Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program

Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program News

New Approaches to enforce civil judgments in Kosovo Courts

New Approaches to enforce civil judgments in Kosovo CourtsPhoto by: The USAID Contract Law Enforcement (CLE) Program

April 24, 2014, Gjilan - 'Kosovo’s courts have struggled for many years to effectively enforce court decisions. We are here today to talk about the solution to this problem, a solution jointly developed by the KJC and USAID Programs - said the USAID Kosovo Mission Director, Maureen A. Shauket, during a press conference hosted by USAID at the Gjilan Basic Court.

Kosovo is facing severe crisis over the capability of its courts to enforce civil judgments. Throughout the country, more than 100,000 cases pending enforcement remain on the lists of enforcement officers, thousands of them for five years or longer. A weak and limping system for enforcing judgments directly impacts economic growth, and limits the opportunities of Kosovo citizens to concentrate capital, invest in their future, and find jobs. Businesses believe that they cannot bring their disputes to court because the courts cannot or will not enforce decisions which have been rendered in a judicial proceeding. They feel, as a result, that there is no true access to justice.

Under the leadership of the Basic Court Presidents and USAID’s Contract Law Enforcement Program a genuine solution to this problem has been developed, and is well underway. In the past, enforcement has almost exclusively involved seizing and auctioning movable properties. This approach is time consuming and expensive, and as a result, the courts have not been able to keep up with the number of cases they receive. Resource constraints, and a lack of information on debtor locations and assets, have severely impeded the ability of the courts to perform their enforcement role. With USAID’s support, and working together with the Central Bank of Kosovo and Kosovo’s Tax Administration, new information sources have been made available to the courts. Now, enforcement against bank accounts or wages is becoming the norm, and not an exception.

Special Enforcement Units have been established and 20 additional enforcement personnel have been hired. Working closely together, these additional resources - with the support of the USAID Contract Law Enforcement Program - are being focused exclusively on clearing these claims, and supplementing the courts’ resources to resolve the backlog. This is infusing capital that has for long lain dormant back into the economy – in the last 8 months the courts have collected over 1,000,000 (One Million) Euros for judgment creditors, who have been until now deprived of the opportunity to use this money to grow their businesses. And it is clear evidence of significant progress in a system that has long struggled.

"What we are discussing today is not a promise of a solution to come, but a report on a solution that is already working" - Maureen A. Shauket.

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