In cooperation with tne Supreme Court of Cassation, the World Bank Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Justice Sector Support (MDTF-JSS) organized a workshop in Kragujevac to discuss options for improved service of process. This workshop is first in the series of workshops hosted by the MDTF-JSS where judicial professionals will discuss recommendations from the Functional Review and other topics of mutual interest. Mr. Srdjan Svircev, Public Sector Specialist, facilitated discussion and President of the Misdemeanor Court in Novi Sad, Judge Kamenko Kozarski, presented examples and experiences with improved service of process in Novi Sad.
The service of process is critical for efficient court proceeding. Based on information from the Functional Review over 57 percent of attempts at service fail on average. This has major impact not only on court efficiency but also on judge’s performance. The Serbian Postal Office (SPO) charges judiciary over 2 million EUR for postal services. The major problem is in the fact that SPO’s invoice is based on the attempt for service of process which inflates overall costs. As a result judiciary creates arrears which very often have to be settled at court. In order to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the Supreme Court of Cassation signed an MoU with the Postal Office, however this has bring limited results and has not reduced costs of operation.
Over 30 participants attended the workshop, mostly court presidents and heads of registry. The participants agreed that this innovative approach is a useful model which can be replicated in larger cities with bigger courts, however smaller municipalities will have to continue to rely on SPO’s services. The participants agreed that the MoU with the SPO should be revisited and amended. This process will be managed by the Supreme Court and Ministry of Justice. The participants shared their positive experiences with the court couriers and recommended that this service, which is at this stage fragmented at the level of court/prosecutor office, could be merged on a city level to an Office for Joint Services which would provide services for all judicial institutions in the city.
The next workshop on the same topic is scheduled for December and will take place in the Appellate Court in Nis.