In an interview for BizLife, Goran Cvetkovic, a partner in law firm Cvetkovic, Skoko & Jovicic, points out that, when taking into consideration the legal aspects of investment conditions in Serbia, security for all is top requirement for all investors, small and large, domestic and foreign.

“This security is based on resolute and clear laws that are applied without exception. At the end of the day, the court is a body which has the task of providing quick and qualitative protection. We are only at the beginning of the process.”

Commenting on the changes made by amendments to the Law on Planning and Construction, as one of the most important factors for future investments, Cvetkovic states that the law is very complex and highlights some of the innovations brought by the new solutions:

Unified procedure: This is the exchange of documents between holders of public powers in procedures of importance to investors that takes place without his participation. The point is that the competent authority shall, ex officio, in the name and for the account of the applicant, obtain all acts, conditions and other documents issued by holders of public powers, which are a condition for implementation of the unified procedure. Deadlines are short and clearly defined, and sanctions are foreseen for their violation.

Separatum: Every holder of public authority is obliged to pass a Separatum on the technical conditions of construction. A separatum contains appropriate terms and details for the preparation of technical documentation, and particularly the capacity and connection point to utilities and other infrastructure according to classes of buildings and parts of the area for which it is passed. In case the planning document does not contain requirements for design conditions, the conditions from the separatum shall be applicable.

Construction land: The division between constructed and unconstructed, i.e. developed and undeveloped land has been retained. In regard to land development, the Law provides for the possibility of equipping by means of natural or legal persons, pursuant to the agreement on joint preparation or furnishing of construction land.

Conversion: the Law has avoided dealing with the conversion of the land, but has enabled to build on land which is under the regime of right of use.

Lease: In terms of lease of land, the concept of leasing construction land has been practically abandoned, and lease limited only to specific cases.

Contribution for the development of construction land: It replaces the current term of fee for development of construction land, together with setting up a special mechanism to control its amount.

Construction of facilities: Changes were made concerning the technical documentation which is prepared and submitted to the competent authorities. Mandatory liability insurance for all relevant stakeholders on the investors’ side has been introduced.”

Formula of success

“Business does not tolerate errors, and the formula of our success is responsibility and providing quality services. Reputation is hard to gain and easy to lose. Lawyers are expected to provide advice and organize a structure which they can uphold. Here is an example. In recent years, we have managed the project of constructing the US Embassy in Belgrade. We were coordinators of the entire business with unlimited powers, including payment. The value of the work was $ 130 million. Such a client recognized our commitment, giving us powers which go beyond typical client-lawyer relations. It is the result of past work and I am quite pleases me.”