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Legal market overview
After six years of recession which eroded some 13% off the country’s output, Croatia experienced 1% growth in 2015. However, although foreign investment has picked up slightly, this may be viewed as a corollary of the country’s accession to the EU and the general marginal uplift of its economic mood. Zoran Milanović’s centre-left government has continued on a path of fiscal consolidation which was the hallmark of the previous government but high bureaucratic costs, uncompetitive highly leveraged companies and general uncertainty before impending elections resulted in a general unwillingness among foreign investors to invest in the country.
Therefore, on the corporate front – with the exception of one or two very large cross-border M&A deals (most notably, British American Tobacco’s acquisition of Adris Group’s retail and tobacco business) – law firms in the region have had to make do with relatively small mandates. Similarly, privatisation processes have come to a standstill, with the flag carrier Croatia Airways, railway cargo firm HZ and the last major state bank still awaiting buyers. One area of activity, however, has been in relation to debt recovery and many of the country’s major law firms have been involved in some manner for Austrian bank Hypo Alpe-Adria-Bank in relation to its winding down. This has largely taken the guise of acting for its wind-down company Heta Asset Resolution in its efforts to dispose of non-performing assets.
Several traditional heavyweight full-service law firms remain prominent across the majority of practice areas and these include Divjak, Topic & Bahtijarevic; Mamic Peric Reberski Rimac Law Firm LLC; Porobija & Porobija; Šavoric & Partners; and Žuric i Partneri. However, a number of effective younger challengers are emerging, many of which were set up by former senior associates or partners at these leading firms. Of these, since its foundation in September 2014, Kovacevic Prpic Simeunovic has made significant inroads in banking and finance, as well as corporate and M&A work. Other notable younger firms include Law Office Lacmanovic, which has handled a considerable quantity of work for Heta Asset Resolution; Law Office Krehic, Stanicic & Gricar, which has made significant inroads in the telecoms and media sector; and Ostermann & Partners LLP.
Several international law firms operate in the market through associations with locally qualified lawyers. Wolf Theiss – Zagreb branch maintains a significant presence, as does Local lawyers in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić, which has a network of offices across the Balkan region. Bardek, Lisac, Mušec, Skoko in association with CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz Rechtsanwälte GmbH (Austria) and Schoenherr in cooperation with Croatian lawyers are also active in certain areas.
Legal Business: country analysis
Breaking new ground – advisers hope shale revolution can restart CEE market
Weighed down by political unrest and slowing economies, energy and infra projects look like one area to be driving
the CEE economy. Can the shale revolution power up
Click here to read the feature.
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On 1 January 2008 the new Public Procurement Act came into force. However, following the coming into force of the new Act the Public Procurement Office, a regulatory body authorized to develop and coordinate the public procurement system in Croatia reported that in the practice the new Act is actually suspended until the regulations necessary for its implementation are adopted.
On 28 March 2008 Croatian Parliament enacted Amendments to the Personal Data Protection Act ("Amendments").
The currently applicable Croatian Civil Obligations Act was enacted in 2005 ("2005 Act") with a goal of harmonizing Croatian legislation with a number of EU Directives relating to combat against late payment in commercial transactions, self-employed commercial agents, sale of consumer goods and associated guarantees, liability for defective products, as well as package travel.
On 17 June 2008 the Amendments to Electronic Commerce Act ("Amendments") came into force. These amendments are aimed at fully harmonizing Croatian electronic commerce regulations with the relevant EU laws.
On 3 October 2007 Croatian Parliament enacted the Amendments to the Companies Act which should enter into force on 1 April 2008 ("Amendments", "Act"). These Amendments represent the first substantial change to the Act since 2003.
On 1 January 2008 the new Public Procurement Act came into force. The Act was modeled on a number of EU regulations concerning public procurement, most notably directive on coordination of procedures for award of public works, public supply and public service contracts, directive on procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors, as well as directive on review procedures to the award of public supply and public works contracts.
In a recently published decision, the Croatian High Commercial Court held that in corporations having two-tier corporate structure, the Supervisory board (as a body resolving on appointment and revocation of members of the Management Board) is not authorised or required to resolve on resignation of the Management Board's member. The court was on the standpoint that the resignation has legal effects as of the moment of its delivery to the Supervisory board. As a result, once the Supervisory board receives a resignation of a member of Management Board, it is not to discuss such resignation, but only undertake necessary steps to appoint new member of the Management Board and register the changes with the competent registry court.
According to recent press release, in February 2007 the Croatian Constitutional Court overruled the claim filed by minority shareholders of Siemens affiliate in Croatia. The minority shareholders requested the Constitutional Court to declare that rules on squeeze-out introduced into Croatian legal system under the 2003 Amendments to Companies Act are in violation of the Croatian Constitution. Under the disputed rules, shareholders' meeting may, at the request of the majority shareholder holding at least 95% of the shares, decide to transfer to such majority shareholder the shares held by minority shareholders, provided that the squeezed-out shareholders are paid appropriate compensation.
Based on the authority granted under the 2005 Investment Funds Act, on 14 December 2006, the Croatian Agency for Supervision of Financial Services ("Agency") adopted the Regulation on Open Investment Fund Merger. The Regulation sets out a number of rules related to procedure, conditions and methods for merger of open investment funds in Croatia. The Regulation will come into effect on 30 December 2006.
KHASK is a Ukrainian major producer and exporter of self-adhesive tapes and packaging materials. The loan facility is used to finance the purchase and installation of a solvent recuperation system, related general construction and energy efficiency capital investments.
In light of the European Commission’s ruling, those that have suffered as a result of the truck cartel are now able to claim damages. That being said, it is important for them to not lose sight of the statute of limitations.
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) is pleased to announce the admission of Aaron Roi B. Riturban and Franco Aristotle G. Larcina to the partnership.
The Limay, Bataan power project was recognized by IJGlobal as the “Best Power Deal in the Asia Pacific Region”. SyCipLaw acted as local counsel to DBS Bank Ltd., Mizuho Bank, Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank, the structuring banks in the US$400 million Project Financing of a new 300MW coal-fired power plant in Limay, Bataan of SMC Consolidated Power Corp. Read more information on this transaction .
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan hosted the Pacific Rim Advisory Council (PRAC) 60th International Conference last September 24-27, 2016. The Conference gathered 43 delegates from PRAC member firms in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, The Netherlands, and the United States of America. The conference program provided delegates with various learning and networking opportunities.
Bogus applicants who do not actually intend to take up a post cannot subsequently invoke anti-discrimination legislation. This comes from a ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
If the works council no longer indicates a willingness to continue negotiations to prevent collective redundancies, the employer can consider the consultation process pursuant to sec 17(2) of the Kündigungsschutzgesetz (KSchG) [German Employment Protection Act] to have come to an end.
The Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) held “The User’s Guide to the SIAC Rules 2016” last November 24, 2016 and the Young SIAC (YSIAC) Advocacy Workshop last November 25, 2016.
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has decided not to prosecute Soma Oil and Gas regarding corruption in Somalia, due to insufficient evidence. Aziz Rahman looks at what insufficient evidence means and how to challenge prosecution allegations.
JP Morgan is paying $264M to settle allegations of bribery over its hiring of children of key Chinese decision makers to try and secure business. Aziz Rahman explains what constitutes bribery and how to prevent it.