Education & Training

Friday, 29 March 2013

Seminar for Judges and Judicial Associates Held in Nis on the Implementation of the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure – Determination of Time and Place of Birth

A series of counselling on the issue of amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure prescribing a new procedure for determination of time and place of birth terminated on 29 March 2013 when a seminar was held for judges deciding in non-contentious procedure in the first and second assistance and for judicial associates in the Basic Court in Nis. The seminar was attended by judges and judicial associates from Vranje, Prokuplje, Pirot, Leskovac and Nis.

Through presentations the representatives of the Technical Group, formed based on the Cooperation Agreement concluded between the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, Ombudsperson and UNHCR, emphasised the importance of standardization of the procedure for determination of time and place of birth in order to eradicate the phenomenon of legally invisible persons in Serbia. PhD Nikola Bodiroga, a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade, talked about the legal aspects, interpretation and analysis from the viewpoint of practical implementation of newly adopted solutions.

Significant questions raised in the final part of the seminar within the discussion of participants about the newly adopted regulation referred to the possibility of initiation of a procedure for determination of time and place of birth for persons who did not manage to conduct procedures related to reconstruction of registry books that were missing or destroyed in Kosovo, as well as to the treatment of evidence that might come up in these procedures – primarily identification documents issued by competent bodies of international community (UNMIK) and by Kosovo authorities. Specifically, it was pointed at a procedure for determination of time and place of birth initiated in Nis for a person who submitted an ID document issued by UNMIK. This posed a dilemma for the proceeding judge about whether the concerned procedure can be conducted for a person who possesses a document the contents of which unambiguously suggest that the facts related to time and place of birth had been precisely determined. Representative of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration tried to explain the problem of (non) recognition of Kosovo identification documents and emphasised that there would soon be changes of the relevant by-laws, on the basis of which the procedure for determination of time and place of birth will be an alternative solution for those who cannot conduct the procedure of re-registration in registry books due to lack of evidence. Until that happens, the judges were counselled to prove the facts in these procedures primarily by hearing the witnesses.

In addition, another question raised during the seminar related to the possibility of conducting the procedure in the absence of the person the procedure refers to, with hearing of the witnesses in the prescribed way and per the envisaged procedure. The standpoint adopted in this seminar, just like in the previously held seminars in Belgrade, Kragujevac and Novi Sad, suggests to the proceeding judges to refer flexibly to the evidence in the procedure for determination of time and place of birth, to bear in mind the interest of the State in eradicating the phenomenon of legally invisible persons and the significance of registration in birth registry book and thus to refer to the evidence in this context. PhD Bodiroga expressed the opinion that the physical absence of the person should not pose an obstacle for deriving evidence and conducting the procedure as legally prescribed, especially bearing in mind that this procedure can also be initiated for determining the time and place of birth of a deceased person, upon the motion of a person with proven legal interest for conducting such procedure.

The discussion ended with the conclusion of the participants that the interpretations and suggestions given at the seminar are clear enough and extremely useful for future proceeding of judges, but that the new issues arise upon establishment of court practice in this field. In that respect, a new series of seminars has been announced on the same topic for the next year.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action