About the Supreme Court

The Rules of Procedure



The Republic of Croatia
The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia
The Office of the President


   Number: Su- 235-IV/1999



Based on Article 32 of the Judiciary Act (the Official Gazette "Narodne novine" No. 3/94, 100/96 and 131/97) and Article 1 of the Judicial Rules of Procedure  (the Official Gazette  "Narodne novine" No. 80/97 and 20/98), the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, following the prior opinion obtained from  the General Convention of the Supreme Court  held on 19  April 1999, on 20  April 1999 passes

 

The Rules of  Procedure

of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia

 

CHAPTER I
Introductory provisions

Article 1

      The Rules of Work Procedure of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter: the Rules of Procedure of the Supreme Court) shall regulate the internal structure of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter: the Supreme Court) and the operation of the structural units.

Article 2

      The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, as the highest court in the Republic of Croatia, shall ensure the uniform application of the law and equal protection of all citizens before the law.
      The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall be autonomous and independent in its work.
      The Seat of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall be in Zagreb.

Article 3

      The President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia overseas the proper implementation of the Rules of Procedure of the Supreme Court.
      The President of the Supreme Court shall provide mandatory instruction and interpretation of the Rules of Procedure of the Supreme Court.

 

CHAPTER II
The authority and obligations of the President of the Court,
judges and judicial secretaries

      1. The President of the Court

Article 4

      The President of the Court shall:
  - administer the Supreme Court, 
  - represent the Supreme Court, 
  - coordinate the work of the judicial departments and other structural units of the Supreme   Court, 
  - convene and preside over the General Convention of the Supreme Court, 
  - manage the court administration and, as part of judicial administrative duties, issues administrative acts, give rders and instructions, 
  - sign the acts he/she issues, 
  - supervise the material and financial operations of the Court, 
  - perform other duties regulated by the Constitution,  the Judiciary Act, the Act on Civil Servants and Employees, the Judicial Rules of Procedure, and other acts,
- establish cooperation, through the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia,  with the supreme courts of other countries and participate in the work of international meetings in area of the court activity, and cooperate with international institutions for the protection of law, etc.
      In matters of court administration, the President shall delegate certain assignments to presidents of judicial departments and to the Court Secretariat.

      2. The Vice President

Article 5

      If the President of the Supreme Court is unable to attend to a certain matter or is absent, he/she shall be represented by the Vice President of the Supreme Court.

      3. The Council of the President of the Supreme Court

Article 6

      As a rule, the President of the Court shall convene a council once a week as a professional and advisory body.
      The Council of the President of the Supreme Court shall consist of: the President of the Supreme Court, the Vice President and the presidents of the judicial departments.

      4. The Judges of the Supreme Court

Article 7

      The judges of the Supreme Court shall perform the duty of judges by participating in the work of judicial panels, of departmental conventions, of the General Convention of the Supreme Court and the Extended General Convention of the Supreme Court.
      The rights and duties of the judges of the Supreme Court shall be regulated by the Judiciary Act and other acts.

      5. Judicial Secretaries

Article 8

      The secretaries of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall be: the General Secretary of the Supreme Court, the assistant to the General Secretary and the secretaries in the departments of the Supreme Court.
      When determining salaries, the General Secretary of the Supreme Court shall have the status of the president of a department of a county court, the assistant to the General Secretary shall have the status of a municipal court judge, the secretaries in the departments of the Supreme Court in the position of a higher judicial adviser shall have the status of a county court judge, and the secretaries in departments in the position of a judicial adviser shall have the status of a commercial court judge.
      The salaries of the secretaries of the Supreme Court shall be determined by the special act of the President of the Court.

Article 9

      The General Secretary of the Supreme Court shall administer the structural units in the Secretariat of the Supreme Court and directly coordinate the work of court administration and judicial departments.
      The secretaries in the departments of the Supreme Court shall assist judges in their work and independently prepare materials for the work of the panel meetings, as well as drafts of courtof court decisions.
      A secretary in the departments in the position of a higher judicial adviser may be assigned to work in the record's office.
      The assistant to the General Secretary of the Supreme Court shall assist the General Secretary in his/her work.

 

CHAPTER III
The General Convention and Extended General Convention

      1. The General Convention of the Supreme Court

Article 10

      The General Convention of the Supreme Court shall consist of the President and all the judges of the Supreme Court.
      At the General Convention of the Supreme Court the judges shall:

  -   establish general positions in order to achieve the uniform application of the law and equal protection of all citizens before the law in the territory of the Republic of Croatia, 
  -   give opinions regarding draft laws or other regulations intended to determine the power of the court or regulate other issues important for the operation of the court or the exercise of judicial power,
  -   establish guidelines to courts for the monitoring of judicial practice,
  -   propose reports to be forwarded to the Sabor of the Republic of Croatia,
  -   propose persons eligible for membership of the State Judiciary Council,
  -   perform other duties regulated by the Judiciary Act, procedural and other acts, and the Judicial Rules of Procedure.
      The secretaries in the departments of the Supreme Court shall be invited to the General Convention of the Supreme Court, without the right of decision.

Article 11

      The General Convention shall be convened and chaired by the President of the Supreme Court.
      For valid decision-making at the General Convention, at least two thirds of all judges must be present.
      Decisions shall be reached by the majority of votes of all judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia.
      A general legal position adopted by the General Convention shall be binding on all the panels of the Supreme Court and shall be altered only by the General Convention.

Article 12

      The General Convention of the Supreme Court shall reach decisions by open vote.
      When determining the list of candidates eligible for membership in the State Judicial Council, as well as reaching decisions on other issues, the General Convention may decide to adopt a secret vote.
      In the process of proposing candidates for membership of the State Judiciary Council, a greater number of persons shall be proposed than the number of candidates needed. The candidates who receive the majority of votes of all judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected. If two or more candidates receive the same number of votes, voting shall be repeated for these candidates.

Article 13

      At the General Convention the minutes shall be kept and shall be entered into the book of minutes of the General Convention of the Supreme Court. The minutes of the General Convention shall, as a rule, be taken by the General Secretary of the Supreme Court, and shall be signed by the chairperson of the Convention and by a recording clerk.

      2. Extended General Convention of the Supreme Court

Article 14

      The President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall convene an Extended General Convention of the Supreme Court in order to discuss current issues of judicial practice and other issues regarding the activity of courts.
      An Extended General Convention of the Supreme Court may adopt positions and opinions which shall be determined by the majority of votes of all judges constituting the Extended General Convention.
      The secretaries in the departments shall be invited to the Extended General Convention, without the right of decision.

 

CHAPTER IV
The Internal Structure of the Supreme Court

Article 15

      The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall function through the following structural units:

  1.   The Office of the President,
  2.   Judicial departments: the Criminal Law Department and the Civil Law Department,
  3.   The Secretariat.

      1. The Office of the President

Article 16

      In the Office of the President of the Supreme Court entry books and registers of the judicial administration shall be kept and documents of judicial administration shall be classified; a record shall be kept of meetings, as well as of the President's obligations, and of visits paid to the Supreme Court; tasks connected with protocol shall be carried out for the President of the Court, translations shall be made for the use of the President, and cooperation shall be established with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  in order to enable contacts to be made between  the President of the Supreme Court and foreign courts and international institutions; the procedural stage of cases at court departments shall be checked upon petition by citizens in the case of delays.
      In the Office of the President the mail for the President of the Court shall be registered, his/her mail shall be transcribed, telephone calls shall be taken for the President and Vice President, and other tasks shall be performed for the President and Vice President of the Court.

Article 17

      The President's Office shall be run by the head of the Office, helped by the assistant to the head of the Office.

      2. Judicial departments

Article 18

      The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall have a Criminal Law Department and a Civil Law Department.
      The departments of the Supreme Court shall operate through panels and at departmental conventions.

Article 19

      The session of a judicial panel shall be chaired by the president of the panel, and the case under discussion shall be presented by the reporting judge.
      The judges in the panels, compose in the accordance with the procedural rules, shall present cases, deliberate and render decision.
      The composition of the panels shall be determined by the annual assignment of judges.
      The secretaries in the departments shall participate in the work of the panels, and also keep minutes of the sessions of the panels.

Article 20

      At the conventions of the departments of the Supreme Court the issues relating to the work of a department shall be discussed, with special emphasis on the following: the internal operation, the monitoring of work, disputable legal matters, the achievement of uniformity of judicial practice, the improvement of working methods, the professional development of Judges and judicial secretaries, etc.
      At a convention of a department of the Supreme Court, judges shall discuss issues of common interest for some or all courts from the territory of the Republic of Croatia, as well as review and give opinions on draft regulations within a particular legal area, and shall reach decisions on other questions regulated by the Judiciary Act and related acts.
      A convention of a judicial department shall be convened and chaired by the president of the judicial department or by the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia.
      Secretaries of the departments shall also be invited to departmental conventions and shall participate in the work, without the right to vote.

Article 21

      At a convention of a judicial department, legal interpretations on legal matters shall be determined.
      For a decision reached at a convention of a judicial department to be valid, the presence and consent of the majority of judges from the department shall be required.
      A legal interpretation adopted at a convention of a judicial department shall be binding on all panels within the department.

Article 22

      The president of a department shall convene a departmental convention in order to take positions regarding the application of law and differences in interpretation among individual panels or judges, or when one panel departs from a previously adopted legal interpretation.   
      The legal interpretation adopted at a convention of a judicial department shall be binding on all panels within a judicial department, both on those retaining their previously adopted legal interpretation as well as on those that alter their previously adopted legal interpretation of the Department.
      If all members of a panel wish to depart from the legal interpretation adopted at a departmental convention, they may call upon the President of the Supreme Court to put the matter before the General Convention for a final decision.  

Article 23

      When a departmental convention alters the previously adopted, general positions taken at the General Convention of the Supreme Court, the decision of a departmental convention shall be presented to the General Convention of the Supreme Court for a final decision.
      A decision reached at the General Convention shall be entered into the book of general positions (principal decisions) and into the collection of decisions.
      This general position, as a principal decision, shall be binding on all the panel of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, until it is altered or annulled.

Article 24

      If members of a council, when deliberating on a certain matter, decide to depart from the decision already entered in the book of general positions, they shall call upon the president of a department to convene a departmental convention. A departmental convention shall decide whether to put this legal question before the General Convention.     

Article 25

      When a particular legal issue is discussed at a departmental convention, the president of a judicial department shall appoint one or more reporting judges, who shall prepare written material for the convention and forward it to the judges and secretaries of the department, along with a written notice for the convention. 

      2.1. Registrar for recording data, monitoring and studying judicial practice

Article 26

      The duties of recording data, and monitoring and studying judicial practice in judicial departments shall be performed by the Registrar which shall record data, and follow and study judicial practice (hereinafter: the Registrar).
      The Registrar shall perform the following duties:

  1.   follow general legal interpretations and general positions needed to ensure the uniform application of the law and equal protection of all citizens before the law,
  2.   participate in the preparation of preliminary legal interpretations and other materials for the conventions of judicial departments and the General Convention,
  3.   keep records of  decisions which are relevant from a legal point of view (the Collection of Decisions),
  4.   keep records of general position (principal decisions) concerning judicial practice,
  5.   review each decision and document of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia in such a way as to check whether a decision is in compliance with the legal view applied in some prior or coincident decision, and whether a decision is in accordance with the content of a document and with the law,
  6.   select decisions to be published in the publications of judicial practice,
  7.   follow and study the judicial practice of lower courts
      The tasks of the Registrar shall be conducted by a judge who is appointed on the basis of an annual schedule of duties.

Article 27

      The Registrar shall keep records of any decision made by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia which is relevant from a legal point of view (collection of decisions).
      The records shall be kept according to a prescribed pattern on the register sheets in the files arranged by chapters, sections, articles of the laws, decisions, provisions and Rules of Procedure, on the basis of legal standards, unless there are written regulations otherwise.
      The register sheets in the files shall include the following sections:

  1.   ordinal number
  2.   the date and reference number of a decision
  3.   a short content of a decision
  4.   the designation of the number and sheet under which a decision was previously recorded if  the decision is contradictory to any previously recorded decision
  5.   the date when it was suggested to the president of a department that he/she should present the matter at a departmental convention
  6.   the designation of the decision made by a department or the General Convention on the matter referred to.

Article 28

      If a decision made later is identical to some previously recorded decision, then the later decision shall not be separately recorded, but the date and reference number of the later identical decision may be recorded in the section for comments of the recorded decision.

Article 29

      If a decision is based on more than one regulation (legal matter), it shall be recorded only on the register sheet related to the regulation (legal matter) which is, according to the assessment of the president of a department, the most relevant regarding the decision made, and only the ordinal number of the register sheet under which the decision was recorded shall be marked on the register sheets related to other regulations.
      A short content of the general position (principal decisions) shall be recorded in the same way as other decisions.

Article 30

      Each department's clerk's office shall forward any decision and official note of the Supreme Court, along with the documents related to the decision, to the Registrar for consideration prior to the transcription of the respective decision or document.

Article 31

      The Registrar shall review any submitted decision or official note, and if necessary documents, and if the decision made is not contradictory to any legal view applied in any prior case or coincident decision, and if it is not contradictory to the content of the respective document, or to the law, the Registrar shall indicate on the draft decision that it has been checked. Subsequently the decision and documents shall be returned to the clerk office.

Article 32

      If the Registrar notices that the decision made or official note is contradictory to a legal view applied in any prior or coincident decision, to the legal content of any document, or to the law, the Registrar shall contact the reporting judge and he/she shall notify the panel which has made the decision.

Article 33

      The Registrar shall keep the Book of general positions (principal decisions) of the General Convention of the Supreme Court.
      The Book shall be bound, its pages marked by ordinal numbers and imprinted with the stamp of the Supreme Court.
      Each page of the Book shall contain the following sections:

  1.   ordinal number
  2.   the date and reference number of the decision
  3.   the designation of the convention which has delivered the decision
  4.   the complete content of the decision
  5.   the date and reference number of the prior general position (principal decision) which has been modified or rescinded by this decision and ordinal number of entry
  6.   the date and reference number of a prior identical general position (principal decision) and the ordinal number under which it was entered in the Book
  7.   comments.

Article 34

      If the decision of the General Convention is identical to the decision already entered in the book of general positions, the Registrar shall mark in the book and in the collection of decisions only its date and a reference number, otherwise it shall enter in the book of general positions a complete content of the decision.

Article 35

      Recorded decisions from the collection of decisions and general positions (principal decisions and opinions) shall be processed by an information technology system and shall form a unified database of judicial practice.
      The Registrar shall collaborate with the Information Technology Office on the implementation of an information system with the database of judicial practice, in the way stipulated by the special legal act of the President of the Court.

      3.The Secretariat of the Supreme Court

Article  36

      The tasks of judicial administration shall be conducted in the Secretariat of the Supreme Court.
      Duties and tasks in the Secretariat of the Supreme Court shall be performed by the General Secretary of the Supreme Court and the assistant to the General Secretary.

Article 37

      The following duties shall be performed by the Secretariat of the Supreme Court, and in particular:

  -   supervising the operation of the structural units in the Secretariat,
  -   drafting normative acts of the Supreme Court,
  -   drafting preliminary decisions of the President of the Supreme Court and the General Convention of the Supreme Court,
  -   cooperation with other courts and state bodies, and participation in the cooperation of the Supreme Court with foreign courts and international organisations,
  -   drafting preliminary opinions as well as objections to the regulations discussed by the Supreme Court regarding the work of courts,
  -   collecting statistical data of the Supreme Court,
- dealing with submissions and complaints and protection of human rights,
- conducting procedures and producing court rulings in the domain of labour relations in the first and second instance,
- maintaining all necessary records regarding state officials, employees and judges, as well as pursuing other activities with the aim of realising their rights, obligations and responsibilities,
- coordinating the work of departmental clerk office and judicial administration,
  -   coordinating the work of the Information Technology Office with the work of judicial departments, regarding information projects at the Supreme Court.

Article 38

      The Secretariat of the Supreme Court shall include, apart from the above mentioned, the following structural units and services:

  1.   The Accounting Office of Material and Financial Transactions
  2.   The Clerk Office
  3.   The Information Technology Office
  4.   Library
  5.   Archives
  6.   Technical and Auxiliary Services.

      3.1. The Accounting Office of Material and Financial Transactions

Article 39

      The Accounting Office of Material and Financial Transactions shall be under the direct supervision of the President of the Supreme Court.
      In material and financial operations the office applies financial regulations to budgetary users.
      Within the office there is also a supplies office of the Court.
      The activities of the office shall be carried out by the deputy head of the office, who is directly responsible for all accounting matters to the President of the Court.

      3.2. The Clerk Office

Article 40

      The Clerk Office shall include:

  1.   The Criminal Department Clerk Office
  2.   The Civil Law Department Clerk Office
  3.   Receiving Office
  4.   Delivery and Transcription Office
      The assistant to the General Secretary shall be responsible for the clerk office. 
      The head of a clerk office shall manage and organise the work of a clerk office and he/she shall be responsible for the proper operation of the clerk office.

Article 41

      The office work in judicial departments shall be performed by the clerk office of the Criminal Law Department and the clerk office of the Civil Law Department.
      Office clerk shall keep all entry books and registers of cases, classify documents according to delivery requirements, and conduct other procedures within the scope of the department regulated by the Judicial Rules of Procedure.
      The president of a department shall coordinate the work of the respective department and department clerk office.

Article 42

      Within the court administration, administrative tasks shall be carried out by the Receiving office and Delivery and transcription office.
      These offices shall keep office books and operate in accordance with the provisions of the Judicial Rules of Procedure.
      The transcription service shall be responsible for the transcripts of court decisions, the selected decisions concerning issuing of the publications of judicial practice, and the database of judicial practice, as well as for the transcription of other legal acts and documents produced by judicial departments and the Secretariat of the Court.
      The work on transcription and delivery shall be organised and managed by the head of a clerk office who is responsible for timely and proper operations.
      Court decisions and other written documents intended for transcription shall be delivered by a courier to the head of the clerk office who shall then allocate them to the typists.
      The head of a clerk office shall keep records of the documents received for transcription and the transcribed documents which shall be sent again to the department clerk office.

      3.3. The Information Technology Office

Article 43

      The Information Technology Office shall be responsible in particular for:

  -   planning the development and implementation of  the information system at the Supreme Court, in particular the development of the project regarding the database of judicial practice,
  -   collecting and processing data in cooperation with the Registrar, monitoring and studying judicial practice, as well as making preparations for the issuing of professional publications of judicial practice,
  -   carrying out the projects regarding the development of the information system at the Court,
  -   the implementation, maintenance, security and protection of  the information system at the Court, in particular the development and maintenance of the Court computer and communication network,
  -   coordinating  the project on the implementation of information technology at the Supreme Court with the Ministry of Justice and other state administrative bodies,
  -   proposing and coordinating technical and professional standards, norms, technical rules and instructions concerning the judiciary, the judicial computer network and providing support for the conducting of judicial procedures by means of computer and communication technology,
  -   providing technical help for the employees of the Supreme Court when using computers and software,
  -   planning and purchasing software and hardware for the Supreme Court
- educating and training  judges and all other employees in the use of computers and software,
- participating in drafting project requirements and tender documents regarding the implementation of computer technology at the Supreme Court,
- working on projects concerning the database for supporting the activities of the Supreme Court, in particular the court administration, library and archives and providing the appropriate software for their work,
- other matters in the sphere of the implementation of information technology within the scope of the judiciary.
      The office shall be presided over by a head of office.

      3.4.  The Library of the Supreme Court    

Article 44

      The library of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, according to its purpose and the content of its book collection, is a special type of library closed to the public which shall keep records of its holdings and shall issue books according to the law and other provisions on libraries.
      For the above-mentioned purposes the library shall also use a data processing system.
      The library shall be registered at the Ministry of Science of the Republic of Croatia.
      The chief librarian shall be responsible for the work of the library and the use of the library book collection.

      3.5.  Archives

Article 45

      Documents, official papers, files, office and business books of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia shall be kept and protected, as public archive registry material, in reference files within judicial departments and in the central archives of the Supreme Court.
      The manner of keeping and protecting archive and registry material shall be regulated by the Supreme Court rules on keeping and classifying archive material, and shall be in accordance with the rules regulating the protection and keeping of archive and registered material out of the archives, which are enacted by a competent ministry.
      The central archives of the Supreme Court shall apply the provisions of the Judicial Rules of Procedure, as well as other provisions of the Republic of Croatia regulating the protection and keeping of public archive and registry material.

      3.6.  Technical and Auxiliary Services

Article 46

      Technical and auxiliary services performed at the Supreme Court shall include: transport services, guarding of the main door of buildings, operating the telephone switchboard, the preparation of food and warm beverages, the maintenance of the court building and courtyard, and the security of buildings, other property and persons.

 

CHAPTER V
The work schedule of the Supreme Court

Article 47

      The assignment of judges and secretaries to particular departments, the duties of judges and the assistants of judges, as well as the duties of department panels, shall be defined on the basis of an annual work schedule of the Supreme Court.
      The Vice President of the Supreme Court, presidents of departments and their vice presidents, the presidents and members of judge’s panels, as well as secretaries in departments and the work schedule of the Registrar of judicial practice are defined on the basis of an annual schedule.

Article 48

      The annual schedule shall be established by the President of the Supreme Court on the basis of a proposal put forward by the president of a department and of the opinion of the General Convention of the Supreme Court.
      The president of a department is appointed by the President of the Supreme Court on the basis of a prior opinion obtained from the judges of the respective department.
      As a rule, the annual schedule is established at the end of a calendar year for the following year.

Article 49

      The annual schedule shall also define the way cases are assigned in judicial departments on the basis of the opinion of a departmental convention.
      Individual judges and secretaries of a department may be appointed to work exclusively on particular types of cases.

Article 50

      The annual schedule shall determine the working hours for the reception of clients and the working hours of clerk office during which the clients shall be given required information.

Article 51

      The assignment of clerks and employees shall be executed by the President of the Court over the year as required, in accordance with the rules regulating the internal operation of the Supreme Court.


      Final provisions

Article 52

      The activities of the judicial administration, the clerk office, keeping of entry books and registers, work with clients, notifying the clients, classification and delivery of mail, the work on establishing, marking and handling files, filing and keeping documents and other archive material, following the orders of judges and panels, the delivery of documents and information to other bodies, the work related to the transcription and writing of court decisions, the recording of statistical data, issuing press releases, and other duties and activities, unless regulated by the Rules of Procedure, shall be entirely regulated by the provisions of the Rules of Procedure for the Courts.

Article 53

      These Rules of Procedure shall come into force and shall be applied upon the day of  enactment.


Su-235-IV-1999
Zagreb, 20 April 1999

 

PRESIDENT

Marijan Ramušćak

This project has been funded by the European Union