Some Decisions of Croatian Public Notaries Not Valid in EU

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Court of Justice of the European Union has concluded that Croatian public notaries are not judges and therefore their decisions on enforced collection of payments are not valid in other EU countries.

European judges have decided that Croatian public notaries do not have the authority to enforce payments, because they are not a court. When acting within the powers entrusted to them under national law in enforcement proceedings based on authentic documents, public notaries in Croatia cannot be considered a court in terms of European regulations, reports N1 on March 13, 2017.

Court of Justice of the European Union has given its opinion after receiving such request from Croatian courts, which were not certain in the issue of harmonization of Croatian and European legislation, since Croatia is among a few countries which in 2006 gave such powers to public notaries. But, this opinion of the European Court at this moment does not mean anything for Croatian citizens with assets and bank accounts in Croatia. In other words, national legislation remains the same and public notaries can legally enforce payment from an account without a court decision, although many debtors criticize such powers, because they often do not know that a debt exists, let alone that it would be subject to enforced payment.

However, the Association of Croatian Public Collection Officers believes that the national legislation must be harmonized with the opinion of the court which relates to foreigners. Several years ago, the state first introduced the institute of public collection officer, but later discontinued it. “The Constitutional Court can do it ex officio or on the basis of the request made by the government or members of parliament”, said Vedran Vidmar.

Critics of the Law on Enforcement, such as Judge Kolakušić, believe that changes should be made immediately. Because, if the European Court considers that notaries do not have authority over foreigners, then such decision should also apply to Croatian citizens, who are also citizens of the European Union. “They must begin to address their individual cases to the European Court. The current Law on Enforcement should no longer be in effect for one single day, especially in the part relating to enforcement based on authentic documents, because every day represents further looting of Croatian citizens and the state budget”, said Kolakušić.

Croatian Chamber of Public Notaries has not yet commented on the latest decision, while the Justice Ministry issued a statement. “European regulations have been issued before Croatian accession to the European Union, so during their drafting it was not possible to take into account the specificities of Croatian legal regulations of enforcement procedure, nor did Croatia had an opportunity to affect the content of regulations in this regard”, said the Ministry.


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