UPDATE: The Croatian Legal System and Legal Research

By Dunja Kuecking and Milivoje Žugic
Updated by Milivoje Žugic and Siniša Žugić

Siniša Žugić is a graduate of Benedictine college, KS (class of 1999). He received an Executive MBA degree from Cotrugli Business School in 2016. He currently serves Intellectio Iuris in an advisory (marketing) role.

Milivoje Žugić is a graduate of the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb (1969). He worked as a judge until 1982, when he entered a private law practice. He lives and works in Zagreb, and specializes in land registry law. He is the author of a paper about the legal position of clients of the Bank of Ljubljana (Ljubljanska Banka) after the dissolution of former Yugoslavia.

Published July/August 2017
(Previously updated byDunja Kuecking, Milivoje Žugic and Tajana Pazman in May 2007; by Dunja Kuecking, Milivoje Žugic and Marija Glibota in Oct. 2009; and by Dunja Kuecking and Milivoje Žugic in Oct. 2013)
See the Archive Version!

1. Independence

How did the Republic of Croatia come into being and what is its legal basis? Croatia was established with the dissolution of Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) and it is one of its legal successors. The document that supports its existence as an independent state is the Constitutional Decree of Sovereignty and Independence of Republic of Croatia, published on June 25, 1991.

Therein, the Republic of Croatia proclaims its sovereignty and independence from the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.

The second document that justifies Croatia’s independence is the decision the Parliament made on October 8, 1991 to seek international acceptance as an independent state. In Croatia’s national law, this date is considered to be the first day of the beginning for Croatia as an independent state, although Croatia was not officially recognized as a state until January 15, 1992. That date could be considered its international birthday.

A hierarchy of legal norms characterizes the legal system in Croatia. They are arranged in five levels, and the norms lower in rank have to be congruent with those of higher levels. The highest norm is the Constitution – the fundamental law. The Constitution was originally created on December 22, 1990. It underwent changes in 1997, 2000 and 2001 (Constitution of the Republic of Croatia Official gazette number 56/90, 135/97, 8/98 - consolidated version, 113/00, 124/00 – consolidated version and 28/01, 41/01, 76/10, 85/10 and 05/14 consolidated version).

It is based on two important principles: division of power in the government and the rule of law. Ranking in importance after the constitution are constitutional laws (1. Constitutional Act for the implementation of the Constitution. 2. Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. 3. The Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities. 4. Constitutional Act on the Cooperation of Republic of Croatia with International Criminal Court). Ranked third in importance are international contracts. Fourth in importance are the EU laws since Croatia became a full member of European Union on July 1st 2013 and fifth - Croatian laws and sub-statutory acts.

Croatia has 11 member representatives in the European Parliament who were elected on May 25th 2014 and will serve until 2019.

The Parliament of the Republic of Croatia enacts the Constitution, Constitutional laws and regular laws. Laws of the European Union are passed by The Council of the European Union (not to be confused with European Council or Council of Europe), while bodies of executive power (The Government and the Ministries) pass sub-statutory acts.

2. The Structure of the Croatian Government

Croatia is a parliamentary democracy. Croatia possesses a multi-party system based on the principle of three branches of government (system of tripartite authority).

Some experts hold, that considering its power that includes the ability to abolish the decision of Executive, Judicial and even Legislative power, the Constitutional Court could be considered the “forth authority”.

Each one of these branches of government has the highest authority in its sphere of competence. The Legislative branch has the highest authority in making laws, Executive in executing those laws and Judicial in judging its citizens. The Government of the Republic of Croatia holds the highest Executive power. Besides, the Government of Croatia has a President who also has certain powers, mainly with regards to protocol.

Court jurisdiction is tightly related to article 29 of the Constitution and Article 6 of European Convention of Human Rights that guarantees a right to a fair trial. Here, it is necessary to say that Croatia, by becoming a member of Council of Europe on November 5th 1997, accepted the European Convection of Human Rights and jurisdiction of European Court of Human Rights (with its seat in Strasburg) over its Constitutional Court. With its accession into the European Union Croatia also recognized the jurisdiction of European Court of Justice (with its seat in Lichtenstein) over its judiciary.

The Constitutional Court, we repeat, could be considered a fourth portion of the government sui generis.

For additional information, please also see the final section in this guide, Online Resources in Croatia.

2.1. The Legislative Branch

The highest organ of the Legislative branch is the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia (Sabor Republike Hrvatske). The Parliament has only one house, and 151 representatives (zastupnici) to the Parliament are elected in direct parliamentary elections in a secret voting procedure based on equal right to vote of all adult individuals (men and women) of 18 and older. We use the party-list proportional representation method and the election is held once every four years. Preferential voting was first introduced during European Parliament elections in 2013 and since then it has been a part of the regular voting law. Provisions exist for early elections. Once in Parliament, elected representatives organize into groups made up of representatives of political parties that passed the “electoral brink”. There are independent representatives. All chosen representatives have a free, not imperative, mandate. The election is carried out in twelve electoral units. Ten of those are based on territorial principle, eleventh electoral unit is a unit made up of Croatian Diaspora that exists throughout the world. This should be understood in a manner that Diaspora has an allotted number of representatives in Croatian Parliament. Twelfth electoral unit is secured for national minorities. The election is supervised by the National Electoral Committee (Drzavno izborno povjernstvo - DIP) headed by the president of the Croatian Supreme Court.

The Parliament has the authority to enact laws in any session where a majority of representatives are present. There are two kinds of laws:

Something entirely different are elections for the local government (municipalities and counties).

Laws and consolidated codes can be found at ZAKON.HR and in the National Gazette.

2.2. The Executive Branch

Considering the fact that Croatia is a parliamentary democracy, the executive power is divided between the President (Predsjednik Republike Hrvatske) - Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the Government. The President is elected in direct presidential elections for a period of five years, and can serve up to two terms. The President represents the state in the country and abroad, and his powers are essentially those of state protocol. He has the authority to dissolve the Parliament and he proposes a candidate for a mandate of Prime Minister.

The Government holds the highest executive power in Croatia. According to protocol, the President confers the mandate to the Prime Minister of the Cabinet who is usually a president of the party that has most votes in the Parliament. The Prime Minister is confirmed by the Parliament, and he has the power to appoint the members of his Cabinet. The Cabinet of the Republic of Croatia is made up of the Prime Minister (Andrej Plenković) and 21 ministers, four of whom are vice presidents of the Government (Martina Dali, Davor Ivo Stier, Damir Krstičević and Ivan Kovačić in resignation). Croatia is currently experiencing a Governmental crisis considering that four Cabinet members resigned.

The Government of the Republic of Croatia exercises its power in accordance with the Constitution and law; its internal organization, operational procedures and decision-making process are defined by the Law on the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Rules of Procedure of the Government.

The Government passes decrees, introduces legislation, proposes the state budget and enforces laws and other regulations enacted by the Croatian Parliament, other regulation that itself passed or were passed by their ministries. Within the scope of its powers, the Government also passes decrees, administrative acts and orders on appointments and relief of appointed officials and civil servants. The Government decides in cases of conflict of jurisdiction between government institutions, gives answers to representatives' questions, prepares proposals of laws and other regulations, gives opinion on laws and other regulations and adopts strategies of economic and social development.

The Government answers to the Croatian Parliament. The Prime Minister and the members of the Government are jointly responsible for decisions passed by the Government and individually responsible for their respective portfolios.

As we stated previously, Croatian President confers the mandate for the formation of the Government (the Cabinet) to a parson in a political party which has won at least a relative majority on the election. He or she submits the proposed Cabinet for Parliament's approval. At times this requires formation of coalitions as it was on this election.

The term of office of the members of the Government shall begin with the date of appointment and terminate with the date of relief.

2.2.1. List of Ministries (Names, Addresses, Telephones, Faxes, E-mails and URLs)

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
Trg Nikole Subica Zrinjskog 7-8
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4569 964 | Fax: +385 1 455 1795 | E-mail: kabinet.ministra@mvep.hr
Minister: Ivo Davor Stier

Ministry of the Interior
Ulica grada Vukovara 33
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 612 071 | Fax: +385 1 612 2139 | E-mail: pitanja@mup.hr
Minister: Vlaho Orepić (in resignation)

Ministry of Defense
Sarajevska cesta 7 1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4567 111 | Fax: +385 1 4568 109 | E-mail: infor@morh.hr
Minister: Damir Krstičević

Ministry of Science and Education
Donje Svetice 38
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 456 9000 | Fax: +385 1 4594 301 | E-mail: ministar@mzo.hr
Minister: Prof. dr. sc. Pavo Barišić

Ministry of Finance
Katanciceva 5
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 459 1300 | Fax: +385 1 492 2583 | E-mail: kabinet@mfin.hr
Minister: Zdravko Marić

Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 610 6111 | Fax: +385 1 6109 110 | E-mail: ministar@mingo.hr
Minister: dr.sc. Martina Dalić

Ministry of Culture
Runjaninova 2
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 486 6308 | Fax: +385 1 4816 755 | E-mail: vesna.vlasic@min-kulture.hr (minister’s secretary)
Minister: dr. sc. Nina Obuljen Koržinek

Ministry of Environment and Energy
Republike Austrije 14
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3717 111 | Fax: +385 1 3717 149 | E-mail: ministar@mzoip.hr
Minister: Slaven Dobrović, Ph.D. (in resignation)

Ministry of Justice
Ulica grada Vukovara 49 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3714 500 | Fax: +385 1 3714 507 | E-mail: ministar@pravosudje.hr
Minister: Ante Šprlje (in resignation)

Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure
Prisavlje 14
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3784 520 | Fax: +385 1 3784 550 | E-mail: ministar@mmpi.hr
Minister: Oleg Butković

Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds
Rackoga 6
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6400 660 | Fax: +385 1 6400 664 | E-mail: lidija.augustinovic@mrrfeu.hr (minister’s secretary)
Minister: Gabrijela Žalac, dipl. oec

Ministry of Health
Ksaver 200 a
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 460 7555 | Fax: +385 1 467 7076 | E-mail: diana.glavina@miz.hr (minister’s secretary)
Minister: prof. dr. sc. Milan Kujundžić, dr.med., primarijus, FEBGH

Ministry of Social Policy and Youth
Trg Nevenke Topalušić 1 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 5557 111 | Fax: +385 1 5557 222 | E-mail: ministarstvo@mdomsp.hr
Minister: Nada Murganić

Ministry of Agriculture
Ulica grade Vukovara 78
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6106 111 | Fax: +385 1 6109 200 | E-mail: office@mps.hr
Minister: Tomislav Tulušić

Ministry of Public Administration
Maksimirska 63
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 2357 506 | Fax: +385 1 2357 600 | E-mail: kabinet@uprava.hr
Minister: Ivan Kovačić (in resignation)

Ministry of Tourism
Prisavlje 14
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6169 180 | Fax: +385 1 6169 181 | E-mail: ministar@mint.hr
Minister: Gari Cappelli

Ministry of Labor and Pension System
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6106 835 | Fax: +385 1 6109 638 | E-mail: javnost@mrms.hr
Minister: Tomislav Ćorić

Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning
Ulica Republike Austrije 20
Phone: +385 1 3782 143 | Fax: +385 1 3772 555 | E-mail: form available at website
Minister: Lovro Kuščević, dipl.iur.

Ministry of Veterans' Affairs
Trg Nevenke Topalušić 1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone.: +385 1 2308 817 | Fax: +385 1 2308 827 | E-mail: ministarstvo@branitelji.hr
Minister: Tomo Medved

Ministarstvo Državne Imovine
Ulica Ivana Dežmana 10
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6343 401 | Fax: +385 1 6448 906 | E-mail: kabinet@midim.hr
Minister: doc. dr. sc. Goran Marić

Government of the Republic of Croatia
Trg sv. Marka 2
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4569 222 | Fax: +385 1 6303 019 | E-mail: predsjednik@vlada.hr
Prime minister: mr. sc. Andrej Plenković

2.2.2. Offices of the Government


Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia
Trg Sv. Marka 2
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 456 9222 | Fax: +385 1 630 3023

Public Relations Office
Trg Sv. Marka 2
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 456 9239 | Fax: +385 1 630 3022 | E-mail: press@vlada.hr
Spokeswoman: Sunčana Glavak

Office for Protocol
Director: Blanka Jurić Jerbić
Trg svetog Marka 2,
Zagreb
Phone: (01) 6303-081 | Fax: (01) 6303-086 | E-mail: protokol@vlada.hr

Legislation Office
Director: Zdenka Pogarčić
Trg svetog Marka 2,
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: (01) 4569 244 | Fax: (01) 4569 386 | E-mail: zakonodavstvo@vlada.hr | E-mail: zdenka.pogarcic@vlada.hr

Office for Internal Audit
Director: mr.sc. Nevenka Lipovac
Ulica grada Vukovara 72/IV,
10000 Zagreb
Phone: (01) 6345 333 | Fax: (01) 6345 332 | E-mail: ured@revizija.vlada.hr

Directorship for the use of the official airplanes
Director: Ivan Klanac
pp 78, 10410 Velika Gorica
Phone: +385 1 6303-150 | Fax: +385 1 6224-677 | E-mail: direkcija@sabor.hr

Office for NGOs
Director: Vesna Lendić Kasalo, dipl. iur.
Opatička 4
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4599 810 | Fax: +385 1 4599 811 | E-mail: info@udruge.vlada.hr

Office for Prevention of Drug Abuse
Director: Željko Petković
Preobrazenska 4
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 487 8122 | Fax: +385 1 487 8120 | E-mail: ured@uredzadroge.hr

Office for Mine Action
Hrvoje DebačAddress: Mesnička 23,
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6303 990 | Fax: +385 1 6303 996 | E-mail: info@mine.vlada.hr

Office for Gender Equality
Mesnička 23
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 630 3090 | Fax: +385 1 4569 296 | E-mail: ured.ravnopravnost@urs.vlada.hr
Director: mr. sc. Helena Štimac Radin

Office of the Commission for Relationships with Religious Communities
Director: Šime Jarčić
Mesnička 23
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4569 557 | Fax: +385 1 4569 383 | E-mail: ured@ukovz.vlada.hr

Office for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities
Director: Branko Sočanac
Trg maršala Tita 8/1, 10000 Zagreb
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4569 358 | Fax: +385 1 4569 324 | E-mail: ured@uljppnm.vlada.hr

Office of the Agent of the Republic of Croatia before the European Court Rights
Government Agent: Štefica Stažnik
Address: Dalmatinska 1, 10000 ZAGREB
Phone: +385 1 4878-100 | Fax: +385 1 4878-111 | E-mail: ured@zastupnik-esljp.hr

2.2.3. Central State Administrative Office

Public Procurement Office
State secretary: Ivan Bubić
Ulica Ivana Lučića 6-8/II 10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4599 831 | Fax: +385 1 599 844 | E-mail: info@sredisnjanabava.hr

State Office for Croats Abroad
Hwead of State office: MSc Daria Krstičević
Trg hrvatskih velikana 6,
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 16444 680 | Fax: +385 16444 688 | E-mail: hrvati.izvanrh@mvep.hr

2.2.4. State Administration Organizations

Central Bureau of Statistics
Ilica 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 480 6295 | Fax: +385 1 481 7740 | E-mail: ured@dzs.hr

State Institute for Nature Protection
Radnička cesta 80/710 144 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 5502 900 | Fax: +385 1 5502 901 | E-mail: info@dzzp.hr

State Geodetic Directorate
Gruška 20
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6165 404 | Fax: +385 1 6165 484 | E-mail: pisarnica_su@dgu.hr

State office for Metrology
Capraška 6
10000 Zagreb
Centrala: +385 1 563 00 00 | Fax: +385 1 563 00 01 | E-mail: pisarnica@dzm.hr

Digital Information and Documentation Office of Croatian Government
Siget 18c
10020 Zagreb
Phone: +385 (1) 4855 827 | Fax: +385 (1) 4855 655 | E-mail: ured@rdd.hr

State Intellectual Property Office
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 61 06 100 | Fax: +385 1 611 2017 | E-mail: kabinetravnatelja@dziv.hr

National Protection and Rescue Directorate
Nehajska 5
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3650 082 | Fax: +385 1 3650 025 | E-mail: kabinet@duzs.hr
Director: dr. sc. Dragan Lozančić

State Office for Nuclear Safety
Frankopanska 11
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4881 770 | Fax: +385 1 4881 780 | E-mail: dzrns@dzrns.hr

2.2.5. Public Sector

Agency for Investment and Competitiveness
Prilaz Gjure Deželića 7
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6286 800 | Fax: +385 1 6286 829 | E-mail: info@aik-invest.hr
Director: Zdenko Lucić

Croatian Competition Agency
Savska cesta 41/VI
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 617 6448 | Fax: +385 1 617 6450 | E-mail: agencija.ztn@aztn.hr

Agency for Transaction and Mediation in Immovable Properties
Savska cesta 41/VI
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6331 600 | Fax: +385 1 6177 045 | E-mail: apn@apn.hr

Central Register of Insured Persons (REGOS)
Gajeva 5
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: + 385 1 489 8900 | Fax: + 385 1 489 8903 | E-mail: regos@regos.hr

Croatian Academic and Research Network CARNet
Josipa Marohnica bb
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1616 5616 | Fax: +385 1 616 5615 | E-mail: ured@CARnet.hr

Croatian Agency for Small Business (HAMAG)
Prilaz Gjure Dezelica 7
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4881 001 | Fax: +385 1 4881 009 | E-mail: uprava@hamagbicro.hr

Croatian Mine Action Centre
Ante Kovacica 10
44 000 Sisak
Phone: +385 44 554 151 | Fax: +385 44 554 142 | E-mail: kontakt@hcr.hr

Croatian Employment Institute
Radnicka cesta 1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: 385 1 6444 000 | E-mail: burzarada@hzz.hr

Croatian Hydrographic Institute
Zrinsko-Frankopanska 161
21000 Split
Phone: +385 21 361 840 | Fax: +385 21 347242 | E-mail: office@hhi.hr

Croatian Institute for Health Insurance
Margaretska 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 480 6333 | Fax: +385 1 480 6345 | E-mail: glasnogovornica@hzzo-net.hr

Croatian Pension Insurance Institute
Mihanoviceva 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 459 5500 | Fax: +385 1 457 5063 | E-mail: ravnatelj@mirovinsko.hr

Environment Agency
Radnička cesta 80
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4886 840 | Fax: +385 1 4826 173 | E-mail: info@azo.hr

Financial Agency (FINA)
Ulica grada Vukovara 70 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 612 7111 | Fax: +385 1 6128 089 | E-mail: info@fina.hr

Fund for the Compensation of Expropriated Property
Ivana Lucica 6
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 2226 404 | Fax: +385 1 2226 415 | E-mail: info@fnoi.hr

State Agency for Deposit Insurance and Bank Rehabilitation
Jurisiceva 1
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 481 3222 | Fax: +385 1 481 9107 | E-mail: dab@dab.hr

Croatian Personal Data Protection Agency
Martićeva ulica 1410 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4609 000 | Fax: +385 1 4609 010 | E-mail: azop@azop.hr

Croatian Agency for Supervision of Financial Services (HANFA)
Miramarska 24b10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6173 200 | Fax: +385 1 4811 406 | E-mail: info@hanfa.hr

Croatian Accreditation Agency
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6106 322 | Fax: +385 1 6109 322 | E-mail: akreditacija@akreditacija.hr

The State Audit Office
Tkalciceva 19
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4813 292 | Fax: +385 1 4813 304 | E-mail: revizija@revizija.hr

2.2.6. Monetary Power

Croatian National Bank

The National Bank of Croatia is the highest organ of monetary power in Croatia. The head of the National Bank of Croatia is a Governor. The active Governor is Boris Vujičić. He is chosen by Parliament and some hold that in the Constitutional sense he is of the same rank as the Prime Minister. With Croatia's entry into the EU, the position of Croatian National Bank will change because of the process of forming a monetary union at which point Central European Bank will formally become superordinate to CNB.

Hrvatska Narodna Banka
Trg hrvatskih velikana 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 456 4555 | Fax: +385 1 461 0551 | E-mail: info@hnb.hr

2.2.7. Independent Organizations

It is important to mention that there are independent organizations in Croatia. Free Advocacy is the only organization that stems directly from the Constitution.

The Croatian Bar Association
Free advocacy in Croatia has a tradition that is over 100 years old. It is obligatory for lawyers to be part of the Bar Association. There is only one bar association in Croatia at this moment. Croatian Bar Association is a member of Union Internationale Des Avocats. Today, the Bar has over 4000 members. The position of lawyers will change since Croatia recently became a member of EU.

Hrvatska odvjetnička komora
Koturaska 53/2
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6165 200 | Fax: +385 1 6170 686 | E-mail: hok-cba@hok-cba.hr

Croatian Chamber of Notaries
Croatian Chamber of Notaries is an association of Croatian public notaries. Its seat is in Zagreb, and its function is, with the help of Ministry of Justice, to supervise the work of all public notaries. Public notaries are persons of public trust and their work consists of assembling and publishing public documents concerning all legal transactions, statements and facts that are basis for establishing rights, between private persons. It witnesses the signatures and certifies the validity of personal identification papers. They act as a safe depository for documents, money or objects etc. Public notaries are independent proprietors and notary is their sole occupation.

Hrvatska Javnobilježnička Komora
Radnička cesta 34/II
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 455 6566 | Fax: +385 1 455 1544 | E-mail: hjk@hjk.hr

The Croatian Chamber of Economy
The Croatian Chamber of Economy is an independent professional and business organization of all legal entities engaging in business. It was established in 1852, organized in European tradition and on the so-called continental model of Austrian and German chambers.

The Croatian Chamber of Economy consists of the Headquarters in Zagreb and 20 county chambers. Among these, the Zagreb Chamber represents both the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County. Functionally, the CCE consists of 8 departments dealing with the respective branch of the economy, and it also includes 40 professional associations, 87 groups and 19 affiliations. Apart from this, within the CCE act five business centers, Permanent Arbitration Court, Conciliation Centre, Court of Honour and CCE Office for Areas of Special State Concern.

Hrvatska gospodarska komora
Rooseveltov trg 2
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4561 555 | Fax: +385 1 4828 380 | E-mail: hgk@hgk.hr

Croatian Standards Institute
Ulica grada Vukovara 78
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6106 095 | Fax: +385 1 6109 321 | E-mail: hzn@hzn.hr

2.3. Judicial Branch

Judicial power in general is regulated through Law of the Courts and is inspired by the idea of independent courts. State Judiciary Council appoints all judges for life as an independent state institution formed of Parliament members, judicial authorities, well-respected public persons and members of Croatian Bar Association. Minister of Justice names the presidents of the courts from among the appointed judges and the president of the Supreme Court of Croatia is chosen by the Parliament based on the proposition from the Cabinet.

Types of courts:

2.3.1. Courts of General Jurisdiction

Courts of General Jurisdiction are the cornerstones of judicial practice in Croatia. These courts judge in all disputes except in those where law explicitly determines jurisdiction of another court. These courts are organized hierarchically in three instances and are divided into regions.

A) Municipal Courts
Municipal Courts are courts with first instance jurisdiction in both civil and penal cases. In penal litigation, the courts judge in all cases where the penalty goes up to 10 years. The novelty is that legal persons can also be liable for criminal acts. In civil litigation, these courts judge as first instance courts in all judicial, extra-judicial and execution procedures, especially in litigation against unlawful actions, and lawsuits for correction of information.

Municipal courts hold land registers that are the only legally valid registry service of real rights in Croatia. Reform of the land registry is complete. At the moment, there is discussion that sections of municipal courts that judge land registry disputes be separated out as special courts.

B) County Courts
County courts are almost exclusively second instance courts. On occasion, these courts are used as first instance courts: in penal litigation if the punishment by law surpasses 10 years or by special regulations (the court decides in the compensation amount for expropriated real estate, it decides on a right to belong to an association etc.). It is important to recognize that a right to an appeal is a Constitutional right of every citizen and a right of every legal entity (for instance, corporation). Protection of this right, just as all other Constitutional rights, is guaranteed by the Constitutional Court through the institute of constitutional complaint (Ustavna tuzba). Constitution guarantees that every legal entity can appeal against any and all acts of either executive or judicial power, which determine the entities’ legal rights and obligations. As all court decisions are acts of the Judicial branch of the government, the structure allows for an appeal against any decision made by the municipal courts. In that case, district court acts as a court of appeal.

C) The Supreme Court of Republic of Croatia
Supreme Court is a court of full jurisdiction with respect to all courts decisions and it can void them, confirm them, or revise them (unlike in France or Italy). The Supreme Court is the highest court in Croatia, and as the last instance it decides on extraordinary legal remedies against valid court decisions of the courts of general jurisdiction (dismissed appeal), and all other courts in Croatia. The Supreme Court is also an appellate court in all cases where county court was the first instance.

We already mentioned the fundamental rules under which courts rule. a novelty is that since July 1st 2013 when Croatia joined the EU and even earlier the case law practice of European court of Human Rights and European Court of Justice became formal source of law in a way that - if anyone is damaged by a court’s ruling that is contrary to the practice of aforementioned courts, that person is entitled to a change in said ruling.

Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia
Trg Nikole Subica Zrinjskog 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 486 2222 | Fax: +385 1 486 2254 | E-mail: vsrh@vsrh.hr

2.3.2. Commercial Courts

Commercial courts keep records of all commercial subjects, they rule in commercial litigation, they also rule in some special cases as stipulated by law and in all cases where the other party in litigation is Republic of Croatia. All commercial courts that are generally located in county seats are hierarchical and have the following organization.

Appeals from judgments of first instance commercial courts are filed and resolved at the High commercial court level (this is a full jurisdiction court) with its seat in Zagreb. The Supreme Court of Croatia then decides the extraordinary legal remedies for appeals filed from the High commercial court.

High Commercial Court
Berislaviceva 11
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: + 385 1 489 6888 | Fax + 385 1 4872 329 | E-mail: ured.predsjednika@vts.pravosudje.hr

2.3.3. Police Courts

These courts pass judgments on physical and legal persons for misdemeanor offices. Recently, these courts have been included in the system of ordinary jurisdiction.

They are organized in two instances:

Jurisdiction according to extraordinary legal remedies for appeals to the decisions of High Police Court is possible at the Supreme Court of Croatia.

High Police Court
Dukljanova 3
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4807 510 | Fax: + 385 1 4611 291 | E-mail: tajnik@vpsrh.pravosudje.hr

2.3.4. Administrative Court

Administrative courts have gone through large changes in the last few years. Now, there are four first instance administrative courts located in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek. Recently, they became the courts with full jurisdiction. In the second instance in case of complaint the appellate court is High Administrative Court in Zagreb. The purpose of these courts is to control the regularity in decisions made by executive bodies that made decisions in two instances. Big news in these courts is that the procedure now allows for a public hearing if parties ask for it. There is also talk of forming financial courts.

Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia
Frankopanska 16
10 000 Zagreb,
Phone: +385 1 4807 800 | E-mail: Ured.Predsjednika@vusrh.pravosudje.hr

All court processes are thoroughly regulated by procedural rules under which legal remedies have an important role. Legal remedies are well-developed means that are available to civil persons in all different levels of judicial decision-making process. Arbitration is a viable option in every instance of the courts because the decisions made by arbiters are accepted by the state.

2.3.5. Constitutional Court of Croatia
This is not really a court, although it is called that way, and it does have some judicial authority. It is definitely not a court with full jurisdiction. It was conceptualized as a fourth branch of government, and its authority is provided for by the Constitution. It is called the fourth portion of the government because it has some power over all three branches of government. The details of its day-to-day operation are set in a special constitutional act – Constitutional Court Act. The judges to the Constitutional Court are elected to run a term of eight years and there are provisions for their re-election. The purpose of this court is to keep the purity of the legal system. Its primary job is to solve constitutional challenges of laws and sub-statutory acts by performing their constitutional revues (ocjena zakonitosti, ocjena ustavnosti). The court has an authority to abolish laws if it rules that the particular law is unconstitutional (it rarely does so and most of the time the legislative power complies with its requests to modify the existing laws and bring them in accordance with the Constitution).

There are two types of entities that can initiate the procedure before the Constitutional court:

In the latter case, the Constitutional Court is not under obligation to start a process, but it has an obligation to rule on each proposition and state if it will. or if it will not. start the procedure and why. Judgments of regular courts are called verdicts and writs, while judgments of the Constitutional Court are called decisions and writs.

Decisions of the Constitutional Court are judgment in meritum and writs are judgments non meritum (these are the matters of process). All of the important decisions of the Constitutional Court must be published in Narodne Novine – the official gazette of Republic of Croatia. Writs are published only if the Constitutional Court decides to publish them. It is important to recognize that all of the decisions of the Constitutional Court are considered a precedent (case law), because according to the Constitution all courts and other governmental bodies must adhere to the opinions and interpretations of the Constitution and laws made by the Constitutional Court. Besides this fundamental jurisdiction, this court helps in execution and control over the elections to the Parliament and solves any questions concerning the conflict of jurisdiction of the legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The Court decides on appeals against the decisions of State Judiciary Council to impeach judges due to disciplinary violations. Any breaches of human rights guaranteed by the Constitution also fall under its jurisdiction. Only in these matters this court can interfere in particular judicial acts (litigation), and this is the sole reason it was named a court although it stands completely outside the hierarchy of the courts. If the rights and freedoms of any individual citizen (or a legal entity) are hurt through any act of judicial or executive power, they have a right to protection, with respect to procedural assumptions (lawsuit was filed in allotted time period – 30 days, and all other legal remedies have been exhausted), based on a constitutional complaint (ustavna tuzba) - specific legal action before the Constitutional Court. If it pertains to a judicial act, the Constitutional Court appears to be the court of the fourth instance (an instance above the Supreme Court), but with exclusive jurisdiction to confirm or deny the decision’s validity. This is in accordance with the European tradition and is completely opposed to the practice in the United States of America. At average, this court will accept 1.5 percent of constitutional complaints.

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia
Trg Sv. Marka 4
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6400 250 | Fax: +385 1 455 1055 | E-mail: Ustavni_sud@usud.hr

3. Human Rights in Croatia

Human rights and basic civic freedoms in Croatia are guaranteed by chapters two and three of the Constitution that regulate the basic rights and freedoms of every citizen, non-citizen and a legal entity. A measure of this is provided by the Constitutional Court which ensures the protection of the said rights. Economic, social, political, and cultural rights of individuals are also provided for in other parts of the Constitution.

Croatia is a co-signer of many international conventions and contracts (be that it signed them itself or accepted them as a legal successor of SFRY – Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia) concerning the human rights and freedoms, in particular: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Final Act of Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, Charter of Paris for a New Europe and what is most important, the European Convention of Basic Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. After joining the EU, European Convention on Human Rights became very important.

This is important because it shows that Croatia has accepted the concept of international protection of human rights and liberties, and therefore accepted the jurisdiction of the European Court for Human Rights in the field of human rights and liberties. So, this court could be, on occasion, a fifth instance court. Since Croatia became the member of the EU, Croatia accepted EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Today, the issue of human rights has moved towards social protection. The main objectives now are social security, protection of property, freedom of speech (press and other media), etc.

Many organizations for the protection of human rights and liberties act in the territory of Croatia, some of them are:

UNHCR Hrvatska,
Radnička cesta002041/7, 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3713 555 | Fax: +385 1 3713 484 | E-mail: hrvza@unhcr.org

Croatian Helsinki Committee
Domagojeva 16
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4613 630 | Fax: +385 1 4613 650 | E-mail: hho@hho.hr

With the appearance of the Balkan Route for the Syrian refugees two more organizations have gained more prominence:

Croatian Red Cross
Ulica Crvenog križa 14, P.P.93
10 001 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4655 814 | Fax: +385 1 4655 365 | E-mail: redcross@hck.hr

Jesuit Refugee Service Croatia
Sarajevska 41
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: + 385 98 99 35 863 | E-mail: info@jrs.hr

Important political institution as of late is the office of the Information Commissioner of Croatia. The job of the commissioner, ranked higher than a minister, is to ensure the access to information of all the citizens of the Republic of Croatia on the level guaranteed by the democratic standards of the European Union.

Povjerenik za informiranje
Jurišićeva 19
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4609 041 | Fax: +385 1 4609 096 | E-mail: ppi@pristupinfo.hr

4. Non-Governmental Organizations in Croatia

All registered associations in the Republic of Croatia are entered into the Register of Associations of the Republic of Croatia. The Register is managed by the Central State Administrative Office for Public Administration of the Republic of Croatia.

Domicile Associations – At this moment, Republic of Croatia has more than 39 thousand registered domicile associations. More than 400 of the above-mentioned associations register their main activity as the protection of human rights.

Foreign Associations - At this moment Republic of Croatia has 134 registered foreign associations.

5. Unions in Croatia

The Constitution guarantees the freedom of syndical organizations and a right to strike. There are syndicates of general type and “branch” syndicates (i.e. Syndicate of health workers). The largest union organization in Croatia is an Independent Croatian Union. It consists of 65 smaller unions.

President: Kresimir Sever
Address: Trg Francuske revolucije 9/V - 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 3908 620 | Fax: +385 1 3908 621 | E-mail: nhs@nhs.hr

6. Judicial Reform

Judicial reform is a comprehensive project whose main goal is improving and accelerating the work of all judicial bodies in Croatia, the establishment of the rule of law through the strengthening and updating of the judiciary, greater legal security to citizens, and efficiency in the prosecution of crime and corruption. Up to the date Croatia became part of the European Union, it implemented European Law, especially laws with regards to environmental protection. In this period, more than several thousand laws were modified or passed.

The main requirements for successful implementation of the reforms are training judges and prosecutors, along with the computerization of the entire judicial system and the system of public administration. In order to achieve the best possible expertise of judges, legal advisers, public prosecutors, deputy prosecutors, deputies and advisers, Justice Academy was established with the support of the EU project "Support to Reform of Justice-Judicial Academy in Croatia”.

Computerization involves making a network system and application solutions for the monitoring of all processes in the judicial system, establishment of central database in which data will be aggregated for entire Croatia. One of the priorities is the founding of a database in which data will be consolidated by combining land records along with real estate cadastre data, in an electronic form.

The e-Land-Registry Certificates Project:

In order to develop a strong and efficient system for land administration, the Real Property Registration and Cadastre project (RPRCP) was initiated and successfully completed. The main aim of the project is to speed up real estate registration and real estate ownership rights in Cadastre offices of the State Geodetic Administration and the land registry offices of Municipal courts. At the state level, the Land-registry Database of the Republic of Croatia is organizationally and technologically a united body of data which consists of land-registers recorded by electronic data analysis (EDA – land-register) and cadastre real property completed by electronic data processing (digital cadastre plan with associated cadastre data).

Today, an online service for digital land registry with access to databases of around 109 courts is accessible to the public. In the most recent development, lawyers and public notaries can report from their computers on contracts that change legally relevant sate of lend registry books (when property exchanges hands) without having to actually go to the land registry office.

The e-Cadastre Project

The Central Office of the State Geodetic Directorate maintains cadastre data for the Republic of Croatia which unifies data from all of the 115 cadastre offices. In November 2005, a browser for cadastre data was established within the e-Cadastre project and thus providing insight via the Internet into the central cadastre database of the Republic of Croatia. The cadastre database contains more than 16 million registered land plots which are entirely accessible by using the web browser, that is, the e-Cadastre project. The e-Cadastre service enables the checking of cadastre plots, authentication of data entries as well as the latest data changes and documentation based on which changes were made. An insight into cadastre data is possible by using the number of the cadastre plot or the number on the ownership document in a chosen cadastre municipality. Data available through the Browser show the official situation of cadastre data on a particular day. Considering that e-Cadastre contains stored information on all cadastre plots in Croatia, which makes it the most complete database on the spatial situation in the Republic of Croatia, e-Cadastre is becoming very important in solving cadastre issues. It increases the security in legal real estate trade, the development of spatial plans and reconstruction and maintenance of land registries. With a complete insight into all cadastre plots in the Republic of Croatia, the main condition for system transparency – as one of the main principles in fighting various injustices in the operations and corruption, is met. This is also important for the ongoing process of land re-parceling.

The e-Court Registry Project

The Court registry contains all entities that are being founded, including trading companies, co-ops, institutions, etc. The Court registry contains accurate data on the name, headquarters, activities, board members, company and capital stock. The insight into the Court registry via the Internet was made possible already in 1995. A simpler registration of business subjects is one of the more important activities of the Ministry of Justice in creating a suitable business enterprise environment. Changes in the Law on the Court registry, investments in the information system of court registries of commercial courts, automation of administrative and accounting judicial operations, criminal and minor offence records, simplify procedures when establishing companies and provide simpler access to data from the court registry. The aim of the project is a quality and transparent monitoring of the situation of companies and other entities.

The e-Bulletin Board and Court Networking Project

A project for developing a single intranet and internet network for judicial bodies which will create prerequisites for the exchange of documents and information within the judiciary has been initiated. The Ministry of Justice is working on introducing online bulletin boards for its courts across the country. The aim of the project is to become one of the controlling mechanisms in the implementation of the anti-corruption politics, and to reduce the costs of court proceedings. The e-bulletin boards of Municipal courts announce summons and all rulings (precedents, rulings and conclusions) for parties which are not present or whose place of residence is unknown. The e-bulletin boards of Commercial courts announce filing of bankruptcy and liquidation over companies, as well as rulings of Commercial courts in relation to the defendants who are not present and whose place of residence is unknown. One year back, the Ministry of Justice implemented a new program e-Predmet which allows common citizens to check the state of their case before the courts through Internet by poaching in their case number.

e-Citizan

Since 2014, Croatia started implementing the e-građani service and now offers more than 30 services to its citizens available online.

6.1. Fight Against Corruption and Crime
By adoption, ratification, and publication of the UN Convention against Corruption, provisions of the Convention became part of Croatian legal system. Consequently, there is an obligation to develop plans and programs to combat corruption at the national level. As a major part in the fight against corruption and organized crime, a proposed Bill came into power on the first day of 2009, called Criminal Procedure Code (CPC, Official Gazette no. 152/08, 24 December 2008). The new CPC abolishes the institution of investigating judges and the State Attorneys take the lead role in investigation. The current investigative judges become judges of the investigation, and their number has been reduced. They now monitor human rights and legality of the procedure, regulate the relationship between defendants and prosecutors; decide on the rights and the balance between the parties in the proceedings. They also decide on appeals against detention and approve special measures to collect evidence, such as tracking, wiretapping and searches. In 2009, a special Act – Act on the Office for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime was passed (USKOK, Official Gazette no. 76/09, 1 July 2009., 76/09, 116/10, 145/10, 57/11 and 136/12) by which special Courts are organized for cases in which corruption and organized crime took place.

6.2. Education of Judges

An important role in the judicial reform has the permanent education of judges, judges’ clerks and state attorneys. This obligation for judges is written in the Court Act (2005), articles 85-93. For such purposes, Ministry of Justice instituted the Law Academy.

Law Academy
Address: Ulica grada Vukovara 49- 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 371 4732
E-mail: andrea.posavecfranic@pravosudje.hr (head of the academy)

The E-Case Law Database Project

By providing an important insight to the Case law in Croatia and more transparency in the work of Courtssince December 2003, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia has been issuing texts of court rulings on the Internet (with the protection of privacy). The e-Case law database portal provides an insight into the case-law published in printed versions of the Supreme Court under the heading “Selection of Rulings”, but also gives access to complete texts on the rulings of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia since 1993 until today. In addition to the above, at this portal you can find a selection of the decisions of other courts in the Republic of Croatia (for now mostly the Municipal and County courts and the High Commercial Court of Croatia).

The Supreme Court publishes a printed collection of its judgements under the title “Selection of the Decisions of the Supreme Court” twice a year. The High Administrative Court also publishes its decisions in printed form once a year, while High Commercial Court publishes its decisions twice a year, but is late in publishing its decisions by two years.

6.3. Information Society

A very significant branch of law has been developing in Croatia since year 2000. It is connected to the goal of the Government to transform the Croatian society into an information society, due to the development of Internet, online legal transfers and information protection. Since then, the following Acts were adopted:

7. Legal Education in Croatia

In Croatia, there are four law schools (faculties of law). Croatian law faculties successfully met the challenges of the Bologna process (Convention on Recognition of higher education qualifications in areas Europe, Official Gazette, International Agreements, 9/02, 15/02) and extended the four-year undergraduate studies in law, with a five-year integrated Graduate Program and Graduate Studies, which leads to one academic degree – Master Of Law.

Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb - It was established in 1776. Annually it enrolls 860 students and it offers postgraduate studies in: commercial law, civil law sciences, international public law, administrative law, punitive procedural law, fiscal systems and fiscal politics European law. The Faculty publishes its own magazine – Zbornik pravnog fakulteta Zagreb since 1948.

The Dean of the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb, prof. dr. sc. Dubravka Hrabar
Trg Marsala Tita 14
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 45 64 302 | Fax: +385 1 45 64 372 | E-mail: dekanat@pravo.hr

Law Faculty of the University of Rijeka - It was established in 1973, and annually it enrolls 250 students. It offers postgraduate studies in: law of European integration and international commerce law. The Faculty publishes its own magazine – Zbornik pravnog fakulteta Sveucilista u Rijeci.

Hahlic 6
51000 Rijeka
Phone: +385 51 359 500 | Fax: +385 51 359 593 | E-mail: dekanat@pravri.hr

Law Faculty of the University of Split - It was established in 1961. It annually enrolls 270 students and it offers postgraduate studies in: maritime law and law of the sea. The Faculty publishes its own magazine – Zbornik pravnog fakulteta u Splitu since 1963.

Domovinskog rata 8
21 000 Split
Phone: +385 21 393 500 | Fax: +385 21 393 597 | E-mail: dekanat@pravst.hr

Law Faculty of the University of Osijek - It was established in 1975. It annually enrolls 392 students and it offers postgraduate studies in: governing and development of local and regional self-governing. The Faculty publishes its own magazine – Pravni vjesnik since 1985.

Stjepana Radica 13
31 000 Osijek
Phone: +385 31 224 500 | Fax: +385 31 224 540 | E-mail: ured@pravos.hr

The magazines these faculties publish often publish articles in foreign languages (English, French, German and Italian) and if the articles are published in Croatian, a summary is provided in one of the before-mentioned foreign languages. All of the faculties also publish textbooks.

8. Publishers in Croatia

There are several publishing houses in Croatia that specialize in publishing legal literature:

Informator Novi
Kneza Mislava 7/1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 455 5454 | Fax: +385 1 461 2553 | E-mail: info@novi-informator.net

Organizator
Kralja Zvonimira 26
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 461 1900 | Fax: +385 1 461 1901 | E-mail: organizator@zg.htnet.hr

INŽENJERSKI BIRO
Heinzelova 4a
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 460 0888 | Fax: +385 1 465 0366 | E-mail: ingbiro@ingbiro.hr

RRiF plus
Vlaska 68
10 000 Zagreb,
Phone: +385 1 469 9700 | Fax: +385 1 469 9703 | E-mail: rrif@rrif.hr

NARODNE NOVINE
Ivana Sibla 1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 665 2777 | Fax: +385 1 665 2770 | E-mail: webmaster@nn.hr

ZGOMBIC & PARTNERI
Koranska 16
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4817 125 | Fax: +385 1 4558 467 | E-mail: darija.dominkovic@zgombic.hr

INSTITUT ZA JAVNE FINANCIJE
Smiciklasova 21
10000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4886-444 | Fax: +385 1 4819-365 | E-mail: ured@ijf.hr

9. Legal Journals in Croatia

This is the list of law magazines that are published in Croatia:

Narodne Novine – The official gazette of Republic of Croatia
Ivana Sibla 1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 665 2777 | Fax: +385 1 665 2770 | E-mail: webmaster@nn.hr

Published once a week + according to need

Hrvatska pravna revija
Heinzelova 4a
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 460 0888 | Fax: +385 1 465 0366 | E-mail: ingbiro@ingbiro.hr

Published 12 times a year

RRIF plus
Vlaška 68
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 469 9777 | Fax: +385 1 469 9766 | E-mail: rrif@rrif.hr

Published 12 times a year.

Novi Informator
Kneza Mislava 7/1
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 455 5454 | Fax: +385 1 461 2553 | E-mail: info@novi-informator.net

It comes out Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Porezni Vjesnik
Smičiklasova 21
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4886 444 | Fax: +385 1 4819 365 | E-mail: ured@ijf.hr

Published 12 times a year.

Osiguranje
Miramarska 22
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 633 2503 | Fax: +385 1 633 2050 | E-mail: casopis.osiguranje@crosig.hr

Published 10 times a year.

Pravo u Gospodarstvu
Krizaniceva 16/4
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 461 4890 | Fax: +385 1 461 4890 | E-mail: pravnici.u.gospodarstvu@hi.t-com.hr

Published 6 times a year.

Pravo i Porezi – casopis za pravnu i ekonomsku teoriju i praksu
Vlaska 68
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 469 9777 | Fax: +385 1 469 9766 | E-mail: rrif@rrif.hr

Published 12 times a year.

Carinski Vjesnik
Smicciklasova 21
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4886 444 | Fax: +385 1 4819 365 | E-mail: ured@ijf.hr

Published 10 times a year.

Odvjetnik
Koturaska 53/II
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 6165 200 | Fax: +385 1 617 0686 | E-mail: hok-cba@hok-cba.hr

Radno Pravo
Ilica 51
10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 1 4829 841 | Fax: +385 1 4829 842 | E-mail: radno-pravo@radno-pravo.hr

10. Online Resources in Croatia of Primary and Secondary Legal Materials

The number of online law resources in Croatia is not overwhelming but it keeps increasing.

ZAKON.HR - provides free-of-charge laws and consolidated laws of Croatia in vernacular.

NARODNE NOVINE - The primary source of online laws is Narodne Novine, which is Croatia’s official gazette. The database provides documents in HTML format and is freely accessible to all.

KOREKTOR - Korektor is a private company that provides laws through email. For a fee, they will email you the text of the law.

Intellectio Iuris - The Centre for Law research and documentation, Intellectio Iuris provides the largest database on the territory of Croatia bearing the same name Intellectio Iuris. The database is on the Internet since March 15, 2002 and the database is updated twice a month. This is an ever-growing commercial database covering all branches of law. So, we could say that this is a group of databases. The information it provides is taken directly from the official sources and is reflected faithfully and objectively. The database contains all of the relevant Croatian legal publications and is not partial to any one publisher. Centre’s library contains all of the literature, and all of the literature is indexed in the database. At the moment, Intellectio Iuris is the only online database in Croatia that covers all types of law. The database contains two categories of entries. The first category of entries is judicial decisions. The second category is made up of mono-graphic scientific papers. At this moment, there are over 65,000 entries. 18,500 of these are indexes of mono-graphic works while 46.500 entries cover court practices and opinions of different Ministries, law book revues etc.

The database contains its own search engine using Boolean logic and allows to search through types of information: domestic court practice, foreign court practice, ministry opinions, expert papers and regulations, crossing it with ten search fields: keywords, branch of law, source of decision (name of the court, decisions’ number), regulation article number, regulation, author, publication, year/number of publication, title of authors paper and additions to paper. These fields could be searched individually or simultaneously. The database contains a built-in thesaurus allowing searches in Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian. There are projects in the works that will enable the searches in Macedonian and English language.

Croatia, and all the republics of the former Yugoslavia, have posted their laws on the Internet and have made them available free of charge. This is why the Centre found the entry of laws in the database unnecessary. It is important to mention that every judicial decision and every scientific article points out specifically, in the field “Napomena” (notes), to which regulation or law it refers. In the field title, judicial decision and scientific articles even list which article of law they refer to. Using key terms (keywords), which are abundant for each of the entries, the user can immediately unite both categories of entries for full and complete information on the subject.

In the scientific works, themselves the practice of the courts is often quoted. The database is organized in the manner that if a paper quotes any judgments of the courts, the user can bring it up by entering keyword of the paper in the search field keywords. This is an authentic and highly valuable feature of the database. This is because the judicial decisions offer objective view of the content of a paper, as opposed to excerpts, which may be subjective. In addition, this allows for access to the judicial decisions that are not commonly available in official publications of the courts and are only known to the authors of the scientific papers. Often these authors are judges of the highest courts and have passed some of these verdicts themselves.

Through analysis and systematization of Croatian judicial practice, incongruities were discovered. Wherever this was spotted, it was carefully entered “suprotna odluka” (opposing decision) in the search field “Napomena” (notes) of each of the entries. As all of the entries are unified by the keyword criteria by entering the corresponding keywords, both of the decisions will turn out in the search.

Another authentic and highly valuable feature of the database is that it contains opinions of law experts on certain judicial decisions. If an expert, in his discussion of a legal problem, confirms the validity of a particular decision, it has no comment in the field entitled “Napomena” (notes). If the expert questions the validity of a decision in an article he is writing, it will be marked in the field entitled “Napomena” (notes) by entering the word “upitno” (questionable).

Besides the commercial portion of the database, the website has a non-commercial page User collaboration – where authors publish their articles and make them available for non-commercial research and educational purposes. Part of the database that holds information on labor law is open for free search. Community-oriented, hot topics are another portion of the site where the Centre for legal research and documentation provides law materials about the current issues of state importance discussed in the media. These materials include expert articles of law professors and academics, different international conventions, laws or court decisions. The materials are in PDF and HTML formats. There is an English version of the website containing basic information on Centre for law research and documentation Intellectio Iuris and database.

The final goal is to increase the security of legal practice in Croatia, to help Croatian judicial practice and legislation in achieving congruency with European and worldwide standards. Considering that the law systems of all former Yugoslav republics are almost identical, the goal of this database is to provide the information from all of the former republics. The common history of these countries dictates this, and so does the inevitable cooperation between the countries in the future.

Supreme Court of Croatia
Croatia is preparing to join the European Union and as a part of these preparations, the Supreme Court of Croatia developed a project website where it publishes its own practice. The website offers a full-text search of 181,966 court decision, in HTML format, but only in Croatian. On the same site, you can find some expert papers written by the judges of the Supreme Court and links to other Courts in Croatia and ECHR.

Constitutional Court of Croatia
The Constitutional Court has its own database with decisions, rulings and reports (hereinafter: decisions), made since 1 January 2000 and shown on the official web page of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. They were selected according to several criteria (especially according to a number of addressees and according to the type of Constitutional Court proceedings).

Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia offers free-of-charge search through decisions of Administrative Court. It collects decisions since 1994 although not all of them are in the database.

Catalogue of Official Documentation of Republic of Croatia
Regulations of the Republic of Croatia, International contracts of the Republic of Croatia, Other official documentation of the Republic of Croatia: public documents and publications of the Republic of Croatia, documents from sittings of Government of Croatia, documents from sittings of Croatian Parliament, and Virtual collection of online sources of information and services for citizens.

Land Registry Database
This is a database of all land registry certificates. Reform of judiciary included better organization and modernization of Land registry records. This database is a result. It is still not complete but most of the records are entered and it improved transparency of land registry records significantly.

Court Register of Companies in the Republic of Croatia

This is a database of court register certificates of all companies registered in the Republic of Croatia. It contains basic information on company and is updated daily.

EnterEurope
European documentation center of the Institute for International Relations started the EnterEurope project. The goal of this project is to enable easier online approach to information on institutions, agencies, bodies, policy and law of the European Union.

Information and Documentation Department
The Information and Documentation Department is a part of the Parliamentary Staff Service, and it is charged with the indexing and archiving of all acts of Parliament.

The Department also provides full reference service, which includes responding to requests for articles and information dealing with complex matters of interest to MPs, and utilizing a variety of sources such as articles and electronic documentation.

11. Conclusion

Croatian Judicial system today went through many changes in the process of accession to the European Union. Many laws have changed and Croatia has changed as influenced by these laws imposed upon them by the EU. The biggest influence Croatia has experienced is the adaptation to the European Convention of Human Rights and its article 6 - the right to a fair trial.

Croatia still has to resolve outstanding problems remaining from the SFRJ – In the meantime, the problem of 135,000 depositors of Ljubljanska banka has been solved more or less successfully.

A big challenge remains a complete and congruous application of Agreement on Secession Issues, signed in Vienna on June 26th 2001 and came into power in 2004. Provisions of Annex G that relate to protection of private property of individuals and companies have not, even now thirteen years later, been fulfilled.

Big support in further development will be the development of Internet resources, especially of legal databases. Availability of more information through the Internet will ultimately bring about the development of efficiency, expertise, and judicial security.