The declaration of the state of emergency in the Republic of Serbia and a numerous preventive and restrictive measures continually introducing by the government led to the necessity for reorganization the work of the judicial authorities. Therefore, on 17th March 2020 the Ministry of Justice published a Recommendation no.112-01-557/2020-05 on the work of courts and public prosecutor’s offices during the state of emergency (hereinafter: the Recommendation). Consequently on the recommendation given, throughout the Republic of Serbia courts and prosecutor’s offices issued individual instructions for the conduct and organization of work during the current state.
Having regard to the opposite representations of points 6 and 7 of the Recommendation and consequently instructions adopted by different courts, which provided guidance on the work of civil and criminal matters, the High Judicial Council reached Conclusion no.119-05-132/2020-01 on 18th March 2020 which constitutes the concretization of these points towards future trials that will be held or deferred.
Through the Conclusion of High Judicial Council no.119-05-132/2020-01 of 18th March 2020 (hereinafter referred to as: Conclusion) it was determined that only non-delayed trials will be held during a state of emergency. Non-delayed trials in the first instance are the following:
Trials in criminal matters:
- In which the detention was ordered or motioned,
- conducted in connection with the criminal offenses – Illegal Trade (Criminal Code, Art. 235), Failure to Act Pursuant to Health Regulations During Epidemic (Criminal Code, Art. 248) and Transmitting Contagious Disease (Criminal Code, Art. 249),
- conduced in connection with the minor perpetrator of a criminal offence or the minor injured party, all in connection with sexual offences under Chapter eighteen of the Criminal Code,
- related to domestic violence,
- in the proceedings for which there is a danger of the statute of limitations,
- related to offenses committed during and in connection with the state of emergency,
- conducted in connection with prohibition disclosing or disseminating information through media or similar means.
In all other criminal cases the trials will be deferred till the determination of the state of emergency.
Nothing the regulations and acts adopted for the purpose of preventing the spread of the virus Covid19, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, on 01st April 2020 adopted Regulation 05 no.53-2977/2020 on the subject of presence of the defendant on trials against a defendant who is in detention during the state of emergency. This decree gives the president of the panel i.e. an individual judge the power to decide to ensure defendant’s participation in the trial using technical devices for transmitting images and sound, if he considers that the presence of the defendant is hampered in the view of the risk of spreading an infectious disease.
Trials in civil matter:
- deciding on the interim measures,
- deciding on ordering a measure against domestic violence,
- deciding on holding person a medical institution which is active in the field of neuropsychiatry,
- enforcement of enforceable documents related to family relationships.
In all other cases, hearings are deferred until termination of the state of emergency.
In civil proceedings conducted in accordance with the Recommendation of the Ministry of Justice and the Conclusion of the High Judicial Council, it is suggested that written pleadings for the adjournment of a hearing should be considered in case they enclose written evidence in support of their claims and written consent of the landlord, and are submitted by a lawyer of over 60 years of age or with chronic health problems or a child under 12 years old.
Recommendations of the Ministry of Justice’s are available on the website of the Ministry of Justice’s:
The conclusion of the High Judicial Council can be found on the website of the Supreme Court of Cassation:
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