As with most countries, Montenegro has introduced various measures for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, including special measures to the court system issued by the Supreme Court of Montenegro. These measures will remain in effect until 30 March 2020 and – given the ongoing situation – will likely be prolonged.
These measures, implemented in response to challenges faced by the Montenegrin court system, include the following general instructions and recommendations:
Postponement of hearings
As a general rule, during the state of emergency, all court hearings in urgent matters will be held, while judges will have discretion on whether to postpone other non-urgent court cases, including hearings giving the circumstance of each case. (Thus far, the practice of the courts was to postpone all hearings).
Regardless of this decision, it is still advisable to address the court before the hearing in a timely manner via written submission, telegram or phone call in order to announce that you will not be present at the hearing.
Date of postponed hearings
Hearings that are postponed will be postponed indefinitely in which cases the parties will be informed of the new scheduled dates via written court summons.
Scope of work of the courts
The courts will, where applicable, continue to work in closed sessions and will continue to issue decisions.
Delivery of the submissions
The parties are encouraged to file their submissions either via post or email since the working hours and operations of the court registrar might be subjected to special working conditions.
Preclusive deadlines, such as deadlines to file the response to the complaint, the appeals etc., are not suspended. We advise that every precaution be taken in this matter.
The measures also include the following specific instructions and recommendations:
The court and public prosecutor will act in criminal proceedings only in urgent cases (e.g. when detention is being ordered or requested, when proceedings in relation to domestic violence are initiated, etc.).
The court will act in criminal proceedings only in urgent cases (e.g. decisions on interim measures and bankruptcy proceedings, possession disputes, etc.).
The court will also act in misdemeanor proceedings only in urgent cases.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, feel free to contact Nedeljko Velisavljević and Nenad Kovačević or your regular CMS advisor.