Legal policy starting point
The IRZ started its consultation in Croatia in 2000 within the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. The aim was to support the development of structures orientated towards the rule of law and the market economy. Croatia has been negotiating with the EU on accession since 2005. Since the reports of the European Commission now demon-strate that Croatia is on the path towards becoming a stable democracy based on the rule of law, it is highly likely that the country will accede to the EU on 1 July 2013.
Cooperation to date
At the beginning of the IRZ’s consultations in Croatia, the focus was on constitutional law, as well as on civil and commercial law topics. The focus here was not so much on legislation consultation, but on the basic and further training of judges. This relaated for instance to the harmonisation of national law with EU law, particularly in the law on competition, in the law on insolvency, in international private law and in international family law. Because the IRZ involved the Law Faculties of the Universities in Zagreb, Osijek, Rijeka and Split, theoretical and practical approaches in consultation were considered simultaneously and younger academic lawyers became involved. The IRZ has been working together with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General since 2005. Since then, two further training events per year have taken place on current topics of criminal law and criminal procedure law, each attended by up to 120 public prosecutors from all levels of the court system and from all over Croatia. Also since 2005, the IRZ has been organising international conferences on civil and commercial law topics together with the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb. It has also been offering further training activities in various fields of the law in cooperation with the Judicial Academy for several years. There is a particular demand for mediation. In cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, there have been for the last two years seminars and workshops in particular for prison governors and staff. In addition to the bilateral activities, the IRZ has applied with growing success in recent years for twinning projects of the European Commission.
The IRZ is planning to continue collaboration with all partner institutions in 2013. The actual topics of the individual events, however, still need to be arranged with the respective institutions. The series of seminars with the Office of the Public Prosecutor General on current topics of criminal law and criminal procedure law is to be continued, as is the cooperation with the Law Faculty of the University of Zagreb on topics of civil and commercial law. In cooperation with the Judicial Academy, there will be further training courses for judges in European law, and also on current trends within civil and criminal law. Furthermore, the IRZ will undertake all necessary efforts to continue to sustainably support Croatia on the last stage of its journey into the EU.