The Serbian legal system is based on codified principles of civil law. Judicial precedents and opinionsare non-binding but are strongly taken into consideration by the courts.
According to the Law on Organization of Courts, the court system of Serbia is divided into courts ofgeneral jurisdiction and specialized courts. Courts of general jurisdiction are the basic and higher courts,the courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court of Cassation. Specialized courts include the commercialcourts, the Commercial Appellate Court, the misdemeanor courts, the Misdemeanor Appellate Court andthe Administrative Court. In addition, a Constitutional Court hears and decides matters that involve theconstitutionality of laws, regulations, and other official acts.
The 66 basic and 25 higher courts decide cases in both civil and criminal matters and have jurisdiction inmatters concerning, inter alia, civil litigation, enforcement, contentious procedures, employment, mediaand copyright. Basic courts are exclusively courts of first instance with jurisdiction over civil matters oflesser importance, as well as criminal offenses punishable with up to 10 (ten) years of imprisonment.Higher courts serve as courts of second instance and hear appeals from basic court decisions, but alsoexercise first instance jurisdiction in matters of a more serious nature. Decisions of basic and highercourts may be appealed to the courts of appeal.
The courts of appeal are located in 4 cities: Belgrade, Kragujevac, Nis, and Novi Sad. Decisionsrendered by the higher or basic courts in the first instance are reviewed and decided upon by one ofthese four appellate courts in the second instance.
Commercial courts of Serbia are specialized courts having jurisdiction over a wide range of commercialmatters, including status of commercial entities, copyright infringement, privatization, recognition andenforcement, foreign investment disputes, unfair competition, maritime law, insolvency proceedings, andother disputes arising out of commercial activities. There are 16 commercial courts located throughoutSerbia, and their decisions may be appealed to the Commercial Appellate Court in Belgrade. Thedecisions of the Commercial Appellate Court may be appealed to the Supreme Court of Cassation.
The misdemeanor courts and the Misdemeanor Appellate Court decide in matters concerningmisdemeanours. The Administrative Court exercises first instance jurisdiction over administrativedisputes and has the authority to review administrative acts throughout the entire territory of Serbia.
Finally, the Supreme Court of Cassation is the highest court of general jurisdiction in Serbia which decideson extraordinary legal remedies against decisions rendered in civil litigation, commercial litigation, criminalproceedings, as well as administrative disputes. As such, it is in a position to provide a country-wideuniform application of law by the courts. The Supreme Court of Cassation, therefore, hears and decides onextraordinary legal remedies against decisions of the courts of appeal and the Commercial AppellateCourt. The Supreme Court of Cassation may also issue advisory opinions on draft laws.
It should also be mentioned that the Constitutional Court of Serbia has the authority to decide onconformity of laws, regulations, and other normative acts adopted by state bodies of the Republic ofSerbia with the Serbian Constitution. Furthermore, it also resolves conflict of jurisdiction between courtsand state bodies.
Focusing here on litigation, the procedural aspects of litigation are covered by the Serbian Law on CivilProcedure. This law was amended several times since it was first adopted in 2011 mostly to introduceinstruments intended to prevent unjustified and unnecessary delays in court proceedings. The lastamendments were introduced in May 2014 and changed the provisions on competences of sole judges(compared to panels of three judges), on representation in civil proceedings, and on extraordinary legalremedies, among other changes.
Generally, the Serbian court system can be said to be rather slow, especially concerning civil litigationwhere proceedings may last several years. In response to delays, in 2015 Serbia adopted a newseparate Law on Protection of Right to Speedy Trial which came into effect on 1 January 2016, asdescribed in more detail below.
With respect to litigation costs, these mainly consist of court and attorneys’ fees, expenses for expertopinions, travel expenses for witnesses, notaries' and translators' expenses, which are generally paid bythe unsuccessful party.
Protection of Right to Speedy Trial
The Law on Protection of Right to Speedy Trial aims to provide court protection of the right to speedytrial and thereby prevent violations of this right.
A party in court proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, non-contentious proceedings, andcriminal proceedings (including investigations led by the public prosecutor), may exercise the protection ofthis right under the terms of this law. The legal means for achieving this protection include submitting (i) anobjection aiming to speed up the proceedings; (ii) an appeal; and (iii) a request for equitable settlement.These submissions are free of court fees, are urgent and take precedence in deciding compared to othersubmissions. This law prescribes the procedure for each type of recourse in more detail.
The law provides the possibility of monetary compensation in the amount of up to EUR 3,000 in RSDcounter-value. The law came into effect on 1 January 2016. The effects in the first 2 (two) years ofapplication can be said to be positive in the cases where it was applied, but any overall effects on thegeneral efficacy of the court system are yet to be seen.
Business crime as a legal field in Serbia is still within the boundaries of general Criminal Law. However,efforts are being made to develop the group of criminal offences against commerce within the separatesection of the Serbian Criminal Code. Namely, in 2016, new criminal offences were introduced to thisgroup at the initiative of the Serbian Government expanding the number of criminal offences from 25 to29. The aim of these amendments was to adapt the existing incriminations, which used very datedlanguage, to modern times and also to introduce more contemporary criminal offences in the field ofbusiness crime. Thereby, 8 new criminal offences were introduced or amended, including, fraud,insurance fraud, embezzlement, abuse of good faith, abuse in privatizations, conclusion of restrictiveagreements, passive and active bribery, and more. The provisions, introducing the new criminal offencesagainst commerce and amending the existing ones, come into effect on 1 March 2018.
The Law on Responsibility of Legal Entities for Criminal Offences came into force several years ago, on4 November 2008, and this law mainly contains procedural rules for deciding on the responsibility oflegal entities; primarily, the rules to derogate or complete the application of the Law on CriminalProceedings. As mentioned above, criminal offences themselves are proscribed by the Criminal Code ofthe Republic of Serbia.
The proceedings in criminal cases consist of pre-criminal, preliminary criminal and main criminalproceedings. The public prosecutor is the authorized prosecutor for criminal offences tried ex officio,whereas a private prosecutor is authorized for criminal offences tried by private claim. According to Article35 of the Law on Responsibility of Legal Entities for Criminal Offences, the proceedings may be initiatedagainst the legal entity, its responsible person or both, in which case the proceedings are to be held jointly.The state and other authorities, persons and legal entities have a duty to report criminal offences of whichthey become aware. Not reporting a criminal offense may be considered a criminal offence.
In the pre-criminal proceedings the public prosecutor is in charge of the investigation, although the policealso have extensive investigative authority. In preliminary criminal proceedings an indictment is raisedagainst the accused. If the court accepts this indictment, the main criminal proceedings are initiated.
The main criminal proceedings are composed of the preliminary hearing and the main hearing. The mainhearing is a central part of criminal proceedings and the presentation of evidence is its key feature. After theweighing of evidence, the court decides on the matter by way of a verdict. The final part of the main hearingis the reading of the verdict. The verdict may dismiss the indictment, or acquit or convict the accused.
An appeal is a regular legal remedy against the verdict which can be filed by the prosecutor, the accused,his/her defender, or the injured party within 15 (fifteen) days after delivery of the verdict. The appeal isfirst filed with the first instance court for review of procedural preconditions. The first instance court mayreopen the main hearing if the conditions are fulfilled. The first instance court than delivers all filedocumentation to the second instance court for review. If the court in the second instance overturns theacquitting verdict of the first instance court, an appeal is also allowed against such second instant verdict.Extraordinary legal remedies against final court verdicts are the reopening of criminal proceedings and arequest for protection of the law.
Of course, a pivotal role in criminal proceedings belongs to the public prosecutor. According to Article 43of the Law on Criminal Proceedings, the public prosecutor is in charge of pre-investigation proceedings,conducting the investigation, deciding on initiating criminal prosecution, raising the indictment and filingappeals and extraordinary legal remedies against court decisions.
The police and other relevant authorities involved in pre-investigative proceedings have a duty ofcompliance with requests of the public prosecutor and of informing him or her of every action undertakenin this respect. Failure to comply with such requests may lead to disciplinary action.
The injured party has a focal role as well. It may participate in the proceedings as an injured party, as aninjured party prosecutor, or as a private prosecutor. An instrumental right of the injured party in criminalproceedings is the right to submit a property claim. A property claim may be a claim for damages, returnof possession or setting aside of a specific legal transaction.
As an injured party prosecutor, the injured party represents the indictment and assumes the rights of thepublic prosecutor in this regard, with the exception of those rights which the public prosecutor has as astate official. As a private prosecutor, the injured party represents a private claim before the court.Interestingly, the accused against whom a private criminal claim was raised may submit a counterclaimagainst the private prosecutor.
As illustrated above, the injured party has significant authority in criminal proceedings. It may indicatefacts and propose evidence, and has a right to inspect files and objects of evidence. During thehearings, the injured party may be in attendance or it may have a lawyer present as representative. If thepublic prosecutor withdraws from criminal prosecution, the injured party may take over.
Moreover, by way of submitting a property claim, an injured party may claim damages and reclaimfinancial losses without having to undergo litigation. In addition, it may submit propositions andevidence for its property claim. The injured party may also request an interim injunction in order tosecure the property claim.
However, if the injured party choses to initiate litigation against a criminal offender, the civil courts arebound by the criminal court's convicting verdict on the existence of the crime as well as the criminalliability of the offender. Notwithstanding certain limitations concerning confidential information,documents obtained in criminal proceedings may be used in later litigation.
There are currently no available statistics that would show the average time span of any part of criminalproceedings in business crime cases as the criminal offences vary in difficulty and the time span wouldgreatly depend on a number of factors including, for example, the quantity of evidence.
With respect to costs, other than court fees, costs of criminal proceedings are comprised of fees and ex-penses for witnesses, court interpreters, experts, expert advisors, translators, transportation costs for offi-cials and the accused, possible medical expenses of the accused if he or she was incarcerated, necessaryexpenses of the defence lawyer, the private prosecutor or injured party prosecutor and other costs.
When the court finds the accused guilty, it will order him or her in the verdict to reimburse the costs ofthe criminal proceedings. If the criminal proceedings are discontinued or the accused is not found guilty,the court budget or the private prosecutor will bear the costs of proceedings. The private prosecutor mayagree on sharing the costs with the accused if the private claim is withdrawn.
From a public law perspective, business crime can be observed as a constant combat of the stateagainst corruption and malpractice in business transactions. For example, under the Law on PublicCompanies, general managers of public companies are not able to hold posts in political parties. Inrelations between private parties, a criminal conviction eases the process of claiming damages as maybe seen further below.
Other than the above, a noteworthy novelty from a wider business crime perspective is a Central Recordof Measures which operates as of 1 June 2016 which provides an online record of decisions, verdicts,and other documents by which state authorities issued measures in criminal, misdemeanour, or any of alarge number of administrative proceedings conducted under Serbian law, thereby increasing thetransparency of doing business in Serbia. This public record contains information on sanctions issued bya number of Serbian authorities and required a joint effort of the Serbian Business Registers Agency, theSerbian courts, the National Bank of Serbia, but also the tax authority and over 30 other inspectorates.
The measures included in this record include any prohibitions and limitations to performing businessactivities and also of the ability to dispose of company funds or of shares/stock in commercial entities. Thisrecord also contains valuable information on revocation of any licences. With respect to individuals, thisrecord contains information of those prohibited from acting as responsible persons for companies andentrepreneurs, within the meaning of Serbian law, although the scope of information provided is subject todata protection and criminal record regulations. The Central Record of Measures, therefore, provides avaluable single point of reference where the public and interested parties, usually prospective or currentbusiness associates, can inquire as to the conduct of certain persons in Serbian commerce, whether theyhave been issued any of the above measures or otherwise fail to comply with Serbian business law.
Insolvency proceedings are governed by the Serbian Insolvency Law. The latest amendments of this lawcame into force on 25 December 2017.
There are two different ways in which insolvency proceedings may be carried out: (a) through abankruptcy of an insolvent debtor; or (b) through reorganization. Insolvency proceedings are carried outin a special department of the Commercial Court.
The main distinction between bankruptcy and reorganization proceedings is that in bankruptcy, theinsolvent debtor’s assets (or if the debtor is a legal entity, the legal entity) are sold and the proceeds ofthe sale are distributed to the debtor's creditors. Whereas in reorganization proceedings, the creditorsand the insolvent debtor may agree on the reorganization of the debtor and its liabilities, which should inturn result in the future settlement of those liabilities. In short, bankruptcy proceedings result in theliquidation of the insolvent debtor, whereas in the case of reorganization, the debtor continues to exist.
The purpose of the bankruptcy proceedings is for the insolvent debtor’s estate to be liquidated and dis-tributed to the creditors in accordance with the procedure established by the Insolvency Law. Bankruptcyproceedings may be initiated by creditors or the debtor, as well as by the liquidation administrator. In ad-dition, in certain situations the Public Defender, the Public Prosecutor or the Republic Tax Office may ini-tiate bankruptcy proceedings. The petition to initiate bankruptcy proceedings may be withdrawn beforethe opening of the bankruptcy proceedings, which begins with a posting on the court's announcementboard. Bankruptcy proceedings generally consist of: (a) preliminary proceedings, where the reasons forthe bankruptcy proceedings are stated and evaluated; and (b) the main bankruptcy proceedings.
When the requirements for initiating bankruptcy proceedings are met, the debtor, the bankruptcyadministrator, the creditors (holding at least 30% of the respective claims towards the debtor) andpersons holding at least 30% of the debtor's capital may propose reorganization. Reorganization mayalso be proposed simultaneously with the filing of the petition to initiate bankruptcy proceedings, andgenerally cannot be proposed later than 90 (ninety) days after bankruptcy proceedings have beeninitiated. Once approved by the creditors, the reorganization plan becomes a new agreement for thesettlement of the claims specified, and this new agreement is directly enforceable. However, the debtorremains under the supervision of the bankruptcy administrator, and bankruptcy proceedings may be re-initiated if the debtor breaches the obligations set forth in the reorganization plan or the provisions of theBankruptcy Law.
Liquidation proceedings are regulated separately by the Serbian Commercial Entities Act and carried outin a special department of the Commercial Court. The purpose of liquidation is to compensate all of thecompany’s creditors before the company ceases to exist. If conditions for initial bankruptcy proceedingsexist, liquidation proceedings will not be conducted.
Arbitration proceedings are governed by the Serbian Arbitration Act, which entered into force on 10 June2006. The Arbitration Act applies to both domestic and international arbitration proceedings where theseat of arbitration is in Serbia. International arbitration is generally defined as arbitrations whose subjectmatter concerns disputes arising out of international commercial business relations. In general, Serbiancompanies are willing to sign arbitration clauses, especially concerning international commercial andbusiness transactions.
The last few years have seen a number of developments with respect to Serbian arbitration institutions.The Belgrade Arbitration Centre was established in 2013 as a permanent arbitral institution thatadministers domestic and foreign disputes in accordance with its BAC Rules. The BAC also assists intechnical and administrative aspects of ad hoc arbitral proceedings under rules other than its own andfurthermore organizes and conducts mediation sessions.
Also, as of June 2016, the Permanent Arbitration at the Serbian Chamber of Commerce was establishedas an arbitration institution. This is only formally a new institution as it was formed by merging two long-standing independent arbitration institutions that existed at the Chamber of Commerce, namely, theForeign Trade Court of Arbitration and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Other chambers andorganizations may also establish institutional arbitration courts, if their professional rules allow. Forexample, according to the Serbian Securities Act and the legal provisions governing the Belgrade StockExchange, disputes related to stock exchange transactions between members and participants of theStock Exchange, or between these entities and the Stock Exchange, may be resolved by the StockExchange Arbitration Court.
Under Serbian law, the arbitration agreement must be in writing, and is deemed to be in writing ifcontained in documents signed by the parties or in other forms of communication exchanged betweenthe parties that provide written proof of the existence of the parties' mutual agreement to settle thedispute through arbitration.
Arbitration may only be agreed upon for the resolution of proprietary disputes arising out of rights of theparties over which they may freely dispose. Claims where the subject matter is in the exclusivejurisdiction of the state courts (such as disputes concerning real estate in Serbia, marital and familydisputes, personal status rights etc.) are not arbitrable.
The Arbitration Act does not stipulate a maximum duration of the arbitration proceedings. However, theAct does require the arbitrators to diligently and efficiently carry out their duties as arbitrators. Theparties are free to agree on the substantive law, the procedural rules, the seat and language ofarbitration.
Depending on the agreement between the contracting parties, arbitration proceedings may be presidedover by an arbitral tribunal or by a sole arbitrator. There may only be an odd number of arbitrators. Inaddition, the parties may agree on the procedure for appointing the arbitrators. However, if no agreementhas been stipulated in the arbitration agreement or reached between the parties in this respect, a localcourt shall decide how the arbitrators should be appointed.
The decisions of arbitral tribunals are based on material laws, legal rules, agreements and customs;however, the tribunal may also decide on the basis of what is just and fair (ex aequo et bono) if theparties have so agreed. If the parties have not agreed on the applicable substantive law and legal rulesgoverning the arbitral proceedings, the arbitral tribunal or arbitration court may decide on the basis ofconflict of laws rules.
The Arbitration Act provides that arbitral tribunals have the authority, unless the parties to the arbitrationagree otherwise, to order upon request of a party such interim measures as the tribunal deems necessary.
The Arbitration Act stipulates that the parties may request interim measures from a court either before orduring arbitral proceedings (Article 15 Arbitration Act). The Arbitration Act also stipulates that this possibilityexists even when the arbitration agreement relates to arbitration that has its seat outside of Serbia.
Under the Arbitration Act domestic arbitral awards (i.e. awards rendered in Serbia) may be challengedby way of a claim for annulment. The Arbitration Act contains an exhaustive list of grounds for suchchallenge (Article 58 Arbitration Act). Those grounds include:
-invalidity of the arbitration agreement;
-lack of due process;
-incorrect composition of the arbitral tribunal;
-lack of arbitrability;
-violation of Serbian ordre public; and
-false testimony or a criminal act of an arbitrator or a party to the proceeding
(if established by a final court judgment).
Foreign judgments and foreign arbitral awards may be enforced only if the foreign award has beenpreviously “admitted” to the Serbian legal system in recognition proceedings. When recognized by aSerbian Court, a foreign award receives the same status as a domestic award.
Enforcement of a foreign judgment in Serbia is subject to the requirement of reciprocity, unless thecreditor in the judgement is a Serbian citizen, or if the dispute is of a marital nature or for the purpose ofdetermining paternity or maternity. In all other cases, there must be reciprocity with the foreign state thatrendered the judgement. Even if diplomatic reciprocity does not exist, factual reciprocity is deemedsufficient. Generally, factual reciprocity is presumed unless it is proven to the contrary. If there is doubt,an inquiry should be made to the Ministry of Justice to determine whether reciprocity exists whereby theMinistry provides an explanation thereto.
Serbian courts will refuse to recognize foreign arbitral awards, upon a proposal of a party against whichthe enforcement is sought, based on grounds which are essentially the same as the described groundsfor challenge of domestic arbitral awards. However, whereas the false testimony or criminal act of anarbitrator or a party to the proceeding is not among the grounds for refusal of the recognition of a foreignaward by Serbian courts, the recognition of the award may be refused based on one additional ground.Namely, if the foreign award has not yet become binding for the parties, or if it has been annulled or itsenforcement has been stopped by a court of the state where or based on whose law the award wasrendered, the Serbian court will be entitled to refuse its recognition (and enforcement).
Serbia is a party to the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of ForeignArbitral Awards, with the reservations that the Convention will only be applied to the recognition andenforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting state and will only be applied todifferences arising out of legal relationships, whether contractual or not, that are considered commercialunder the national law and will only be applied to those arbitral awards which were adopted after theentry into effect of the Convention. Serbia is also a party to the 1961 European Convention onInternational Commercial Arbitration.
Yes. According to the Law on Judges, a lay judgemay be an adult citizen of the Republic of Serbiawho is honourable for such a function. The layjudge may not be a lawyer and may not providechargeable legal services.
Family Law prescribes that the lay judges mustpossess an experience in working with children.
-The party is obligated to provide the court withany document which is used as a proof of thatparty’s arguments. The party must make allrelevant claims, state all relevant facts, statethe value of the dispute, and include all otherinformation which is duly enclosed with everysubmission and make all evidence proposals
at the preliminary hearing at the latest.
-If the party refers to a document but claims
that the document is in the possession of theother party, the court shall request the otherparty to present the document within adetermined period of time.
-The party may not refuse to present thedocument if (i) the party itself referred to thedocument in the course of the proceedings;
(ii) the party is obliged to hand the documentover by substantive law; or (iii) the document isqualified as a “joint deed” between the parties.
-The court may order a third person to present thedocument only when such obligation is providedby substantive law, or the document is qualified
as a “joint deed” between the party that refers tothe document and the third party. This court orderis enforceable. The court may impose a fine up
to EUR 1,300 for a physical person or a fine up
to EUR 8,700 for a legal entity.
Limited. The Civil Procedure Code does not provide for a special proceeding for collective redress.Traditional tools of multiparty practice such as joinder and consolidation of proceedings are applied.
-Litigation costs include court fees, attorneys'fees and expenses for expert opinions andwitnesses.
-Court fees have to be paid upon filing the claim.
-Court fees in the first and second instanceshave to be paid by the filing party.
-If a claim is filed by a foreign party, a defendantmay file a request for a security. If the courtaccepts such a request, the foreign party shallbe obligated to pay such security. Otherwise,
the claim shall be deemed revoked.
-Litigation costs are awarded against the losingparty who must reimburse the winning party.
-If a party has been partially successful, the courtmay order that each party bears its own costs,or that one party reimburses the other party aproportional amount of the costs.
-Regardless of the outcome, a party mustreimburse the costs of the other party that resultas a fault of that party or by events thathappened to that party.
-Unless the parties agree otherwise, or ifotherwise prescribed with another statute, eachparty bears its own costs if the litigation resultsin a court settlement or a settlement aftermediation.
-Reimbursement of attorneys' fees has to bemade on the basis of the fees provided for in
the Act on Attorneys' Tariffs.
-The actual attorney fees of the party (dependingon the fee agreement between attorney andclient) may be substantially higher but they areof no relevance to the opposing party.
-Agreements on Quota litis and contingency
fees are generally prohibited for Serbian lawyersin all types of proceedings.
-The Serbian Civil Procedure Code prescribesthat in the first instance, the court may becomprised of a panel of judges or a sole judge.The panel of judges consists of one judge, thepresident of the chamber, and two lay judges.
-The sole judge tries property disputes if theamount in the dispute does not exceed EUR50,000 in RSD counter-value on the middleexchange rate of the National Bank of Serbiaon the day of filling the appeal.
-In the second instance, the court is comprisedof a panel of three judges. There are no jurytrials in the second instance. In the thirdinstance the Supreme Court of Cassationadjudicates in a chamber of three judges.
-Judges who rule on Family Law matters musthave experience in working with children.
-With respect to commercial disputes, the solejudge tries such disputes in the first instance.In the second instance, the court is comprisedof a panel of three judges.
Simple cases:first instance: 1 to 2 years;second instance: 9 to 12 months; third instance:within 1 year.
Complex cases:first instance: 3 to 4 years;second instance: 9 to 12 months; third instance:within 1 year.
Pro Bono System
-If the party’s financial situation does not allowthe party to bear litigation costs, the court shallexempt the party from payment of such costs.
-The party may be exempted from payment of (i)all litigation costs (i.e. court fees, attorney feesand other expenses), in which case thepresident of the court shall appoint the party’slegal representative from the list of the lawyerssubmitted to the court by the Bar Association;
or (ii) only court fees.
The Law on Civil Proceedings introduces theobligation of the court to conduct the proceedingsin accordance with a predetermined time-frame.
The Civil Procedure Code prescribes specialrules for the disclosure of documents.
-A party who has legal capacity may take part inthe court proceedings independently. The partymay act personally or may engage arepresentative to act in the name and on
behalf of such party.
-A party who does not have legal capacity mustbe represented by a legal representative.
-As an exception, a party must be represented bya lawyer in proceedings initiated on the basis ofa request for protection of legality.
STANDARD CIVIL PROCEEDINGS
Court fees are based on the Law on Court Feesand depend on the amount in dispute. Examplesfor commercial disputes:
-Amount in dispute: EUR 47,620; court fees:EUR 1,000 in the first instance;
-Amount in dispute: EUR 95,240; court fees:EUR 2,750 in the first instance.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 1,000,000: First instance: preparation oftwo briefs, four hearings with a duration of 1h, 2h,4h, and 6h, respectively, preparation ofhearings/meetings with client, witnesses,correspondence with client: In total EUR 20,000to EUR 40,000; second instance: one brief, nohearing: EUR 5,000 to EUR 15,000; thirdinstance: one brief, no hearing: EUR 4,000 toEUR 12,000.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 10,000,000:First instance: preparation
of 4 comprehensive briefs, six hearings with aduration of 2h, 4h, and 4 x 8h; preparation ofhearings/meetings with client, witnesses,correspondence with client: In total EUR 35,000to EUR 120,000; second instance: one brief, nohearing: EUR 15,000 to EUR 30,000; thirdinstance: one brief, no hearing: EUR 15,000 toEUR 30,000.
-A defendant who is unable to pay counsel feesand expenses due to his/her financial status isassigned a defence lawyer upon request, if thecriminal charges may result in incarceration forlonger than three years or if such appointment ofcounsel is considered just. The costs of defencein this case are borne by the court budget.
-The defence lawyer is appointed by thepresident of the court from a list provided bythe Bar.
-Representation may be assigned to an injuredparty prosecutor, if the criminal charges mayresult in incarceration for longer than fiveyears, if it is in the interest of the proceedingsand if the party is unable to bear the costs of
-In certain criminal cases, the defendant musthave a lawyer representing him. If the defendant,for any reason, is without representation, an exofficio counsel will be assigned to him or her bycourt decision from the list provided by the Bar.
Documents are obtained by the competentauthorities or are submitted by the partiesthemselves, ex officio or upon request of a partyin the proceedings.
-If a person or state entity refuses at the requestof authorities to voluntarily surrender adocument, it will be obtained by a decision ofthe court.
-If the original of a document was destroyed, ismissing or is for any other reason impossible toobtain, a copy of the document will be obtained.
Traditional tools of multiparty practice such asjoinder and disjunction of proceedings are applied.
In the first degree, the court tries the case in apanel of one judge and two lay judges for criminaloffences punishable by 8 to 20 yearsimprisonment, and two judges and three layjudges for criminal offences punishable by 30 to40 years imprisonment.
Pro Bono System
-Official statistics are currently unavailable. Inpractice however, criminal proceedings tend tobe very lengthy and may go on for years.
-In some simple cases, a minimum durationwould be 2 years, and in more complex casesthe investigation proceedings alone may lastup to 5 years.
Varies, both with respect to court fees andattorneys' fees.
There is no jury in a traditional sense.
-Criminal proceedings are generally held by
oral hearings. The indictment is orallypresented by the prosecutor. The injured partymay orally submit its property claim. Oralpresentations are in the majority ofcircumstances established as a right, ratherthan a duty.
-The prosecutor's closing argument mustcontain an assessment of the evidence,conclusions derived from presented facts, anindication of relevant provisions in criminal andother laws, as well as extenuating andaggravating circumstances to be taken intoconsideration, and a proposition of type andextent of criminal sanctions.
-The ex officio defence counsel has a duty topresent the closing argument, unless thedefendant expressly objects. The defendanthas the right to declare whether he or sheaccepts the defence counsel's closingargument as well as to correct it andsupplement it.
-Only an attorney can act as a defence counsel.
It is difficult to estimate costs in criminalproceedings due to their indeterminate lengthbut also due to other factors depending on thecomplexity of a given case.
-The Law on Enforcement and Security providesfor two types of injunctions: (i) preliminaryinjunctions; and (ii) temporary injunctions.
-The preliminary injunction may be imposed by adomestic court on a monetary claim which hasnot become final or enforceable, if anenforcement creditor establishes the probabilitythat there is a risk that, without such securing,satisfaction of the claim would be impossible ormade significantly more difficult.
-The temporary injunction may be orderedbefore or in the course of court or administrativeproceedings as well as after termination of suchproceedings, until enforcement is conducted.
-The temporary injunction for securing monetaryclaims may be ordered if the enforcementcreditor has shown the probability of theexistence of the claim and the risk that, withoutsuch temporary injunction, the enforcementdebtor would prevent or considerably hindersatisfaction of the claim by disposing of, hidingor otherwise making unavailable his property ormeans.
-The temporary injunction may be ordered tosecure a non-monetary claim, if theenforcement creditor has shown the probabilityof the existence of the claim and a risk thatotherwise satisfaction of the claim would beprevented or considerably hindered.
Generally, a decision on a request forpreliminary/temporary injunctions is renderedwithin 10 days.
Appellate proceedings: 1 to 2 months in thesecond instance; 3 to 4 months in the thirdinstance.
Preliminary Injunction Proceedings
If the request for a preliminary injunction isapplied for together with a claim in the mainproceedings, the court fee for the claim as well asfor the request for the preliminary injunction hasto be paid.
Assumptions: Only the request for apreliminary injunction is filed, the courtrenders its decision without hearing theopponent: first instance: EUR 2,000 to EUR4,000; second instance: one brief, no hearing:EUR 4,000 to EUR 8,000; third instance: onebrief, no hearing: EUR 4,000 to EUR 8,000.
Assumptions: Apart from filing the request fora preliminary injunction, two comprehensivecounter statements are filed in reply to twostatements of opponent; witnesses are heard:Total costs (including meetings withclient/witnesses) in first instance: EUR 15,000 toEUR 25,000; second instance: one brief, nohearing: EUR 10,000 to EUR 25,000; thirdinstance: one brief, no hearing: EUR 10,000 toEUR 25,000.
According to the Permanent Arbitration, at the time of submission of a request for arbitration, a claim,
a counterclaim, or a set-off claim, the party shall deposit the amount of EUR 200 as a registration fee.
Assumption: The amount in dispute is EUR 1,000,000: Total costs: registration fee of EUR 200
and administrative fee of EUR 27,000.
Assumption: The amount in dispute is EUR 10,000,000: Total costs: registration fee of EUR 200
and administrative fee of EUR 63,600.
Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 1,000,000: Review of 100 pages ofdocuments; no challenge to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal; two exchanges of submissions; reviewof correspondence with arbitral tribunal; assistance with the preparation of 4 witnesses; review of 4written witness statements; no experts; preparation of oral hearing and participation in an oral hearing;preparation and review of one post-hearing brief. Total approximate cost: EUR 100,000.
Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 10,000,000: Review of 1,000 pages ofdocuments; no challenge to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal; two exchanges of submissions;
review of correspondence with arbitral tribunal; assistance with the preparation of 8 witnesses; review
of 8 written witness statements; document production up to 500 pages; preparation and review of expertopinions; preparation of oral hearing and participation in an oral hearing; preparation and review of onepost hearing brief. Total approximate cost: EUR 250,000.
In exceptional cases, the arbitral tribunal or thesole arbitrator may - with the consent of thePresident of the Permanent Arbitration - decide toextend the arbitral proceedings, if this isnecessary for the purpose of obtaining evidence,or if the parties make such a request, or for otherjustified reasons.
According to the Permanent Arbitration,arbitration proceedings shall be completed withinsix months from the date of constitution of thearbitral tribunal or the appointment of the solearbitrator. Rules on expedited procedure apply ifthe amount in dispute is less than EUR 50,000.
The Law on Arbitration as well as the Rules of the Permanent Arbitration do not provide for special rulesregarding the presentation of documents.
-The party seeking recognition/enforcement offoreign judgments must provide the court withthe following documentation: the original foreignjudgment, a certified translation of the judgment,and a certificate issued by the competentforeign court proving that the judgment is legallybinding/enforceable.
-Pursuant to the Arbitration Act and the New YorkConvention, the party seekingrecognition/enforcement of an arbitral awardmust provide the court with the followingdocumentation: the original arbitral award or aduly certified copy thereof, an agreement onarbitration or a document on acceptance ofarbitration in the original or a duly certified copythereof, and certified translations of theabovementioned documents.
According to the Law on Court Fees, for thepurpose of issuing a decision on recognition, thefollowing amounts have to be paid:
Civil proceedings: EUR 18.
Commercial proceedings: EUR 185.
Other court fees for enforcement proceedings, aswell as the fees of the public enforcement officer,depend on the amounts awarded by the respectiveforeign judgement or arbitral award.
Application for recognition/enforcement:
Simple case: EUR 250 to EUR 450.
Complex case: EUR 1,000 to EUR 4,000.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards
-The decision on opening of the insolvencyproceedings shall be delivered, on the sameday it was rendered, to the debtor, theauthorized petitioner, the organizationcarrying out the enforced collectionprocedure, the business register kept withthe Business Registers Agency, or otherrelevant registry, as well as to other persons(if the court estimates that there is a need forsuch delivery).
-Immediately after rendering the decision onopening of the insolvency proceedings, theinsolvency judge shall draft theannouncement on opening of the insolvencyproceedings.
-The announcement on opening of theinsolvency proceedings shall be publishedon the court's board, on the court's electronicboard, in one high-circulation dailynewspapers distributed across the entireterritory of the Republic of Serbia, and in the“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”.
Filing ofInsolvency Claimsby Creditors
The Insolvency Law prescribes that insolvencyproceedings may be initiated on a motion filed bya creditor, an insolvency debtor or a liquidator.
The insolvency proceedings shall be openedwhen at least one of the following reasons isestablished with respect to insolvency debtor:
-failure to comply with the adoptedreorganization plan or if the reorganization planwas put into effect in a fraudulent or unlawfulmanner.
2½ years. In very complexes cases, duration of more than 10 years is possible.
An amount of EUR 10 has to be paid for each filing.