The amount due does not condition the type of procedure. However, the Croatian Enforcement Act provides for two different types of procedures (i) extrajudicial and (ii) judicial enforcement procedures.
No matter the type of procedure, FINA, as a state-owned legal entity operating in the field of financial services, conducts the enforcement procedure over the debtor’s bank accounts.
Extrajudicial enforcement procedures
Extrajudicial enforcement procedures can be divided into two types based on the so-called authentic document that was used to initiate the extrajudicial enforcement procedure. An authentic document is eligible for the initiation of an enforcement procedure if it indicates (i) the creditor and the debtor, and (ii) the subject, type, scope, and time of fulfillment of the monetary obligation.
The first group of document types consists of debt securities such as Promissory Notes certified before Notary Public and Bills of Exchange certified before Public Notary.
In cases where the creditor has such debt securities documents, they must attach it to the application submitted to FINA and specify the amount due. FINA, on the same day, or at the latest, the next day, will automatically withhold the amount due from the debtor’s bank account. After the expiration of a 60 day period, FINA will then transfer the money to the creditor.
The second group of document types consists of invoices and excerpts from the creditor’s business books stating the amount due.
In this case, the creditor has to file a motion for enforcement with the Public Notary (with its seat in the same place as the debtor), and they will need to attach an invoice as well as a signed excerpt from their business books. If the formal presumptions are met, the Public Notary renders an Enforcement Order.
Such Enforcement Order Public Notary is obliged to deliver to the debtor. The debtor then has an 8 day period to challenge the Enforcement Order by filing an appeal to the Public Notary.
If a debtor does not challenge the Enforcement Order within 8 days, after the expiration of the term, the Public Notary shall issue a Finality and Enforcement clause on the Enforcement Order. In that case, the creditor has to attach the Enforcement Order to the application submitted to FINA.
If the Public Notary receives the debtor’s appeal within the said term, it will refer the case to the competent Court, and the litigation shall start.
Judicial enforcement procedure
A Judicial Enforcement Procedure starts with the debtor’s appeal on the Public Notary’s Enforcement Order. The Litigation Act applies to such litigations. The creditor has to prove the amount and basis of its claim, which is proven with usual types of evidence (contracts, correspondences, witness statements, expert opinions, etc.).
In addition, if the creditor does not have a valid invoice, they can prove their claim in ordinary litigation on the merits.
If the creditor prevails in litigating their case, on Final Judgement first instance Court shall issue a Finality and Enforcement clause. In that case, the creditor must attach the Final Judgement to the application submitted to FINA.
The time required to receive a Final Judgement differs from case to case but usually takes around 4 to 5 years.