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Amendments to Republika Srpska Civil Procedure Law

Adnan Sarajlić, Edna Basara • mar 28, 2024

Amendments to Republika Srpska Civil Procedure Law

The latest amendments to the Republika Srpska Civil Procedure Law were enacted to ensure procedural improvements, align the rules with the European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights, better regulate cases involving marital and family disputes, and strengthen court rulings.

The law was published in Official Gazette of Republika Srpska No. 027/2024 on 26 March 2024, and will take effect on the eighth day following its publication.

This piece of legislation delivers several key improvements on previous regulations:

  • Stipulated jurisdiction for liquidation disputes;
  • Stipulated procedure when deciding on the court expert person by the court;
  • Judges have been given more flexibility when exceeding time limits for adopting rulings following the end of the main hearing;
  • Explanatory statements of rulings setting aside first-instance judgments must now indicate the stage to which the process will be reversed;
  • Parties can now communicate with courts by e-mail, with certain restrictions;
  • Parties can petition courts to allow audio recording of court hearings;
  • Disputed facts in commercial cases can be proven only by means of instruments (documents); and
  • Procedures have been introduced to regulate how courts treat provisional measures governed by other laws.

The Republika Srpska Family Law (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska No. 17/23) required the regulation of procedures in marital and family disputes. This meant that amendments to the Civil Procedure Law had to be fast-tracked, with new Chapter XXIXb of the law governing these rules.

The law provides procedures for child custody disputes, cases involving maintenance of contact with children, paternity and maternity cases, and disputes over support for minors or persons subject to parental responsibility extending past their 18th birthday. The amendments include:

  • Rules for determining court jurisdiction in family disputes where a child is the claimant;
  • Shorter time limits (15 days) for actions in cases initiated by a claim;
  • Limited court powers in determining facts that parties have not presented or evidence that parties have not proposed;
  • Children are now able to speak their mind freely in court in the presence of a psychologist or other professional, or another person chosen by the child, without the parents being present;
  • Contested paternity and maternity cases are now closed to the public;
  • First-instance judgments may be appealed within 15 days; and
  • Review of final judgments divorcing or annulling a marriage will not be allowed but will always be permitted in family disputes.

The changes are expected to strike a balance between court efficiency and quality of the adjudication process by allowing online delivery of court writs and extending time limits for adopting judgments, allowing children to speak freely in court, permitting audio recordings of cases and closing some marital and family disputes to the public.