AuthorGenoveva Tisheva
1 Introduction
1.1 Basic structure of the national legal system
In terms of direct sources of law, the Bulgarian legal system is based on a strictly defin ed
hierarchy of the sources of law as follows:
EU Law has supremacy over the internal legal provisions of the legislation of Bulgaria
(including Constitutional provisions) which contradict it and it can have direct effect. This
is also valid for the field of legislation related to gender equality.
The Constitution
The provisions of the Constitution are directly applicable.
Decisions of the Constitutional Court
These are obligatory interpretations of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court is also
entitled, among other competences, to declare provisions contained in an Act of Parliament
to be anti-constitutional. The Court pronounces rulings on compliance with the Constitution
of international treaties signed by Bulgaria, prior to their ratification, as well as rules on
compliance of the laws with the universally r ecognised provisions of international law,
including compliance with the international treaties to which Bulgaria has adhered.
International treaties
According to Article 5, paragraph 4 of the Constitution:
‘International treatiesз ratified in compliance with the constitutional procedureз
promulgated and entered into force for the Republic of Bulgaria are part of the
domestic law of the country and have supremacy over those provisions of the
domestic law which contradict them.’
Acts of parliament and codifications
Among the major codes currently in force in Bulgaria are the Administrative Procedure
Code of 2006, the Civil Procedure Code, effective as of 1 March 2008, the Social Insurance
Code of 1999, the Labour Code (LC) of 1986, the Criminal Code of 1968, the Criminal
Procedure Code of 2006 and the Family Code of 2009. The Law on Protection from
Discrimination, adopted in 2003, is also a sui g eneris codification in the field . The Law on
Equality between women and men from 2016 is applicable for the issues of gender equality.
Delegated legislation
The Constitution and a number of Acts of Parliamen t provide and deleg ate to the C ouncil
of Ministers, the Ministers separately, other public bodies and/or official s the authority to
issue decrees, regulatio ns, ordinances and instructions, to ensure the d etailed regulation
of specific areas of economic or social activity.
The practice of the courts
The judgments issued by the Bulgarian courts in individual proceeding s have no universal
applicability, i.e. they are binding on the parties involved. At the same time, some
judgments and interpretative d ecisions and decrees of the Supreme Administrative Court
(SAC) and of the Supreme Court of Cassation are a source of law and also have an impact
on legislation and practice in the field of gender equality.

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