Serbia Justice Functional Review

External Performance Assessment > Demand for Justice Services

c. Demand for Justice Services by Court Type

  1. The decline in demand affects some court types more than others. The Basic, Misdemeanor, and Commercial Courts have been the most affected, while the Higher and Appellate Courts have been more stable.138
  1. The Basic Courts have been most affected, with a 35 percent fall in incoming cases.140 The impact of the courts’ changing mandate is visible when Basic Court incoming cases are further disaggregated (see Figure 4). The numbers of enforcement cases reduced significantly since the introduction of enforcement agents in 2011, but some new enforcement cases still enter the court system. The numbers of criminal investigations fell in 2013 when the CPC was introduced, and will soon disappear as prosecution-led investigation proceeds. Taking into account that enforcement cases require little judicial work, judges in Basic Courts will be left with a balanced workload of civil litigious cases, civil non-litigious cases, and a small caseload of criminal trials.
  1. In the Misdemeanor Courts (the second busiest courts), incoming cases declined by 12 percent from 2011 to 2013.142 Around 60 percent of their caseload is traffic cases, and the rest comprises a mix of minor offences relating to tax, customs, public procurement, corruption, etc.
  2. In the Commercial Courts, incoming cases fell by nearly 50 percent.143 The Commercial Courts are now on a par with Higher and Appellate Courts in terms of caseload size. Such marked declines may well be related to economic factors, described above. The addition of 31 Commercial Court judges between 2011 and 2012 further decreased average caseloads per judge, leaving judges in Commercial Courts with much lower workloads than before.
  3. In the Higher Courts, the number of incoming cases remains fairly low,144 but some of the volume of new incoming cases may soon shift from the Basic to Higher Courts. Amendments to the Civil Procedure Code proposed by the Government in May 2014 reduce monetary thresholds so that lower value cases may be litigated in the less dense Higher Courts.145
  1. The Appellate Courts also have a fairly small number of incoming cases (see Figure 6), but the number is increasing slightly.147