Court of honour
Court of honour at Croatian Chamber of trades and crafts
After its reestablishment in 1994, Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts achieved its full independence through the establishment of its own Court of Honour in year 2000 under the provisions of Croatian Trades Act (Official Gazette 49/03 consolidated text) and Chamber Statutes (Official Gazette 116/02 consolidated text, 158/02, 101/04 187/04).
The Steering Committee of HOK appointed the bodies of the Court in June 2000. On October 27, 2000 the 70 appointed judges took their oaths of office. With all conditions having been met the Court could start working independently. In 2004 elections the number of judges of the first instance was increased to 70. Every county chamber thus has a council of the first instance consisting of three members. As a result the total number of judges comes to 90.
The Court of Honour has an important role in the protection of dignity of Croatian trades and crafts and consumers. As a nongovernmental court it tries Chamber members for the violation of fair business practices, fulfilment of contractual obligations concerning apprenticeship training, Chamber members’ rights, the Statutes and other By-Laws of the Chamber, county chambers and tradesmen associations. Through county chambers and tradesmen associations the Court of Honour of HOK conducts cases in the whole Croatia.
The most complaints deal with poor performance of work or poor quality of service or with not carrying out the work that has been agreed and already paid for.
The organisation, structure, appointment of the President, Vice Presidents, judges and the Secretary of the Court, jurisdiction, cases, which are tried by the Court, and the proceedings and measures that it can pronounce are regulated by the Court of Honour By-Laws of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts (Official Gazette 11/07).
In case of violation of fair business practices and branch rules as well as other previously mentioned cases of violations, the Court can pronounce one of the eight foreseen measures which reach from an admonition to a trade licence withdrawal and a ban of filling posts in Chamber bodies.
The Court consists of:
- a President
- 2 Vice Presidents
- 70 Judges of the first instance
- 20 Judges of the second instance and
- a Secretary of the Court
The term of office for all the members of the Court runs for 4 years.
The proceedings before the Court start with a complaint. The limitation period for filing a complaint is relatively short - 6 months from the date the party finds out about the violation (the so called "subjective limitation period ") or a year from the date of the violation (the so called "objective limitation period "). The complaint has to include the description of the violation, evidence (different documents, bills and similar) and other information on the circumstances of importance for the committed violation. The complaint with the supporting documents is filed in at least two copies and has to be signed by the complainant. The complaint cannot be sent by e-mail.
The Law applied in the proceedings before the Court of Honour is the Law on Civil Procedure, in an appropriate way.
The Court of Honour first tries to reconcile the parties and settle their disputes to their mutual satisfaction in the so called mediation procedure led by the Secretary of the Court or other authorized person. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the proceedings go ahead before a Council consisting of three members, among whom one holds a law degree and has passed the Bar Exam, and often has work experience as a judge. If an appeal is filed against the decision of the Court, the Court tries before a Council consisting of five members and their decision is final, which means that in the proceedings before this Court there is no legal redress against it. If the parties are not satisfied, they can take their cases to regular court in order to protect their rights.
Under the new Law on Consumer Protection (Official Gazette 79/07) the Court of Honour has been given jurisdiction over consumer disputes. By February 2008 Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts will harmonize its By-Laws with the provisions of the new Law.
The President of the Court is Josip Kos, M.Sc., Judge of the High Commercial Court of the Republic of Croatia
The Vice Presidents are Vitomir Pap, the President of Tradesmen Association Pula and Dragutin Ranogajec, the president of Krapinsko-zagorska County Chamber.
The Secretary of the Court of Honour is Suzana Kolesar, BL
The Court of Honour is situated in Zagreb, Ilica 49/II.
Phone: 48 06 618; fax: 48 46 610