The System of State

Constitutional judicature was introduced in the Republic of Croatia in 1963 and the Constitutional Court began to work in 1964.

Constitutional judicature in the Republic of Croatia is divided in two historical periods:

  • constitutional judicature in the former Socialist Republic of Croatia (hereinafter: SR Croatia) from 1963 to 1990 - the period when Croatia was one of the six federal units (republics) of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (hereinafter: former SFRY);
  • constitutional judicature in the Republic of Croatia after 1990 - the period after the Republic of Croatia gained independence and sovereignty.

Accepting the new constitutional order of 1990, the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia of 22 December 1990 (hereinafter: the Constitution of 1990) established the composition, content and competence of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter: the Constitutional Court).

In accordance with the Constitution of 1990:

  • the Constitutional Court consists of eleven judges elected by the House of Representatives at the proposal of the House of Counties of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, for a term of eight years, from among outstanding jurists, especially judges, public prosecutors, lawyers and university professors of law;
  • the Constitutional Court elects a president of the court for a term of four years;
  • judges of the Constitutional Court may not perform any other public or professional duty; 
  • judges of the Constitutional Court enjoy the same immunity as members of the Croatian Parliament; 
  • a judge of the Constitutional Court may be relieved of office before the expiry of the term for which he was elected if he so requests, if he is sentenced to a term of imprisonment, or if he is permanently incapacitated for performing his office, as established by the Constitutional Court itself .

In accordance with the Constitution of 1990, the basic competence of the Constitutional Court was as follows:

  • decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution and may repeal a law if it finds it to be unconstitutional;
  • decides on the conformity of other regulations with the Constitution and law and may repeal or annul any other regulation if it finds it to be unconstitutional or illegal;
  • protects the constitutional freedoms and rights of man and citizen in proceedings instituted by a constitutional complaint;
  • decides jurisdictional disputes among the legislative, executive and judicial branches;
  • supervises the constitutionality of the programmes and activities of political parties and may ban their work if their programme or their activities threaten violence against the democratic constitutional order, independence, unity or territorial entirety of the Republic of Croatia;
  • supervises the constitutionality and legality of elections and the republican referendum and decides electoral disputes which do not fall within the jurisdiction of courts;
  • at the proposal of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, establishes that the President of the Republic is permanently unable to perform his duties, in which case the duties of the President of the Republic are temporarily assumed by the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament; 
  • in proceedings instituted by a two-thirds majority vote of all representatives of the House of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament, decides by a two-thirds majority vote of all the judges on the impeachment of the President of the Republic. If the Constitutional Court sustains the impeachment, the duty of the President of the Republic ceases by force of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia