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Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

In order for changes in the judiciary to facilitate economic recovery, as recently announced by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, the Justice Ministry plans a set of reform measures to be implemented first at commercial courts.

The High Commercial Court will be the first court to introduce, as early as the beginning of June, the Integrated Criminal Case Filing and Management System (ICMS). At the same time, court counsellors at commercial courts will be given easier bankruptcy and other cases so that judges can concentrate on the more complex cases that slow down the economy and that belong in the most difficult part of the case backlog.

Assistant Justice Minister Maja Grubisin, who heads a team working on making the court system more efficient, said that there was a correlation between economic recovery and the duration of commercial court cases and that a bad economic situation always entailed a larger number of court cases, for example, due to insolvency.

Grubisin said that commercial courts were excellent for pilot projects because they constituted an important part of the court system yet were a much smaller part than the network of municipal and county courts.

Experts at the Justice Ministry believe that no new judges are needed in the court system and that all shortcomings can be removed by reassigning current judges, which, they say, requires greater efficiency of the State Judicial Council.

There are plans to additionally computerise the State Judicial Council as well as introduce live streaming of interviews with candidates for judicial positions so as to increase their transparency and avoid objections that the evaluation of candidates in oral interviews is biased and non-transparent.

Grubisin said that the necessary equipment was ready and that the related regulations were to be drawn up soon to introduce this change.

After the ICMS is introduced at the High Commercial Court, which should facilitate communication, following of cases and the exchange of documents, full court computerisation will be launched, and it will start at commercial courts.

This means that all lawsuits, appeals and rulings will be stored electronically, and since records from hearings already exist in electronic form, paper files should soon become history in their entirety, with commercial courts being the first ones to introduce that change.

Full digitalisation will also mean that all attorneys and expert witnesses will receive court documents, including summons to hearings, in electronic form.

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