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The New Enforcement and Security Act in Serbia

Serbia’s new Enforcement and Security Act (ESA) was adopted on 18 December 2015, and has become effective as of 1 July 2016.

The most relevant new rules are:

  • the provision of new mechanisms to ensure effective enforcement;
  • new competence of the courts and the bailiffs; and
  • the status/role of the bailiffs.

Most importantly, ESA introduces the possibility to lodge an appeal against both the decisions of the court and the bailiff, except in cases where the law explicitly excludes the possibility of an appeal. As a novelty, an appeal does not delay enforcement of the contested decision.

The new ESA provides for deference of the enforcement proceedings provided that a reasoned proposal is filed by a creditor, debtor, and in some instances – a third party. Likewise, it introduces the use of expert witnesses and also allows restitutio in integrum in limited cases.

ESA provides certain changes to the competence of the courts and bailiffs.

The courts and the bailiffs do not share the same competence in conducting enforcement proceedings. The courts have exclusive competence over the approval and performance of the enforcement proceedings, including the decision on sale of real estate and the movable property or the reinstatement of employees. However, the bailiffs have much broader competence, as they have the exclusive right to conduct all enforcement proceedings based on enforceable or credible documents.

ESA regulates in detail the status of the bailiffs and their role during the enforcement proceedings. Their new role is also highlighted through the change of their title to “public” bailiffs, but that also involves additional responsibility. ESA sets down additional eligibility criteria for appointing the bailiffs (such as having passed the bar exam) and increases their disciplinary accountability.