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account_balance Enforcing Contracts

The enforcing contracts indicator measures the time and cost for resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court, and the quality of judicial processes index, evaluating whether each economy has adopted a series of good practices that promote quality and efficiency in the court system. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016. See the methodology for more information.

Doing Business Reforms

Making it easier to enforce contracts

Doing Business 2017 acknowledged 18 reforms that made it easier to enforce contracts. Worldwide, revisions of alternative dispute resolution legislation and applicable civil procedure rules was the most common reform feature in 2015/16. However, none of the low-income economies made reforms in this area (figure 1).

Figure 1 - Revisions of applicable civil procedure rules and ADR rules has been the most common reform feature in 2015/16

Low-income and middle-income economies, predominantly in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia, focused their reform efforts on strengthening judicial infrastructures. Côte d'Ivoire and Indonesia, for example, introduced dedicated simplified procedures for the resolution of small claims. Similarly, India and Niger strengthened their institutions by introducing dedicated venues to resolve commercial disputes. The presence of specialized commercial courts or divisions can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of a judiciary. Specialized courts can reduce the number of cases pending before main first-instance courts, leading to shorter resolution times within the main trial court. Commercial courts and divisions also tend to promote consistency in the application of the law, increasing predictability for court users.

Other economies, mainly high-income economies, focused their reform efforts on attaining a higher level of court automation. Brunei Darussalam, Hungary, Norway and Spain introduced an electronic system to file initial complaints with the competent court. Electronic filing streamlines and accelerates the process of commencing a lawsuit. Reducing in-person interactions with court officers also minimizes potential opportunities for corruption and results in speedier trials, better access to courts and more reliable service of process. These features also reduce the cost to enforce a contractcourt users save in reproduction costs and courthouse visits while courts save in storage, archiving and court officers’ costs.

Some economies pushed their automation efforts even further by introducing sophisticated and comprehensive electronic case management systems. In January 2016, for example, Rwanda implemented the Integrated Electronic Case Management System, a web-based application that integrates five main institutions of the justice sector throughout Kigali’s courts (1). Among other features, the system allows for an automatic registration of lawsuits, electronic organization and scheduling of cases and automated claims processing. Rwandan authorities expect the system to result in considerable cost and time savings along with increased transparency and more reliable statistical data on court operations.

Many economies have concentrated their reform efforts on making complex revisions of their civil procedure laws. Nearly a third of reforms in 2015/16 entailed approvals of entirely new codes of civil procedures. Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Niger and the Syrian Arab Republic are among the economies that implemented such reforms. Several economies, mainly in the Europe and Central Asia region, have approved changes to their mediation laws in an attempt to strengthen alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

1. These include the Rwanda National Police, National Public Prosecution Authority, the judiciary, Civil Litigation, Rwanda Correctional Services, the bar association and all citizens who interface with justice institutions.


Enforcing Contracts reforms by economy DB2008-DB2017


Positive= Doing Business reform making it easier to do business.Negative= Change making it more difficult to do business.

Algeria

DB 2010: Algeria improved contract enforcement by introducing a new civil procedure code that reduces the steps and time required and by fully computerizing the courts, including by setting up an electronic case management system.

Armenia

DB 2017: Armenia made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a consolidated chapter regulating voluntary mediation and by establishing financial incentives for the parties to attempt mediation.

DB 2016: Armenia made enforcing contracts easier through a new law requiring that cases be assigned to judges randomly—and through a fully automated system—in courts throughout the country.

DB 2009: Armenia made enforcing contracts easier by reorganizing its court system, reducing procedural complexity and introducing monetary thresholds for cases heard by different jurisdictions.

Austria

DB 2009: Austria made enforcing contracts easier by making electronic filing mandatory in civil matters and thereby increasing the efficiency of proceedings.

Azerbaijan

DB 2009: Azerbaijan speeded up contract enforcement by creating a second commercial court in Baku, thereby increasing the number of specialized judges from 5 to 9.

Bahamas, The

DB 2015: The Bahamas made enforcing contracts easier by introducing new rules of civil procedure focused on streamlining and simplifying court proceedings and ensuring less costly resolution of disputes.

Belarus

DB 2012: Belarus modified its code of economic procedure, altering the time frames for commercial dispute resolution.

Belgium

DB 2009: Belgium improved the process for enforcing contracts by establishing as a standard procedure the setting of binding time limits for the submission of written pleadings and by tightening deadlines for the delivery of expert opinions.

Benin

DB 2015: Benin made enforcing contracts easier by creating a commercial section within its court of first instance.

DB 2013: Benin made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a new code of civil, administrative and social procedures.

Bhutan

DB 2009: Bhutan eased the caseload of district courts by creating a land commission to handle property transfers (previously about 30% of all district court cases), thereby reducing the time required to enforce contracts through the courts.

Bolivia

DB 2017: Bolivia made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure that introduces pre-trial conferences.

Botswana

DB 2010: Botswana made resolution of commercial disputes more efficient by introducing case management and improving the use of information technology.

Brazil

DB 2017: Brazil made enforcing contracts easier through a new mediation law—that includes financial incentives for parties to attempt mediation—and a new code of civil procedure. These reforms apply to both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

DB 2013: Brazil made enforcing contracts easier by implementing an electronic system for filing initial complaints at the São Paulo civil district court.

DB 2008: Brazil made enforcing contracts easier by updating and streamlining its civil procedure rules.

Brunei Darussalam

DB 2017: Brunei Darussalam made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system as well as a platform that allows users to pay court fees electronically.

Bulgaria

DB 2009: Bulgaria improved its contract enforcement system by amending rules for evidence and default judgment, raising the minimum threshold value for the lower jurisdiction and giving the civil court of last instance the power to select which cases to hear so as to limit abuse of the appeals process.

DB 2008: Bulgaria made enforcing contracts easier by introducing changes to its judicial system, increasing transparency in the system and appointing private bailiffs.

Burkina Faso

DB 2011: Burkina Faso made enforcing contracts easier by setting up a specialized commercial court and abolishing the fee to register judicial decisions.

DB 2010: Burkina Faso improved its contract enforcement system by reducing court fees and introducing alternative dispute mechanisms.

DB 2008: Burkina Faso made enforcing contracts easier by increasing the efficiency of operations in the commercial court.

Cameroon

DB 2013: Cameroon made enforcing contracts easier by creating specialized commercial divisions within its courts of first instance.

Canada

DB 2011: Canada increased the efficiency of the courts by expanding electronic document submission and streamlining procedures.

China

DB 2014: China made enforcing contracts easier by amending its civil procedure code to streamline and speed up all court proceedings.

DB 2009: China strengthened its contract enforcement system by tightening the rules on enforcement of judgments so as to limit the ways in which debtors can hide assets and escape enforcement.

Colombia

DB 2014: Colombia made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying and speeding up the proceedings for commercial disputes.

Congo, Dem Rep

DB 2008: The Democratic Republic of Congo made enforcing contracts easier by increasing the efficiency of operations in the commercial court.

Costa Rica

DB 2010: Costa Rica improved its contract enforcement system by allowing new modes of delivery of service and by simplifying auction procedures by authorizing the publication of a single auction notice.

Cote d’Ivoire

DB 2017: Côte d’Ivoire made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a simplified fast-track procedure for small claims that allows for parties’ self-representation.

DB 2016: Côte d’Ivoire made enforcing contracts easier by introducing new provisions on voluntary mediation.

DB 2014: Côte d’Ivoire made enforcing contracts easier by creating a specialized commercial court.

Croatia

DB 2016: Croatia made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic system to handle public sales of movable assets and by streamlining the enforcement process as a whole.

DB 2014: Croatia made enforcing contracts easier by streamlining litigation proceedings and transferring certain enforcement procedures from the courts to state agencies.

Cyprus

DB 2016: Cyprus made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a fast-track simplified procedure for claims worth less than €3,000.

Czech Republic

DB 2015: The Czech Republic made enforcing contracts easier by amending its civil procedure code and modifying the monetary jurisdictions of its courts.

DB 2014: The Czech Republic made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying and speeding up the proceedings for the execution and enforcement of judgments.

Ecuador

DB 2017: Ecuador adopted a new code of civil procedure that made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a pre-trial conference. The new code also made enforcing contracts more difficult by eliminating a dedicated procedure for the resolution of small claims.

Egypt, Arab Rep

DB 2010: Egypt made enforcing contracts easier by creating commercial courts.

Estonia

DB 2014: Estonia made enforcing contracts easier by lowering court fees.

Ethiopia

DB 2010: Ethiopia made enforcing contracts easier by reducing delays in the courts—through backlog reduction, improved case management and internal training, and an expanded role for the enforcement judge.

Fiji

DB 2008: Fiji made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a new case management system that has improved court operations.

Georgia

DB 2016: Georgia made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

DB 2013: Georgia made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying and speeding up the proceedings for commercial disputes.

DB 2011: Georgia made the enforcement of contracts easier by streamlining the procedures for public auctions, introducing private enforcement officers and modernizing its dispute resolution system.

Ghana

DB 2008: Ghana introduced commercial courts in the capital, increasing the efficiency of commercial dispute resolution.

Greece

DB 2017: Greece made enforcing contracts easier by amending its rules of civil procedure to introduce tighter rules on adjournments, impose deadlines for key court events and limit the recourses that can be lodged during enforcement proceedings.

DB 2015: Greece made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

Grenada

DB 2010: Grenada assigned an additional judge to the high court, reducing the court’s backlog and making it easier to enforce contracts.

Guatemala

DB 2008: Guatemala made enforcing contracts easier by increasing the maximum size of claims that can be brought to justices of the peace.

Guinea-Bissau

DB 2011: Guinea-Bissau established a specialized commercial court, speeding up the enforcement of contracts.

Honduras

DB 2012: Honduras adopted a new civil procedure code that modified litigation procedures for enforcing a contract.

Hong Kong SAR, China

DB 2011: Reforms implemented in the civil justice system of Hong Kong SAR (China) will help increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of commercial dispute resolution.

Hungary

DB 2017: Hungary made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system.

India

DB 2017: India made enforcing contracts easier by creating dedicated divisions to resolve commercial cases. This reform applies to both Mumbai and Delhi.

Indonesia

DB 2017: Indonesia made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a dedicated procedure for small claims that allows for parties’ self-representation.This reform applies to both Jakarta and Surabaya.

Iran, Islamic Rep

DB 2011: The Islamic Republic of Iran made enforcing contracts easier and faster by introducing electronic filing of some documents, text message notification and an electronic case management system.

Ireland

DB 2015: Ireland made enforcing contracts easier by modifying the monetary jurisdictions of its courts.

Italy

DB 2016: Italy made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a mandatory electronic filing system for court users, simplifying the rules for electronic service of process and automating the enforcement process.

DB 2014: Italy made enforcing contracts easier by regulating attorneys’ fees and streamlining some court proceedings.

Jordan

DB 2010: Jordan improved its contract enforcement system by setting up a specialized commercial court division, equipping its courts with a computer-aided case management system and raising the ceiling for cases heard by the lower court to improve the distribution of the caseload.

Kazakhstan

DB 2017: Kazakhstan made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure and by regulating the maximum number of adjournments that can be granted by a judge in a given case.

DB 2016: Kazakhstan made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a simplified fast-track procedure for small claims and by streamlining the rules for enforcement proceedings.

DB 2015: Kazakhstan made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

Kenya

DB 2012: Kenya introduced a case management system that will help increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of commercial dispute resolution.

Korea, Rep

DB 2012: Korea made filing a commercial case easier by introducing an electronic case filing system.

Kosovo

DB 2015: Kosovo made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a private bailiff system.

Latvia

DB 2016: Latvia made enforcing contracts easier by restructuring its courts and by introducing comprehensive specialized laws regulating domestic arbitration and voluntary mediation.

Lesotho

DB 2012: Lesotho made enforcing contracts easier by launching a specialized commercial court.

Liberia

DB 2013: Liberia made enforcing contracts easier by creating a specialized commercial court.

Lithuania

DB 2015: Lithuania made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

Macedonia, FYR

DB 2017: The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia made enforcing contracts more difficult by adopting amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure that mandate mediation before filing a claim, thus lengthening the initial phase of judicial proceedings.

DB 2009: FYR Macedonia made enforcing contracts easier by continuing to systematically equip courts with electronic case management systems.

Malawi

DB 2011: Malawi simplified the enforcement of contracts by raising the ceiling for commercial claims that can be brought to the magistrates court.

DB 2008: Malawi made enforcing contracts easier by opening a commercial court and hiring judges for the court.

Malaysia

DB 2012: Malaysia continued to improve the computerization of its courts by introducing a system making it possible to file complaints electronically.

DB 2010: Malaysia made enforcing contracts easier by increasing court staff, more strictly enforcing deadlines for processing documents and reorganizing the commercial court to allow swifter disposition of interlocutory matters.

Mali

DB 2010: Mali improved its contract enforcement process through amendments to its civil procedure code introducing case time limits and allowing a summons to be served, with no intervention by the judge, upon the filing of the complaint at the competent court.

Mauritania

DB 2008: Mauritania made enforcing contracts easier by hiring additional judges and updating the way in which commercial courts function.

Mauritius

DB 2015: Mauritius made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

DB 2014: Mauritius made enforcing contracts easier by liberalizing the profession of court ushers, including by allowing registered ushers to serve as bailiffs in carrying out enforcement proceedings.

DB 2011: Mauritius speeded up the resolution of commercial disputes by recruiting more judges and adding more courtrooms.

DB 2010: Mauritius made enforcing contracts easier by setting up a specialized commercial division in its supreme court.

Mexico

DB 2014: Mexico made enforcing contracts easier by creating small claims courts, with oral proceedings, that can hear both civil and commercial cases.

Moldova

DB 2017: Moldova made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new mediation law establishing financial incentives for the parties to attempt mediation.

DB 2013: Moldova made the process of enforcing a contract more difficult by abolishing the specialized economic court.

DB 2012: Moldova made enforcement of judgments more efficient by introducing private bailiffs.

DB 2008: Moldova improved its contract enforcement system by updating its civil procedure law to make it compliant with international standards and taking measures to reduce judicial corruption.

Mozambique

DB 2009: Mozambique improved its contract enforcement system by adding more than 20 judges, all of whom received formal training; introducing court administrators to ease the administrative burden on judges; and introducing performance measurement for judges.

DB 2008: Mozambique improved commercial dispute resolution in Maputo by hiring specialized judges and tightening the time limits on enforcement procedures.

Nepal

DB 2012: Nepal improved oversight and monitoring in the court, speeding up the process for filing claims.

New Zealand

DB 2014: New Zealand made enforcing contracts easier by improving its case management system to ensure a speedier and less costly adjudication of cases.

DB 2011: New Zealand enacted new district court rules that make the process for enforcing contracts user friendly.

Nicaragua

DB 2012: Nicaragua raised the monetary threshold for commercial claims that can be brought to the Managua local civil court, leaving lower-value claims in the local courts, where proceedings are simpler and faster.

Niger

DB 2017: Niger made enforcing contracts easier by creating a specialized commercial court in Niamey and by adopting a new code of civil procedure that establishes time standards for key court events.

Norway

DB 2017: Norway made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

DB 2010: Norway speeded up contract enforcement through the introduction and monitoring of tighter deadlines in court procedures.

Palau

DB 2014: Palau made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

Papua New Guinea

DB 2010: Papua New Guinea made enforcing contracts easier by fully launching the specialized commercial track at the national court.

Peru

DB 2010: Peru made enforcing contracts easier by introducing deadlines for filing evidence and contesting enforcement procedures and by permitting electronic judicial notices in lieu of publication in the official gazette.

Poland

DB 2013: Poland made enforcing contracts easier by amending the civil procedure code and appointing more judges to commercial courts.

DB 2008: Poland made enforcing contracts easier by introducing stricter rules of procedure to increase the speed and efficiency of court proceedings.

Portugal

DB 2015: Portugal made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure designed to reduce case backlogs, streamline court procedures, enhance the role of judges and speed up the resolution of standard civil and commercial disputes.

DB 2010: Portugal reduced the time and improved the procedures for contract enforcement by allowing electronic filing for the initiation of a suit and by reducing the need for intervention by the judge in the enforcement of a judgment.

DB 2009: Portugal reduced procedural complexity in enforcing contracts through the courts by raising the monetary threshold for cases going through summary proceedings.

DB 2008: Portugal made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying the rules for small claims and improving the case management system.

Romania

DB 2016: Romania made enforcing contracts easier by transferring some enforcement responsibilities from the court to the bailiff, by making it easier for the bailiff to obtain information from third parties and by making use of the electronic auction registry mandatory.

DB 2014: Romania made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new civil procedure code that streamlines and speeds up all court proceedings.

DB 2009: Romania made the enforcement of judgments simpler and faster by eliminating the need for an enforcement order and allowing the attachment of credit balances and accounts receivable.

Russian Federation

DB 2017: The Russian Federation made enforcing contracts more difficult by mandating pre-trial resolution before filing a claim, thereby lengthening the initial phase of judicial proceedings. This reform applies to both Moscow and St. Petersburg.

DB 2012: Russia made filing a commercial case easier by introducing an electronic case filing system.

Rwanda

DB 2017: Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic case management system for judges and lawyers.

DB 2013: Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by implementing an electronic filing system for initial complaints.

DB 2009: Rwanda made enforcing contracts easier by launching 3 commercial courts—in Kigali, in Northern Province and in Southern Province.

Saudi Arabia

DB 2013: Saudi Arabia made enforcing contracts easier by expanding the computerization of its courts and introducing an electronic filing system.

Senegal

DB 2016: Senegal made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a law regulating voluntary mediation.

DB 2012: Senegal made enforcing contracts easier by launching specialized commercial chambers in the court.

Serbia

DB 2013: Serbia made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a private bailiff system.

Seychelles

DB 2015: Seychelles made enforcing contracts easier by establishing a commercial court, implementing and refining its case management system, introducing court-annexed mediation, and addressing scheduling conflicts within the courts.

DB 2012: The Seychelles expanded the jurisdiction of the lower court, increasing the time required to enforce contracts.

Sierra Leone

DB 2012: Sierra Leone made enforcing contracts easier by launching a fast-track commercial court.

Singapore

DB 2015: Singapore made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a new electronic litigation system that streamlines litigation proceedings.

Slovak Republic

DB 2013: The Slovak Republic made enforcing contracts easier by adopting several amendments to the code of civil procedure intended to simplify and speed up proceedings as well as to limit obstructive tactics by the parties to a case.

South Africa

DB 2015: South Africa made enforcing contracts easier by amending the monetary jurisdiction of its lower courts and introducing voluntary mediation.

Spain

DB 2017: Spain made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a mandatory electronic filing system for court users.

Sweden

DB 2010: Sweden made contract enforcement faster through new legislation introducing more stringent timelines for civil cases. It also improved the process by reinforcing the role of the judge in actively managing cases, amending evidence rules, requiring permission to appeal courts’ decisions and reviewing statutory fees for enforcing judgments.

Syrian Arab Republic

DB 2017: Syria made enforcing contracts easier by adopting a new code of civil procedure.

Timor-Leste

DB 2011: Timor-Leste increased court efficiency by training and appointing new judges and passing a new civil procedure code.

Togo

DB 2014: Togo made enforcing contracts easier by creating specialized commercial divisions within the court of first instance.

Tonga

DB 2008: Tonga speeded up the resolution of commercial disputes by implementing an electronic case management system.

Turkey

DB 2015: Turkey made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

DB 2013: Turkey made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a new civil procedure law.

Uganda

DB 2011: Uganda continues to improve the efficiency of its court system, greatly reducing the time to file and serve a claim.

Ukraine

DB 2017: Ukraine made enforcing contracts easier by introducing a system that allows users to pay court fees electronically.

DB 2012: Ukraine amended legislation to streamline commercial dispute resolution and increase the efficiency of enforcement procedures.

United Arab Emirates

DB 2016: The United Arab Emirates made enforcing contracts easier by implementing electronic service of process, by introducing a new case management office within the competent court and by further developing the “Smart Petitions” service allowing litigants to file and track motions online.

DB 2009: The United Arab Emirates made enforcing contracts easier by introducing electronic filing for court documents.

United Kingdom

DB 2016: The United Kingdom made enforcing contracts more costly by increasing the court fees for filing a claim.

DB 2011: The United Kingdom improved the process for enforcing contracts by modernizing civil procedures in the commercial court.

Uruguay

DB 2015: Uruguay made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying and speeding up the proceedings for commercial disputes.

Uzbekistan

DB 2014: Uzbekistan made enforcing contracts easier by introducing an electronic filing system for court users.

West Bank and Gaza

DB 2010: West Bank and Gaza speeded up contract enforcement by recruiting and training new judges, by appointing “enforcement judges” solely to handle matters relating to the enforcement of judgments and by fully implementing case management software.

Zambia

DB 2011: Zambia improved contract enforcement by introducing an electronic case management system in the courts that provides electronic referencing of cases, a database of laws, real-time court reporting and public access to court records.