As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 22nd of February, 2019, defending the Croatian justice system today is mission impossible. Mario Vukelić, the president of the High Commercial Court, who took part in the panel entitled “Legal security – the guarantor of investment” which was held in the framework of the InvestCro conference in Zagreb.
“And at this conference, we’ve heard the word perception many times, so how we perceive something, and not necessarily how things actually stand. The perception of an inefficient justice systemis a fact from which conclusions are drawn.
The theory that Croatia has the most unresolved cases in the EU, as well as the highest amount of judges, of course in both cases per capita, it’s also a fact that Croatia is the first in the EU on inflow of new cases to the courts, but if we look at the duration of the average dispute, then we come in 12th place out of 28 EU member states,” said Vukelić. He added that many long-standing disputes at commercial courts in the Republic of Croatia are actually caused by the economic crisis.
“Big and successful companies are seldom judged because that is costly and carries on for a long time, they simply agree and reconcile, either directly or through a mediator. The problem with us is that we have no money, companies are often aware of the facts on which they’re being judged, but they don’t given the fact that they have the money, they buy time through long-lasting court disputes,” said Vukelić.
Tatjana Josipović, a professor at the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, emphasised the fact that the Croatian justice system is highly segmented and that there is a very large number of mutually overlapping legal regulations.
“Before adopting a new law, simulations should be carried out to see how it would actually function in reality. A concrete example is the new Enforcement law, about which it’s hard to say whether it will work, and how it will work in reality. In terms of investment, it’s imperative to sort out the land register as without that, we won’t have bigger investments, we’re making progress as the 800-day deadline is now 25 days, but the problem is the unresolved property and legal relationships. We have successfully completed the legalisation project, but legalisation doesn’t mean that these ojects could be entered into the land registry because we don’t have clear ownership relationships. We have to face these problems and solve them, and not just sweep the problems under the carpet, and then go on upgrading because we’ll end up meeting back up with these problems sooner or later,” said Josipović.
Mićo Ljubenko, a lawyer in the law firm Ljubenko & Partners, doesn’t agree that the slowness of the Croatian courts is the biggest problem facing the Croatian justice system.
“Are there really any examples that serious companies operating in Slovenia and Hungary aren’t also operating in Croatia? No, we don’t. Serious investors approach their problems correctly, and they get their problems sorted out. Whether or not the deadline for registering a company is five days, as it is in Serbia, or 21 days as it is in Croatia is completely irrelevant to any investor, it’s another thing if the papers aren’t done properly and the situation isn’t clear,” concluded Ljubenko.