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Quicker Recovery of Damages with Less Costs Through Settlement

20 12 2018

Quicker Recovery of Damages with Less Costs Through Settlement

One out-of-court settlement in the case of breach of the right to trial within reasonable time saves 161 days in trial duration and 12.239 RSD in costs. These are the results of the first analysis of data related to the application of the Guidelines for improving and promoting the out-of-court settlement procedure in cases of the above mentioned breach.

At the beginning of December, the Project conducted this initial analysis on the sample of 50 randomly selected final cases in which the Basic Court ruled on a claim for compensation for non-pecuniary damage for violating the right to a trial within a reasonable time, and 68 concluded out-of-court settlements between the State Attorney's Office as representatives of courts and citizens on the same type of claim. The analysis examined the amount of compensation, the length and the cost of the procedure.  

On average, the costs of out-of-court settlement amount to 1.500 RSD, i.e. 3.1% of the amount of average damages, which is almost 10 times less than the average amount of court fees - 14.739 RSD. That is also how much less time it would take for the party to the case whose right to trial within reasonable time was breached to recover damages. Cumulative savings in 68 out-of-court settlements concluded in the period from July to November 2018 amount to 900.252 RSD for courts represented by the State Attorney’s Office, i.e. for the court budget, and 10.948 days in the time needed to conduct these cases in the court proceedings.

The Guidelines have been signed in July this year by the President of the Supreme Court of Cassation and the High Court Council, the Minister of Justice, the State Attorney, and the Director of the Judicial Academy, in order to establish an efficient mechanism which would allow the practical application of settlement which was previously almost impossible due to the extended and demanding procedures which were the consequence of insufficiently precise provisions of the law. The Guidelines have helped bridge the gap between the legislative framework and practice by making the settlement procedure more simple and allowing for all settlements to be executed from the same budget – the budget of the High Court Council. This enables better planning and tracking the resources expended for this purpose, as well as the effects of the Guidelines application.

The USAID Rule of Law Project supported the adoption of the Guidelines, as well as the training and the promotion for this method of alternative dispute resolution. We will continue to work on expanding the application of the judicial and out-of-court settlement on other types of cases where the parties are represented by the State Attorney’s Office.

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