The System of State

The government in the Republic of Croatia is organized on the principle of separation of powers into legislative, executive and judicial branches.

Judicial power is exercised by the courts. The judiciary is autonomous and independent. The courts administer justice according to the Constitution and law, as well as according to international agreements and treaties in force.

Judges and lay assessors participate in the administration of justice in conformity with the law.

In the Republic of Croatia the administration of justice is carried out by misdemeanor courts, municipal courts, county courts, commercial courts, the High Misdemeanor Court of the Republic of Croatia, the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia, the Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia.

Supreme Court

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, the Croatian government is organized on the principle of separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches. The principle of separation of powers includes the forms of mutual cooperation and reciprocal checks and balances provided by the Constitution and law.

The judicial power in the Republic of Croatia is exercised by courts. The judicial power shall be autonomous and independent, and courts shall administer justice according to the Constitution and law.

The Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia, as a highest court, ensures the uniform application of laws and equal justice to all. The President of the Supreme Court is elected and relieved of duty by the Croatian Parliament at the proposal of the President of the Republic, with a prior opinion of the General Session of the Supreme Court and of the authorized Committee of the Croatian Parliament. The establishment, jurisdiction, composition and organization of courts, as well as court proceedings are regulated by law.

Judicial office is permanent, but exceptionally, at assuming the judicial office for the first time, judges are appointed for a five-year term. After the renewal of the appointment, judges assume their duty as permanent.

A judge shall be relieved of judicial office:

  • at his/her own request;
  • if he/she has become permanently incapacitated to perform judicial office;
  • if sentenced for a criminal offence which makes him/her unworthy of the judicial office;
  • if, in conformity with the law, so decides the State Judicial Council due to the commitment of an act of serious infringement of discipline;
  • when reaching 70 years of age.

Judges enjoy immunity in accordance with the law. When taking part in administration of justice judges and lay assessors may not be called to account for an opinion or a vote given in the process of judicial decision making, except if there exists violation of law on the part of a judge.

Predsjednik Vrhovnog suda je Branko Hrvatin.

State’s Attorney’s Office

The State’s Attorney’s Office is an independent and autonomous judicial body, authorized and responsible to act against the perpetrators of criminal and other punishable acts, take legal action to protect the property of the Republic of Croatia and use legal means to protect the Constitution and the law. This body, therefore, is not a judicial power and has the status of a party in court. At the head of the State’s Attorney’s Office is the Chief State’s Attorney.

The functions of the State’s Attorney’s Office and the judiciary are thus separate. At the request of the State’s Attorney an investigation is carried out by investigative judges. Investigation is regulated as part of criminal proceedings by the rules which are part of the Criminal Procedure Act. The guarantee of independence of the investigative judges is equal to the guarantees for any other judge in the Republic of Croatia, which have already been mentioned in this material.

Since the police submit criminal reports against perpetrators of criminal offences to the State’s Attorney’s Office, it has the real possibility of directing the work of the police in that it demands that these reports be processed in such a factual and legal form that they enable the State’s Attorney’s Office to decide if it should charge the perpetrator of the criminal act and thus institute court proceedings. In this sense the work of the police is supervised by the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The State Attorney is Mladen Bajić.

Vrhovni sud Republike Hrvatske

State Judicial Council

The State Judicial Council, in accordance with the Constitution and law, appoints judges and relieves them of judicial duty, as well as decides on their disciplinary responsibility. It consists of eleven members elected from among notable judges, attorneys at law and university professors of law, whereas the majority of members must be from the ranks of judges. Presidents of courts may not be elected as members of the State Judicial Council. The jurisdiction and the proceedings of the State Judicial Council are regulated by law.

The President of State Judicial Council is Stanko Hautz.