13:51 / 28.04.2022.

Author: Branko Lozančić

Parliament debates quickening of court proceedings

Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica

Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica

Foto: Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

As its committees heard three candidates for new members of the government, Croatian parliament debated legislative proposals that should speed up criminal and civil proceedings and increase the efficiency of the domestic judiciary.

Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica reported that 1.3 million cases were received in Croatian courts last year, 158,000 more than in 2020, and confirmed that we are at the very top of EU countries in terms of the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

“The courts have resolved 98 thousand more cases,” said the Minister in Croatian Parliament, to whom he presented the amendments to the Civil Procedure Act, which aims to speed up, simplify and modernize this procedure. “The proposed changes are part of the package of changes we are working on in order for our judiciary to be efficient and for the citizens to resolve their disputes as soon as possible,” Malenica pointed out.

He emphasized that the amendments introduce precise deadlines for the completion of proceedings - three years for first-instance, one year for second-instance (appeal) proceedings. In the case of small claims, a period of one year in the first instance and six months for the appeal procedure are prescribed. A deadline for holding a preliminary hearing is also being introduced - it should take place within three months, and the main hearing within six months at the latest.

Mandatory audio recording of hearings

Mandatory audio recording of hearings is being introduced, minutes will be kept only on the most important actions taken at a hearing, which should shorten the duration of the hearing itself, especially while giving testimony. In principle, representatives did not dispute the good intentions of the proposed law, and Sovereignist Željko Sačič pointed out that this is a "step forward in every respect".

Ante Kujundžić (MOST party) wondered whether what is planned will be achieved, given that court proceedings are mostly burdened with damages proceedings and property determination cases. “The chronic problem of our judiciary is definitely not judges, because one judge in Croatia handles about 300 cases a year, in Finland only 66,” said the MP.

Only five representatives in parliament

Dalija Orešković (The Center party) said that the proposed law is only a technical regulation that in no way affects the architecture of the judiciary. She holds that there are three key steps, among them stronger control over the work of judges and control over the transparency of court decisions implemented by citizens themselves.

Considering the fact that Parliament debated the amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure at the same time as its committees heard three candidates for new members of the Government, there were only five representatives in the Parliament chamber, as counted by the deputies themselves.

Source: HRT

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