Analyses of the request to settle disputes amicably in the Civil Procedure Act

Jadranka Osrečak


Although the Request to settle the dispute amicably (Request) might appear uninteresting to a wider audience, as it is a mechanism which can be found in this form only in Croatian law, it is interesting and significant for more than one reason. The obligation to file a Request represents a form of alternative dispute resolution mechanism because the parties have a chance to settle their dispute outside the court. It is also interesting because of the dual role of the competent state attorney office which, as an independent judiciary body, acts both as a legal representative of the State and as an arbitrator between the disputing parties. Finally, it is interesting because it not only influences the rights of parties but also the costs parties endure in a civil procedure. The obligation of filing a Request is a positive process condition stipulated in the Croatian Civil Procedure Act. It is a general obligation that does not depend on a type of dispute but rather on a category of parties. Any natural or legal person who intends to file a civil claim against the Republic of Croatia must file a Request with the competent state attorney office. This obligation, mutatis mutandis, applies to the State. The obligation to file a Request disrupts the procedural balance. It puts in a less favourable position potential plaintiffs by delaying their right to file a lawsuit for three months. However, the analysis of the Civil Procedure Act, the Croatian case law and statistical analysis proves that positive effects of the Request significantly exceed the negative. Finally, the article also addresses the impact of the introduction of the Request to the role of deputies of state attorney. Deputies, as independent judicial officials, act similarly to an arbitrator or mediator between disputing parties during the phase of the Request. 

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