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MDTF Activities > Challenges in Access to Justice for MSMEs

Challenges in Access to Justice for MSMEs

Access to justice is one of the biggest challenges for Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the whole region. To overcome identified challenge the MDTF-JSS in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) initiated activities for developing and disseminating a Guide for the self-representation of MSMEs. To inform content of the Guide several focus group was organized over the last few months to identify MSMEs common problems in access to the courts. Focus group discussions were organized in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and Nis. Participants included over 40 representatives of all relevant stakeholders, MSMEs, judges, representatives of Bar Chambers, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, Serbian Association of Employers, Vojvodina Association of Employers, members of the Business Association Clubs etc.

The focus group discussions reveled several areas that are relevant for the MSMEs that will be included in the Guide: misdemeanor justice, commercial offences and liquidation. The draft Guide will be tested with the MSMEs. Final version of the MSMEs will be disseminated to the targeted population.
 
However, the focus group discussions highlighted several additional topics relevant for the MSMEs that should be covered in the future:
  • Specificities of the position of entrepreneurs;
  • Legal issues related to the labor law;
  • Lack of knowledge on their rights if the lawyer who represented them causes them damage or performs their work negligently and unprofessionally;
  • Challenges with the inspection service and administrative justice.

The main challenge for the MSMEs is diversification of legislation relevant for their operation. The provisions of relevant legislation are scattered across many laws and bylaws, written in a complex legal language difficult to be understand by lay people. The mitigation measure could be development of Guide that will incorporate the most relevant MSMEs obligation in one document written in user friendly format.