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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Legal Developments Worldwide

Articles contributed by Karanovic & Nikolic

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Amendments To The Slovenian Construction Law

February 2018 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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With the aim of breathing a bit of fresh air into the construction legislation, three new laws have been adopted recently and will be applied with effect from 1 July 2018. The current Construction Act will be replaced with both the new Building Act and the Architectural and Civil Engineering Activities Act, while the current Spatial Management Act will also be subject to certain amendments.

The Slovenian construction legislation went through several major changes due to its complicated and unclear nature. The previous law required broad project documentation, meaning very high expenses and long procedures for obtaining building permits. The new Building Act thus simplifies the procedure and brings many novelties, especially for investors to the procedure itself, with pre-decision being one of the most important ones. Apart from that, the Building Act does not require building permits for simple and temporary buildings. They also become unnecessary for building maintenance and demolition purposes, in which case only the demolition of the building should be registered with the administrative unit 8 days before the demolition starts. The Building Act further broadens the definition of "building" to the physical, construction and similar structural changes.

Apart from the above, the Building Act brings the procedure of obtaining building permits and the procedure of obtaining environmental approval – where the latter is a requirement for the building permit, into the so called "integral procedure". According to the Building Act, only one body based on one document shall decide on both the building permit and environmental approval, while a special role is assigned to the general public, which will have an opportunity to review the documentation and submit comments and suggestions.

One of the main novelties that the Building Act brings, in relation to the renewed procedure on obtaining the building permit, is the reduction of documentation that has to be submitted in order to obtain the building permit. The requested documentation is still to be defined in further regulations that will be adopted after the Building Act is applied. In order to simplify the procedure further, administrative units will have a more important role - being obliged to provide investors with non-binding information and advice.

Investors will now have the possibility of requesting the administrative unit to issue a pre-decision in relation to the compliance of the project with the spatial planning documents and other construction law provisions. Investors will still be obliged to submit detailed project documentation alongside with the request for a pre-decision. However, investors will not be obliged to prove the ownership right or the right to build on land for the issuance of the pre-decision. The pre-decision will provide legal security and investment predictability for the investor, as the administrative unit will issue the opinion on the admissibility of construction even before the administrative unit issues the building permit and the investor obtains ownership over the land. The pre-decision will also be binding for the administrative unit when issuing the building permit itself, and will thus prevent spatial planning documents to be subsequently amended.

The Building Act will also simplify the procedure of obtaining the building permit by amending the procedures on obtaining consent from the competent authorities. The Building Act thus abolishes consent (Slovene soglasja) and instead implements opinions (Slovene mnenje) by the authorities competent for granting the opinions (Slovene mnenjedajalec). In cases when the opinion authority will not issue the opinion, or the opinions are inconsistent or exceed the legal grounds, the administrative unit will be entitled to organise an oral hearing in order to harmonise opinions, and even decide on the opinion itself. If the opinion authorities will not issue an opinion during the given deadline, its' opinion may be substituted with the opinion of the authority supervising the opinion authority, or by the opinion of an expert.

The Building Act further implements broader conditions for the use of the short fact-finding procedure, which will be carried out for all buildings, if the project documentation is submitted together with the building designer's or project manager's confirmation on the fulfilment of the essential conditions, positive opinions of the opinion authorities, notices by third-party participants, and the confirmation on the payment of the communal fee or the compensation for degradation and usurpation.

Also, certain changes will be implemented concerning the registration for the commencement of the construction. Instead of registration with the Labour inspectorate 15 days in advance, the investor will be obliged to register the commencement of construction with the administrative unit 8 days before the construction begins. The registration shall be submitted electronically or by form – which is still to be prescribed by the .

The Building Act also amends the legalisation procedures for existing buildings, aiming to solve past problems. It will be thus possible to legalise all buildings with deviations, which will be acceptable under the Building Act, as well as those buildings, which comply either with the Building Act or with the act which was in use during the construction time. The latter can be carried out 5 years after the Building Act enters into force. Further, all buildings, built prior to 1 January 1998, whose purpose and scale remained the same, can become legal. In those cases, permissions for long-existing buildings will be issued.

Apart from the above, all procedures will be simplified by submitting the requests and documents via the electronic spatial information system, providing for the simple obtaining of permissions and faster communication between the authorities and parties in the procedures. The electronic system is planned to be implemented by 2021.

The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.

New Merger Control Regulation Enters Into Force Today

March 2016 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The New Merger Control Regulation, governing the content and the manner of submitting merger filings to the Serbian Competition Commission, entered into force today, 2 February 2016. The new Regulation represents a modern legal document, fully aligned with the relevant EU acquis, and will  significantly facilitate the merger filing process to the benefit of the applicants, as well as the overall efficiency of the Competition Commission.

Karanović & Nikolić Participates In 2016 Guide To European Employment Law

March 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Karanović & Nikolić labour law experts from multiple jurisdictions have taken an active role in the preparation of a new 2016 guide to European employment law. Karanović & Nikolić participated here as a member of the World Service Group, an association of international independent leading legal, accounting and investment banking firms. Shepherd and Wedderburn, a leading UK law firm and the founding member of World Service Group, has organised the publication of this useful international guide for investors, and our team has provided a contribution for Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Slovenia. The 2016 edition of the popular guide summarises recent changes to labour laws across 20 European jurisdictions and highlights the major changes and trends in this area. The chapters referring to countries covered by Karanović & Nikolić may be found available for download below, while the entire publication may be downloaded from Shepherd and Wedderburn site

http://www.shepwedd.co.uk/news-and-events/news/shepherd-and-wedderburn-publishes-2016-guide-european-employment-law

Ministry Of Labour Held A Round Table Discussion On The New Law On Secondment

March 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Employment law expert, Mirko Kovač, attended a Roundtable discussion on the new Law on Conditions for Secondment of Employees Abroad and their Protection organised by the Ministry of Labour on 13 January 2016. Our office previously analysed this law in more detail and additional information on the novelties it introduces may be found on our website (http://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/2015/11/16/serbia-adopts-law-on-conditions-for-secondment-of-employees-abroad-and-their-protection/ ). Mirko has been personally invited by representatives of the Ministry of Labour to take part in this discussion, as a recognised expert in the area of secondment regulations. The discussion was lively and mainly focused on the practical aspects of the new law's application, as well as its impact on the protection of our citizens abroad. Trade union representatives – present at the discussion – raised their concerns regarding certain aspects of the law and the level of protection provided to employees abroad, noting how they expect state authorities to closely monitor that employers fully abide to this law in practice. For more details on this Roundtable, please refer tohttp://www.minrzs.gov.rs/lat/aktuelno/item/4391-od-danas-primena-zakona-o-privremenom-upucivanju-na-rad-u-inostrantvo-zaposlenih-lica

Serbia Adopts Law on Conditions for Secondment of Employees Abroad and their Protection

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Parliament of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Conditions for Secondment of Employees Abroad and their Protection (the “Law”). The Law will be applicable two months following its coming into force, i.e. 13 January 2016.

Amendments to Macedonian Labour Regulations

December 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Pursuant to recent labour regulation amendments, an employer could be released from the obligation to pay mandatory social contributions ("Contributions") for the hired replacement of an employee on a maternity leave, if certain conditions are met. The main intention of these amendments is to increase the protection of female employees and to decrease the risk of termination of an employee due to pregnancy. In order to rely on this exemption, the employer must:

New regulation on reporting of credit operations with non-residents in Macedonia

November 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia (“NBRM”) has adopted a new Decision on the Manner and Terms of Recording and Notification of Executed Credit Operations (“Decision”), which applies to credit operations of Macedonian residents with non-residents. This Decision was adopted at the beginning of October, and came into force on 1st November.

 

Macedonian ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement ruled invalid by the European Court of Justice

November 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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On 6 October 2015, the European Court of Justice deemed the “Safe Harbour” agreement that allowed for the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US to be invalid. The “Safe Harbour” agreement was concluded in 2000 between the European Commission and the US government and essentially guarantees protection of personal data transferred by American companies from the EU to the US. In practice, it allowed companies (such as Facebook, Google, Apple etc.) to self-regulate the protection of EU citizens’ data in carrying out exports to US data centres.

New Law on Consensual Financial Restructuring

November 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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As of 3 February 2016, the new Law on Consensual Financial Restructuring (“Law”) will introduce an improved framework for voluntary debt restructuring in Serbia (“Restructuring”). The Law was adopted as a part of a national strategy to address the increasing number of non-performing loans in the country, which was adopted in August 2015 (“Strategy”).[1] The Law will replace the existing Law on Consensual Financial Restructuring of 2011, which produced modest results in practice.

The Rulebook Governing VAT Registration of Foreign Entities Enacted

October 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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In accordance with the latest amendments to the VAT Law, the Ministry of Finance has adopted a Rulebook on the Manner and Procedure of Approving Tax Representation for the purpose of Value Added Tax (Rulebook). The Rulebook outlines the procedure and documentary requirements for VAT registration of foreign entities in Serbia.

Serbian Competition Commission Intensifies Enforcement

September 2015 - EU & Competition. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Serbian Commission for Protection of Competition did not seem to relax much during the summer months, actually intensifying efforts to enforce competition law by launching several investigations.

New Personal Income Tax Law in the Republic of Srpska

September 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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On 16 July 2015, the Parliament of Republic of Srpska (“RS”) adopted a new Law on Personal Income Tax (“Law”) which came into force on September 1st 2015.

Law on Conversion Adopted in Serbia

August 2015 - Real Estate & Property. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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On 28 July 2015 the newly enacted “Law on Conversion” (the “Law”) which sets out the procedure for converting the right of use into ownership rights over construction land for a fee (the “Conversion”), will come in force.

IP Pro Discusses Fake Goods in Eastern Europe

August 2015 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Karanovic & Nikolic IP Senior Associate Relja Mirkov was recently interviewed by IP Pro on Eastern European countries that attract fake goods from Asia and how to tackle the problem.

Setting Up a Pre-harvest Financing Framework in Serbia

June 2015 - Finance. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Over the last 10 years, considerable legislative efforts have been made towards creating a favourable framework for financing agribusiness and agricultural production in Serbia. The latest piece of legislation in that sector is a law on secured pre-harvest financing.

Tax Legislation Overhaul Proposed in the Republic of Srpska

May 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Significant changes to the tax regulations in the Republic of Srpska (“RS”) are expected in the coming months. On March 6, the National Assembly of RS passed amendments to the Law on Fiscal Cash Registries. In addition, Parliament approved the Government’s proposals on amendments to several important tax laws, including corporate income tax, personal income tax, social security contributions and property tax. Proposed changes to the laws governing accounting and financial audits have also been approved. These changes are intended to clarify and strengthen existing tax rules, widen the tax base and introduce more discipline in the payment of tax, but also to reduce the tax burden for businesses in order to stimulate economic growth.

VAT Exemption Rules Clarified in the New Rulebook of the Minister of Finance of Montenegro

May 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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The Montenegrin Minister of Finance issued a Rulebook on the Procedures Governing VAT Exemptions for Investors and Supply of Certain Products and Services (the “Rulebook”). The Rulebook defines in more detail the process of VAT exemption introduced by recent amendments to the VAT Law of Montenegro.

Tax Legislation Overhaul Proposed in the Republic of Srpska

May 2015 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Significant changes to the tax regulations in the Republic of Srpska (“RS”) are expected in the coming months. On March 6, the National Assembly of RS passed amendments to the Law on Fiscal Cash Registries. In addition, Parliament approved the Government’s proposals on amendments to several important tax laws, including corporate income tax, personal income tax, social security contributions and property tax. Proposed changes to the laws governing accounting and financial audits have also been approved. These changes are intended to clarify and strengthen existing tax rules, widen the tax base and introduce more discipline in the payment of tax, but also to reduce the tax burden for businesses in order to stimulate economic growth.


The Gas Pipelines, the Cold War and the Black Sea Region

May 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Since the end of the Cold War, the Black Sea region has gained even greater political and economic importance and has become the subject of a dominance battle between world powers including the United States of America, Russia and the most influential member states of the European Union. While these world powers battle for dominance, local players such as Turkey and Ukraine have also gained importance and have used their geopolitical position to promote themselves as key international policy players.

 

Supporting Renewables in Serbia

May 2015 - Projects, Energy & Natural Resources. Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Serbia is a contracting party to the Energy Community Treaty (ECT), signed in October 2005 between the European Union (EU) and nine South Eastern European countries. Since then, Bulgaria, Romania, and Croatia have ceased to be parties upon their accession to the EU and thus are no longer parties to the ECT, while Moldova and Ukraine have become parties to the agreement.

Recent Amendments to Montenegrin Tax Legislation

April 2015 - Corporate & Commercial . Legal Developments by Karanovic & Nikolic.

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Montenegro

The Montenegrin Parliament recently enacted the new Law on Tax on Coffee and amendments to the Law on Value Added Tax, the Law on Real Estate Tax, the Law on Tax Administration and the Law on Mandatory Social Security. The purpose of these changes is to clarify existing provisions of these tax laws in order to improve their enforcement and to better control the tax liabilities of non-resident taxpayers. Changes to the Law on Real Estate Tax have introduced higher taxes, but also tax benefits aimed at stimulating the development of high-end tourism in Montenegro.