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The Serbian Parliament has recently adopted amendments to the Criminal Code. The amendments include a significant overhaul of the legal framework for white collar crimes, touching upon the rules relevant for antitrust enforcement as well.

On September 24 the Belgrade Bar adopted a new bylaw, controversial both in its effect and in the manner by which it was adopted, limiting the voting and participation rights of lawyers at major commercial law firms in favor of criminal lawyers and solo practitioners. Leading commercial lawyers in Belgrade are, unsurprisingly, not happy.

To the untrained eye, technology and the judiciary sector may seem rather far apart. IT is ever changing and dynamic, while courts are by design deliberate and slow. However, even the most resistant institutions are not immune to change; Serbian courts now appear to be further steps towards incorporating new technology for the ultimate goal of greater efficiency.

It is no secret that Montenegro is a country heavily oriented towards tourism, and its macro-economic activity is primarily based on services related to hotels, restaurants, and other similar tourist facilities. Generally speaking, one of the main characteristics of the tourism industry is expressed in its seasonal nature.

In “The Buzz” we interview experts on the legal industry living and working in Central and Eastern Europe to find out what’s happening in the region and what legislative/professional/cultural trends and developments they’re following closely. Because the interviews are carried out and published on the CEE Legal Matters website on a rolling basis, we’ve marked the dates on which the interviews were originally published.

Freshfields and Fellner Wratzfeld & Partner have advised UniCredit S.p.A. (Italy) on its takeover of the CEE business of its subsidiary UniCredit Bank Austria AG. Apart from shareholdings in 13 banks in Southern Europe and CEE, a loan portfolio in the amount of about EUR six billion also passed to the parent company in Milan. Grohs Hofer advised the works council and bpv Hugel advised Bank Austria’s retired employees.

The Serbian Market

There was some disagreement about the state of the Serbian economy, perhaps based on the report by Tijana Kojovic, Managing Partner of BDK Advokati, that, in Serbia, “it is risky to make economic projections” since the market is not always fully transparent and, as a result, it is not always easy to see trends developing.

New Minimum Salary

New minimum salary amount has been adopted at the state level and set to RSD 130.00 net per working hour (approx. EUR 1.04 net). The new minimum amount will be in force as of 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2017.

"We simply don’t want to see a Bar that is owned by a handful of firms," was the explanation offered by Aleksandar Cvejic, Board Member and Secretary of the Board of the Belgrade Bar Association in support of the controversial draft bylaws submitted for a vote at the upcoming assembly of the Belgrade Bar on September 24, 2016.

On 11 July 2016, The National Bank of Serbia adopted amendments to three by-laws of the Law on Banks (Risk Management Decision, Decision on the Classification of Bank Balance Sheet Assets and Off-balance Sheet Items and the Decision on Reporting Requirements for Banks), and in doing so, took a significant step towards effectuating the implementation of the strategies on resolving non-performing loans and the action plan rendered by the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the National Bank of Serbia in cooperation with the IMF, World Bank and EBRD – adopted at the end of last year.

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Karanovic & Nikolic at a Glance

Karanović & Nikolić is a leading international legal practice in South East Europe that offers unrivalled regional and sector specific coverage to investors.

As a market leading practice, our dedication, quality legal service, and in-depth understanding of the needs of our clients stands out as a differentiating factor. With over 100 advisors across the region, our original values remain an integral part of our philosophy and approach to client work. Karanović & Nikolić has been involved in many of the largest and most complex transactions in the region and we take pride in our reputation as a regional transactional and corporate/commercial legal powerhouse.

Because we have an active business presence in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia, we operate seamlessly across all of these jurisdictions, providing regional services to our clients, while taking into consideration local particularities in order to provide the best legal advice under competitive terms. Renowned for the quality of our lawyers and our commercial approach to solving problems, Karanović & Nikolić advises many of the leading companies, banks, investors and government institutions doing business in the SEE region.

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