On 6th October 2022 the Administrative Court of Vratsa will hold a hearing on the application of two women, Bulgarian citizens, for a registered partnership.
The women started the proceedings in April this year, first applying to the Mayor of Vratsa Municipality. He is responsible for maintaining the civil registers of the town's residents and for the entries in their individual registration cards. The two women stated that they are living in de facto cohabitation with each other as partners and requested for this to be noted on their cards. They also requested to be issued with a civil status certificate certifying their cohabitation. The women pointed to a number of legal rights which they would benefit from if they had such a certificate, and which they are currently unable to exercise. For example, the right of compensation in the event of an accident with their partner; the right to hospital visitation; the right to refuse to testify against their partner; the protection from domestic violence, etc. The Mayor of Vratsa Municipality did not respond to the applicants but instead forwarded their request to the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. The Minister responded that he had considered the "proposal" to change the legislation as he defined it, but currently the Mayor can only legally issue 3 types of certificates - birth, marriage or death.The two women appealed the mayor's tacit refusal to the administrative court. They explained that they were aware of the gap in the law, but judicial precedent was also a source of law, and they wished the court to oblige the mayor to issue the requested document for their particular case. They pointed out that the applicable international law in Bulgaria was on their side and, more importantly, their request did not violate the interests and rights of other citizens or the public interest in general. The two applicants were represented by counsel Natasha Dobreva.