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MDTF Activities > Support to execution of the High Judicial Council budgetary competences - the Analysis of Arrears in Courts in Serbia

Support to execution of the High Judicial Council budgetary competences - the Analysis of Arrears in Courts in Serbia

 

The MDTF JSS expert team continue to provide support to the High Judicial Council (HJC) to improve execution of its budgetary competences. One of the challenges for the judicial budget are arrears. The MDTF JSS team prepared Analysis of Arrears in Courts in Serbia. The Analysis on of Arrears of Public Prosecutors Offices prepared by the MDTF JSS in 2017 identified need for detailed Analysis of Arrears in Courts. The Analysis represents an effort to analyze the level and structure of arrears accumulated by Serbian courts and assess the reasons underlying their excessive generation in past several years. On one hand it is motivated by the growing issue of overdue payments across the system which are reflecting adversely on the financial health of the courts through the enforced collection of liabilities initiated by the debtors. One the other, the arrears possess strong potential to hurt court performance in multiple ways.

The growth in arrears has a direct negative impact on judicial service delivery. The number off lawyers and expert witnesses refuse to work unless they are paid in advance causing delays and adjournments in the scheduling of hearings.

The Analysis was prepared on a sample of five courts: Higher Court in Belgrade, Higher Court in Valjevo, Basic Court in Smederevo, Basic Court in Prokuplje and Basic Court in Novi Sad. The primary focus of the analysis was to address the two key sources of arrears accumulation – investigation and postal related expenditure.

The Analysis is focused on several areas: budgetary status and the overall financial management practice in sample courts, the expenditure levels for court proceedings and postal services across the sample, the process of expenditure verification and assumption of financial commitments, the accounting and reporting practice around these commitments, process of arrears management and reporting and enforced collection volumes and associated expenditures. The Analysis identified substantial differences in the process of assuming commitments. Important finding of our analysis is that the cost per case vary significantly across courts. The recommendations are formulated to increase transparency, protect integrity and increase financial and overall performance of Serbian courts.

Main findings and recommendations from the Analysis will be presented to the members of the High Judicial Council, representatives of the courts covered by the Analysis, and the HJC Administrative office staff. The Analysis will support the HJC in the future budget planning and budget management.

The draft Analysis in English you could find here.