Vacant Supreme Court Justice positions, as well as the inability to appoint a Minister of Justice, is affecting the justice system and Montenegro’s EU integration prospects, says Vukmirovic Misic Managing Partner Lana Vukmirovic Misic.
"At the moment, the judicial system is experiencing major challenges," Vukmirovic Misic begins. "In July and August, due to amendments in the Pension Law, the judicial council decided to terminate the power of 23 judges, leaving only 6 judges in power in the Supreme Court. Such composition is not sufficient for the judicial decision-making process, therefore, the court is unable to decide the majority of cases," she notes.
According to Vukmirovic Misic, "since July, the position of Minister of Justice is vacant, and the Interior Minister is undertaking its duties, which in addition to the incomplete composition of the Judiciary Councils adds more complexity to the appointment process of judges." She says that this is heavily influenced by the overall political situation in the country.
"Overall, such challenges in the judicial system and the inability to appoint Minister of Justice is also influencing the prospects of the EU Accession in the coming years," she says.
With regards to legislative updates, Vukmirovic Misic points out that the Parliament’s activities have been very low. "The government does not enjoy the support from the parliamentary majority. Therefore, any legislative proposals are difficult to move forward." She says, that some of the crucial legislation, including tax laws, have not passed public debates before they were sent to Parliament. "Tax-related legislative updates, if adopted, should be in force from January 2022, which leaves a very short time for businesses to adjust to new requirements."
Despite ongoing challenges, Vukmirovic Misic notes: "The market is slowly waking up compared to last year and even though it has not reached the pre-pandemic level, we are still optimistic about the future." According to her, the market has seen several big transactions in the field of TMT, such as the sale of Delta City and 4iG’s acquisition of Telenor, soon to be finalized. "Another recent transaction was signing of the contract for construction of Kotor-Lovcen cable car with Leitner Consortium," she adds.