The enforcement procedure is a procedure conducted by courts and notaries public for the purpose of:
- forced recovery of monetary or non-monetary claims on the basis of enforcement titles and authentic documents (enforcement proceedings),
- securing claims (security proceedings).
Therefore, the purpose of the enforcement procedure is to recover the enforcement creditor’s claim from the enforcement debtor.
The procedure is initiated by the enforcement creditor by submitting a motion for enforcement on the basis of an enforcement title (submitted to a court) or an authentic document (submitted to a notary public).
An exception from this rule applies when the enforcement creditor submits a request to the Financial Agency (FINA) for a direct recovery of debt on the basis of an enforcement title (e.g. final and valid court judgement). This is only allowed in case of a direct recovery of a creditor’s monetary claim by an attachment of earnings. FINA does not issue an enforcement order, but sends a copy of the creditor's request with all the necessary data to the debtor immediately upon entering the payment basis (enforcement title) into the Payment Bases Sequence Registry.
The following documents are considered enforcement titles:
- enforceable court decision (e.g. judgment) or judicial settlement,
- enforceable notarial decision or document
- enforceable decision or settlement reached in administrative proceedings if it concerns the fulfilment of a financial obligation
- enforceable decision of an arbitration tribunal or a settlement reached before a court of honour at a Croatian professional chamber,
- other documents specified as enforcement titles by lex specialis.
An enforcement debtor is entitled to:
- appeal against a court enforcement order based on an enforcement title, or
- objection against a notarial enforcement order based on an authentic document
A timely and admissible appeal against a court enforcement order based on an enforcement title will not delay execution.
A timely and admissible objection against a notarial enforcement order based on an authentic document (submitted to the notary public, but decided upon by a court) redirects the proceedings towards the so-called classic civil litigation proceedings before a court, where the plaintiff (formerly enforcement creditor) and defendant (formerly debtor) must prove their allegations in order to win the case. If the requirements stipulated by the Enforcement Act are met, the debtor is entitled to a stay of execution.
Predmet ovrhe može biti imovina ovršenika (novac, nekretnine, pokretnine, vrijednosni papiri, udjeli u trgovačkom društvu) ili neko ovrhovoditeljevo neimovinsko pravo (predaja i isporuke pokretnine, ispražnjenje i predaju nekretnine, vraćanje na rad i sl.). Tijekom postupka ovrhovoditelj može birati na kojem predmetu ovrhe želi provesti ovrhu.
Possible objects of enforcement are the debtor’s assets (money, immovable or movable property, securities, company shares) or a creditor’s non-material right (delivery and handover of a movable property, delivery of vacant possession, employee reinstatement, etc.). During the proceedings, the enforcement creditor may choose the object of enforcement.
By way of exception, in relation to liabilities arising from a legal transaction conducted after 3 August 2017, enforcement cannot be executed on the only immovable property of the debtor, in which they live and which is necessary for the fulfilment of basic needs of the debtor and the persons supported by the debtor, unless the debtor made a statement during the conclusion of the relevant legal transaction that they agree to enforcement on their only immovable property in case this is necessary to achieve justice (if the debtor’s liability arises from a non-contractual civil obligation, e.g. legal obligation to support a child).
Furthermore, in proceedings initiated after 3 August 2017, the object of enforcement cannot be immovable property unless the principal claim exceeds the amount of 20,000 HRK, except in exceptional cases, except if the motion was filed for the purpose of forced recovery of outstanding statutory child maintenance or compensation for criminal damage. If the principal claim exceeds the amount of 20,000 HRK, the court may reject the motion for enforcement on immovable property if it assesses that the sale of the immovable property would distort the fair balance between creditor and debtor interests.
Enforcement proceedings are finalised by a full recovery of the enforcement creditor's claim or by their withdrawal of the motion for enforcement.
Since 1 July 2013, when Croatia joined the European Union, it has been possible, without any special procedures, to initiate and carry out enforcement proceedings in another EU Member State on the basis of a domestic enforcement title, as well as to initiate and carry out such proceedings before domestic courts based on an enforcement title issued in another EU Member State.
IPA 2010 Twinning project Improvement of the Enforcement system in Croatia