Evidence suggests that poor court performance negatively affects the economy. Complaints about the business climate are often associated with complicated procedural laws and backlogs that beleaguer the system and slow it down. In recent years, small claims have been receiving increased attention. The World Bank addresses the issue in various documents, including the Doing Business Report, that recognizes “small claims courts or simplified procedures for small claims, as the form of justice most likely to be encountered by the general public, play a special part in building public trust and confidence in the judicial system. They help meet the modern objectives of efficiency and cost-effectiveness by providing a mechanism for quick and inexpensive resolution of legal disputes involving small sums of money. In addition, they tend to reduce backlogs and caseloads in higher courts.”
To empower Serbian authorities to adopt informed decisions the MDTF-JSS team prepared Report that provides a comparative analysis of the procedure for resolving small claims in Serbia and recommendations to improve it, based on lessons learned from comparator jurisdictions: Austria, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Slovenia. Over the last two decades Serbia has introduced numerous simplifications to its small claims procedure but there are several aspects that could be improved. The improvements likely to have the greatest impact are: limiting the scope of the procedure; reforming the existing payment structure for court fees; introducing a well-structured written pre-trial phase; and allowing for a written-only process, unless parties have explicitly requested a hearing. The conclusion section of the Report provides a detailed delineation of the proposed recommendations.