Changing Faces of Post-socialist Supreme Courts: Croatia and Slovenia Compared
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While both Croatia and Slovenia belong to the circle of successor countries of the former Yugoslavia, and share common roots and traditions, developments pertaining to legal reforms since the 1990s proceeded at different speeds and, partly, in different directions. This paper compares developments in the two states, focusing on the change in the role of the supreme courts in the context of civil procedure where the most profound changes in recent times happened in the evolution of the role of the secondary (further, final) appeal on points of law. At different points in time both supreme courts experienced a crisis that resulted in considerable delays and backlogs. Different strategies to control the influx of cases to the highest tribunals were subsequently employed, with different levels of success. While Slovenia, in the reform of civil procedure enacted in May 2008, generally embraced the view that the question of whether a particular issue of law has general significance is quite different from the question of whether the lower court has decided on it incorrectly in the case at hand, Croatia is still struggling with the introduction of filtering mechanisms that would transform the role of the highest court and emphasize its public function and purpose. Both countries, however, are at best only halfway into new approaches and still have a hybrid (mixed) system of secondary appeals.
KeywordsPublic Prosecutor Civil Procedure Legal Certainty High Court Lower Court
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