Box 8: Innovation and Efficiency Stifled in Novi Sad
The Misdemeanor Court in Novi Sad used the Sloboda Youth Employment Agency as its internal delivery service in the city of Novi Sad as well as the municipalities in Veternik, Futog and Petrovaradin. Sloboda couriers were paid 40RSD per successful delivery. According to the Misdemeanor Court, success rates ranged from 75-80%, resulting in the delivery of 7,000-10,000 documents per month. Their couriers repeatedly attempted service of process for the same price by going several times in a single day to the address of the party. They also provided the court with observations from the field, which facilitated further procedural steps such as advising if the address was invalid or if the person no longer lived there. Couriers were also willing to work after regular work hours and on weekends, when residents are more likely to be home.
According to the Court President:
‘Sloboda provided an astounding contribution to more efficient operation of the court, in pre-trial process, during court proceedings, and later in the phase of enforcement of court decisions. They also facilitated more effective enforcement of deadlines that are essential in legal proceedings, and therefore helped us reduce the number of cases that collapse by falling under the statute of limitations. Their work significantly improved our fines collection rate and increased inflow of funds to the budget.’
Despite the success, the Misdemeanor Court discontinued its cooperation with Sloboda in 2014. The 2014 budget for the court was only partially approved, and the line item for internal delivery service was cut to one-quarter of the sum. The Misdemeanor Court returned to using the postal service, where it is safer to accumulate arrears, and expenses can be more easily masked within general administration.