Within the activities of the Technical Group directed at resolving the problem of legally invisible persons, one-day seminar for judges and judicial associates of the First and Second Basic Court in Belgrade was held in the premises of the Judicial Academy in Belgrade on 25 January 2013 on the issue of the implementation of the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure, i.e. on conducting of the procedure for determination of time and place of birth.
In the introductory part of the seminar, the members of the Technical Group (representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, Ombudsperson and Praxis) talked about the existing regime of the registration in birth registries, the problems faced by unregistered persons, reasons behind the lack of personal documents, and recent experience from practice. Through the presentation of cases on which it worked, Praxis intended to bring the specificity of the position of unregistered persons closer to the attendees, to present the deficiencies of the administrative procedures due to which many had not managed to subsequently register in birth registries for years, pointing thereby to the purpose of the adoption of the amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure.
The second part of the seminar was devoted to the analysis of the procedure for determination of time and place of birth. PhD Nikola Bodiroga from the Belgrade Faculty of Law was talking about the course of the procedure, the content of the motion, court competencies and authorized applicants, the evidence and content of the decision for determination of time and place of birth.
Despite the shown understanding of the difficult position of persons not registered in the birth registries ,during the discussion, the judges also pointed out to some of the problems they were already facing when conducting the procedure. The problems refer to the impossibility of delivery of submissions to applicants who mainly live in informal settlements without the possibility to register their permanent residence, but also to the legal deadline envisaged for reaching the decision on determination of time and place of birth. Specifically, considering all information judges should obtain from the administration bodies before scheduling the hearing, difficulties related to summoning the applicants and witnesses, provision of evidence through court expert evaluation when necessary, the present judges expressed their fear that the deadline of 90 days is fully untenable. Praxis’ experience in cases in which it represented persons are not registered in birth registries points to the same problem – more than four months have elapsed since the submission of the motion for determination of time and place of birth and not a single hearing has been scheduled. In that regard, it was concluded that representatives of non-governmental organizations who keep regular contact with persons not registered in birth registries, and representatives of social welfare centres could help the judges for the purpose of more efficient acting in the cases.
The seminar was attended by twenty-five judges and judicial associates acting in non-contentious procedure, and was assessed as a good opportunity to exchange experience and instill the participants with appropriate knowledge and information, which could help them in the implementation of newly adopted solutions.