May 30, 2019 - A public debate on the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Courts is in progress. The draft includes, among other things, the amendment of the local jurisdiction of the Basic Court in Kotor, so that the Basic Court in Cetinje is competent for the territory of the Municipality of Budva. According to attorneys of the South Region, gathered in the Attorney Chamber of Montenegro, such a proposal is unacceptable, because the court of Kotor may then come to the category of economically inexperienced courts, which could ultimately lead to its abolition because of the request for rationalization. It would have caused the most significant damage to citizens of Boka.
The public hearing on amendments to the Law on Courts, which the Ministry of Justice opened on May 13 with a deadline of 20 days, runs until Sunday, June 2.
Attorneys appeal to citizens of Boka Bay to comment on the proposed changes to the Courts Act, because the difference in the part of the local jurisdiction of the Basic Court in Kotor without any valid reason meant the privilege of the courts in the interior and the north and the marginalization of the significance of the coast for Montenegro. Attorneys also underline the violation of the constitutional principle of respect for fundamental human rights of citizens related to the protection of rights before the courts according to local jurisdiction and respect for local self-government.
In remarks addressed to the Ministry of Justice, attorneys from the South Region recall that, according to the medium-term plan of rationalization of the judicial network, the essential taken criteria are the number of inhabitants, the geographical distance and the court's burden.
"Has the number of inhabitants reduced or changed the geographical position of Budva or the intention is to justify the formation of a unit that had only 100 new cases in 2019?" - ask lawyers in their remarks, suggesting that the situation with the economic inability of the Basic Court in Cetinje can be solved by being attached to the Basic Court in Podgorica.
"Taking into account the number of inhabitants of the Kotor, Tivat and Budva municipalities, which according to the data from the medium-term plan of rationalization were over 40,000 inhabitants, transferring almost 50% of the cases of the Kotor Basic Court leads to a misbalance in the organizational sense. "According to a lawyer's opinion, this could ultimately lead to the dismissal of the law institution with the longest tradition in Montenegro.
The Court exists and is founded to protect the interests of local citizens, and without its existence, there is no basis in the Constitution and the laws of Montenegro," states the objections addressed to the Ministry of Justice.
Attorneys point out that the transfer of local authority caused a great deal of damage to the interests of the citizens of Tivat, Kotor, and Budva since the local authority of the old Austro-Hungarian survey and the old cadastre covered all three municipalities. It is no coincidence that the court's existence in Kotor, as the Bokelian administrative center, has a tradition of more than 600 years, mark attorneys.
Consequently, South Region attorneys seek that part of the amendments to the law, which is to propose that the Basic Court in Cetinje extend its jurisdiction over the territory of the Municipality of Budva to the exclusion of Jurisdiction of the Basic Court in Kotor, is removed from the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Courts
Bearing in mind EU instructions, attorneys suggest to the Ministry of Justice that instead of territorial delimitation of the courts in the interest of the protection of certain courts to survive, rationalize in such a way that the Basic Court of Cetinje and the Basic Court Danilovgrad, as economically unprofitable, closer to the Basic Court in Podgorica.