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A. Uzelac

ings on a regular basis. Admittedly, as a replacement for the second instance hearing, the 2003 Amendments provided that the ‘court of second instance, when it finds it necessary, may summon parties or their representatives to a session of the panel of the appellate court’.57 But that remains only an option, and the court does not have to use it. It is not likely that appellate judges will summon the parties more often than they ordered second instance hearings – and that was almost never. Even if such ‘half-open’58 sessions of the court will be held more frequently, the rights and the roles of the parties and their repre- sentatives at those sessions remain unclear.

7.4.2 Changes in other (‘extraordinary’) legal remedies

Amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure did not abolish entirely the special le- gal remedies that may be launched against res iudicatae (the so-called ‘extraordinary’ legal remedies). The most significant change consists in abolishing one such remedy

  • the so-called ‘request for the protection of legality’ (zahtjev za zaštitu zakonitosti) by

the State Attorney. This legal remedy was introduced after World War II into Croa- tian law as a result of the reception of Soviet law, and was clearly motivated by the doctrine of (socialist) state paternalism and the protection of State (‘public’) interests in private law disputes.59 In the past three decades, this remedy has lost part of the background of State (public) interests and has become more an objective tool to harmonize the law and prevent illegalities. But, by strengthening the adversarial elements and the parties’ role and position (as well as their responsibility for the course of proceedings) this legal remedy became systemically unsuitable and poten- tially dangerous. The official explanation for deleting the rules on the request for protection of legality was the ‘removal of State controls’ in civil proceedings, but it also pointed to some practical problems that had been caused by the fusion of the services of the State Defender’s Office (the State Attorney who represents the State as a party to civil proceedings) with the service of public prosecution and the repre- sentation of public, general interests in all types of cases. As regards the acceleration of civil proceedings, not very much can be expected from abolishing this legal rem- edy because it was not used widely in practice.

The second extraordinary legal remedy that could bring the case before the Supreme Court (‘revision’, secondary appeal) also experienced important altera- tions. This legal remedy against final judgments of appellate courts was changed in a direction that is, to a certain degree, contrary to the attempt to accelerate proceed- ings.

57 58

59

New Article 362 paragraph 2 Code of Civil Procedure. As opposed to the so-called ‘closed’ sessions of the appellate judges where neither parties nor the general public have access. Deciding in closed sessions was the rule in second instance proceedings in Croatia. I fear that nothing will really change in this respect. See S. Zuglia, Gra ansko procesno pravo Federativne Narodne Republike Jugoslavije (Civil proce- dural law of the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia), Zagreb, Školska knjiga, 1957, p. 570-573 (note 5 on p. 573). S. Triva, V. Belajec and M. Dika, Gra ansko parni no procesno pravo, supra note 16, § 153.

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