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Accelerating Civil Proceedings in Croatia

that might influence their status. Discussions about reform of the judicial system were therefore politicized to a great extent even where it might have been expected that professional and impartial analysis would prevail.

Official documents on the reform of the judicial system can therefore be read even today as a catalogue of wishes and an unsystematic list of items that have legal and political priority. A systematic strategy of changes that would lead to the acce- leration of civil proceedings is hardly to be found in these documents. However, for the purposes of this paper I will try to group and order the sometimes chaotic re- form attempts and present them as different ‘strategies’, even if they were occasio- nally a product of mere coincidence.


Actual projects intended to accelerate civil proceedings – A typology of reform strategies

Accelerating proceedings is as complex as every other far-reaching reform in the ju- dicial system. Simple and unilateral interventions are not sufficient when we face long-lasting and fundamental problems. Both procedural and organizational changes may be necessary at the same time. Similarly, changes in Croatia were also intended to deal not only with procedural rules (which, although burdened with some inadequate provisions, cannot be exclusively blamed for current inefficien- cies).

I would like to try to group the various projects in this area into six strategies for the acceleration of proceedings. In my opinion, all can be recognized in actual initiatives, even if they are not apparently part of the general scheme of reform. These strategies are:

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    the reform of procedural rules (changes in procedures and well-established routines for resolving judicial cases in order to streamline and shorten pro- ceedings);

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    transfer (‘outsourcing’) of tasks that are currently dealt with by the courts to other State and social services and other professional groups (especially public notaries) and transfer of tasks that are not central to the judicial function to other persons within or outside the courts;

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    stimulating parties to resolve their disputes out of court, by settlements reached independently or with the assistance of third persons (mediators), or through arbitration;

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    changes in the organization of the judicial system at the national level (the sys- tem of judicial jurisdiction), and at the level of individual courts (reorganiza- tion of court administration);

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    technical and logistical improvements (introducing new technologies, espe- cially in the IT area, reorganization of the delivery service and court registers);

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    programmes of training (intensifying quality criteria in the recruitment of per- sonnel in the judicial sector, permanent education and advanced, specialized and continuing training).


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