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Overview of legal measures as of 02.06.2020 as response to the coronavirus. . Please note: Due to the extraordinary situation, the legislation is in continuous evolution and may change very fast.
The legal system is based on a civil law system where statutory laws are passed by the Assembly. The Council of Ministers, in case of need and urgency, under its responsibility, may issue normative acts that have the force of law, to take temporary measures. In any case such normative acts should be approved within 45 days by the Assembly, otherwise they will be considered null and void.
Following the first case of COVID-19 on 09.03.2020, the Minister of Health declared the state of epidemic on 11.03.2020, and latter on 24.03.2020 The Council of Minister declared the state of natural disaster due to the epidemic caused by COVID-19.
Most of the restrictions and preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 are approved by normative acts, Decisions of Council of Ministers, and Orders of Minister of Health and Public Protection based in the Law No. 15/2016 “On the prevention and fight of infections and infectious disease”.
1. INTERVENTIONS AND RESTRICTIONS
1.1 Legal basis
Law No. 15/2016 “On the prevention and fight of infections and infective disease” (“Law No. 15/2016”)
Normative Act No. 2 dated 11.03.2020 “On some additions and amendments on the law no. 15/2016 “On the prevention and fight of the infections and infectious disease”.
Normative Act No. 3 dated 15.03.2020 “On the implementation of some special administrative measures during the duration of the term of the infection caused by COVID-19” (“Normative Act No. 3/2020”)
Normative Act No. 7 dated 23.03.2020 “On the temporary home stay of the prisoners”
Decisions of the Council of Ministers
Decision No. 243 dated 24.03.2020 “On the declaration of the emergency status” (“DCM No. 243/2020”)
Decision No. 207 dated 10.03.2020 “On the reward of the staff, doctors, nurses and other employs dealing with Covid-19”
Orders of Ministry of Health and Public Protection
Order No. 123, dated 26.02.2020 “On an addition on the Order no. 632 dated 29.08.2018 “On the approval of the list of the infective diseases that are obligatory to be reported from the public or private health institutions of all levels in the Republic of Albania””
Order No. 131 dated 08.03.2020 “On the prohibition of exportation of drugs and medical devices”
Order No. 132 dated 08.03.2020 “On the closure of the public and non-public activities and gathering indoor or outdoor”
Order No. 134 dated 08.03.2020 “On the self-quarantine of the persons entering from the restricted areas in Italy”
Order No. 135 dated 09.03.2020 “On the closure of the education institutions for preventing the spread of COVID-19”
Order No. 135/1 dated 09.03.2020 “On the closure of the nurseries for preventing the spread of COVID-19”
Order No. 156 dated 10.03.2020 “On the special measures to prevent the spread of the infection caused by COVID-19”
Order No. 156/1 dated 10.03.2020 “On the prohibition of the movement of the passengers to Italy”
Order No. 159 dated 11.03.2020 “On the restriction of the movement of patients, their companions and/or families and the organization of services on the health care institutions that perform examinations and medical consultation”
Order No. 160 dated 11.03.2020 “On the suspension of any planed chirurgical interventions at any private or public hospitality ”
Order No. 164 dated 12.03.2020 “On the closure of bars, restaurants, fast food and on the limitation of the services offered from accommodation structures to their clients ”
Order no. 168 dated 12.03.2020 “On the prohibition/restriction of the movement with means of transport”
Order no. 168/1 dated 14.03.2020 “On the restriction of the movement within the country” Order No. 173 dated 14.03.2020 “On the restriction of the movement of all means of transports at the land borders”
Order No. 173/1 dated 14.03.2020 “On the prohibition of the movement through flight with Greece”
Order No. 177 dated 15.03.2020 “On the closure and restriction of movement on parks and green space areas”
Order No. 177/1 dated 16.03.2020 “On the restriction of movement in urban areas”
Order No. 179 dated 16.03.2020 “On the prohibition of the movement through flight with United Kingdom” (“Order No. 179/2020”)
Order No. 193, dated 20.03.2020 “On the closure or the restriction of movement in the Republic of Albania”
Order No. 263, dated 17.04.2020 “On the determination of the schedules of movement for retired pedestrians, chronically ill patients in medical treatment and the rules for the movement of private means of transport”
Order No. 320, dated 15.05.2020 “On the restriction of the services of bars, restaurants, fast foods”
Order No. 326, dated 15.05.2020 “On the restriction sportive activities”
Order No. 279 dated 25.04.2020 “On the special facilitation of the movement on the “green areas””
Order No. 351 dated 29.05.2020 “On the special measures and restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19”
Orders of Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth
Order No. 135 dated 9.03.2020 “On the closure of the education institutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19”
Order No. 135/1 dated 9.03.2020 “On the closure of the nurseries to restrict the spread of COVID-19”
Order No. 103 dated 27.04.2020 “On the measures for termination of the educational year 2019-2020 from the pre-university education institutions due to the emergency status caused by the pandemic of COVID-19”
Order No. 104 dated 27.04.2020 “On the measures for the termination of the educational year 2019-2020 from the higher education institutions due to the emergency status caused by the pandemic of COVID-19”
Entering/leaving the territory of the Republic of Albania
Until 8 March the boarders of the Republic of Albania were completely open, however any national or foreign citizen entering the Republic of Albania from the restricted areas in Italia were obligated to self-quarantine at their home or place of accommodation (e.g hotel) for a period of 14 days. Latter the requirement of self-quarantine was enchased to any citizen entering the territory of the Republic of Albania from any of the areas identified as such by the World Health Organization.
As of 10 March, all flights and maritime transport of people have been suspended to all Italian airports, while from 15 March all land borders with Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Greece are closed to passengers, and also any flight to and from United Kingdom and Greece are suspended.
As of May the 29th all land borders are open to passengers who are not required to be self-quarantine anymore.
Foreign citizens in Albania
Foreign citizens currently residing in Albania and wishing to get back to their national country are free to leave the country and should contact their Embassy in the Republic of Albania
1.3 Export control
The exportation outside of the territory of the Republic of Albania of drugs and medical devices is subject to the provision of a prior export authorization issued by the Ministry of Health.
1.4 Prohibition of crowds
As of 8 March the gathering of people in public or open to the public, the organization of meetings, protests, conferences and concerts throughout the territory of the Albania is prohibited.
Until 1 June the movement in the parks and green open spaces was prohibited.
With the first cases of COVID-19 emerging in the Republic of Albania, the Albanian government based on the Law No. 15/2016 implemented several restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the infection caused by COVID-19 in Albania.
These measures have been implemented following the first COVID 19 case in Albania in a continuous manner leading to the declaration of the state of the emergency by the Council of Ministers on 24 March.
Events and Businesses
As of the first COVID 19 case in Albania, the Ministry of Health had the following measures applied throughout the country:
· The organization of public or private activities such as sportive or cultural activities, pubs, cinemas, theatres, swimming pools, educational trips and job competitions procedures was prohibit.
As of 15 May the prohibition for the organization of sportive activities has been removed, while as of 1 June the organization of competitions procedures is allowed.
· The closure of commercial activities such were bars, restaurants, fast-foods (expect delivery services) from 12 March until 18 May.
· The commercial activities such were the sale of the food (retail and wholesale), pharmaceutical products and financial institutions were always allowed, provided however that the personal safety distance of one meter was guaranteed.
Kindergarten, Schools and Universities
As of 09.03.2020 all nurseries and kindergarten as well all private and public education institutions were closed.
Starting from 1 June all nurseries and kindergarten are open under restricted health measures.
Starting from 18 May the high schools are open only for the pupils of final year, while for the pupils of the class from 1 to 11 the teaching process shall continue online. The same applies to university students.
Restriction of Movement
As of 15 March the movement of all private and public means of transport that did not possess an authorization was prohibit. As of 16 March the movement of pedestrians was only allowed for pedestrians that were issued with the relevant authorization for work, grocery or health purpose and only during the permitted hours.
The state of emergency was declared by DCM No. 243/200 on March the 24th throughout the territory of the Republic of Albania. Therefore all the territory of Albania was a red area and the restrictions were to be applied throughout the territory.
However on May the 25th the territory of Albania was divided into red and green areas.
The movement of private means of transport and pedestrians in green areas were free while the movement in the read areas until May the 29th was limited until 21:00, while after May the 29th the movement of private means of transport and pedestrians is free without limitation even at the red areas.
Public transport is still closed in Albania; however as of 18 May the taxi activity is allowed however limited to only two passengers of the same family
1.6 Supply of essential medical goods and PPE
In order to facilitate the manufacture of medical devices and PPE necessary for the fight of the infection caused by COVID-19, the General Directorate of Standardization in Albania has made freely available the Harmonized Albanian Standard to be used for the manufacture of medical devices and PPE in order for them to be in compliance with the general safety requirements provided at the relevant legislation.
1.7 Open businesses
All the essential commercial activities such as supermarkets, food stores, pharmacies, supply of medical goods and financial institutions were allowed to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, provided that preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 were observed.
On 20.03.2020 by virtue of the Order 193/2020, it was approved the list of activities with higher risk of infection spread, such as commercial centers, bars, restaurant, esthetics/beauty centers, etc., which were not allowed to operate and the list of business activities which were consider of low risk of infection, such as: production of goods, petrol, textiles, construction sites, transport of the goods which were allowed to operate.
On 27.04.2020, the first phase of the opening has started and many businesses operating in sectors such as the retail trade of goods and clothes in specialized stores were allowed to operate, provided that the preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 were observed.
On 30.04.2020 the activity of the taxies for movement from one city to another but with no more than two passengers per taxi was allowed.
On 11.04.2020, the following additional business were allowed to operate: (i) commercial centers (except bars, restaurants and activities for children within the premises of the commercial center); and (ii) aesthetic centers, hairdressers, cosmetics and physical well-being centers but excluded gyms. The above mentioned businesses must implement a protection protocol as approved by the respective Albanian authorities, in order to minimize the risk of infection for customers, visitors and for the people working in the company.
On 18.05.2020, the following were allowed to operate: (i) restaurants, bars, fast-foods (the service shall be provide only in their open premises); and (ii) museums and libraries and archives and other cultural activities.
As of 01.06.2020 almost all business activities including gyms, parks and green areas and other kids entertainment activity, and sport activities are allowed, but only in open premises. Nevertheless, the following should remain closed: (i) night clubs; (ii) pools; (iii) theater and cinemas and (iv) public transportation of passengers shall remain closed until further notice.
Finally as of 01.06.2020 sport activities including the use of the necessary sports facilities and training and competitions on a professional level (without spectators) are permitted. However, all business, organizations and sport clubs providing above mentioned services and activities must implement protection concepts to minimize the risk of infections.
Furthermore, the territory of Albania, on municipality bases, was divided on red zones with a high risk of infections and green zones with low risk of infection, depending on the cases of infection per district. On green zones the commercial activity was conducted freely than on red zones and the movement of the people was restricted. Circulation between green and red zones was not permitted
Currently all the territory of Albania is declared as green zone and the circulation is permitted in all the territory.
1.8 Health care
Brief summary on the measures applicable to the health care system in order to prevent the spread of COVID -19
· The obligation of any private or public health institution to report any case with Covid-19.
· The restriction of the movement of patients’ family on the hospitalities.
· The suspension of any planed chirurgical interventions at any private or public hospitality
· The reward of the staff, doctors, nurses and other employs dealing with Covid-19.
1.9 Persons with a higher risk
Elderly people and persons suffering from other diseases
The movement of elderly people was prohibit during the week days, while on the weekend a special hour was dedicated to the movement of only elderly people.
The movement of persons suffering from other diseases or their companions was allowed, however they were obligated to self-declare to the governmental portal E-Albania the time and the intermarry of the movement
In order to prevent the spread of the infection caused by COVID-19 at the prisons, the Council of Ministers decided to grant a special permit to prisoners which fulfill with the requirement of the legislation in order to stay for a temporary period at home.
Brief summary of the sanctions provided by Normative Act No. 3/2020 that are still applicable to date.
· The exportation of drugs and medical devices outside the Republic of Albania without the authorization of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection is subject of a fine amounting to 5.000000 Albanian Lek, as well as the seizure of all drugs/medical devices.
· The organization of public activities or the outdoor or indoor gathering is subject of a fine amounting to amounting to 5.000000 Albanian Lek.
· The entrance of the patient’s family and/or companion in the emergency room is subject to a fine amounting to 5.00000 Albanian Lek.
2. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF BUSINESSES
2.1 Legal basis
Decision of Bank of Albania No. 13, dated 12.03.2020 "On an amendment on Regulation "On credit risk management from banks and branches of foreign banks"" ("DBA 13/2020");
Decision of Bank of Albania No. 14, dated 12.03.2020 "On an amendment on Regulation "On risk management in the activity of non-bank financial institutions"" ("DBA 14/2020");
Decision of Bank of Albania No. 15, dated 12.03.2020 "On an amendment on Regulation "On risk management in the activity of savings and loan associations and their Unions"" ("DBA 15/2020");
Joint Order No. Prot. 1650, dated 17.03.2020 of the Prime Minister and the Governor of Bank of Albania ("Joint Order 1650/2020");
Normative Act No. 10, dated 26.03.2020 "On an amendment on Law No. 8438, dated 28.12.1998 "On Income Tax", as amended" ("Normative Act 10/2020");
Decision of Council of Ministers Nr. 277, dated 06.04.2020 "On the approval of the state loan guarantee to the second tier banks for the salaries of entrepreneurs or commercial companies, activity of which is affected by the decisions of the council of ministers, in the context of the management of the situation created by COVID-19, and determining the terms and conditions of the Guarantee Agreement and of the Memorandum of Understanding" ("DCM 277/2020");
Normative Act No. 18, dated 23.04.2020 "On some amendments and additions on Law No. 8438, dated 28.12.1998 "On Income Tax", as amended" ("Normative Act 18/2020");
Decision of Council of Ministers Nr. 387, dated 13.05.2020 "On the approval of the state loan guarantee to the second tier banks guaranteeing the loans of entrepreneurs or commercial companies to provide the necessary funding for the recovery of the economic activity affected by the situation created by COVID-19, and determining the terms and conditions of the Guarantee Agreement and of the Memorandum of Understanding" ("DCM 387/2020");
2.2 Support measures
2.2.1 The postponement of the loan's installments
The Albanian government in cohesion with the Bank of Albania provided to all businesses the right to request to the second tier banks, non-bank financial institutions, and saving and loan associations, to postpone the payment of the due installments until May 31, 2020.
The businesses were required to present to the above mentioned institutions the relevant grounds proving such request, while the latter should assess the request within 3 days.
On May 28, 2020, due to the aggravated economic and financial implications for the businesses, the Governor of Bank of Albania inter alia declared on a press release that the Bank of Albania shall issue the relevant decisions in order to extend the possibility for all businesses affected by the restrictive measures to postpone the payment of the loans until August 31, 2020.
2.2.2 The postponement of the income tax
On March 26, 2020 the Albanian government adopted Normative Act 10/2020 by virtue of which the term for submitting the financial statements for the year 2019 was postponed from March 31, 2020 to July 31, 2020 and in addition the term for the payment of the income tax for the year 2019 for all businesses with a turnover below 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) is postponed to the second semester of the year 2020.
Normative Act 10/2020 stated also that the pre-installments of the income tax for all businesses with a turnover below 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) for the first (due on March 30), second (due on June 30), third (due on September 30) and fourth quarter (due on December 30) of 2020 shall be postponed until December 31, 2020.
On April 24, 2020 the Albanian government adopted Normative Act 18/2020 by virtue of which the pre-installments of the income tax for all businesses with a turnover below 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) for the year 2020 shall not be paid.
Furthermore, Normative Act 18/2020 stipulates that the pre-installments of the second and third quarter of the income tax for the year 2020 for all businesses with a turnover above 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) shall be postponed to be paid on the period April-September 2021.
However, from the above facility are exempted businesses with a turnover above 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) that conduct activity in the field of (i) banking; (ii) telecommunications; (iii) trade of pharmaceutical products; and (iv) trade of foods and fruits and vegetables.
Also, from the above facility are exempted businesses with a turnover above 14.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 113.821) that conduct activity in the field of tourism, inward processing, and call centers, which shall pay the pre-installments of the second, third and fourth quarter of 2020 on the period April –December 2021.
2.2.3 The facilitation of the payment of the salaries
On April 4, 2020 the Albanian government adopted DCM 277/2020 by virtue of which the state allocated a fund of 11.000.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 89.430.894) in favor of the second tier banks in order to guarantee the loans for which entrepreneurs or commercial companies, whose activity has been closed or affected by a reduction in turnover as a result of the restrictive measures adopted, may apply in order to pay the relevant due salaries.
DCM 277/2020 stipulates that the second tier banks should enter into a guarantee agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Economy and consequently the Albanian state shall secure the full amount of the loans disbursed by the second tier banks to the businesses, within the threshold issued for each second tier bank, and shall reimburse to the banks the applied interest.
The businesses that shall apply for the state guaranteed loans with the second tier banks shall benefit from a grace period of 3 months, no interest, commissions, and penalties, while the loan term shall be no longer than 2 years.
Within 30 days from the stipulation of the guarantee agreement between the second tier banks and the Ministry of Finance and Economy, all businesses which comply with the below criteria shall benefit from the state guaranteed loans:
a. Businesses that does not benefit from other subvention schemes, as detailed below in point 3. Financial support of workers;
b. Businesses which activity was closed or affected by the restrictive measures adopted by the government;
c. Businesses that does not have non-performing loans as on February 2020;
d. The requester should be solvent and be eligible for loans as per the bank criteria;
e. The loan shall be used only for the payment of the salaries based on the February 2020 payroll;
f. The requester shall sign the Memorandum of Understanding as per the form designated in DCM 277/2020.
2.2.4 Measures on liquidity and incentive of investments
On May 13, 2020 the Albanian government adopted DCM 387/2020 by virtue of which the state allocated 15.000.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 121.951.220) in favor of the second tier banks in order to guarantee all form of financing that the banks or other financial institutions shall lend to entrepreneurs or commercial companies for the purpose of securing the necessary floating capital and to assist their investments.
The second tier banks shall enter into a guarantee agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, by virtue of which the state shall guarantee 60% of the loans disbursed to the businesses, excluding interests, late payment interests, penalties or other monetary obligations arising from the loan disbursed to the businesses by the second tier banks.
Businesses interested in such loans should file a request with the banks within 60 days from the stipulation of the guarantee agreement between the bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economy, provided that they:
a. are duly registered with the commercial register kept by the National Business Center;
b. are 100% owned by non-public entities
c. their activity has been, directly or indirectly, negatively affected by the restrictive measures enacted by the state;
d. the requester does not have outstanding tax obligations for December 2019, January and February 2020, expect when the requester has entered into an agreement with the tax authorities for the payment of the tax obligations;
The state guaranteed loans may be disbursed for an amount up to 300.000.000 ALL (approx. Euro 2.439.024), with a grace period of not less than 6 months, except when otherwise requested by the businesses, a term of up to 5 years, and a interest rate not higher than 5%.
3. FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF WORKERS/INDIVIDUALS
3.1 Legal basis
The Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 254, dated 27.03.2020 "On determination of the procedures, documents, and the quantity of the benefit of the financial assistance for the employees of the subjects with annual income up to 14.000.000 Albanian Leke, of the economical assistance as well as of the payment of the income due to the unemployment during the period of natural disaster announced due to COVID-19" ("DCM No. 254/2020").
The Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 305, dated 16.04.2020 "On determination of the procedures, documentation and the quantity of the benefit of the financial assistance for the current employees and the employees dismissed as a consequence of COVID-19 ("DCM No. 305/2020").
Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 208, dated 10.03.2020 "On setting out as holiday the dates from 10 to 23 March 2020 for the parent who has the custody of the minor child" ("DCM No. 208/2020").
Decision No. 1 dated 25.03.2020 of the Inter-ministerial Committee of the Civil Emergencies "On the confirmation and continuation of the implementation of the special administrative measures taken during the period of infection caused by COVID-19" ("Decision No. 1/2020").
Order Prot. No. 1650, dated 17.03.2020 of the Prime Ministry and the Bank of the Republic of Albania ("Order No. 1650/2020").
According to DCM 254/2020, the beneficiaries of the financial assistance are self-employed/employees employed in companies with annual income of up to 14.000.000 (fourteen million) Albanian Lek, as per the following categorization:
i. Self - employed natural persons;
ii. Unpaid family employees of a natural person;
iii. Employees of natural person;
iv. Employees of legal entities.
The financial assistance for the self-employed/employees is calculated and provided according to the payroll list declared by the tax payers.
The taxpayer must comply with the following criteria in order to be qualified for such financial assistance:
i. Have ceased its activity in compliance with the relevant orders of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection ("MHMS") issued for this purpose;
ii. Is subject to simplified income tax and income tax;
iii. The declared income, according to the profit tax/simplified tax return, for 2019, is up to ALL 14.000.000 (Fourteen million).
The financial assistance is equal to the minimum wage in force 26.000 (twenty-six thousand) ALL per month.
The self-employed or the employees who have realized more than 2.000.000 (two millions) ALL gross incomes through they salaries in 2019, are excluded by the financial assistance.
Notwithstanding the above, by virtue of the DCM No. 305/2020, the government has approved inter alias a financial assistance plan for the employees of the entities with annual income for 2019 exceeding 14.000.000 (fourteen million) Albanian Lek, which have closed their business activity in accordance with the Orders of the MHMS.
The financial assistance amounts to 40.000 (forty thousand) Albanian Lek and shall be benefited as one payment covering the period April - June 2020.
The employees, whose gross income from the salary for 2019 exceeds 2.000.000 (two million) ALL shall not benefit the financial assistance.
The application for the financial assistance is made by the employer of the employees.
By virtue of DCM No. 208/2020 shall be holiday for all the parents who have the custody of the minor child, even they are employed in private or public sector. However, all the parents who are health and sanitary staff are excluded from the above rule.
Also, by virtue of the Decision No. 1/2020, it is decided the continuation of the holiday for the parent who have the custody of the minor child for as long as the infection caused by COVID-19 shall continue.
Further, by virtue of the Order No. 1650/2020, the payment of the loan installments for all the individuals having difficulties as a consequence of Covid-19, shall be postponed until 31.05.2020.
All the debtors should communicate to the bank institutions all they reasons for the postponement of their installments, while the bank institutions should process all the debtors’ requests within 3 days as of their receipt.
4. TENANCY AND LEASE
4.1 Legal basis
Normative Act No. 3, date 15.03.2020 "On the special administrative measures during the period of the infection caused by COVID-19" ("Normative Act No. 3/2020").
By virtue of the Normative Act No. 3/2020 the payment of the rent of March and April 2020 shall be postponed for the following categories:
i. The individuals who have leased a property for residential purposes;
ii. Students who have leased a property for residential purposes;
iii. The physical persons or legal entities with annual incomes up to 14.000.000 (fourteen million) Lek who have leased a property for purposes of exercising their activity.
The subjects under point (i) and (ii) should have a lease agreement or any other document that proves the contractual relation between the lessee and the lessor between the announcement of the epidemic state, while the subject under point (iii) should have a notarized lease agreement bearing a date priory of the announcement of the epidemic state.
The rent for March and April 2020 shall be paid commencing as of June 2020, and the installments shall be decided between the parties by virtue of an mutual agreement.
Should the lease agreement terminates before May 31, 2020, the outstanding obligation should be paid with the next three months.
In case any lessor does not comply with the above, it will be subject to a penalty amounting to five-times of the relevant monthly rent.
5. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
5.1 Legal basis
Normative Act No. 9, dated 25.03.2020 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania "On specific measures to be taken for judicial activity, during the epidemic state caused by Covid-19 ("Normative Act No. 9/2020").
Normative Act no. 13, dated 2.4.2020 of Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania “On specific measures to be taken for the enforcement, mediation and bankruptcy activities during of the epidemic state caused by Covid-19” ("Normative Act No. 13/2020").
Normative Act no. 21, dated 27.05.2020 of Council of Minister of the Republic of Albania “On some amendments on the Normative Act no. 9, dated 25.03.2020 of Council of Minister “On specific measures to be taken for judicial activity, during of the epidemic state caused by Covid-19” ("Normative Act No. 21/2020").
Normative Act no. 22, dated 27.05.2020 of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania “For abrogation of Normative Act no. 21, dated 27.05.2020 of Council of Minister “On taking specific measures for judicial activity, during of the epidemic situation caused by Covid-19” ("Normative Act No. 22/2020").
By virtue of the Normative Act No. 9/2020 all the judicial sessions including civil, criminal and administrative issues, as well as the deadlines for filing any lawsuits, appeals or other procedural actions were suspended until the end of the epidemic state caused by Covid-19.
Exceptionally, such restrictions were not applicable on the following cases:
i. Security measure of the lawsuit in administrative cases when the court assesses that the postponement may cause to the parties severe and irreparable damages.
ii. Family cases with subject matter the care, obligations and compliance of the rights of minors, custody and adoption, protective measures against violence in family, the exercise of parental responsibility, care and food obligations.
iii. Civil cases, for which the court may exceptionally assess that their postponement may cause serious and irreparable damage to the parties;
iv. Criminal cases related to the validation of the arrest in flagrance or detention, appointment, verification of the conditions and criteria of the appointment and the security needs, replacement, revocation, merger or suppression of the security measures of " prison arrest " or " house arrest”, when the arrested, the defendants or their representatives request to continue with their examination, as well as in the criminal cases related to the determination of the property security measure“ "preventive seizure";
v. Criminal cases, in which the terms of the maximum pretrial duration expire during the period of suspension;
vi. In criminal cases of an urgent nature, due to the need to secure the evidence. The urgency is assessed by the court examining the case;
vii. In criminal cases against minors in conflict with the law, when the measure of arrest or detention has been applied to them.
viii. In any other criminal case where the defendant is in pretrial detention or is suffering the punishment in prison, if the defendant or his representative requests the continuation of the judgment.
Further, by virtue of the Normative Act No. 13/2020, the bailiff, mediator and the bankruptcy administrator services as well as all the deadlines for performing related procedural actions were suspended until the termination of the epidemic state.
The above mentioned restrictions are not applicable on the following cases:
i. Enforcement of the executive titles deriving from the family cases with subject matter the care, obligations and compliance of the rights of minors, custody and adoption, the exercise of parental responsibility, care and food obligations.
ii. Enforcement of the executive titles with subject matter the protection order and immediate protection orders.
iii. Enforcement of the executive titles with subject matter the security measure of the lawsuit in administrative and civil cases when the court has decided the security measure of the lawsuit or has issued a decision of temporary enforcement and in case of delay, the executive title shall be impossible to be enforced.
iv. It is necessary to avoid the damage of the bankruptcy assets.
v. Mediation of the criminal disputes in case it is necessary for the protection of the minor interest.
As of 27.05.2020 all courts hearing and bailiff, mediators or the bankruptcy administrators’ services are allowed, provided that the specific measures against Covid-19, avoiding the gathering in court premises, are observed.
Further, in case the court deemed appropriate and should all the parties agree, the court sessions may be held on-line through video-call connections, using appropriate electronic programs. In this case, all the evidences should be sent electronically to the court, and in order to be valid, the parties should sent also such evidences to the court by registered mail, within the same working day.