Zivkovic Samardzic secured what it calls "an important victory in the Administrative Court in Belgrade, against the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia."
The dispute involved the refusal of both the Serbian Business Registers Agency and the Ministry of Economy, as first and second instance authorities, to inscribe Zivkovic Samardzic AOD, a partnership registered by the Serbian Bar Association, into the Register of Suppliers kept by the Serbian Business Registers Agency. The Register is an official list of approved contractors, suppliers, or service providers for the public procurement purposes. Certified registration constitutes a presumption of suitability with regard to requirements for public procurements and allows an inscribed economic operator to avoid time consuming obtainment of plethora of documents required for each and every public contract opportunity.
According to Zivkovic Samardzic, "what made the case even more important not only for Zivkovic Samardzic, but for the entire legal profession, was the fact that the Serbian Business Registers Agency and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Serbia found Zivkovic Samardzic AOD ineligible for the inscription into the Register of Suppliers, due to the partnership being registered with the Bar Association, and not with the Business Registers Agency. Even more, both authorities held that registration with the Business Registers Agency was a necessary prerequisite for any business not only to be inscribed into the Register of Suppliers, but to exist as a legal person as well.
The Administrative Court in Belgrade reiterated that in accordance with the Law on Legal Profession two or more attorneys-at-law can establish a partnership that shall, in accordance with the Statute of the Bar Association, exist as a legal person, while the directory of such partnerships is, in accordance with the same Law on Legal Profession, kept exclusively by the Bar Association of Serbia. Thus, the Administrative Court ruled that the lack of registration with the Business Registers Agency shall not bar the inscription into the Register of Suppliers of an economic operator that is duly registered with a different authority or a professional body vested with such authority in accordance with the law. For those reasons, the Administrative Court returned the case to the Ministry of Economy for reconsideration."
“The decision is of huge importance not only for Zivkovic Samardzic AOD as a partnership, but for the entire legal profession," said Zivkovic Samardzic AOD Co-Managing Partner Nebojsa Samardzic. "The Court confirmed exclusive right of the Bar Association, as a professional body of lawyers, to register law partnerships and keep the records of such registrations, thus further securing the independence and autonomy of the profession.” Samardzic, who represented the firm in the Administrative Court in Belgrade, was assisted by Associate Sonja Sehovac.