Länderbericht Kroatien 2013Workshop “Basics of mediation” in cooperation with the Croatian Bar in Rijeka

General – Conceptual orientation

Legal policy starting point

The IRZ started its consultation in Croatia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. The aim was to support the development of structures orientated towards the rule of law and the market economy. Croatia has been negotiating with the EU on accession since 2005. The country then acceded to the EU on 1 July 2013 as its 28th Member State. Whilst doubts were voiced from various sides as to whether Croatia was ready for accession, the procedures were much more demanding than in many previous accession procedures, and in the end all the requirements were satisfied.

Cooperation to date – strategy

At the beginning of the IRZ's consultations in Croatia, the focus was on constitutional law, as well as on civil and commercial law topics. The focus here was not so much on legislation consultation, but on the basic and further training of judges. This related for instance to the harmonisation of national law with EU law, particularly in the law on competition, in the law on insolvency, in Private International Law and in international family law. Because the IRZ involved the Law Faculties of the Universities in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka and Split, theoretical and practical approaches in consultation were considered simultaneously and younger academic lawyers became involved. The IRZ has been working together with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General since 2005. Since then, two further training events per year have taken place on current topics of criminal law and criminal procedure law, each attended by up to 120 public prosecutors from all levels of the court system and from all over Croatia. Also since 2005, the IRZ has been organising international conferences on civil and economic law topics together with the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb. It has also been offering further training activities in various fields of the law in cooperation with the Judicial Academy for several years. There is particular demand for mediation. In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, there have been seminars and workshops for the last few years, in particular for prison governors and staff. In addition to the bilateral activities, the IRZ has been applying with increasing success for twinning projects of the European Commission in recent years. Since EU accession, the focus of the IRZ's activities in Croatia has been shifting more and more to the EU twinning projects. In the year under report, however, the strong demand on the key topic of mediation was particularly notable, a demand which the IRZ was happy to meet by holding appropriate events.

Major partners

  • Ministry of Justice
  • Office of the Public Prosecutor General
  • Judicial Academy
  • Bar
  • Mediation Association
  • High Misdemeanour Court (responsible for misdemeanours)
  • Law Faculties of the Universities of Zagreb and Rijeka

Foci of activity in 2013

Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability

  • Participation by Croatian experts at the University of Regensburg's XV International Congress for European and Comparative Constitutional Law of the University of Regensburg on the topics of "Constitutional Law and Financial Crisis" and "Recent Developments in European Constitutionalism in the Light of Constitutional Justice"

Civil and commercial law

  • Participation by Croatian experts at the 16th International Cartel Conference in Berlin

Administration of justice

  • Seminar on the topic of "Mediation in practice" in cooperation with the Croatian Bar in Zagreb
  • Advanced-level workshops in the context of the mediation week and on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Mediation Association in cooperation with the Mediation Association in Zagreb
  • Workshop on the topic of "Mediation in practice" in cooperation with the Bar in Rijeka
  • Five-day training course on the topic of "Mediation in family matters" in cooperation with the Mediation Association in Zagreb

Criminal law and the law on the prison system

  • Study visit to Berlin on the topic of "The prison system for women" in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice - administration of the prison systems

Basic and further training

  • Participation by a legal expert at the third "German law" summer school in Brühl and Bonn

Outlook

All the IRZ's partner institutions in Croatia are indicating considerable interest in continuing cooperation. There is particular demand for training in the field of mediation. Because of its accession to the EU, Croatia no longer counts among the countries that are eligible to receive funds from the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. The focus of activity in 2014 will therefore be on applying for and implementing twinning projects.