Average waiting time for a court ruling in Serbia is 754 days

Serbia allocates EUR 40 per capita annually for the financing of its judiciary, which is EUR 24.5 lower than citizens of Council of Europe member states – says the report published yesterday by the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ), an expert body of the Council of Europe.

However, when these amounts are viewed according to the country’s gross domestic product, the picture is somewhat different. Namely, Serbia allocates EUR 279,484,639, or 0.66 per cent of its national GDP annually for the judiciary, which is twice as much as the Council of Europe member states. The CEPEJ report also covers the year 2020, when, due to the pandemic and the two-month-long state of emergency the judicial institutions dealt exclusively with emergency cases.

Under these circumstances, the average duration of criminal proceedings at the first instance was 155 days, only a few days longer than the European average, and this is where Serbia fares better is in the duration of criminal proceedings at the second instance. The proceedings before the appeals courts took an average of 36 days in Serbia, while in Europe it took 121 days for the final verdict.

However, the situation is much worse with civil proceedings. The first instance verdict in a dispute in Serbia took as much as 472 days, significantly longer than in Council of Europe countries (237 days). If one of the parties appealed the first instance verdict, it had to wait an average of 255 days for the final resolution of the dispute. In Europe, similar disputes were resolved in 177 days. Traditionally, Serbia has the worst statistics on administrative disputes, which last on average of 754 days. By contrast, the European average is 358 days.

The CEPEJ report also states that Eastern European countries traditionally have a large number of judicial office holders and Serbia is no exception.

According to the report, Serbia has 38 judges and 128 other court employees per 100,000 inhabitants as opposed to the Council of Europe member countries which have 17.6 judges and 56 court employees.

Prosecutors’ offices, on the other hand, do not boast a higher number of employees. Namely, in Serbia, there are 11.29 deputy public prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants, which is slightly higher than the European average of 11.1. When it comes to lawyers, there are 156.88 per 100,000 inhabitants in Serbia and 134 in Europe.

The CEPEJ report also contains data on the salaries of judges and prosecutors, which are among the lowest in Europe. According to the report, the average gross annual salary of a novice judge in Serbia in 2020 was EUR 16,277. A judge of the same grade in Council of Europe countries is paid an average of EUR 46,149. The gap widens when comparing the salaries of senior judges – the average gross annual salary of a judge just before retirement in Serbia is 29,788 euros, while in Europe 90,000 euros.

(Danas, 07.10.2022)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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