The Croatian Parliament's Justice Committee on Thursday adopted Supreme Court President Djuro Sessa's report on the country's judiciary in 2017, which showed a steady decline in the number of pending cases in courts, but also indicated that there are as many as 1.25 million new cases opened every year.
Croatian judiciary is notoriously plagued by inefficiency and long court cases, which is caused mainly in part by the enormous backlog burdening courts at all levels.
Submitting his first annual report since he was appointed to head the Supreme Court in July 2017, Sessa said that the number of some types of pending cases had dropped, and that courts were more efficient in 2017 than in previous years.
Nonetheless, he pointed out that there were now around 1.25 million new court cases annually, in a country with only around four million inhabitants.
"In late 2017 there were 9 percent fewer pending cases in Croatia's courts than in 2016, when the number of pending cases was nearly 509,000," said Sessa.
He said that the situation with court cases involving land registers, which accounted for a large number of complaints, had improved considerably, with the time courts take to solve such cases having been shortened to 32 days on average.
"The data for 2018 shows that the decline in the number of cases has continued, and that statistics for 2018 will be even better," said Sessa.
A particular problem, Sessa said, is an increase in the number of cases filed with the Supreme Court.
In the criminal law branch, the Supreme Court is an appellate court, and in the civil law branch, even though the Supreme Court is a court of third instance, access to it is very liberal, said Sessa.
"Even though the number of cases dealt with by the Supreme Court has been declining owing to new internal procedures, and this year they were cut by 1,000, the figure of having a backlog of 15,000 civil law cases dealt with by the Supreme Court is horrifying," said Sessa.