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Legal professions - Croatia

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Legal professions

Staff in judicial authorities

Members of the judiciary are judicial officials, civil servants and staff.

Judges

Judges are judges whose duties are permanent. A person who is a Croatian citizen may be appointed judge.

A person who has completed the National School of Judiciary or already holds a judicial office may be appointed as a judge of the municipal, commercial and administrative courts.

A person who has worked as a judicial officer for at least 10 years may be appointed as a county court judge.

A person who has worked as a judicial officer for at least 12 years may be appointed as a judge of the High Misdemeanour Court of the Republic of Croatia, the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia and the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia.

A person who has worked for at least 15 years as a judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia may be appointed as a lawyer, a notary, a university professor of legal sciences who has passed the bar exam and at least 15 years‘professional experience after passing the judicial exam and a reputable lawyer who has passed the judicial exam and at least 20 years’ professional experience, who has proven professional work in a particular field of law, as well as professional and scientific work.

Link opens in new windowLaw on courts,
Link opens in new windowlaw on the National Council for the Judiciary
Link opens in new windowlaw on the remuneration of judges and other judges

Court staff

The number of court staff and assistant staff required for the performance of professional, clerical and technical tasks is decided by the Minister for Justice.

The recruitment of civil servants and civil servants in court, the exercise of internships, the procedure and method, and the programme for passing the state professional exam, salaries and other rights, duties and responsibilities, and liability for misconduct shall be governed by the regulations on civil servants and employees and general labour regulations.

Court vacancies may be filled only with the approval of the Ministry of Justice.

When court staff and assistant staff are recruited to a court, account must be taken of the representation of persons who belong to national minorities.

Regulations on the level of education required for court officials and members of staff are adopted by the Minister for Justice.

Référendaires, senior court counsellors and senior court counsellors – Specialists

The référendaire may be a person who has completed a university degree in law or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law and passed the bar exam.

A senior court counsellor and référendaire in the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia may be a person who has completed a graduate university degree in law or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law, has passed the bar examination for at least two years and has worked for at least two years as a legal adviser, a judge, a lawyer or a notary or a person who has worked in other legal affairs after passing a judicial examination for at least five years.

A senior court adviser – specialist may be a person who has completed a university degree in law or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law, passed the bar examination, who has worked for at least four years as a court or prosecutor’s adviser, a judicial official, a lawyer or a notary, or who has worked in other legal tasks after passing a judicial examination for at least eight years.

A senior court counsellor in the Supreme Court may be a person who has completed a university degree in law or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law, passed the bar examination, who has worked for at least four years as a court or prosecutor’s adviser, a judicial official, a lawyer or a notary, or a person who has worked for other legal tasks for at least eight years after passing the judicial examination.

A senior court adviser – a specialist in the Supreme Court – may be a person who has completed a university degree in law or an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law, passed the bar examination, who has worked for at least six years as a court or prosecutor’s adviser, a judge, a lawyer or a notary, or a person who has worked for other legal tasks for at least ten years after passing the judicial exam.

Powers of court counsellors and senior court counsellors

Référendaires, senior court counsellors and senior court counsellors – specialists participate in the trial and have the power to conduct certain judicial proceedings, assess evidence and establish facts independently. On the basis of the procedure followed, they submit to the judge a draft on the basis of which he adopts a decision and, on the basis of the authorisation of the judge, publishes the decision so adopted.

In accordance with the applicable provisions of the Courts Act, court advisers, senior court counsellors or senior court counsellors – specialists are empowered to conduct proceedings and propose draft decisions as follows:

  1. in civil proceedings in disputes concerning the payment of a monetary claim or compensation where the amount at issue does not exceed HRK 100 000.00 and in trade disputes where the amount at issue does not exceed HRK 500 000.00,
  2. in labour disputes stemming from collective agreements,
  3. in administrative disputes which concern legal action relating to matters on which a ruling is being adopted on the basis of a final judgment in a model dispute, or legal action against an act or omission committed by a body governed by public law, and in administrative disputes in which the amount at issue does not exceed HRK 100 000.00,
  4. in enforcement proceedings,
  5. in succession proceedings,
  6. in land register proceedings,
  7. in misdemeanour proceedings,
  8. in non-contentious proceedings, except in proceedings concerning deprivation of operational capacity, dissolution of a co-ownership association, settlement of boundaries and proceedings under the Family Act (Obiteljski zakon),
  9. in registration proceedings,
  10. in shortened insolvency proceedings,
  11. concerning the costs of court proceedings.

Référendaires, senior court counsellors or senior court counsellors – specialists are empowered to act and take decisions in individual procedures where this is required by specific legislation.

In the second-instance and extraordinary appeal proceedings, référendaires, senior court counsellors and senior court counsellors – specialists report on the state of play of the file and prepare a draft decision.

Judicial trainees

Each year the Ministry of Justice decides the number of trainee posts in courts in accordance with the available funding earmarked in the national budget.

The conditions governing the recruitment of trainee judges to courts, the way in which this is done and the duration of, and arrangements for, traineeships are governed by a separate law.

Professional associates

Courts may also have staff who have completed relevant vocational studies or an undergraduate or graduate university study programme and have the requisite work experience in defectology, sociology, education, economics, book-keeping and finance or another relevant field.

Expert associates and expert assistants (stručni pomoćnici; sing. stručni pomoćnik) assist judges in work on cases which require expert knowledge.

Lay judges

Jury judges are citizens of the Republic of Croatia who participate in the trial in certain proceedings and perform their judicial function not as a regular profession, but as members of the chambers on an equal footing with the judge on matters to be decided in criminal proceedings.

In order to be appointed lay judge, a person must be an adult Croatian citizen who is fit to occupy such a post.

Lay judges are appointed for a term of four years and may be reappointed at the end of that term.

Lay judges of municipal and county courts are appointed by the county assembly or the City Assembly of the City of Zagreb, following proposals from the municipal, i.e. city council, trade unions, employers’ association and chamber of commerce.

Before lay judges are appointed, it is necessary to obtain the opinion of the president of the court concerned about the proposed candidates.

Director of court administration (ravnatelj sudske uprave)

The Court has a director of a court administration with more than 15 judges.

The director of the court administration shall assist the president of the court in the performance of the tasks of the court administration, in particular by:

  • performs professional tasks relating to the planning and management of human resources in the court;
  • organise the work of court officials and staff and monitor their efficiency in their work;
  • monitor and plan the training of court officials and staff;
  • taking care of maintenance of the court building, premises and work equipment, and investment,
  • organising and coordinating the drafting of the annual procurement plan in accordance with the law and the needs of the court,
  • organise the conduct of public procurement procedures;
  • supervises the financial and financial operations of the court and performs office and ancillary technical work;
  • it takes care of and controls the spending of the Court’s budgetary and own resources;
  • participates in the preparation and implementation of judicial administration projects and oversees their implementation;
  • ensure that statistics on the work of the court are kept in a timely and orderly manner;
  • cooperate with local and regional self-government units in relation to the acquisition of equipment and the provision of funds for the specific activities of the court;
  • perform other tasks entrusted to him by the President of the Court.

For his/her work, the director of the court administration is accountable to the president of the court.

A person who has completed an integrated undergraduate and graduate university degree in law or a master’s degree in economics or a specialist master’s degree in economics and at least five years’ experience in the relevant duties may be admitted to the post of director of the judicial administration.

Court spokesperson (glasnogovornik suda)

A court has a spokesperson.
A court’s spokesperson is a judge, court counsellor or a person designated by the president of the court in the annual work schedule.

The president of a county court may designate one judge from that court to be spokesperson for that court and for the municipal courts within its jurisdiction. A deputy spokesperson may be appointed.

The court spokesperson provides information about the work of the court in accordance with the Courts Act, the Court Rules of Procedure (Sudski poslovnik) and the Freedom of Information Act (Zakon o pravu na pristup informacijama).

Prosecutors

A person who meets the general and specific conditions for appointment as Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia may be appointed as Attorney General of the Republic of Croatia.

The County Public Prosecutor is appointed from the ranks of state attorneys, deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia, deputy in the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office and deputy county public prosecutor, who have served for at least two years as deputy county prosecutor.

The County Public Prosecutor, subject to the opinion of the College of State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia, is appointed by the Council for a period of four years on a proposal from the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia.

The municipal public prosecutor is appointed from the ranks of prosecutors and deputy prosecutors.

The municipal prosecutor, subject to the prior opinion of the College of the County Public Prosecutor’s Office and the county prosecutor, on a proposal from the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia, is appointed by the Council for a period of four years.

Deputy Attorney-General

Deputy State Attorneys shall be appointed in a manner, under conditions and in a procedure which ensures their professional competence, independence and dignity to perform the public prosecutor’s office.

A Croatian citizen who has passed the bar exam and meets the specific conditions laid down in the State Attorney’s Council Act may be appointed as deputy prosecutor’s office.

A person who has completed the National School of Judiciary may be appointed as deputy municipal prosecutor.

A person who has held judicial office for at least ten years may be appointed as deputy county prosecutor.

A person who, as an official in the judicial bodies, has held judicial office for at least 15 years or has been a lawyer, a notary, a university professor of legal science who has passed the bar exam and at least 15 years‘professional experience after passing the judicial exam or a reputable lawyer who has passed the judicial exam and at least 20 years’ professional experience proven by his/her professional activity in a particular area of law, as well as professional and scientific work, may be appointed Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia.

In addition to the conditions laid down by the Act, in addition to the conditions laid down by the Act, the Deputy Prosecutor’s Office must be assessed at least as ‘successfully’ for appointment as deputy prosecutor’s office.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office shall appoint one or more deputy prosecutors and perform their duties on a permanent basis.

The Public Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutor must behave in such a way that they do not impair their reputation and the reputation of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and do not cast doubt on their impartiality and the independence and independence of the prosecution.

The Public Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor’s Office, in the exercise of representation functions and in relations with state authorities and legal persons, shall comply with the principles of legality, competence and impartiality, subject to the time limits laid down for individual proceedings and to the rules on priority in the handling of cases.

When representing in courts and administrative authorities, the public prosecutor and the deputy prosecutor are required to respect and preserve the dignity of the bodies before which they are acting, their personal dignity and the dignity of the public prosecutor’s office.

The Public Prosecutor and the Deputy Public Prosecutor shall be required to retain for themselves information and other information which has come to their knowledge in the performance of their duties and which are not classified by regulation as being secret, and which relate to the private and family life of the parties and of other persons, in so far as this does not constitute an offence, and to preserve the confidentiality of any information which is inaccessible to the public.

The Attorney General and Deputy Prosecutor’s Office may not belong to any political party or engage in any political activity.

The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia, the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Croatia, the Public Prosecutor and the Deputy Public Prosecutor may not be held liable for the legal opinion expressed in the case assigned to them, unless it is a violation of the law which constitutes a criminal offence.

State Attorneys’ Advisors

State Counsellors, Senior Prosecutors’ Advisors and Senior Prosecutors Advisors – Specialists shall assist the Public Prosecutor or his deputy in their work, draw up draft decisions, take into account reports, submissions and statements made by citizens and carry out themselves or under the supervision and direction of the Public Prosecutor or his deputy, other professional tasks provided for by law and regulations adopted on the basis of the law.

In the criminal sections of the Public Prosecutor’s Offices, they may represent the indictment in the proceedings for offences punishable by a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to five years.

They may represent the Public Prosecutor’s Offices in the civil-administrative departments, before the courts, administrative or other bodies, on the basis of a specific mandate from the competent public prosecutor, namely:

  • in municipal state attorney’s offices in disputes with a value of up to HRK 100 000.00,
  • in county state attorney’s offices in disputes the value of which does not exceed HRK 500 000.00.

Office for Combating Corruption and Organised Crime

The Office for the Prevention of Corruption and Organised Crime is a special public prosecutor’s office established for the entire territory of the Republic of Croatia and specialising in the tasks of the public prosecutor’s office in cases of corrupt crime and organised crime.

Office for Combating Corruption and Organised Crime
Gajeva 30a
10 000 Zagreb

tel.: + 385 4591 874
fax: + 385 1 4591 878

email:Link opens in new window
Link opens in new windowtajnistvo@uskok.dorh.hr Act on the Office for Combating Corruption and Organised Crime

Director of the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime

The work of the USKOK is managed by the Director-General and appointed by the Prosecutor General, subject to the opinion of the Minister responsible for judicial affairs and the opinion of the College of the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia. The Director shall be appointed for a period of four years and shall be eligible for reappointment.

Lawyer – Independent and independent service

The legal profession is an independent and autonomous service for providing legal assistance to natural and legal persons in the exercise and protection of their rights and legal interests.

Lawyers

Lawyers may provide all forms of legal aid.

In particular, they may give legal advice, draw up documents (contracts, wills, statements, etc.), draw up actions, appeals, motions, requests, applications, extraordinary remedies and other pleadings, and represent the parties.

They may practise the profession of lawyer independently, in a joint office or in a law firm, and may not engage in activities incompatible with the lawyer’s reputation and independence.

A lawyer shall be obliged to preserve as a lawyer everything that a party has entrusted to him or which he has otherwise learnt in the representation of a party. Other persons who work or have worked in a law firm shall also be obliged to keep the lawyer’s secret.

Lawyers are entitled to a fee for their work and to reimbursement of costs relating to the work carried out in accordance with a tariff set and adopted by the Croatian Bar Association with the consent of the Minister for Justice.

For ex officio defence, the amount of the lawyer’s fees shall be determined by the Ministry of Justice.

The defence counsel of an accused person before a county court can only be a lawyer, with only a lawyer who has practised for at least 8 years as a lawyer or as an official of a judicial authority in proceedings for an offence punishable by long-term imprisonment.

The lawyer is required to issue an invoice to the client after the service has been performed. In the case of cancellation or revocation of the power of attorney, the attorney issues an invoice within 30 days of the day on which the power of attorney was cancelled or revoked.

Lawyers are obliged to join the Croatian Bar Association as a stand-alone and independent organisation with legal personality. The Croatian Bar Association represents the Croatian Bar Association as a whole.

The right to practise in the territory of the Republic of Croatia is acquired by being entered in the register of lawyers.

Croatian Bar Association of
Koturaška 53/II
10 000 Zagreb

tel.: + 385 1 6165 200
fax: + 385 1 6170 686

Link opens in new window
Link opens in new windowhok-cba@hok-cba.hr http:
Link opens in new window//Law on Legal Profession

Notary Service

Public notary

A notary is a person of public trust appointed by the Minister for Justice on the basis of a competition conducted by the Croatian Chamber of Notaries.

He is a graduate lawyer with a judicial, notarial examination, the necessary experience, an independent and independent civil service holder and an impartial commissioner of the parties.

Is authorised to:

  • draw up and issue notarial acts – authentic instruments relating to legal transactions and declarations establishing the rights of the parties;
  • draw up and issue notarial records of legal acts carried out or present by a notary,
  • draw up and issue notarial deeds of facts certified by a notary,
  • receive documents, money, securities and valuables for safekeeping with a view to their handover to other persons or competent authorities (notary deposit);
  • confirmation (solemnisation) of private documents;
  • conduct actions and make decisions as court commissioner in succession proceedings;
  • carry out enforcement proceedings on the basis of an authentic document;
  • represent the parties before the courts and other public bodies, but only if those matters are in direct connection with which document.

As in probate proceedings, the parties cannot change the jurisdiction of the court, so the parties cannot choose a notary as court commissioner.

Where a notary represents a party before a court or other public body, he or she is also entitled to act as a lawyer.

The notary may not, without valid reason, refuse to perform official acts and is obliged to keep it secret what he or she learns in the performance of his or her service.

The notary shall be entitled to the notary’s fees and reimbursement of expenses in accordance with the Rules on the Provisional Notarial Tariff, the Rules on the amount of the prize and the reimbursement of expenses incurred by notaries as commissioner of the court in probate proceedings and the Rules on fees and reimbursement of costs incurred by notaries in enforcement proceedings for the performance of official acts falling within their remit.

Notaries on the territory of the Republic of Croatia are obliged to join the Croatian Chamber of Notaries.

The Croatian Chamber of Notaries and the Ministry of Justice each exercise control over the work of notaries.

Supervision of the work of a notary as court commissioner in succession proceedings is carried out by the court which entrusted him with the task.

Croatian Chamber of Notaries of
Radnička cesta
34/II 10 000 Zagreb

tel.: + 385 1 4556 566
fax: + 385 1 4551 544

email:Link opens in new window
Link opens in new windowhjk@hjk.hr
Link opens in new windowhttp :
Link opens in new window//NotarialFees Act

Judicial Academy of Croatia

The Judicial Academy is an independent public institution providing initial training and training to candidates for independent, responsible and independent judicial functions, professional training for trainees, counsellors in judicial authorities and other officials in the field of justice, and continuous training of judicial officials. The College is led by a Director and is managed by a Board of Directors composed of nine members. The lecturers at the Judicial Academy are trained persons from among judges and prosecutors, as well as deputising lawyers, university teachers and, where appropriate, other professions.

The Judicial Academy develops active international cooperation and participates in European Union projects as beneficiary or project stakeholder. These projects aim at the institutional strengthening of the College and the professional development of its target groups.

Link opens in new windowLaw on the Judicial Academy

State Judiciary Council

The National Judicial Council is an autonomous and independent body that ensures the autonomy and independence of the judiciary in the Republic of Croatia. It decides autonomously, in conformity with the Constitution and law, on the appointment, promotion, transfer, dismissal and disciplinary responsibility of judges and presidents of courts, except in the case of the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia. The National Council for the Judiciary has eleven members, comprising seven judges, two university professors of legal science and two parliamentarians, one of which is from the opposition.

Link opens in new windowThe law on the National Council for the Judiciary

State Prosecutor’s Council

The State Attorney’s Council is an independent and independent body that ensures the independence and independence of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Republic of Croatia.

The special authority responsible for appointing and dismissing deputy prosecutors, appointing and dismissing county and municipal prosecutors, conducting proceedings and deciding on the disciplinary responsibility of deputy prosecutors, transferring deputy prosecutors, managing and controlling the asset declarations of state attorneys and deputy prosecutors and carrying out other tasks in accordance with the law.

It consists of 11 members, comprising seven deputy prosecutors, two university professors of legal science and two parliamentarians, one from the opposition.

The members of the State Attorney’s Council shall be elected for a term of four years, no one being able to serve twice consecutively.

Link opens in new windowLaw on the State Attorney’s Council

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia

The constitution, organisation and scope of the Constitutional Tribunal are defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and the Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia.The
Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia consists of thirteen judges elected by the Croatian Parliament by a two-thirds majority of the total number of representatives from the ranks of prominent lawyers, in particular judges, prosecutors, lawyers and university professors of legal science, in the manner and in the procedure laid down by the constitutional law. The term of office of a judge of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be eight years and shall be extended until the entry into office of a new judge in the event that a new judge has not been elected or has not taken up office until its expiry, and, exceptionally, no longer than six months. The process of nominating judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia and of proposing the election of the Croatian Parliament is conducted by the committee of the Croatian Parliament responsible for the Constitution. The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia elects the President of the Court for a period of four years.The
Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia regulates the conditions and procedure for the election of judges of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, the termination of their duties, the conditions and time limits for initiating proceedings for the review of the compliance of laws with the Constitution and the compliance of other regulations with the Constitution and the law, the procedure and legal action of its judgments, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and other matters relevant to the performance of the duties and functioning of the Constitutional Court.The
Constitutional Court guarantees the respect and application of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and bases its actions on the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and the Constitutional Act on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia.The
Constitutional Tribunal shall be independent of all State authorities and shall autonomously allocate the resources laid down in the State budget, in accordance with its annual budget and the law, for the functioning of the activities of the Constitutional Tribunal. The internal organisation of the Constitutional Tribunal shall be governed by the Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia. The functioning of the Constitutional Court is public and judges of the Constitutional Court enjoy immunity as members of the Croatian Parliament.

Constitutional Court of the Republicof Saint Mark
Square 4
10000 Zagreb

Tel.: + 385 1 640 02 50
Fax: + 385 1 455 10 55

email:Link opens in new windowUstavni_sud@usud.hr https 
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Last update: 24/11/2020