Contra spoliatorem taikymo problemos civiliniame procese
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The article analyses the practical problems of the application of contra spoliatorem in civil procedure. The court can render a correct and founded judgment only if participants in a procedure present all relevant evidence timely and properly. Nevertheless, sometimes participants fail to present evidence, hide and/or destroy them and burden efficient examination of the dispute. Obviously, such procedural behavior shall not be tolerated. Namely, contra spliatorem allows the court to render a judgment even if not all relevant evidence are presented. The roots of contra spoliatorem are also analyzed in this article. Though contra spoliatorem lacks normative background in Lithuania, the author has found that this presumption derives from the general principle of cooperation in civil procedure. Also, the case law has clearly recognized this presumption. The article examines relevant case law in which this presumption has been applicable. The author has found these basic rules of the application of contra spoliatorem in Lithuania: the court shall determine the subject matter of the dispute and burden of proof; it is applicable only to the participants in a procedure who know what specific evidence they have to present; submission of evidence at the late stage of the civil procedure does not give rise to the application of this rule; it is applicable to all means of evidence which exist. If the evidence is lost, this presumption is not applicable. Also, the case law suggests that contra spoliatorem may not be applicable in certain cases, for instance, when the participant in a procedure refuses to submit existing evidence since it contains confidential information. Nevertheless, such example is an exception to the obligation to present all relevant evidence and should be interpreted strictly.
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