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Key facts of the case:

As the group of persons entitled to receive compensation for non-material damage caused by the wrongful death of a relative/person in close relations is not determined by Bulgarian law, this has traditionally been done by decrees of the plenary of the (former) Bulgarian Supreme Court (Върховен съд), based on the principle of fairness in the Obligations and Contracts Act (Закон за задълженията и договорите). Two consecutive decrees have delineated the group rather restrictively and a re-opening of the matter was considered necessary in view of changing socio-economic realities.

Key legal question raised by the Court:

Which are the persons entitled to receive compensation for non-material damage as a result of the wrongful death of a relative/person in close relations?

Outcome of the case:

The court decided that the group of persons entitled to receive compensation for non-material damage as a result of the wrongful death of a relative/person in close relations are the close relatives, stated in the previous decrees of the Supreme Court. In addition, by exception such compensation can be awarded to any other person, who has been in a proven lasting and deep emotional relation with the deceased and sustains from his/her death actual lasting pain and suffering, for which fairness in the specific case requires compensation. As for criminal procedure, such compensation can be awarded to the close relatives previously decreed upon, as well as the deceased’s siblings and his/her relatives in the descending and ascending line in the second degree.