Dismissing a motion for permission to review, the Supreme Court has expressed the impossibility to decide whether the pandemic should have required the suspension of civil proceedings in the whole national territory.

The plaintiff had asked the Supreme Court for permission to review part of the decision issued by the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia in the context of a bankruptcy litigation. The permission to review is an extraordinary legal instrument aimed at unifying case law. In this case, the plaintiff asked whether it could be affirmed that civil proceedings should have been suspended during the pandemic, in accordance with the Croatian Act on Civil Proceedings. Indeed, according to Articles 212 and 214 of the Act, when a court ceases to work due to war or other reasons, the proceedings shall be suspended, during which time the procedural time limits shall cease to run.

Therefore, the plaintiff asked the Supreme Court to address whether the postponement of hearings could be regarded as “cessation of court work” within the meaning of Article 212 of the Act on Civil Proceedings.

Dismissing the motion for permission to review, the Supreme Court held that the issues of court business were resolved and organized differently by each court, in accordance with the specific conditions of their area. Indeed, some courts decided to hold hearings in presence while others remotely, due to the conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the earthquakes.

As a consequence, there cannot be an unequivocal (single) answer that would constitute an expression of a legal standpoint which would justify the uniform application of law and the equality of all in its application.

Therefore, the Supreme Court denied the permission to review.

Reference: ECLI:HR:VSRH:2022:2017. 

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