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Croatia (2014)

 
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  • INTRODUCTION (History, purpose of the review and classification of administrative acts, definition of an administrative authority)

    • 1. Main dates in the evolution of the review of administrative acts

      Administrative disputes were settled by the Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia, which was founded on 1st of July 1977. Until then administrative disputes had been settled by the Supreme Court of the Socialist Republic of Croatia which had a special department for administrative disputes. Administrative-financial disputes were in the competence of the Higher Commercial Court of the Socialist Republic of Croatia. As of 1st January 2012 the review of legality of administrative acts is exclusively in the competence of four specialised first instance administrative courts – and the High Administrative court of the Republic of Croatia.

      Administrative disputes are regulated by the Law on Administrative Disputes ("Official Gazette" no. 20/10 i 143/12) adopted in 2010 and amended in 2012, which determines a resolution of administrative disputes in two instances, four regional first instance administrative courts and the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia as a second instance court and in some cases court of the first and the last instance.

    • 2. Purpose of the review of administrative acts

      According to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia the rule of law represents one of the highest values of the constitutional order. Pursuant to article 19 of the Constitution individual decisions of administrative authorities and other bodies vested with public authority shall be grounded on law. Judicial review of legality of decisions made by administrative authorities and other bodies vested with public authority shall be guaranteed. By placing this provision in the general provisions section of the chapter on protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms the Croatian Constitution emphasizes the importance given to the protection of individual’s rights against the acts and actions of public authorities.

      The objective of judicial review of decisions and acts of administrative authorities as defined by the Law on Administrative Disputes is to ensure court protection of the rights and legal interests of natural and legal persons and other parties, breached by a decision or by an action of the body of public law.

    • 3. Definition of an administrative authority

      Within the meaning of the Law on Administrative Disputes a body of public law means the body of state administration and other state bodies, bodies of local and regional self-government, legal persons vested with public powers and legal persons providing public services.

    • 4. Classification of administrative acts

      Individual administrative act is defined as a decision by which the body of public law adjudicated on a right, obligation or legal interest of the party in an administrative matter. The subject-matter of an administrative dispute is also the assessment of the lawfulness of general acts of the local and regional self-government, legal persons vested with public powers and legal persons performing public services, as well as conclusion, termination and enforcement of administrative contracts.

  • I – ORGANIZATION AND ROLE OF THE BODIES, COMPETENT TO REVIEW ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS

    • A. COMPETENT BODIES

      • 5. Non-judicial bodies competent to review administrative acts

        The review of administrative acts in Croatia is undertaken by specialized administrative courts.

      • 6. Organization of the court system and courts competent to hear disputes concerning acts of administration

        The Law on Courts regulates that the regular courts are as follows: municipal courts, county courts and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, whereas specialized courts are: misdemeanour courts, commercial courts, administrative courts, 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.

        Judicial review of administrative acts and actions is reserved for specialized administrative courts competent to decide on administrative disputes. Administrative courts are established for the territory of one or more counties. The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia is established for the territory of the Republic of Croatia.

        Administrative courts decide on the following:
        1. complaints against individual decisions of the public authorities;
        2. complaints against an act of the public authorities;
        3. complaints against a failure to issue a decision or to act on the part of the body of public law within the time limit fixed by law;
        4. complaints against administrative contracts and the enforcement of administrative contracts; and
        5. in other cases laid down by law.

        The High Administrative Court decides on the following:
        1. appeals against the judgments of administrative courts and decisions against which an appeal is permissible;
        2. lawfulness of general acts;
        3. conflict of jurisdiction between administrative courts;
        4. in other cases laid down by law.

        Administrative courts have general competence to settle administrative disputes and there are no specialized administrative tribunals competent to hear specific types of dispute.

        The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, among other issues, decides on constitutional complaints against the individual decisions of state bodies, bodies of local and regional self-government and legal entities with public authority, when these decisions violate human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the right to local and regional self-government guaranteed by the Constitution. It also decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution and on the conformity of other regulations with the Constitution and laws.

    • B. RULES GOVERNING THE COMPETENT BODIES

    • C. INTERNAL ORGANIZATION AND COMPOSITION OF THE COMPETENT BODIES

      • 9. Internal organization of the ordinary courts competent to review administrative acts

        Judicial review of administrative acts is not assumed by ordinary courts.

      • 10. Internal organization of the administrative courts

        The High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia consists of three departments. A judge functions as Department Head in each of the three departments. In addition, there is a deputy Department Head. In general, the departments are responsible for the following fields of law (legal areas):

        1. First Department for Pension, Disability and Health Insurance Law Fields of law: pension, health insurance, social security, war veterans, asylum.

        2. Second Department for Financial and Labour Law Fields of law: financial and labour law, privatisation, public procurement, market competition, access to information and general administration (citizenship, rights of foreigners etc.).

        3. Third Department for Property Law Fields of law: property, housing, building, municipal, intellectual property, access to information and general administration.

        In each department there are three or four chambers. Each chamber is headed by a presiding judge. Two additional judges are also assigned to the chambers. In addition, two to three court advisors are designated to each chamber. There is a special chamber competent for reviewing general acts, consisting of five judges. The Court also has the Office for the Formality Check of Incoming Law Suits and the Office responsible for research of the court practice.

        First instance administrative courts do not have specialized departments. In some courts there is internal specialisation of judges for specific matters.

    • D. JUDGES

      • 11. Status of judges who review administrative acts

        The judges who review administrative acts do not belong to a specific category. The Law on the State Judiciary Council sets out the requisites of appointing judges and their rights and duties. According to this law a citizen of the Republic of Croatia having completed the State School for Judicial Officials and work experience in compliance with this Law, may be appointed a judge, except a judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia for whose appointment the law prescribes special conditions.

        There are special conditions that one must fulfil to be appointed as an administrative court judge.

        A person having completed the State School for Judicial Officials after the bar exam may be appointed a judge at the administrative court. A person who has worked as judicial official for not less than 8 years may be appointed a judge at the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia.

      • 12. Recruitment of judges in charge of review of administrative acts

        There is no difference between the procedure of the appointment for administrative court judges or judges of courts of general jurisdiction. The State Judicial Council appoints judges based on the total score from the assessment of performance of judicial office. Candidates for judges enter a test before the State Judicial Council, which consists of writing two papers that represent the drafting of complete first-instance judgements based on a specific case file.

        For the positions of judges at all first instance courts, including administrative courts, candidates will be enrolled in the State School for Judicial Officials. After completion of the School the State Judicial Council appoints judges based on the final assessment achieved by the candidates in the State School for Judicial Officials

      • 13. Professional training of judges

        All judges must have a university law degree and have to pass judicial examination. After passing the judicial examination the initial training of future judges is conducted at the State School for Judicial Officials.

        According to the Law on Courts judges are bound to continuing professional development and participation in educational and training programmes at the Judicial Academy. In-service training of judges is conducted by the Judicial Academy and its five regional centres. It comprises activities of standard type training intended for the entire or for most of the judicial service corpus and specialist programs intended only for judges dealing with specific issues.

      • 14. Promotion of judges

        In the career advancement procedure, when a judge submits an application following the announcement of a vacancy in a higher instance court, the State Judicial Council requests from the competent council of judges an assessment of the performance of judicial office. Based on the total score established by an assessment of performance of judicial office, the State Judicial Council compiles a list of candidates in order of merit. The decision of the State Judicial Council concerning the appointment of judges must be based on the total score achieved and the established list of candidates in order of merit.

        See also answer no. 11.

      • 15. Professional mobility of judges

        A judge can not be transferred against his/her will except in the case the court is abolished or reorganized. A judge can not hold an office or perform work defined by law as being incompatible with his/her judicial office. A judge can be temporary transferred to work in another court with his/her consent and consent of the president of the court in which he/she works, on request of the president of the court in which he/she should be sent. A judge can with his/her consent be temporary transferred to work in the higher court, but no more than four years.

        If a judge is appointed to be the Minister of Justice, State Secretary or Head of Directorate in the Ministry of Justice or to be a judge in an international court or some other service in international courts and international missions, his/her position as a judge stays in rest while he/she is performing those duties. A judge can with his/her consent be appointed to work in other job positions in the Ministry of Justice, but no longer than four years, during which time his/her position as a judge stays in rest.

    • E. ROLE OF THE COMPETENT BODIES

      • 16. Available kinds of recourse against administrative acts

        The Law on Administrative Disputes implements the system of full review. The court shall nullify an unlawful decision of the body of public law and resolve the matter itself, except where it may not do that in view of the nature of things or where the respondent acted according to its discretion. It can declare a decision of the body of public law null and void. Where the court establishes that the body of public law did not adopt a decision within the prescribed time limit within which it should have issued it, it shall resolve the matter itself, except where it may not do that in view of the nature of things or where the respondent acted according to its discretion. In such a case, the court shall order the respondent to adopt the decision and set a reasonable time limit within which to do so. Where the court establishes that the respondent did not act in accordance with the regulations, a decision or administrative contract, it shall order action within a reasonable time limit. The court can declare an administrative contract null and void and it can declare the decision on termination of the administrative contract null and void if it establishes that the body of public law unjustifiably terminated an administrative contract.

        As part of the statement of claim, the court shall also make a decision concerning the compensation of damages and the return of an item. Where the court issues a judgment terminating or declaring an administrative contract null and void, it shall also make a decision on the compensation of damages.

        The High Administrative Court shall nullify a first-instance judgment and remedy defects itself, resolving the matter in a judgement, if it establishes that the administrative court committed a substantial violation of court procedure rule, that it established the state of facts incompletely or erroneously, or that it applied the substantive law erroneously. The High Administrative Court shall repeal a general act of the local and regional self-government, legal persons vested with public powers and legal persons performing public services or some of its provisions with a judgement if it establishes that it is not in conformity with law or the statute of the body of public law.

      • 17. Existence of mechanisms for the delivery of a preliminary ruling apart from the procedure under the Article 234 of the EC Treaty

        When a court decision in a dispute depends on a legal issue which makes autonomous legal entirety, and no decision on this issue has yet been made by other court or competent body of public law (preliminary issue), the court may settle this issue on its own, unless otherwise provided for by law, or it may discontinue the dispute till a decision is rendered on the preliminary issue. A court decision on a preliminary issue has legal effect only in the administrative dispute in which this issue was settled.

        If a court in its proceedings determines that the law to be applied, or some of its provisions, are not in accordance with the Constitution, it shall stop the proceedings and present a request with the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality of the law, or some of its provisions. If the court in its proceedings determines that another regulation to be applied, or some of its provisions, are not in accordance with the Constitution and the law, it shall directly apply the law to that specific case and shall present a request with the Constitutional Court to review the constitutionality and legality of the disputed regulation or some of its provisions.

        There is no specific provision concerning preliminary ruling procedure.

      • 18. Advisory functions of the competent bodies

        Administrative courts have only judicial functions in accordance with the constitutional principle of separation of powers. However, in the legislative process, when drafting laws regarding issues falling within the competence of the specific court, the responsible ministry may appoint judges to a specific working group or ask the court to give its suggestions regarding solutions foreseen by the draft law in question. These suggestions are formed on the meeting of the court departments or the meeting of all judges of the court, but it does not have binding character.

      • 19. Organization of the judicial and advisory functions of the competent bodies

        See the answer to question no. 18.

    • F. ALLOCATION OF DUTIES AND RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COMPETENT BODIES

      • 20. Role of the supreme courts in ensuring the uniform application and interpretation of law

        The High Administrative Court decides on the appeals against judgements of the administrative courts. By establishing and publishing its case-law the High Administrative Court by virtue of its arguments and legal authority influences the case-law of the first instance administrative courts.

        Issues of importance for the application of legal rules related to particular administrative areas, differences among separate panels or judges concerning the correct application of laws, as well as draft laws regarding issues falling within the competence of that court are discussed at the meetings of the court departments. The legal opinion adopted at a meeting of the court department is binding for all panels and judges of the same department.

        There are no proceedings analogous to the French “avis contentieux”. However, the Law on Administrative Disputes introduced a “model dispute”, where in ten or more first-instance disputes at the same court the merit of the complaint is of the same legal and factual nature, the court may decide which case will be resolved in a model dispute. In other matters, the court shall suspend the dispute. After the judgement issued in the model dispute becomes final, the court shall continue to conduct the suspended disputes, and apply the evidence presented in the model dispute.

  • II – JUDICIAL REVIEW OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS

    • A. ACCESS TO JUSTICE

      • 21. Preconditions of access to the courts

        It is necessary for a complainant to exhaust regular legal remedies in the administrative procedure before going to court. The administrative body of second instance decides on the appeal against a decision, action or administrative contract issued by the administrative body of first instance. If the party who had the opportunity to file a regular legal remedy in the administrative procedure did not file it or had filed it too late, the administrative dispute shall not be permitted. If it is stipulated by law that an appeal against a decision taken by an administrative body of first instance is excluded (single instance procedure), a party may file a complaint against the administrative act to the administrative court directly.

      • 22. Right to bring a case before the court

        Parties to the administrative dispute are the complainant, respondent and any interested party.

        The complainant is a natural or legal person who believes that his rights and legal interests were violated by a decision, by an act of the body of public law, or by the failure to adopt a decision or to act on the part of the body of public law within the time limit fixed by law, or by the conclusion, termination or enforcement of an administrative contract. The complainant may be a person without legal capacity or a group of persons if their rights and legal interests were violated by a decision or an act of a body of public law. The complainant may be a body of public law that participated or should have participated in taking of a decision, performance of an act or conclusion of an administrative contract. The complainant may also be a state body authorized by law.

        The respondent is a body of public law that took or failed to take a decision, acted or failed to act or is a party in an administrative contract. An interested party in a dispute is any person to whom the nullification, change or taking of a decision, an act or failure to act by the body of public law, or the conclusion, termination or enforcement of an administrative contract would mean a violation of his right or legal interest. An interested party is also a body of public law that holds that a court decision may have an impact on the rights and legal interests that it protects under law. The interested party may become involved in the dispute at any time.

      • 23. Admissibility conditions

        The complainant is a person who believes that his rights and legal interests were violated by a decision, by an act of the body of public law, or by the failure to adopt a decision or to act on the part of the body of public law within the time limit fixed by law, or by the conclusion, termination or enforcement of an administrative contract. Every complaint must include reasons for the initiation of a dispute in respect of the main matter and subsidiary claims and facts and proofs on the basis of which the complainant bases his statement of claim. The court shall establish that there are no conditions for conducting a dispute and dismiss the complaint if it establishes that a decision, action or administrative contract does not affect the right or legal interest of the complainant. If the complainant was a party to the administrative procedure in which the administrative act that is being contested in administrative dispute has been issued, he is not required to demonstrate a particular interest in the annulment of this act.

      • 24. Time limits to apply to the courts

        The complaint shall be submitted to the court within 30 days of the service of the disputed individual decision or the decision on the objection against the disputed action. Where an administrative dispute is initiated by reason of a failure to take a decision or act within the fixed time limit, the complaint may be submitted to the court eight days after the expiration of the prescribed time limit at the earliest. Where a decision was not delivered to the party according to the prescribed service rules, a complaint may be submitted within 90 days of the moment the party learned or could have learned about the decision.

        It is obligatory for parties to be informed of the time-limits for submitting a complaint in the instructions on legal remedy. If a decision in the instructions on the legal remedy includes a longer time limit than the one prescribed by law, the complaint may be submitted within such longer term. If a decision includes instructions on the legal remedy which states erroneously that a complaint is not permissible, a complaint may be submitted within 90 days of the moment the party learned or could have learned about the possibility of submitting a complaint.

        If a party fails to meet a deadline for taking an action in the dispute and therefore loses the right to undertake that action, the court can permit the restoration of a prior status if it deems that there were legitimate reasons for the omission.

      • 25. Administrative acts excluded from judicial review

        Administrative disputes may not be conducted in matters in which court protection outside the administrative dispute is ensured.

        Administrative disputes may not be conducted concerning the correctness of an individual decision issued through the application of discretionary judgment of the body of public law, but it may be conducted concerning the lawfulness of such a decision, the boundaries of authority and the purposes because of which the authority was granted.

        Administrative disputes may not be conducted against a procedural decision of the body of public law, as such a decision may be disputed through a complaint against the decision on the main subject-matter, unless provided otherwise by law.

      • 26. Screening procedures

        After receiving a complaint, the administrative court shall examine its jurisdiction, whether the complaint is duly submitted and the existence of conditions precedent for a dispute.

        If the court establishes that another court has got jurisdiction, it shall issue a decision declaring itself non-competent, assign the complaint to a court having jurisdiction and notify the claimant accordingly.

        If a complaint does not include the prescribed parts or if it is not understandable, the complainant shall be asked to remedy such defects within a fixed period of time and warned about the consequences of his failure to comply with the instructions of the court. If the complainant fails to remedy the defects in the complaint within the set time limit, and the nature of the defects prevents the court from carrying out its work, the court shall dismiss the complaint in a decision as incomplete, unless it finds that the disputed decision is null and void or the administrative contract invalid. An appeal against this decision is permissible.

        The court shall establish that there are no conditions for conducting a dispute and dismiss the complaint in a decision if it establishes the following:

        1. the complaint was submitted untimely or early;
        2. a decision, action or administrative contract does not affect the right or legal interest of the complainant;
        3. a regular legal remedy was not filed against a decision, action or administrative contract;
        4. court protection is ensured outside the administrative dispute;
        5. a legally effective decision issued in an administrative dispute in the same matter already exists; or
        6. the complaint was filed against a procedural decision, unless provided otherwise by law
        7. the complaint was filed in a matter which can not be subject of an administrative dispute.

        When the court finds that the complaint is admissible it will schedule a hearing and discuss the case in meritum.

        In the appeal procedure the administrative court shall dismiss an untimely appeal or an appeal submitted by an unauthorised person in a decision within 15 days of its receipt.

        If an appeal is unduly submitted, the administrative court shall ask the appellant within 15 days as of the receipt of the appeal to supplement or correct the appeal and set a reasonable time limit for him to do so. If the appellant fails to comply with the order of the court within the time limit, the court shall dismiss the appeal in a decision as unduly submitted. Within eight days, the administrative court shall send a copy of a duly submitted appeal with all related documents to the High Administrative Court for decision- making. The High Administrative Court shall issue a decision dismissing an untimely appeal, an appeal filed by an unauthorised person, or an unduly submitted appeal if the administrative court failed to do so.

        The High Administrative Court shall issue a decision dismissing an appeal as impermissible if there are no grounds for filing an appeal stipulated by the Law on Administrative Disputes.

        The High Administrative Court decides about the appeals at council sessions without holding a hearing, unless it finds that it is necessary to hold a hearing.

      • 27. Form of application

        There is no specific form required for a complaint. Complaints must be understandable and include: name of the court to which it is submitted, name and address of the complainant, name of the respondent, reference to the disputed decision or administrative contract or description of the act or obligation of the performance of which is demanded, statement of claim, the scope of disputing the decision, action or administrative contract, reasons for the initiation of a dispute in respect of the main matter and subsidiary claims, facts and proofs on the basis of which the complainant bases his statement of claim, and signature of the complainant. If the return of an item or compensation of damages is demanded in the administrative dispute, the claim regarding items and the amount of damages must be included in the complaint. If the complainant does not have residence or registered office in Croatia, he shall designate his power-of-attorney holder or service agent in the complaint. The original or copy of the disputed decision, administrative contract or proof of an act must be enclosed to the complaint. Where an administrative dispute is initiated by reason of failure to take a decision or act within the fixed time limit, proof of the time of initiation of the administrative procedure or submission of the request to act must be enclosed to the complaint.

      • 28. Possibility of bringing proceedings via information technologies

        The Law on Administrative Disputes stipulates that submissions are submitted to the court in written or electronic form. Submissions which are submitted electronically should be certified by electronic signature in accordance with law. Any submission filed electronically shall be deemed submitted to the court at the moment when it is recorded on the server for the sending of such messages. Without any delay, the court shall confirm to the sender electronically that it received the submission.

        Service by electronic means shall be carried out only upon request or subject to an express consent of the party or another participant in the dispute. Service by electronic means shall be considered performed at the moment when the decision or another act of the court is recorded on the server for receiving such messages.

      • 29. Court fees

        Court fees are paid in administrative disputes only if the court rejects or dismisses the complaint. The party can ask to be exempt from paying court fees if it does not have sufficient resources to pay the fee. Court fees are not paid in administrative disputes concerning pension insurance, health insurance, social security, war veterans and asylum.

      • 30. Compulsory representation

        Representation by a lawyer is facultative at all administrative court instances. Actions in an administrative dispute may be taken by the complainant if he has full legal capacity or within the limits of his legal capacity. Actions in a dispute for the complainant may be taken by persons authorised to represent them, the joint representatives and joint power-of- attorney holders of a group of persons.

      • 31. Legal aid

        The costs of the proceedings can be paid through legal aid. The Law on Free Legal Aid defines conditions for access to legal aid and the procedure for obtaining it.

      • 32. Fine for abusive or unjustified applications

        There is no fine prescribed for unjustified applications. However, the party which loses in a dispute shall bear the costs of the dispute in full unless otherwise prescribed by the law. Any party that withdraws its complaint, appeal or any other proposal, as the result of which the other party incurs costs, shall bear the costs of those parties.

        The court may issue a reprimand, a fine or a removal from hearing against any person who participates in a dispute and who insults the court, the party or other participants in a submission or at a hearing, or disturbs the work of the court or fails to comply with the instructions of the court for maintaining order.

    • B. MAIN TRIAL

      • 33. Fundamental principles of the main trial

        Fundamental principles of the main trial are principle of legality (article 5.), principle of the partys right to be heard (article 6. paragraph 1. and 2. – without opportunity to respond only in cases prescribed by this Act), principle of the oral hearing (article 7. paragraph 1. and 2. – without oral hearing only in cases prescribed by this Act), principle of efficiency (article 8.), principle of assistance to an ignorant party (article 9.).

        Those principle are listed in the Law on Administrative Disputes (LAD), so they derive from national law. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is also direct source of implementing law, because conventions and international treaties are sources of law laid down by Constitution (article 118. paragraph 3.).

      • 34. Judicial impartiality

        Reasons for exemption of the judge are listed in Article 15. of LAD, so a judge may not decide and take part in the dispute: if he is a party, legal representative or power-of-attorney holder of the party or if he is in the relationship of co-authorised person or co-obligor with the party; if the party or the legal representative or power-of-attorney holder of the party is related to him by consanguinity in the direct line up to any degree, and collaterally up to the fourth degree or if they are spouses, life partners or related by kin up to the second degree, regardless whether the marriage was dissolved or not; if he is the caretaker, adopted parent or adopted child of the party, his legal representative or power-of-attorney holder; if in the same matter he participated in the taking the decision in the administrative procedure or in the first-instance administrative dispute; if there are other circumstances which bring into question his impartiality. A judge, as soon as he learns of a reason for disqualification, shall terminate any work on the matter and notify the president of court accordingly, who shall then issue a decision on disqualification of the judge and assign another judge to the matter.

      • 35. Possibility to rely on the new legal arguments in the course of proceedings

        In a first instance proceeding the claimant can state facts and supply evidence, because it is prescribed by LAD that parties may propose facts which should be established and evidence which can be used to establish the facts, although the court is not bound by such proposals (paragraph 3. article 33. LAD).

        In appeal proceedings new facts may not be presented (paragraph 3. article 69. LAD)

      • 36. Persons allowed to intervene during the main hearing

        Besides complainant and respondent, there can intervene any interested party (article 16. LAD). An interested party in a dispute is any person to whom the nullification, change or taking of a decision, an act or failure to act by the body of public law, or the conclusion, termination or enforcement of an administrative contract would mean a violation of his right or legal interest. (paragraph 1. article 9. LAD). An interested party is also a body of public law that holds that a court decision may have an impact on the rights and legal interests that it protects under law.

      • 37. Existence and role of the representative of the State (“ministère public”) in administrative cases

        Croatian new LAD prescribes in article 78. paragraph 1. and 2. that parties in an administrative dispute may, due to violation of the law, propose to the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia to file a request for extraordinary examination of legality of final decisions of the administrative court or the High Administrative Court. A request for extraordinary examination of legality of final decisions may be filed by the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia within six months from the day the final judgment is serviced to the party. The State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia may also file the request in the line of duty.

      • 38. Existence of an institution or a person with a role analogous to the French "Commissaire du gouvernement"

        Croatian LAD does not prescribe such an institution or a person.

      • 39. Termination of court proceedings before the final judgment

        Where a complaint is withdrawn, the court shall issue a decision discontinuing the dispute (paragraph 3. article 41.). If the respondent recognises the statement of claim in full in his response to a claim or during the dispute, the court shall issue a judgement resolving the dispute (paragraph 1. article 42.). The court shall issue a decision discontinuing a dispute where the complainant dies or ceases to exist in disputes which can not be continued due to the nature of administrative matter (paragraph 1 article 46.)

      • 40. Role of the court registry in serving procedural documents

        The court shall forward the complaint and all attachments thereto to the respondent and to any interested parties for their response to a claim (paragraph 1. article 32. LAD).

      • 41. Duty to provide evidence

        The parties and the court are both responsible for providing the evidence. In the complaint and in the response to complaint, parties shall present all facts on which they establish their claims, propose evidence for establishing such facts and declare themselves about the factual allegations and evidentiary proposals of other parties (paragraph 1. article 34. LAD). The court may request a party to provide statements regarding certain issues relating to the facts of the case and to propose evidence supporting its claims. For that purpose, the court may set a reasonable time limit (paragraph 2. article 34. LAD). The court may request the party to supplement and explain its submissions within a reasonable time limit, and to submit documents and other evidence which might be used in the dispute. If the party fails to submit the requested evidentiary means within the set time limit, the court may obtain them according to the provisions which regulate the acquisition of evidences in civil proceedings (paragraph 3. article 34. LAD). The public authorities shall submit documents in their possession upon the request of the court (paragraph 1. article 35. LAD). The public authorities shall designate which documents or parts of documents are considered to be a secret under the laws on the protection and confidentiality of data, and parties may not have access to such data (paragraph 2. article 35. LAD).

      • 42. Form of the hearing

        Hearings are public (paragraph 1. article 38. LAD). The court may prohibit the public from attending an entire hearing or a part thereof if that is necessary in view of the protection of privacy, protection of data and other reasons prescribed by law (paragraph 2. article 38. LAD) Such closing of a hearing to the public shall be issued through a decision (paragraph 3. article 38. LAD). Where a party or any other person participating in a dispute fails to appear at a hearing without having provided an excuse, the hearing may be held without their attendance (paragraph 3. article 39. LAD).

      • 43. Judicial deliberation

        The court shall adopt the judgement according to its discretion and on the basis of an evaluation of all legal and factual issues (article 55. paragraph 3. LAD).

        The council shall render the judgement by a majority vote. Deliberation and voting shall be recorded in special minutes which must be signed by all members of the council and the court minute-taker.

    • C. JUDGMENT

      • 44. Grounds for the judgment

        It is prescribed by LAD that the court shall adopt the judgment according to its discretion and on the basis of an evaluation of all legal and factual issues (paragraph 3. article 55. LAD). The judgment may be based only on facts and evidence regarding which the parties were provided with an opportunity to declare themselves (paragraph 4. article 55. LAD), so we could say that detailed statement of decisive reasons is required and it should provide understanding how the law provisions are applied on that individual case. It is prescribed that in the reasoned explanation, the court shall present claims of the parties, facts they presented and evidence they proposed, facts established by the court, why and when they were established, and if they were established through the evidentiary procedure, the evidence presented and assessed. The court shall in particular state the provisions of substantive law applied in deciding about the dispute and declare itself regarding proposals and objections of the parties about which it did not present any reasons during the dispute (paragraph 4. article 60. LAD). In the reasoned explanation of a judgment, the High Administrative Court shall assess the statements of appeal which have decisive character and state the reasons taken into consideration in adopting the decision (paragraph 2. article 75.)

      • 45. Applicable national and international legal norms

        Most often used reference norms are from national law (very large scope of material laws and bylaws, and in procedural sense LAD and Civil procedure law), and Constitution norms and norms of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights.

      • 46. Criteria and methods of judicial review

        The scope of administrative dispute is prescribed in article 3 LAD (paragraph 1. and 2.) and it is the following:

        1. assessment of the lawfulness of a decision by which the body of public law adjudicated on a right and obligation in an administrative matter (administrative act) against which it is not permissible to file a regular legal remedy and the adjudication on the rights, obligations and legal interests of the party;
        2. assessment of the lawfulness of an act of the body of public law by which a right, obligation and legal interest of the party was breached against which it is not possible to file a regular legal remedy;
        3. assessment of the lawfulness of a failure of the body of public law to adjudicate on a request or a regular legal remedy of the party or to act in accordance with subordinate legislation within the time limit fixed by law as well as the adjudication on the rights, obligations and legal interests of the party;
        4. assessment of the lawfulness of the conclusion, termination and enforcement of administrative contracts.

        The subject-matter of an administrative dispute is assessment of the lawfulness of a general act of the local and regional self-government legal persons vested with public powers and legal persons performing public services (hereinafter the "general act").

        The grounds for appeal against the judgment are prescribed in article 66. LAD which says:

        (1) Parties may file an appeal against a particular judgment of the administrative court on the following grounds:
        1. a substantial violation of court procedure rules,
        2. erroneously or incompletely established state of facts in the dispute, or
        3. erroneous application of the substantive law.

        (2) An appeal may be filed only when the administrative court decided itself in a judgment over the rights, obligations or legal interests of the party

        (3) A substantial violation of court procedure rules exists when the administrative court did not apply or incorrectly applied the provisions of this Act during a particular dispute, which had an effect on the adoption of a lawful and correct judgment.

        (4) An erroneously or incompletely established state of facts exists when the administrative court established erroneously or did not establish a decisive fact or has drawn false conclusion about the state of facts.

        (5) Erroneous application of the substantive law exists when the administrative court failed to apply a substantive law provision it was supposed to apply or if the court erroneously applied such provision.

      • 47. Distribution of legal costs

        Legal costs are prescribed in article 79. LAD according to which each party bears his/her own costs.

      • 48. Composition of the court (single judge or a panel)

        There is a difference between lower and higher jurisdictions. The Administrative court shall adjudicate in the form of a single judge. The High Administrative Court shall adjudicate in a three-judge panel, other than concerning the lawfulness of general acts when it shall adjudicate in a five- judge panel.

      • 49. Dissenting opinions

        There can be dissenting opinions because panel shall render the judgment by a majority vote. Deliberation and voting shall be recorded in special minutes which must be signed by all members of the panel and the court minute-taker, so dissenting opinion is only revealed in the voting minutes.

      • 50. Public pronouncement and notification of the judgment

        It is prescribed in article 61. LAD which says:
        (1) Judgments shall be announced at the hearing at which the discussion is concluded.
        (2) Judgements shall be announced by the single judge.
        (3) The judge shall publicly read the dispositive part and provide a reasoned explanation of the judgment in short.
        (4) If in view of the complexity of the subject-matter of the dispute, the court can not issue a decision immediately after the conclusion of the hearing, the announcement of the judgment may be postponed by at most eight days of the date of concluding the discussion. The date of publication of the judgment shall be set immediately.

    • D. EFFECTS AND EXECUTION OF JUDGMENT

      • 51. Authority of the judgment. Res judicata, stare decisis

        Final judgements of the court become res judicata and produce effects only for the parties (inter pares). The courts are obliged to rule on similar legal situations in the same way due to the principle of legality. The legal opinion adopted at a meeting of the court department is binding for all panels and judges of the same department.

        Final judgement of the court concerning the lawfulness of a general act shall be binding upon all (article 10. paragraph 2. LAD).

      • 52. Powers of the court in limiting the effects of judgment in time

        The judgement rendered by the court has an unlimited effect in time.

      • 53. Right to the execution of judgment

        It is prescribed in article 80. paragraph 1. and 2. LAD that judgment may be enforced after its delivery to the party, if a different time limit is not determined in the judgment. Decisions may be enforced immediately after announcement or delivery to the party, unless provided otherwise by this Act. In article 81. LAD it is prescribed that enforcement of a judgment by which the court settles a particular matter shall be provided by the respondent.

        Where a judgment nullifies a decision of the respondent, and the matter is not resolved, the respondent shall comply with the dispositive part of the judgment, at the latest within the time limit of 30 days of the delivery of the judgment. The respondent is bound by the legal standpoint and comments of the court. If the respondent fails to ensure enforcement of a judgment within the fixed time limit, in a motion for enforcement the complainant may request the court to enforce the judgment. Enforcement is conducted in accordance with the rules on enforcement laid down in the legislation which governs the general administrative procedure. In article 82. it is prescribed decisions shall be enforced by the court which issued them. Enforcement of payment obligations stipulated in a decision shall be carried out in accordance with the regulations governing court enforcement.

      • 54. Recent efforts to reduce the length of court proceedings

        Protection of right to trial within a reasonable time is prescribed in Croatian Constitution (article 29. paragraph 1.).

        Policy to reduce the length of time needed to resolve cases is implemented in a way that it is required that administrative procedure should not last more then three years even in the most complicated cases.

    • E. REMEDIES

      • 55. Sharing out of competencies between the lower courts and the supreme courts

        The jurisdiction is determined by article 12. LAD. Administrative disputes (hereinafter: dispute) shall be settled by administrative courts and the High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter the "High Administrative Court"). Administrative courts shall decide on complaints against individual decisions of the public authorities; complaints against an act of the public authorities; complaints against a failure to issue a decision or to act on the part of the body of public law within the time limit fixed by law; complaints against administrative contracts and the enforcement of administrative contracts; and in other cases laid down by law. The High Administrative Court shall decide on appeals against the judgments of administrative courts and decisions against which an appeal is permissible; . lawfulness of general acts; conflict of jurisdiction between administrative courts and in other cases laid down by law.

      • 56. Recourse against judgments

        The High Administrative Court can review both points of law and facts, because it is prescribed in paragraph 3. article 69. LAD that new facts may not be presented in un appeal. In paragraph 1. article 66. LAD it is prescribed that parties may file an appeal against a particular judgment of the administrative court on the following grounds: a substantial violation of court procedure rules, erroneously or incompletely established state of facts in the dispute, erroneous application of the substantive law. In paragraph 3. and 4. article 78. it is prescribed that the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, in a council composed of five judges, shall decide on the request for extraordinary examination of legality of final decisions of the administrative court or the High Administrative Court. If the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia adopts the request, it may annul the judgment and remand the case for a new decision or reverse the judgment.

    • F.  EMERGENCY AND SUMMARY PROCEEDINGS / APPLICATIONS FOR INTERIM RELIEF

      • 57. Existence of emergency and/or summary proceedings

        Summary proceedings are regulated by article 48. LAD (see question no. 59.) Emergency proceedings in which the periods for issuing a court ruling is shorter than usually in administrative disputes is for example in Asylum Act.

      • 58. Requests eligible for the emergency and/or summary proceedings

        In article 26. LAD it is prescribed that no complaint shall have delaying effect, unless provided otherwise by law. The court may decide that a complaint should have delaying effect if the enforcement of a decision or administrative contract would result in damages on the part of the complainant which would be difficult to remedy, unless provided by law that a complaint shall not delay the enforcement of a decision, and that such a delay is not contrary to public interest.

        In article 47. LAD it is prescribed that the court may issue an interim measure upon the proposal of a party if that is necessary to avoid serious and irreparable damages. Kinds of interim measures are not specified by provisions of LAD. It should depend on proposal of a party and aim of that interim measure, so judge intervention is not only conservatory, but it can also protect party from some threat of misconduct and irreparable damages. The court shall decide on an interim measure in a decision. An appeal may be filed against the decision on the interim measure.

      • 59. Kinds of summary proceedings

        Regarding summary proceedings in article 48. LAD is prescribed that where in ten or more first-instance disputes at the same court the merit of the complaint is of the same legal and factual nature, the court may decide in a decision which case will be resolved in a model dispute. In other matters, the court shall issue a decision suspending the dispute. After the judgement issued in the model dispute becomes final, the court shall continue to conduct the suspended disputes, and apply the evidence presented in the model dispute. Pursuant to a final judgment adopted in the model dispute, the court may also resolve a dispute initiated after the judgement became final without holding a hearing, and after the parties are provided with an opportunity to provide statements regarding the matter.

  • III – NON-JUDICIAL SETTLEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISPUTES

  • IV – ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE AND STATISTIC DATA