The legal system in Nicaragua is based on the civil law doctrine combined with an adversarial model, where each party, plaintiff and defendant are in equals positions. The process is conducted, first by written demands and consequently by defending oral legal arguments in open court.
The Nicaraguan court system is organized according to the following structure: First, the provincial courts, that are established on each department of the country, being this either local court or district court and organized according to the following matter of jurisdiction:
- Single district court.
- Single local court.
- Civil district court.
- Civil local court.
- Criminal district court.
- Criminal local court.
- Labor district court.
- Labor local court.
- Family district court.
- Family local court.
- Criminal juvenile district court.
- Specialized violence district court
As a second instance are the appeals court that is constituted by three or more magistrates. And a third instance that is the Supreme Court of Justice which is subdivided into the Civil Chamber, the Criminal Chamber, the Constitutional Chamber and the Administrative-Contentious Chamber.
Essentially, Nicaraguan legal system establishes that all hearings are to be made as a public process, notwithstanding, if there is a law that establishes the contrary or if the judge decides so for a safety reason, moral or protection of the parties, the process will be made under a closed door policy.
All the information regarding an ongoing process is only for each party and their representatives.
Regarding the representatives, the parties may be represented only by lawyers that are duly registered and authorized by the Supreme Court of Justice of the country. The only requirement is to file his or her power of attorney to act in behalf of the party. Foreign lawyers cannot conduct proceeding in court.
Nicaraguan legal system establishes no explicit legal prohibition on funding others’ claims. Thus, there is no formal restriction that forbids funding from a third party.
INITIATING A LAWSUIT
Previous to starting a lawsuit process, the parties must start a mediation process as an alternative dispute resolution. There are no penalties, though, if the parties fail to achieve a settlement.
All actions to demand payment of a debt are for ten years after the obligation is due. The limitation periods start once the obligation is due.
The limitation payment is two years the obligation to demand payment of salary, professional fees, arbitrator’s fees and notaries’ fees.
The plaintiff must sue the defendant in the court jurisdiction of his domicile. However, the parties may agree to submit their dispute in a specific jurisdiction. The court will review the matter of the case, value and territory in order to know if it is competent to know that case al solve the dispute.
All lawsuits will start with a written demand including the following attachments:
- Certificate of negative settlement on mediation.
- Inscription certificate on the competent register of the national or foreign corporation.
- Public deed that proves the legal representation of the plaintiff.
- Power of attorney if necessary.
- Public deed that proves the right of the plaintiff.
- Documents or expert opinions that proves the value of the items in dispute, if it could be estimated for the purpose of competence and procedure.
- For monetary obligations, the invoice that demonstrate the total amount that is being requested on the lawsuit, detailing the principal amount or pending balance, interest and past due amount accrued until the initiation of the lawsuit.
- If the claim comes from a loan or credit, it will be accompanying with the proper documents that justify the charges and credits.
- Any evidence or probes intended to demonstrate the pleading.
The lawsuit may be amended before it´s answered.
Once the lawsuit has been approved by the judge, the notification to the defendant is made through the court service by a formal notification letter. The defendant may be sued outside the court jurisdiction if it was settled by the parties in the contract.
If the plaintiff points out to the court that the defendant did not respond and asks the court to issue a default judgment, the judicial process will not stop. However, the defendant might incorporate to the process at any moment without the possibility to backdate any action or motion already effective.
Nicaraguan legal system has the possibility to introduce a class action demand as long as comply with the following requirements:
1) Upon request by the parties.
2) Connection among the process.
3) The ongoing processes must be in first instance.
Regarding collective actions, these are optional in Nicaragua because the parties must show consent to start with the collective action.