the first half of the twentieth century, arbitration was widely used to resolve both civil and commercial cases, and the arbitrators had extensive powers, including resolving disputes ex aequo et bono. Also during this period, the first reported international commercial arbitration proceedings involving Bulgarian parties occurred, mainly in the international trade and infrastructure construction sectors. Throughout the socialist period (1944–1989), arbitration was allowed only in respect of legal disputes between Bulgarian socialist organisations (i.e., state-owned entities engaged in industry and trade, such as industrial plants, foreign trade enterprises, tourist companies, state-owned banks, etc.) and foreign enterprises or entities, and it was the privileged dispute resolution mechanism for such disputes. The existence of this sort of arbitration allowed Bulgarian practitioners to conserve and develop their knowledge in the field during the socialist period. In particular, the Arbitration Court at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry allowed some prominent scholars and practitioners to regularly engage in domestic and international arbitration proceedings and to develop, as a follow up, domestic legislation and academic materials on the topic.