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Law on Enforcement and Security Amendment Drafting Finalized

31 05 2019

Law on Enforcement and Security Amendment Drafting Finalized

The process of drafting amendments to the existing provisions of the Law on Enforcement and Security started back in April this year with the support of the USAID Rule of Law Project and within one of the largest – and most inclusive – working groups appointed by the Ministry of Justice for legal drafting. Given the importance of enforcement for citizens and companies exercising their rights, as well as rounding off the procedure previously decided in the court, all stakeholders took part in the working group with the aim of finding the best legislative solutions.

The main reasons for starting work on amendments to the Law are the non-harmonized practices which led to differences in procedures carried by the public enforcement officers, as well as remedying some problems observed in practice which compromised the efficiency of the enforcement procedure. During over a year of intensive effort, the working group held many meetings and intensive working sessions to discuss best solutions for issue such as applying the principle of proportionality, simplifying the legal remedies system, and ensuring better protection of debtors and third parties, etc.

USAID Rule of Law Project provided comprehensive support to the working group and the Ministry of Justice in drafting the amendments, as well as drafting certain by-laws and organizing the public hearings for the draft amendments. As USAID Rule of Law Chief of Party, Marc Lassman, said, ‘The Ministry of Justice should be commended for the manner in which they managed this process, in the spirit of including all stakeholders and enabling open dialogue, which is crucial for tackling the many challenges in this process’.

The most important changes that are comprised within the draft amendments concern the following provisions:

  • provisions related to applying the principle of proportionality – in practice, this means that public enforcement officers will have to be guided by this principle in practice when determining the means and subject of enforcement, as well as selecting hose that are the least damaging for the debtor;
  • if a utility debt is less than EUR 5.000, the only real estate in the ownership of the debtor (a natural person) cannot be sold to settle the debt;
  • the legal remedy system was simplified so that complaints and objections would not stand in the way of efficient enforcement, while added provisions regulate the objections submitted by third parties, whose rights in the enforcement procedure have been attracting a lot of attention from the public in the past few months;
  • e-auction, an electronic platform for auctioning off movable and immovable property in the enforcement procedure is to be introduced; this solution will allow greater transparency of the auction procedure while all interested parties will be able to monitor what is happening during the six-hour auction in real time;
  • electronic notice board is to be introduced which will allow all citizens to check whether they are being served any documents in an enforcement procedure through the internet presentations of the courts.

The draft of the propose amendments went through the public discussion that the Ministry, with the support of our Project and the EU-funded ‘EU for Justice – Support for Chapter 23’ project, organized at the end of May in four appellate seats - Niš, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Beograd.

The Project will continue to support the Ministry of Justice and the Chamber of Public Enforcement Officer in finalizing bylaws which will regulate in more detail some of the proposed solutions, such as the Rulebook on e-Auction. Also, starting in the fall, we are planning to organize joint training sessions for judges and public enforcement officers related to the amendments the adoption of which is expected soon. In addition, upon the request of the Supreme Court of Cassation, we will support the organization of the roundtables on the topic of harmonizing practices between the courts and public enforcement officers.

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