The Act on Amendments of the Civil Procedure Act in Croatia stepped into force on 1 September 2019 and brought substantial changes through the first amendments of the provisions governing civil procedure since the reform in 2013.
The amendments were praised in Croatian legal community, because they aim to expedite dispute resolution and end the main problem the Croatian judicial system has been fighting for decades. The amendments should help through digitalization, emphasis on mediation and model proceedings.
Digitalization of civil procedure
Digitalization of civil procedure aims to introduce electronic exchange of motions between courts and attorneys at law, notary publics, public authorities and companies. This has already been implemented in proceedings before the commercial courts as of last year, but no date has been set for the civil proceedings.
Transformation of extraordinary legal remedy
After more than 20 years, the extraordinary legal remedy decided by the Supreme Court – revision, faced substantial changes. The parties may now file a revision only if the submission is permitted by Croatia’s Supreme Court, on the basis of prior request for permission filed within a month from the receipt of second instance decision. The Supreme Court, therefore, effectively stops being a third instance court, but rather unifies court practice. There are several exceptions envisioned concerning mostly disputes on labour, discrimination, certain family relations and public correction of information.
Introduction of “model proceedings”
Completely new institute of model proceedings is being introduced, aimed at resolving issues important for unified application of the law. It will be utilized in situations where a large number of similar lawsuits is filed to the court around the same time and if their resolution depends on the same legal issue. The proposal for initiation of model proceedings will be made by municipal or county courts, but the final decision is up to the Supreme Court.
Other changes: Procedural costs/Commercial disputes
Regarding commercial disputes, the hope is that the new changes will speed them up even more.
Interesting changes also took place in relation to the procedural costs introducing a simplified formula of the procedural costs awarded to the party.