Amendments of Law on civil proceedings and Law on free legal aid
National Assembly of Republic of Serbia has adopted certain amendments of Law on civil proceedings in November, 9th 2018. Those amendments came into force on eight day from the day of its publication In the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”. The only amended article is Article 204.
Before adoption of above mentioned amendment, the Article 204 was proscribing:
“If the party disposes with the object or with the right on which the litigation proceeding is being conducted, this does not prevent the litigation proceeding between the same parties to be ended.
The person who has obtained the object or the right on which the litigation proceeding is being conducted can enter into litigation proceedings instead of the plaintiff or the respondent, but only if both parties agree to it.
In the case referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, the judgement rule has an effect on the acquirer as well”.
After adoption of amendments, the paragraph 2 and 3 of Article 204 now provide:
“A person who has obtained the object or the right from the defendant on which the litigation proceeding is being conducted, may enter into litigation proceeding instead of defendant, only if both parties agree to this.
A person who has obtained from plaintiff the object or the right on which the litigation proceeding is being conducted may enter into litigation proceeding, but only on the basis of a written consent submitted by the plaintiff to the court.”
There are a few specific reasons for amendment of the certain article, and some of them are:
Strategy for troubleshooting problem loans (“Official Gazette of RS” No. 72/15), adopted by the Government, in Part II – Strategy goal and key priorities, in chapter 2.4.2. – Removing legal barriers, finds especially problematic the sale of problem loans in which the bank has a position of a seller and if the litigation procedure on this loan is initiated by the bank. Pursuant to the applicable provisions of the Law on Civil Proceeding, a person who purchases a problematic loan agreement, on the basis of which the litigation proceeding is conducted, could not enter a litigation proceeding instead of a bank without the consent of both parties to the dispute. Such legal solution represents an obstacle to the development of the market of problem loans. The above mentioned amendments to the Law on Civil Procedure allow the buyer of a problematic loan to enter the litigation proceeding in an easier way instead of the bank.
Therefore, unlike the previous legal solution, no further consent given by the respondent is required for other person to enter into a litigation proceeding. In this case, other person would be the person who has acquired from the plaintiff the object or the right on which the litigation proceeding is being conducted, but only the written consent given by the plaintiff to the court , thereby making easier entry for the acquirer into a litigation proceeding.
In addition to all above mentioned, actual legal solution does not contain former paragraph 3 of the Article 204 of the Law on Civil Procedure, which was regulating the effect of the judgement rule in relation to the acquirer of the objects or rights who enters into litigation proceeding instead of any of parties, since the previous application of that particular paragraph caused a lot of practical problems.
Law on free legal aid (hereinafter: “Law”) has been adopted by National Assembly of Republic of Serbia on the November 9th of 2018. The importance of this adoption lays in the fact that free legal aid had never been part of Serbian legislation before. However, the Law will not be applicable immediately. The Law contains 61 Articles and all of them will come into force on the eighth day from the date of its publication in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia”. However, the Law will become applicable from 1 October 2019, except for the provisions of Art. 44. to 52. which shall apply from the date of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union.
In accordance with the Law, precisely Article 4, free legal aid can be provided to a citizen of the Republic of Serbia, a stateless person, a foreigner with permanent residence in the Republic of Serbia and another person who has the right to free legal aid under another law or a confirmed international treaty.
Furthermore, in order to be entitled to free legal aid, a person shall meet the conditions to be a beneficiary of the right to financial social assistance in accordance with the law governing social protection.
Article 9 of the Law proscribes that free legal aid will be provided by attorneys at law and legal aid services in local self-government units.
Article 11 of the Law also stipulates the specific forms of free legal aid, and those forms are:
- providing general legal information;
- filling out forms;
- drafting a notary public document;
- mediating dispute resolution.
Financing of free legal aid and free legal support is foreseen from the budget of the Republic of Serbia and local self-government units, as well as through donations and project financing.
From the budget of the Republic of Serbia and local self-government units, it is compensated for the provision of free legal aid, the preparation of a public notary’s document and mediation in resolving the dispute, while this is not provided for in the first instance administrative procedure.
This Law also recognizes associations of citizens for the first time by the system law as providers of free legal aid, and having in mind the project financing from public revenues prescribed by law, associations will thus be able to finance the provision of free legal aid.
The novelty is also the introduction of quality control and responsibility for the conscientious and professional provision of free legal aid, then the obligation for local self-government units that did not do so to form a free legal aid service.
Adoption of this law, along with fulfillment of the other obligations are one of the basic conditions in the process of accession of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union, which Republic of Serbia has certainly met.
In case of any issues regarding this amendment, you may contact Marko Trišić, Partner at firstname.lastname@example.org or any of your regular contacts at Živković Samardžić.