Accelerating Civil Proceedings in Croatia
vertical analysis will explore the course of proceedings, from their commencement to their termination, focusing on the duration of particular segments within a par- ticular process.
Horizontal analysis further demonstrates that the problem of acceleration can appear in two forms. First, there may be a need to deal with the insufficient speed of proceedings in all (or at least in a great majority) of court cases. Efforts can thereby be concentrated either on different types of courts (courts of general jurisdiction, specialized courts) and the types of proceedings conducted within such courts (e.g., summary proceedings, regular proceedings), or to courts’ actions according to their territorial jurisdiction (a comparison of court proceedings in different parts of the State territory or a comparison according to some other territorial criterion, e.g., ac- cording to the division of the courts as between urban and rural areas).
Even if a majority of the proceedings in a particular jurisdiction (or a majority of types of proceedings) are not counted among those that are excessively long (ac- cording to any criteria), this does not exclude the appearance of isolated individual cases of especially lengthy proceedings. If they appear in a particularly negative context (of extreme duration, with an urgent social need to resolve them), such cases may also stimulate the need for intervention.
Vertical analysis, on the other hand, focuses on the course of the court pro- ceedings, trying to establish a model that would determine which stages of proceed- ings correspond to standards of appropriate duration and speed, and which parts are burdened with unnecessary delay.
The occurrence of delays may be of a rather different intensity and density. Thus, the problem of acceleration in this context may also appear in two different forms: solving deeply rooted inefficiencies (‘dragging’) in proceedings at all stages or removing individual delays (‘bottlenecks’) that appear in the otherwise relatively satisfactory course of the proceedings.
This analysis of the notion of duration provides a context for the further course of this paper and can be outlined in the following table:
Elements of fair trial – acceleration in the context of efficiency
Type of proceedings Territorial jurisdiction
Single incidents (‘cases’) Lengthiness of all stages of the proceedings Delays in proceedings (‘bottlenecks’) costs and expenditures impartial and fair adjudication: Vertical analysis
proper application of law, accurate fact-finding, etc.
In Croatia, the duration of proceedings appears to be an issue in terms of virtually all the stated meanings. Although there are no reliable statistical data about this is- sue, the general opinion – or even the prevailing one – is that a majority of court