In a move to cut the long delays in the execution of court rulings, Serbia is introducing bailiffs and public notaries to the legal system.
The long delays that many Serbs experience awaiting court rulings and executions of judgments may become a things of the past following the introduction of bailiffs and public notaries from June onwards, officials say.
The changes will give notaries the authority to certify contracts, constitute and maintain wills and prenuptial agreements and deal with certain simple legal procedures.
They will also guarantee the accuracy of all court data. It is expected that one notary will be responsible for every 25,000 citizens.
Meanwhile bailiffs or debt collectors will become responsible for ensuring payment of municipal debts, unpaid bills for mobile phones and parking fines.
The Minister for Justice, Snezana Malovic, said bailiffs will help shorten the time span for the execution of many court judgments from an average of 560 days to just a few days.
Slobodan Homen, state secretary in the Ministry of Justice, said bailiffs would accelerate the process of execution of court rulings and rebuild the confidence of investors and creditors in the justice system.
“We expect them to help the courts with their workload... [and] they will work exclusively on the orders of the court and with the police presence, not on their own," Homen said.
But not everyone supports the changes.
Vesna Vodinelic Rakic, a Belgrade law professor, said introducing bailiffs might be a mistake, as most people were insufficiently informed about the scope of their powers.
“Such an institution exists in the other developed countries but we have to take into account the environment in which we are living,” she said.
Frustrated Serbs have increasingly begun turning to European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg over violations of the right to trial within a reasonable time.