18:27 / 12.02.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Interview of the week: Radovan Dobronić, President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia

Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronić

Supreme Court President Radovan Dobronić

Foto: Croatian Radio / HRT

The guest on Croatian Radio’s Interview of the Week was Radovan Dobronić, President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia. He spoke, among other things, about the changes brought by the Law on Courts and the Law on the State Attorney's Office, saying that it is not good that basic laws are changed almost every year, to year and a half.

Frequent changes in the law are a problem in Croatia

“Figuratively speaking, if you change the regulation of how cars are driven every year, then one year you say that everyone drives on the right side, and after two years you say that you have to drive on the left side, the third year people will not know which regulation is in force,” explained Radovan Dobronić, adding that the adjustment process should be taken into account.

He believes that too frequent changes in the law are a problem in Croatia.

“Parliament is like a certain factory of cars, or regulations. Those cars were made to be driven by drivers, they would be judges. To drive a car successfully, you must first master driving and have a minimum of driving skills. The question arises, if you as a driver buy a car, and after 100 meters you turn into a ravine and say "this car is not good and I have to change it", meaning you say I have to change the regulations. Then you take a new car and after 100 meters you end up in a ravine again and say that you have to buy a new car, or change the regulations, the question arises whether the problem is only in a bad car or in poor skills of the driver who is driving, or applying regulations,” he said.

The question, he said, is whether judges apply regulations well, as do civil servants. He concluded that the key is not only in a larger number of regulations. He said that a country that does not change regulations often is more attractive to investors.

"More than 100,000 new cases should not be created in Croatia every year"

When asked what, according to him, judicial reform would mean, he agreed with the statement that it could be said that the notion of judicial reform has become a phrase without real content.

“Which largely boils down to a crude form of forcing judges to work harder, under some unspoken assumption that they are either lazy or poorly organized and should be forced to work harder. However, that is not the case, the work is sensitive,” he said.

In his opinion, Croatia has not had a systematic approach for decades and this prevents it from analyzing the situation well.

“Anyone who has experience with a complex system, knows when you have such a big problem, it is not just one cause, there are usually many more,” he commented, adding that these causes should be well analyzed and it should be differentiated how much each cause contributes to this condition and then take action.

In Croatia, he believes, more than 100,000 new cases should not be created annually. “In Croatia, there are over 10 times more than what could be considered normal,” he said.

How to solve the problem of old cases?

Looking at some reports of the judicial inspection, he said he discovered the following:

“Only in one court on the coast, which I will not name, there are some 30 or 40 cases aged 20 years or more.”

“Such data discredits the courts before citizens and the international public,” he commented, adding that such data is completely unacceptable. “It points to problems in running the courts, disorganization, and a poor distribution of cases,” he said.

“I think that one of the reasons is that some of these documents got lost in the system, some are really hard nuts to crack where there are some factual and legal problems, a large number of parties, possibly also poor representation. But regardless of the cause, we have to solve it,” he said.

Dobronić believes that so far judges have not been sufficiently recognized for their work on such cases.

“I have an idea that in such small courts, where you have 30 or 40 such cases that are 20-30 years old, in agreement with judges, it is organized in a manner that orders practically all judges to accept resolution of these cases and not work on any other cases, except those that are urgent according to the law, in order to give this absolute priority,” noted the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, Radovan Dobronić.

Source: HRT

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