The legal system of Serbia is based on the principles of Roman law and continental civil law. Legal practitioners in Serbia are known as advocates (advokat) and must be members of the Serbian Bar council. Serbia has civil courts of general competence and specialist commercial courts. The courts of general competence have three levels:

  1. Municipal Court;
  2. District Court ; and
  3. The Supreme Court.
The commercial courts have two levels:
  1. Commercial Court; and
  2. Higher Commercial Court.
Commercial contracts entered into in Serbia where at least one contracting party is a foreign legal or natural person may incorporate arbitration clauses invoking the jurisdiction of the Foreign Trade Arbitration of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce or any other foreign institutional arbitration bodies, including ad hoc arbitrations. Serbia is a signatory of the New York Convention of 1958 on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.

Parties to a contract are free to decide which substantive law shall govern the contract and the law of Serbia does not have to be governing law of a contract entered into in Serbia.

The most important laws and regulations regarding investment in Serbia, and those governing business activities and dealings of foreign companies in Serbia include:

  1. Foreign Investment Law;
  2. Law on Foreign Trade;
  3. Law on Foreign Exchange Operations;
  4. Law on Markets of Securities and other Financial Instruments;
  5. Company Law;
  6. Law on Registration of Commercial Entities;
  7. Law on Banks and Other Financial Institutions;
  8. Regulations on Conditions for Establishing and Operation of Foreign Representative Offices in Serbia;
  9. Law on Financial Leasing;
  10. Law on Concessions; and
  11. Law on Privatisation.
The above laws set out the basic rules foreign companies must comply with if they wish to establish subsidiaries in Serbia, invest in local companies, open representative offices in Serbia, enter into agency agreements for representation by local companies, acquire concessions for the exploitation of natural resources and participate in the privatisation process in Serbia.

If you would like further information on any of the above laws and regulations or the legal system of Serbia please contact Ninkovic Law Office.

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