North Macedonia

Region Eastern Europe and Central Asia

National Report

Summary of Contents


Republic of North Macedonia[1] (hereinafter referred by its abbreviation RNM) is a landlocked country located in the southeastern region of Europe. RNM is one of the successor states of the former Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia and declare its independence in 1991. Fundamental law of the country is the Constitution[2] adopted in 1991 and its 33 amendments.

RNM is a unitary state and a parliamentary republic. The legislative authority is vested in a unicameral legislature named Assembly (Собрание) composed of 120 representatives elected through a universal suffrage for a term of four years. The Government (Влада), composed of president and ministers, is holder of the executive power. A President (Претседател) elected by a popular vote is a chief of state thought its powers are limited and focused mostly in the areas of international relations and defense. The judicial power is exercised by the courts. A separate and independent Constitutional court is a body that protects the constitutionality and legality. Since the amendments of the Constitution from 2001[3] the form of government also have elements of a consociational[4] democracy where for certain decisions, a majority is necessary by the representatives of the two largest ethnic groups in the country.

The RNM has a population of 2.022.547 inhabitants.[5] Main ethnic groups are the Macedonians with 64.2% from the population and the Albanians with 25.2%. Other ethnic groups include Turks, Romani, Serbs, Bosniaks and Aromanians.[6] Eastern Orthodox Christianity with 64.8% from the population and the Islam with 33.3% are the two predominant religions in the country.[7] The Macedonian and the Albanian languages are official languages[8] however in the units of local self-government other language may also have an official status, on the territory of the municipality.

Since its independence in 1991, Macedonia has made progress in liberalizing its economy and improving its business environment. Its low tax rates and free economic zones have helped to attract foreign investment, which is still low relative to the rest of Europe. Corruption and weak rule of law remain significant problems. Some businesses complain of opaque regulations and unequal enforcement of the law. More than 20% from the population lives below the poverty line.[9]

Chart 01. Gross domestic product (GDP) for the last ten years[10]

Chart 02: Republic of North Macedonia and key Human Development Indicators[11]

Indicator Value
Gross national income at purchasing power parity per capita GNI (PPP). 12.505 $
Inequality index and poverty line (percentage of population deemed to be living in poverty). 21.5%
Life expectancy at birth. 75.9
Expected years of schooling and mean years of schooling. 13.3(e) 9.6 (m)
Human development index (HDI). 0.757


3.1. Criminal Procedure

3.1.1. Preliminary Procedure

The criminal procedure[1] starts with the preliminary procedure. The purpose of the preliminary procedure is to gather evidence of the likelihood of the crime and its perpetrator, so that it can then be decided whether to initiate court proceedings or the procedure to be stopped. The preliminary procedure is divided into two parts: pre-investigative procedure and investigative procedure, but despite this formal division of the preliminary procedure, it proceeds continuously as a single phase and thus the evidence gathered in the pre-investigative and investigative procedure has the same probative value, if obtained legally. The preliminary procedure is managed by the public prosecutor, while the judiciary (police) and the prosecution’s investigative centers are in his constant service.

The pre-investigative procedure is an informal evidence-gathering procedure, at a stage when the crime or its offender has not yet been fully disclosed, and is carried out by the police ex officio or at the request of the public prosecutor. The determination of the criminal charges and the pre-investigative procedure are intended to clarify whether the initial suspicion of the offense has been established. The pre-investigative procedure is not regulated in detail, because it is based on police and criminal rules, techniques and methods. No formal decision is taken to start the pre-investigative procedure. The precondition for initiating the pre-investigative procedure is the existence of grounds for suspicion (findings which, based on criminal knowledge and experience, can be assessed as evidence of a criminal offense).

The pre-investigative procedure begins with the filing of a criminal report to the police or other body, with informing the public prosecutor of a criminal offense that is prosecuted ex officio, where police inspections are conducted or the police is acting on instructions from the public prosecutor or when a formal criminal charge has been filed with the public prosecutor, and he cannot decide on it without further gathering of the necessary information. This procedure is conducted with the purpose of providing the public prosecutor with material in order to assess whether, according to the evidence obtained, there are grounds for suspecting that a particular person has committed a crime so that he or she can bring an order against it for conducting an investigative procedure. Otherwise, the public prosecutor will dismiss the criminal charges.

The police do not have to wait for special orders from the public prosecutor, but is obliged following the receipt of the criminal charges or after learning of a crime that is being prosecuted ex-officio, to take all necessary measures to find the perpetrator of the crime, to prevent the perpetrator or an accomplice to hide or flee, to discover and preserve any traces of the crime and objects that might be used as evidence, as well as to collect all possible accounts that might be useful for a successful criminal procedure. It is important to emphasize that the public prosecutor has the right and duty of constant control over the police in carrying out these action and that he can implement these measures himself.

Based on the results of the pre-investigative procedure, the public prosecutor decides whether to waive prosecution, reject the criminal charges or to enact an order to conduct an investigation procedure. The deadline for making a decision on the criminal charges is three months from the day of receipt of the report.  All activities and actions taken by the authorities during the preliminary procedure are secret, as the principle of presumption of innocence must be respected.

The investigative procedure is the second phase and is conducted by the public prosecutor. The investigation conducted by the public prosecutor is complex, his powers are great, but his obligations and responsibilities are also great because he is obliged to conduct the investigation fully and in all respects, with his role being to gather all the evidence, and those who favor him and those who favor the defendant.

The pre-trial judge is the other entity in the investigative procedure. His role is during the pre-trial procedure to decide on the freedoms and rights of the accused and other matters specified by law.

The investigative procedure must commence with the issuance of an order to conduct an investigative procedure. The order is issued by the public prosecutor, when he/she considers that there is a reasonable suspicion that the suspect has committed an ex officio crime, in which the public prosecutor enters the following elements: personal data about the suspect, description of the act for which the order is issued and legal qualification of the same. In the order for conducting investigation, the public prosecutor will determine what should be undertaken during the investigation, which investigative actions should be taken, which particular issues should be investigated, and which particular circumstances need to be investigated. Before issuing an order for investigation, the public prosecutor may examine the person against whom the investigation is requested.

Once the order is issued, the statutory 6-month deadline for completion of the investigation begins, with the option in complex cases, the higher public prosecutor to extend this deadline for another six months, and exceptionally, this deadline may be extended by the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of Macedonia for another three months, while in the case of case of organized crime by the public prosecutor of RM, this deadline can be extended for another six months.

The public prosecutor concludes the investigation when he finds that the state of affairs is sufficiently clear to be able to bring charges or to halt the investigation. The decision needs to be made within a period of 15 days (30 days for criminal offenses that fall within the category of organized crime) from the completion of the investigation procedure and the expiry of the statutory deadlines mentioned above. The public prosecutor shall be obliged to deliver a notification of completion of the investigation procedure to the suspect and his or her counsel.

During the preliminary procedure there are two situations of deprivation of liberty without a court order – deprivation of liberty by anyone and deprivation of liberty by the judicial police. A person caught while committing a criminal offense may be deprived of his liberty if there is a danger of fleeing and the police are immediately notified. The person deprived of liberty shall be kept until the arrival of the police, who must be informed immediately. Without a court warrant, the judicial police may also arrest a person if there are grounds for suspicion that he or she committed a crime that is prosecuted ex-officio, only if there is a danger of procrastination and if some of the conditions for detention are met, but it is obliged immediately, and not later than 6 hours from the deprivation of liberty, to take the person before a competent judge of the preliminary procedure, and inform the public prosecutor thereof.

As an exception, the judicial police may hold the person who has been arrested, if it is necessary to hold the person for the purpose of establishing his or her identity, checking up an alibi or it is necessary, due to other reasons, to collect additional information that would be essential for the criminal procedure against that person. The arrested person who has been held, shall be brought before the custody officer at the specially designated police stations, within a period of 6 hours, who shall decide, with a separate written and elaborated decision, whether the person will be held or released. Any delay in the procedure shall be separately explained. A person may be held for 24 hours at most, from the moment of the arrest, and within this time period, the person has to be brought before a competent judge. After the expiry of this time period, the person who has been held shall be released.

After the enactment of the order to conduct an investigation procedure, the public prosecutor may put forward, to the preliminary procedure judge, an elaborated motion for detention or other measures to ensure the presence of the defendant. The preliminary procedure judge shall be obliged, without any delays, to consider such a motion and rule on it immediately.

Detention can only be determined throughout of the investigative procedure ie after the order for investigation procedure has been issued by the public prosecutor. The detention can be imposed, if there is a reasonable suspicion that a certain person committed a crime, and if detention is required for an unobstructed criminal procedure to take place:

  • if the person is hiding, if his or her identity cannot be established, or if there are other circumstances that would indicate that the person might flee;
  • if there is a reasonable fear that the person will hide, manipulate or destroy any traces of the criminal offense, or if there are special circumstances that would indicate that he or she shall impede the criminal procedure by influencing witnesses, expert witnesses, accomplices or other persons who have been covering up the crime;
  • if special circumstances justify the fear that he or she might repeat the crime, or complete the attempted crime or commit the crime that he or she has been threatening with; or
  • if the defendant who has been properly summoned obviously tries to avoid appearing during the main hearing, or if the court has tried on two occasions to properly serve the defendant, whilst all the circumstances show that the defendant is obviously avoiding receiving the summon

Detention during the preliminary procedure may be imposed by the court, upon a written and elaborated proposal by an authorized plaintiff, and only on the grounds listed in the proposal by the authorized plaintiff.

The detention may last not more than 30 days from the moment when the person was arrested. Any deprivation of liberty shall be computed within the overall duration of the detention. Upon an elaborated motion by the public prosecutor, the Court Chamber, may additionally extend the detention during the investigation for another 60 days (90 days for a crime that entails a prison sentence of at least four years) at most.

Upon proposal from the public prosecutor, with a written and elaborated decision, the preliminary procedure judge may impose transient detention to the arrested person, up to 48 hours from the moment when the arrested person appeared before the preliminary procedure judge, if he or she believes that there is a grounded suspicion that the person committed the crime that he or she is accused of and that the conditions for detention have been met, if the public prosecutor has not yet issued an order for investigation against that person.

The total duration of detention during the investigation, also counting the time while the person was deprived of liberty before the enactment of the detention decision, shall not exceed 180 days, and immediately after the expiry of that period the defendant shall be released immediately.

Chart 05. Organizational chart of the investigation procedure

3.1.2. Criminal prosecution proceedings

After the completion of the investigation procedure, when the public prosecutor establishes that there is enough evidence to expect a conviction, he or she submits an indictment to the competent court. In addition to the indictment, the public prosecutor submits the material evidence, minutes and recordings of the examination of persons and encloses a list of evidence which proposes to be presented at the main hearing.

After the receipt of the indictment the court does compulsory judicial control of it. Competent authority for evaluation of the indictment is the judge for evaluation of the indictment (individual judge) for a criminal offense punishable by up to ten years in prison or indictment evaluation chamber (three-judge panel) for a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment of ten years or more.

The judge or the indictment review chamber shall deliver the indictment to the defendant who is free without delay and, if detained within 24 hours of receipt of the indictment. Upon receipt of the indictment, the defendant may file an objection against the indictment within 8 days of receipt, submit a statement of guilty plea or submit a list of evidence which he or she proposes to be presented at the main hearing.

After the indictment entered into force, on the day the decision to approve it was entered, that is, by inserting the clause for approval of the indictment, together with the decision to approve it, the material evidence submitted and the list of evidence which the parties propose to be performed, shall be submitted to the competent court.

After the indictment has been approved and prior to the completion of the main hearing, upon proposal by the parties, detention may be established, extended or revoked only with a decision by the Trial Chamber (Article 25, paragraph 5 of the Law on Criminal Procedure). After the indictment has entered into effect, the detention shall last for no more than: one year for crimes that entail a prison sentence of up to 15 years and two years for crimes that carry a life-time prison sentence. Upon proposal by the parties and ex-officio, following the expiry of thirty days after the last detention decision has entered into effect, the Chamber shall be obliged to inspect whether the reasons for detention still exist and enact a decision for extension or revocation of the detention.

When the verdict of the court includes a prison sentence for the defendant, the Trial Chamber may order for the person to be detained, if he or she is not in detention already. The Trial Chamber that leads the main hearing shall be competent to rule on any detention or revocation of detention, from the completion of the main hearing to the proclamation of the judgment, and the Chamber referred to in Article 25, paragraph 5 shall be competent from the moment of proclamation of the judgment, until it enters into full effect. The detention in this phase may last until the person starts serving the sentence, i.e. until the verdict enters into full effect, but not longer than the duration of the prison sentence.

Once the indictment is received and checked, the competent court schedules a main hearing. The main hearing is a central, main part of the criminal proceedings, in which the accusatorial of the procedure and the principle of equality of arms are most prominently displayed. The Main hearing starts with the opening statements of the parties. The parties in their opening statements present their theory of the case, as well as the evidence on which they base it. After the opening statements, the evidentiary procedure is open, where the parties present the evidence they have proposed. With The closing arguments, the main hearing is concluded. The closing arguments represent the last address of the parties where they give their views on what came out of the evidence presented and draw their own conclusions about the proving or unproven of the decisive facts. After the main hearing has been concluded, the Chamber will resume counseling and voting for a judgment.

There is no legal deadline/time limit for completing the criminal prosecution proceedings. However Basic Concepts section in the Criminal Procedure Law there is a provision about the right to trial within a reasonable time. According to the provision any person that is subject of the procedure shall have the right to be taken before a court within a reasonable time and tried without any unjustified delays. The court shall be obliged to conduct the proceedings without any delay and to preclude any abuse of the rights that belong to the persons that participate in the proceedings.

The legal system of N. Macedonia allows criminal judgment in absentia, but under prescribed conditions. The defendant may be tried in his or her absence only if he or she has fled or is otherwise inaccessible to the state institutions, in the event when there are especially important reasons for the person to be tried, although he or she is absent. Upon a motion by the plaintiff, the Trial Chamber shall enact a decision to try the defendant in his or hers absence. Any appeal shall not prevent the enforcement of the decision. The defendant on trial in absentia must have a defense counsel appointed immediately after the decision for trial in absentia is made.

There is an option for repetition of the procedure for a person convicted in absence. Any criminal procedure whereby a person was convicted in absence (Article 365 of this Law) and there is a possibility for the person to be tried in his or her presence shall be repeated, if the defendant or his or her counsel puts a motion for repetition of the criminal procedure within one year as of the day when the convicted person learned of the conviction in his or her absence.

Chart 06. Organizational chart of the main hearing phase of a criminal procedure

3.1.3. Consistency with the Rule of Law

The most common complaints regarding the criminal procedure, before the European Court of Human Rights against RNM are the violations of Article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) and Article 6 (the right to a fair trial), in particular a trial within a reasonable time, a violation of the right to defense, the right to equality of arms, etc.

In the Analysis of the data collected from the court criminal proceedings monitored issued by OSCE and All For Fair Trial Coalition[2] among the conclusions where the following:

  • Often cases of absent defense attorneys in hearings when a detention measure was or was being applied against defendants which is greatly undermining the right to effective defense of the accused person
  • Increasing trend in cases where the court examines the defendant, in the capacity of a self-proposed witness, in absence of a defense attorney.
  • The upward trend in unequal treatment of the public prosecutor and the defense by the court is worrisome
  • Decrease in the number of guilty pleas in the main hearings in all observed courts. A correlation is observed between the severity of criminal act, the low penal policy of judges upon the completion of main hearings, the severity and uncertainty of sanctions in conditions of guilty pleas, as well as the role of the court and the role of the defence attorney in the process of assessing the guilty pleas as negative factors for application of this procedure that is intended to accelerate the main hearing.
  • an increase in the number of complaints raised by defence attorneys in relation to their access to evidence.

Statistics and analyses show that the police have factual monopoly over investigations, and are key factor in the criminal justice system, especially in establishing whether and who is responsible for criminal offences. Large majority of perpetrators have never been discovered, while almost all reported or known perpetrators are later charged and convicted.

Inferior status of the public prosecution and the courts within the criminal justice system, including their failure to properly protect lawfulness and legality, as well as rights and freedoms of defendants, brings under question their legitimacy, which is mainly due to their insufficient human and institutional capacity, but also serious problems in terms of autonomy and independence from the executive branch of government

Establishment of investigation departments at the pubic prosecution is an important requirement with a view to speed investigations, overcome the police’s monopoly over investigations and address hierarchical dualism of the criminal police. Judges deciding on legality and lawfulness of arrests and other actions or measures taken against suspects must hear in them in person, including all people involved in alleged police ill-treatment, and must gather all relevant evidence.

Having in mind the fact that the police and the public prosecution have resources and are competent to conduct investigations and gather evidence, it is of critical importance for the defence to be given insight in evidence they have collected, both in terms of timing and scope of insight granted. Trial in absence should be reduced to exception. In that regard, courts should insist on locating persons who are allegedly unavailable to be tried, requesting the competent authorities to make their best effort, whereas the law or court practice should provide clear definition of actually important reasons for allowing trial in absence.

3.2. Civil Procedure

3.2.1. Overview of civil procedures

The non-criminal cases, depending by their nature, may be processed in civil or in administrative procedure. Since the civil procedure is the main alley for resolving disputes it will be in the focus on further elaboration. It is mainly a court procedure though certain competencies are delegated to a public notaries (ex. payment orders, inheritance procedures) while the enforcement is devolved to a private enforcement agents. The administrative procedure is the procedure by which individuals and entities are realizing their rights before administrative bodies (ex. social welfare rights, pension and disability etc).[3] It is regulated by the Law on General Administrative Procedure though for specific procedures, special procedural provisions may be envisioned. In this cases, the general law has subsidiary application for the issues not covered by the special provisions.[4]

The civil procedure incorporate litigation and non-contentious procedure as well as rules regulating the enforcement. Its main component, the litigation procedure (парнична постапка) encompasses rules on the basis of which the court contends and decides in the disputes for basic human and citizen’s rights and obligations, for personal and family relations of the citizens, such as the labor, trade, property and other civil disputes[5]. The litigation procedure may be general or special. Special litigation procedures includes: labor relations disputes, hindering of possession, payment order, small claims disputes, procedures in selected courts and trade disputes.

The Law on Litigation Procedure establishes several special procedures where the time limits for processing the cases are shortened due to the nature of the cases, the urgency required as well as the need for efficiency. Such procedures are: labor relations disputes, hindering of possession procedures, payment order, and small claims disputes.[6] If the claim is related to one of these issues, the court automatically process the case in these fast lane procedures.

Specific urgent procedure is established for securing claims[7] while the main issue and the merits of the case are contended in a litigation or it is in an enforcement procedure. The court is obliged to take on the case within three days as of the day of receiving the request at the latest. The procedure for securing claims is initiated upon a request of the plaintiff, i.e. the creditor. The instruments for securing claims[8] shall be:

  • right to pledge on immovables and movables in cases where enforcement document is issues and the enforcement is pending
  • previous measures in cases where there is a monetary claim and a procedure has been initiated but it has not become legally valid or enforceable, if the creditor renders the danger probable or if there is an assumed danger that without such securing the effectuation of the claim would be thwarted or significantly hindered.
  • temporary measures in cases were the procedure has not been initiated and the creditor renders probable the existence of the claim and the danger arising from the absence of such measure that the debtor is to thwart or significantly hinder the collection of the claim, by alienating, covering or in any other way using his/her property, i.e. his/her funds.
  • transfer of ownership of objects and transfer of rights if there is will among the creditor and the debtor to reach a settlement.

The attempt to use alternative dispute resolution before initiating litigation procedure is solely obligatory for the commercial disputes[9]. If the commercial dispute is for a monetary claim where the value of which does not exceed 1.000.000 MKD (cir. 18.100 $) the parties are obliged, before filing the lawsuit, to try to resolve the dispute by mediation. When filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff is obliged to attach a written proof issued by a mediator that the attempt for resolving the dispute by mediation has not succeeded. The lawsuit which does not contain the proof shall be rejected by the court.[10]

The litigation procedure, as established with the Law from 2005, is based upon the principles of adversarial system with certain limited elements from the inquisitorial system.[11]  The judge is responsible for formal management of the procedure (scheduling hearings, deciding upon motions etc) however its role in pursuing evidence is limited. There is only one exemption from the adversarial principles is the possibility of the judge ex officio to determine the facts. The court is authorized to confirm the facts not being stated by the parties, and to exhibit the evidence not being proposed by the parties, if the outcome of the contention and the substantiation results in the parties being headed towards disposing with claims they cannot dispose with. However it cannot base its decision on facts and evidence wherefore the parties have not been granted the possibility to declare themselves.[12]

Chart 07: Organizational chart of the 1st instance litigation procedure

3.2.2. Encouraging settlement

The Law on Litigation Procedure envisions two main instruments that the Court may use to encourage the parties to reach a conciliation, to inform and refer the parties to resolve the dispute via mediation and to facilitate reaching a court settlement.

The court during the preparation of the pre-trial hearing is obliged, in the disputes where mediation is allowed, to serve to the parties written instructions, together with the summons for the pre-trial hearing, stating that the dispute can be resolved in a mediation procedure and to request from the parties to state whether they agree to resolve the dispute in a mediation procedure.[13] If the parties agree the dispute to be resolved in a mediation procedure, the court shall adopt a decision to terminate the procedure.

The court, during the whole course of the procedure, shall point the parties to the possibility for court settlement and can help them conclude a settlement. The settlement agreement of the parties shall be inserted in the minutes and it shall be deemed concluded when the parties sign the minutes after the minutes on settlement is read to them.[14]

Unfortunately, data on the effectiveness of these instruments is not available since no studies have been carried out targeting this issue.

3.2.3. Consistency with the Rule of Law

The comprehensive reform of the civil law system started in 2011 with the initiation of a codification of the civil law in order to improve the quality of civil law regulation, as well as to overcome the legal gaps currently faced by legal practitioners in the application of civil legal norms. Key challenge was the efficiency and the lengthiness of civil procedures.  The Law on Litigation Procedure has contributed to significantly shorten the length of the proceedings and reduce the huge workload of the courts by exempting them from handling payment orders and inheritance proceedings which had burdened the judicial system for many years. However, the practical application of some of the new provisions, especially those related to cross-examination, compulsory expertise upon filing a lawsuit, etc. indicates the need to review these provisions by organising public discussions.

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in several cases has found violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on the right to a fair trial, respect for family life and protection of property. Also efforts are needed to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution. Arbitration is still not considered as a viable tool to ensure justice, either by parties or by the courts. The effects of the implementation of the new law on mediation, adopted in 2013 are still to be assessed.

Overall, the system has proved to be an improvement compared to the previous system of enforcement by the courts. The notary payment order works well, discharging the burden on the courts. However, the overall cost of enforcement and the length of the procedure still obstruct the system’s efficiency. This, together with the mandatory presence of an attorney for procedures before notaries (including for inheritance) risks impeding access to justice. The monitoring of the enforcement officers’ activities by the Chamber and the Ministry of Justice needs to be improved. Regarding property rights, the absence of strategic documents results in lengthy procedures and insufficient coordination between institutions. This leads to delays in updating registers by the municipal authorities and the Central Register.[15]

3.3. Alternative Dispute Resolution

3.3.1. The compulsory diversion of disputes

Compulsory diversion of dispute to resolution mechanisms outside the formal judiciary is only present among the commercial disputes where the value of the claim is below 1.000.000 MKD. In these cases the parties are obliged, before filing the lawsuit, to try to resolve the dispute by mediation. When filing the lawsuit, the plaintiff is obliged to attach a written proof issued by a mediator that the attempt for resolving the dispute by mediation has not succeeded. The lawsuit which does not contain the proof shall be rejected by the court. The mediation is performed by a private licensed mediators in line with the Law on Mediation.[16] The costs for the mediation should be covered by the parties.

3.3.2. The voluntary or consensual diversion of disputes

Consensual diversion of dispute is available for different types of cases. There are several mechanisms established by law which provide forums for ADR. Those mechanisms are:

  • arbitrage, for trade and commercial disputes
  • mediation, in property, family, labor, trade, consumer, insurance disputes, disputes in the field of education, environmental protection, disputes related to discrimination
  • specific mechanisms for peaceful resolution of consumer disputes
  • peaceful resolution of employment disputes

These mechanisms are not government sponsored. The decision/outcome of these mechanisms must be in appropriate form established with law in order to have a legal effect. However all these mechanisms are underused and there is low awareness among the population for the benefits of their uses.

3.3.3. ADR Policy Drivers

One of the main drivers in the reforms in the legal system in the country is the EU integration and the need to meet the EU standards in different aspects of the society. Such is the situations with the ADR processes. The EU encourage and support development of efficient ADR processes in the country however still there is insufficient trust among the representatives of the conventional legal professions on the efficiency of these mechanism combined with general unpreparedness of the population to delegate their dispute to resolution to a private individual/entity. The costs and duration of court procedures are still more acceptable solution than to attempt to solve the issue by ADR. There is need of greater awareness raising and simultaneous improvement of the legislative framework on ADR based upon through assessment and evidence.

3.4. Simplification of law and by-passing legal processes

The reforms that were implemented in the past 15 years in RNM aimed at reducing the costs and time when deciding in civil cases through amending the procedural law, not substantive. The premise was that by speeding up and simplifying procedures, not substantive laws, will be sufficient to increase the efficiency of the judiciary. For example, the amends to the Law on Litigation Procedure from 2011 prescribed strict rules on the content of the motions and any failure to meet this rules shall result with dismissal of the lawsuit. One specific area which also was reformed was the payment orders for debts, mostly for utilities. The deciding upon these payment orders was delegated to the notaries with the expectation that it will remove some burden from the courts. However all these reforms were related to the rules of procedure.

The legal system in RNM does not allow use of equity when deciding in disputes. Each decision must be based upon a statute.


4.1. Statutory commitment to access to justice, equal access to court and fair trial

The Constitution of RNM does not recognize explicitly the right for access to justice though it establishes certain principle related to the fair trial rights such as: the presumption of innocence, the prohibition of double jeopardy and nullum crimen sine lege. The main legal source on access to justice and the fair trial is Article 6 from the European Convention on Human Rights. The Convention was ratified in 1997 and since than is part of the national legal system, hierarchically above the laws enacted by the Assembly. This article determines the key criteria defining the rights to fair trial as well as the right to access to a court as one of its elements. The Convention is directly applicable in national context while the case law of the European Court on Human Rights provide guidance on its proper interpretation.

4.2. Political commitment to access to justice

In 2018 the Government adopted the Strategy for Reforms of the Judiciary[1] for the period 2018 – 2019. One of the key strategic goals of the judicial reforms is the access to justice. Within the framework of the Strategy, a new Law on Free Legal Aid was adopted. In a video message on the starting date of its implementation, the Minister of Justice, Ms. Renata Deskoska PhD stated “this law contributes in building the rule of law however it also have one humane dimension which is that the financial status should be burden in realization of the rights of the citizens”[2]. In general there is positive attitude among the political elites however since the country faces very serious problems related to the independence of judiciary and fighting corruption and organized crime, the access to justice is not considered as a priority issues and as a result of that is not very much present in the public debate.

4.3. Responsibility for access to justice policy

The responsibility for access to justice policy lies within the hands of the Ministry of Justice.

4.4. Government access to justice policy

The access to justice policy is stated in the above quoted Strategy for reforms of the judiciary. It includes a national legal aid system, increase legal awareness, involvement of NGO and legal clinics, increased state budget on legal aid as well as reforms in the legislation concerning attorneys, notaries, enforcement agents and mediators.

4.5. Equal access to justice for minorities, immigrants, indigenous peoples or other groups

The Roma minority is facing serious obstacles in realizing access to justice. Facing poverty, social exclusion and prejudices, this minority group is disproportionally affected by the lack of access to justice and legal remedies. There are few areas in which this problem is most concerning. The first is the problem of unregistered individuals[3] (people who are not enlisted in the birth registries) which results with lack of any legal identity, access to education, healthcare and social services. This problem is overwhelmingly affecting the Roma population. The rigid framework on birth registration combined with lack of effective policies are preventing in resolution of this problem. The Roma population also faces problems from legal nature related to proper housing, discrimination, and healthcare.

With regards to migrants, through North Macedonia as a transit country a significant number of migrants are transiting to their destination in Western Europe. They are often victims of migrant smuggling and trafficking and may be detained for almost six month while in the same time do not have the right to a legal aid.

4.6. Access to justice subject of public or scholarly debates

The improvement of the access to justice is one of the key priorities of a significant number of NGOs active in the country. They, as both service providers and advocating for the rights of certain specific vulnerable groups (ex. Roma community, LGBT population, victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, homeless persons, people living in extreme poverty, sex workers, intravenous drug users etc.) have identified that these group among other problems, face serious obstacles in accessing justice. As a result of this, main initiatives on reforming access to justices as well as assessments and policy documents came from the NGO sector. Since 2011, a group of authorized providers of preliminary legal aid[4], supported by the Foundation Open Society Macedonia have prepared and issued annual reports[5] on the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid. The Foundation pursued significant effort in legal empowerment activities.[6] Beside the legal aid, numerous documents were prepared and events organized related to the access to justice issues faced by specific vulnerable categories.


6.1. Overview of judicial costs for litigants

The litigants and other participants in court procedures when initiating certain actions are required to pay court fees (судски такси). The court fee system is established with a special Law on Court Fees[1], however certain elements and exemption may also be regulated with the procedural laws. Court fees are payable in civil procedures, criminal procedure when initiated by a private plaintiff, administrative disputes, bankruptcy procedure etc.[2]

The payment of a court fee is a precondition to start the abovementioned types of procedures. The unpaid court fee withholds the processing of the act initiating a procedure.[3] The court shall not act upon a lawsuit or undertake any other action for which the court fee is not paid. If the plaintiff does not pay the court fee within a period of 15 days as of the day of filing the lawsuit, it shall be considered that the lawsuit is withdrawn.[4]

Beside for lawsuit or other action initiating a procedure court fees must be also paid for certain additional procedural actions as: countersuit, request for exemption of a judge, proposal for securing claims, court settlement, 1st instance decision, appeal, 2nd instance decision and extraordinary legal remedies.

The calculation of the court fees is done by a methodology which is an integral part of Law on Court Fees (Tariff on Court Fees).

The basis for calculation is the value of the case when determinable, while for certain cases where the value cannot be determined, the Law on Court Fees presumes their value.[5]

The Tariff on Court Fees lists the amount of fees for each procedure separately. For litigation procedure the court fees are calculated on the basis of this table:

Chart 16. Court fees for litigation procedure

Case value: Court fee:
Above: To:
10.000 MKD 480 MKD
10.000 MKD 20.000 MKD 800 MKD
20.000 MKD 40.000 MKD 1.200 MKD
40.000 MKD 60.000 MKD 1.600 MKD
60.000 MKD 100.000 MKD 2.000 MKD
100.000 MKD 2.000 MKD + 0.02*(Case value – 100.000)[6]

For lawsuit and a decision in first instance the court fee is as stated in the table. For appeal and a second instance decision the court fee is doubled.

For criminal procedure (private lawsuit) and administrative disputes the Tariff only prescribes the amount of the court fee regardless of the value of the claim in these procedures.

6.2. Exemption from judicial costs

The poor parties in court procedure may request an exemption of payment of fees (ослободување од плаќање на такса). The rules regulating the procedure for exemption are regulated with the Law on Court Fees[7] though an individual can be exempted also pursuant to the Law on Litigation Procedure as well as when a secondary legal aid is granted (Please refer to Section 5).

6.2.1. Eligibility criteria for exemption from judicial costs

The Court shall exempt from payment of court fees the party, “if the payment of fees would significantly decrease the funds whereby the party and the members of its family are being supported”[8]. The law does not specify additional criteria with regards to the income and the assets of the party. The Court evaluates the circumstances in each specific case and render a decision.

6.2.2. Process for applying for exemption from judicial costs

The decision on exemption from paying the procedure costs shall be adopted by the court of first instance on a proposal of the party within five days from the day when the proposal was filed. The party shall be obliged to attach to the proposal a certificate from a competent body of the state administration in regard to its material condition which is determined on the basis of the income of the party and member of his/her household as well as a written statement about the material condition for the previous 6 month period.[9] If the proposal for exemption is denied, the party may appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals.[10] The decision for exemption is adopted for each court fee separately.

6.2.3. Repaying exempted judicial costs

The decision for exemption of payment of fees may be abolished by the Court if it finds that the party is capable to pay the court fees. The Court may decide whether the party will have to pay in total or partially, the fee from which it was previously exempted.[11] Also, if the opposing party of a party that has been exempted from paying the procedure costs, is obliged to compensate the litigation costs, and it is established that he is not able to cover those costs, the court can additionally determine the costs may be paid completely or partially by the party being exempted from paying the procedure costs from what has been ruled thereto. Thus, it shall not interfere in the right of this party to request compensation from the opposing party for what it has paid.[12]

The general rule in the litigation procedure in the country is that the party, notwithstanding whether he/she was legally aided or exempted from court fees, who completely loses the case shall be obliged to compensate the costs of the opposing party[13]. The court may limit the amount but only in specific cases if it founds that some of the costs were not necessary for the procedure.

6.2.4. Overall: do costs and fees limit access to justice?

Main problem that discourages initiating a court procedure is the obligation to pay the other site legal expenses if the case is lost. This puts significant burden when deciding whether to initiate procedure even when the party have a relatively well grounded case.

6.3. Mechanisms to reduce costs by variations to courts and procedures

Access to each court is restricted with payment of court fees. There are no court of special jurisdiction in RNM. The party, if not financial capable to pay these fees is obliged to request exemption from court fees.


The general principle in the procedural laws, both civil and administrative, is that these procedures can be initiated only by people with legal interest (which is subject to deliberation). Merger of procedure is possible but in practice rarely used due to the procedural requirements that need to be met.  Several persons can prosecute with a single lawsuit, i.e. can be prosecuted (co-litigants), if:

  • in regard to the subject of the dispute they are in lawful community or if their rights, i.e. obligations result from the same factual and legal base,
  • subject of the dispute are claims i.e. obligations of the same type based on essentially same factual and legal base although there is actual and local competence of the same court over each claim and each defendant and
  • it has been determined by another law.[1]

In practice these provisions are interpreted highly restrictive by the judges (ex. same factual and legal base) and having more litigants may complicate the procedure.

The only exemption from this principle is the opportunity provided in the Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination[2] for so called action popularis (Action for Protection against Discrimination of Public Interest). Associations, foundations or other civil society organizations that have justified interest in protecting the interests of a particular group or that deal with protection against discrimination as part of their activities may file a complaint if it is likely that the defendant’s actions have discriminated against a larger number of people.

Legal aid may not be obtained for such procedures since the legal aid can only be granted to individuals not to legal entities.


9.1. Access to technology

In general, the people usually lacking effecting access to justice have access to technology and may be reached by phone, e-mail or SMS. According to data published by the State Statistical Office in the 1st quarter of 2019, 81.8% of the households had access to the Internet at home. The participation of households with broadband connection in the total number of households is 85.7% in 2019. In the first quarter of 2019, 81.4% of the total population aged 15-74 used the Internet. There is no significant difference between internet users in urban and rural areas. By age group, the population between 55 and 74 years lags significantly behind the other age groups with less than half of them using the Internet.[1] In 2019 there were 1.969.109 cellular subscribers which corresponds roughly with the total population of the country.[2] 93.8 from every 100 people possess a mobile phone. From them, over 72% have smartphones.[3] 67% from all mobile phone owners have access to data internet.[4] With regards to people living in poverty, 95.4% from them have access to phone (including mobile) while 52.1% have computer or lap top.[5]

9.2. Technology in the delivery of non-legal public services

Although providing public services assisted by technology is still in its inception, there is broad consensus and commitment among the Government and other public bodies to increase use of technology for providing non-legal public services. One of the priority areas of the Strategy for Reform of the Public Administration 2018 – 2020[6] are the public services and ICT support. There are several web pages that enable access to public services via technology. Central web resource is the web page were individuals may request public services from different institutions and on different issues (ex. birth, marriage and death registration, scholarships, employment etc). There are also web pages for: tax registration and submission of tax statements[7], participation in debate on legislative proposals[8], trainings for administrative servants[9], scheduling medical appointments[10], participation in public procurements[11] and several other public services.

9.3. Technology in the practice of law

Legal practitioners (Attorneys) actively use office related software such as word processors and spreadsheet editors, most commonly included in the Microsoft Office packages. They also are required to have an active e-mail address for registration as well as for servicing of court and administrative documents and actively use all available IT means for communication with clients. The use of legal case management softer is more common among law firms while the majority of individual lawyers do not use such IT solutions.

NGOs providing services to low income individual and families use IT technology in their work. All of them are users of office related software as well as e-mail as a mean of communication. The donor community provides funds necessary for these means. They communicate with clients, beside by direct communication, also through SMS, e-mail, websites, FB profiles and pages and other social networks.

9.4. Legal services online

There are several web pages[12], created and administrated mostly by NGOs which enable certain services related to access to justice such as: information on eligibility criteria, procedures and providers of services (resource web pages), reporting certain specific types of violations (ex. Domestic or gender based violence, bullying, sexual harassment, violation of employment rights etc.). Social networks are frequently used for campaigning and advocacy activities. However, after the information and initial communication, the further provision of services is usually direct and with limited use of technology (phone, e-mail). Specific applications for self-help are still not developed.

9.5. Communication between private practitioners and the funders of publicly funded legal services

Main mean of communication between private practitioners (attorneys) and the funders of publicly funded legal services (Courts and Ministry of Justice) is written communication by letters. With the Ministry of Justice there might be communication by e-mail but that is the exception. Usually, all official information about the case and the invoice (cost remuneration form) is filed by hard copy.

9.6. Online dispute resolution

Currently there is one functional online dispute resolution system established by government authority. That is the system for electronic processing of final beneficiaries of customers of telecommunication services managed by the Agency for Electronic Communications, a regulatory body in the area of the telecommunications. The system is available at Each customer of one of the many companies providing telecommunication services may file a complaint by this system. The Agency will examine the complaint, submit to response to the responded, and upon the available information and evidence shale make a decision. The existence of this system does not prevent customers to file a complaint in hard copy if they do not possess the necessary technical skills. This type of systems for dispute resolution have potential to be used in small claims cases emanating from customer rights.

9.7. Successful use of technology to provide legal services in innovative ways

Aside providing information and initial communication, the provision of legal services is largely done the classic way, by direct counseling, meetings and representation. Providing legal services by apps, conference calls (in court), algorithms and AI are envisioned however it is still early to discuss about their more common utilization.

9.8. Collaboration with internationally-focused organizations

The Foundation Open Society Macedonia, local branch of the Open Society Foundations is one of the key stakeholders working on improvement of the access to justice in the country. One of its activities included a resource web page (translated as “legally empower”). The web page include information on providers of legal services, guidance on most common legal problems with self-help assistance, definition of key legal terms, educational videos etc. Beside the web page, the FOSM also created an electronic data base used by some NGOs providing legal services where information of the provided services is stored. This data base provide significant insight into the legal needs of the population, as well as it improves the case management of the NGOs.


12.1.Global, national and regional efforts to promote access to justice

As country candidate for membership in the European Union, all reforms related to justice system including the access to justice, are focused on meeting the European standards. The access to justice is one of the key elements of so called Chapter 23: Judiciary and Fundamental Rights encompassing the necessary criteria that the country must achieve in order to become member of the EU. The country must harmonize its legislation with relevant EU directives on this issue as well as to meet the standards for access to justice established with the case law of the European Court on Human Rights. The level of realization of these principles is subject to continuous scrutiny by the EU. For example, the country is currently working on transpose the so called Victims Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) where one of the key component is and effective system for legal aid to victims of crimes.

12.2. Collaboration with other regional or global access to justice initiatives

RNM is member of the Open Government Partnership[1], a global initiative with a vision to more governments become sustainably more transparent, more accountable, and more responsive to their own citizens, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of governance, as well as the quality of services that citizens receive. Of the policy area of interest of this initiative is justice including access to justice. In the OGP national action plan 2018 – 2020[2], the government identified the access to justice as one of the priority areas. The government expressed two commitments, to further develop access to justice and to improve access to justice for marginalized groups of citizens. The activities envisioned in the action plan are in line with national strategies and efforts and as well with national efforts concerning SDG 16.3.

12.3. NGO (and other) collaborations on access to justice

Foundation Open Society – Macedonia is working together with, and supporting a network of NGOs working on different aspects of legal empowerment. It works on institutionalization of the legal empowerment, sustainability of the access to justice and access to justice models improvement. These NGOs activity cooperate and coordinate their efforts. The NGOs were actively involved in advocating for adoption for new Law on Free Legal Aid and the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association and the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia were event part of the working group.

12.4. National efforts on SDG 16.3

In December 2018 the National Council for Sustainable Development identified 5 priority goals from the 17 global goals. One of the priority goals was SDG 16.[3] The commitment with regards to this the SDG 16.3 is to great extent harmonized with the above mentioned OGP Action plan 2018 2020. The country also signed a Partnership for Sustainable Development – United Nations Strategy for 2016-2020 with the United Nations Country Team in Skopje. One of the outcomes envisioned in the plan is in line with SDG 16.3. It states that by 2020, national and local institutions are better able to design and deliver high-quality services for all users, in a transparent, cost-effective, non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive manner.


The RNM still needs a more serious commitment by the policy makers in ensuring that access to justice is available and affordable for everyone. The legislative framework is more or less in line with the EU standard, though certain reforms are still necessary, but the implementation of the laws lags significantly. The country should invest in capacity of legal aid administrators (courts and Ministry of Justice) and to actively promote the instruments for facilitation of access to justice.

The instrument “Defense for Indigent Defendants” is almost not used in practice. This is paradoxically having in mind that the poverty rate in the country is more than 21% and successful defense requires assistance by an attorney. The lack of use of this instruments puts significant numbers of defendants who are not able to hire an attorney without defense which in a lot of cases is violation of the right to a fair trial. It is apparent that the courts are reluctant to inform the defendant on this rights in clear and understandable manner. Other justification for these small number is not plausible.

With regard to non-civil procedures, the new Law on Free Legal Aid from 2019 improves significantly the legislative framework however a harmonization with Law on Litigation Procedure is necessary for smooth implementation of the law. There is lack of an effective legal aid and exemption from payment of fees in procedures before notaries and enforcement agents which is also a significant problem. Key issues remain: debts, forcible enforcement, family matters, and employment and property disputes.

The alternative dispute resolution remain underused. The reasons may be found among the parties and their lack of trust to delegate their dispute to someone other than the court, but also among the legal professions.

With regards to administrative procedures in the areas of social protection, pension and disability insurance, housing, migrants, asylum seekers and stateless persons there is problem in proper informing them on their rights. The published laws are insufficient and appropriate for the common public. There is need for a more close collaboration between the different public bodies.

The entities that are administrating the legal aid schemes in the country, the courts and the Ministry of Justice, lack sound systems for collecting and analyzing data on the legal services they fund. There is lack of an efficient system for controlling the quality of the provided legal aid.


[1] In September 2018, following the Prespa agreement with Greece, the Republic of Macedonia have amended its Constitution to change its name to Republic of North Macedonia.

[2] Constitution of Republic of North Macedonia (Устав на Република Северна Македонија).

[3] The Ohrid Framework Agreement from 2001 ended the internal conflict


[5] State Statistical Office. Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of North Macedonia for 2019 – Section 03.Population. Skopje 2019. p.65. Available on:

[6] Ibid. p. 69.

[7] State Statistical Office. Census of Population, Households and Dwellings in the Republic of Macedonia, 2002. Available at: p. 335.

[8][8] Constitution of RNM, Article 7.

[9] State Statistical Office. Laeken poverty indicators in 2018. News release: Available at:

[10] GDP (current US$). Source: World Development Indicators

[11] UNDP. Human Development Report 2019. Available at:

[12] Article 98 paragraph 2 from the Constitution of RNM.

[13] Article 98 paragraph 3 from the Constitution of RNM.

[14] Law on Courts (Закон за судовите). Official Gazette No. 58/2006. Article 22.

[15] Article 23 paragraph 3 from the Law on Courts.

[16] Article 30 from the Law on Courts.

[17] Article 31 from the Law on Courts.

[18] Article 33 from the Law on Courts.

[19] Article 35 and 37 from the Law on Courts.

[20] Article 34 from the Law on Courts.

[21] Articlr 34-a from the Law on Courts.

[22] All cases that were in procedure before the courts including those initiated in 2018 as well as those remained from the previous years.

[23] Source: Judicial Council of Republic of North Macedonia.

[24] Since the word lawyer when translated on Macedonian language means a person with legal education (правник) and not licensed to practice law hereinafter the word attorney will be used.

[25] Article 53 from the Constitution of RNM.

[26] Law on Attorneyship (Закон за адвокатура), Official Gazette No. 59/2002. Article 12.

[27] Source: CEPEJ.

[28] Tariff for remuneration and reimbursement of costs for the work of the attorneys (Tарифа за награда и надоместок на трошоците за работа на адвокатите)

[29] Constitution of RNM. Article 98 paragraph 2.

[30] Law on Courts (Закон за судовите). Official Gazette of RNM, No. 58/2006. Article 1, paragraph 2.

[31] A more detailed assessment of the problems that the country faced with regards to the independence of the judiciary can be obtained in a reports, requested by the European Commission and prepared by a group of senior expert in 2015 and 2017.

[32] Судски совет на Република Северна Македонија.

[33] Law on Courts. Article 48.

[34] Ministry of Justice of RNM. Analysis of the Judicial Network in RNM. Skopje, 2018.

[35] Law on Court. Article 38.

[36] Law on Courts. Article 39.

[37] Јавно обвинителство на Република Северна Македонија.

[38] Constitution of RNM. Article 106.

[39] Law on Public Prosecution (Закон за јавното обвинителство), Official Gazette No. 150/2007.

[40] Council of Public Prosecutors. Annual report for 2018.

[41] Law on Criminal Procedure (Закон за кривичната постапка). Official Gazette No. 150/2010.



[43] Article 1 from the Law on General Administrative Procedure (Закон за општата управна постапка). Official Gazette No. 124/2015.

[44] Ibid. Article 2 paragraph 2.

[45] Law on Litigation Procedure (Закон за парничната постапка). Official Gazette No. 79/2005. Article 1.

[46] Ibid. Articles 404 – 438.

[47] Law on Securing Claims (Закон за обезбедување на побарувањата). Official Gazette No. 87/2007.

[48] Ibid. Articles 9 – 64.

[49] Commercial disputes are disputes for commercial relations in which both parties are legal entities and disputes that refer to sale of ships in internal waters, as well as in disputes in which the sailing right is applied (sailing disputes), except in disputes for passenger transport (Article 462 from the Law on Litigation Procedure).

[50] Law on Litigation Procedure. Article 461.

[51] Janevski A. Zoroska-Kamilovska T.: Civil Procedural Law – Book 1: Litigation Law. Faculty of Law Iustinian I, Skopje. 2009.

[52] Law on Litigation Procedure. Article 7 paragraph 2.

[53] Law on Litigation Procedure, Art. 272.

[54] Ibid. Art. 307 – 310.

[55] EU Progress Report on RNM for 2019.

[56] Law on Mediation (Закон за медијација), Official Gazette No. 188/2013.



[59] More details about this problem can be obtained at:

[60] Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, National Roma Center, MKC Bitola, Roma SOS Prilep, Echo Shtip, Izvor Strumica and from 2015, the Helsinki Comitee for Human Rights.

[61] Available at:


[63] Criminal Procedure Code (Законик за кривичната постапка). Official Gazette of Federal People Republic of Yugoslavia No. 40/1953.

[64] Ibid. Article 70.

[65] Law on Litigation Procedure (Закон за процесната постапка). Official Gazette of Federal People Republic of Yugoslavia No. 4/1957.

[66] Ibid. Article 163.

[67] Law on Free Legal Aid (Закон за бесплатна правна помош), Official Gazette No. 161/2009.

[68] The EU Progress report for 2008 noted that that “No state funds are available for legal aid in civil cases”. The EU Progress report for 2009 was even more rigorous with comments such: “Access to justice remained limited. No progress was made in the area of legal aid in civil cases.”

[69] Detailed assessment on the Law on Free Legal aid for 2010 is included in: Kocevski G. & Danilovska-Bajdevska D. Analysis of the Implementation of the Law on Free Legal aid 2010 – 2012. Macedonian Young Lawyers Association. Skopje, 2013.

[70] In late 2017, the Ministry of Justice adopted a new Strategy for Reforms of the Judiciary 2018 – 2022 which aimed to address the systemic shortcomings of the rule of law in the country. One of the measures included in the strategy was adoption of new Law on Free Legal Aid.

[71] Constitution of Republic of North Macedonia (Устав на Република Северна Македонија), Article 12 paragraph 3.

[72] Ibid. Article 53.

[73] Law on Justice for Children (Закон за правда за децата), No. 148/2013.

[74] As stated in Art. 75 par. 3 from the Law on Criminal Procedure and Art. 4 par. 5 from the Law on Free Legal Aid.

[75] The state budget adopted by the legislator distribute the budget costs only to a level of general heading (Ex. Contractual services 425). The further allocation of the budget is left to the budget beneficiary to distribute the funds accordingly.

[76] Rulebook on classification of budgetary costs, Official Gazette No. 17               /2009.

[77] Law on Budgets (Закон за буџетите), Official gazette No. 64/05.

[78] Law on Court Budget (Закон за судски буџет), Official gazette No. 60/2003.

[79] The reports are available on:

[80] The reports are available on:

[81] Law on Justice for Children (Закон за правда на децата), No. 148/2013.

[82] Law on Free Legal Aid (Закон за бесплатна правна помош), No. 101/1019. Article 29.

[83] Ibid. Article 10 par.1.

[84] Ibid. Article 10 par. 4.

[85] Law on Administrative Servants (Закон за административни службеници), Official Gazette No. 27/2014.

[86] Kalajdzhiev G., Stojanovski V, Bozhinovski A. Analysis on strengthening the potential for compulsory defense in the criminal procedure. Available at:

[87] Rulebook on the costs in criminal procedure, Official Gazette No. 131/2012. Art. 28.

[88] Law on Criminal Procedure, Article 103.

[89] Law on Free Legal Aid, Article 34.

[90] Supreme Court of RNM. Rulebook on the amount and the mean for determining the costs in criminal procedure. Official Gazette No. 131/2012. Article 28.

[91] Kalajdzhiev G., Stojanovski V, Bozhinovski A. Analysis on strengthening the potential for compulsory defense in the criminal procedure. P. 6.

[92] Law on Free Legal Aid. Official Gazette No. 161/09. Art. 36 par. 1.

[93] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 41.

[94] Macedonian Bar Association. Rulebook on Disciplinary Liability (Правилник за дисциплинска одговорност).

[95] Laid down in Article 74 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[96] Article 75 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[97]  Comment on the Law on Criminal Procedure. OSCE. Skopje, 2018. p.207

[98] Law on Enforcement of Sanctions (Закон за извршување на санкциите). Official Gazette, No. 99/2019. Articles 206 – 215.

[99] Law on Criminal Procedure, Articles 53 and 55.

[100] Law on Criminal Procedure, Article 232 paragraphs 1 and 2.

[101] Article 107 par. 1 Law on Criminal Procedure.

[102] Article 415 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[103] Article 75  paragraph 2 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[104] Articles 440 to 445 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[105] Article 75 par.1 from the Law on Criminal Procedure.

[106] Source: Information provided by the courts and the Judicial council of RNM. Note: Data for the previous years was not possible to be obtained since not all courts process this type of data.

[107] Free Legal Aid (Закон за бесплатна правна помош). Official Gazette No. 101/2019. Art. 14 par. 1.

[108] Law on Prevention and Protection from Domestic Violence (Закон за превенција, спречување и заштита од семејно насилство). Official Gazette No. 138/2014.

[109] Law on International and Temporary Protection (Закон за меѓународна и привремена заштита). Official Gazette No. 64/2018.

[110] Legal aid is not allowed for the following cases: Customs and tax affairs; libel and insult; compensation for intangible damage, except for victims of crime, as well as death or severe disability, in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Obligations; misdemeanours; public and utility services stipulated in the Law on Consumer Protection and the Law on Utilities and property issues in an administrative procedure.

[111] Annual reports on the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid for 2018 and 2017. Ministry of Justice. Available at:

[112] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 15.

[113] Ibid. Art. 18.

[114] Starting from December 2019 and the amends to the Law on Minimal Wage (Закон за минимална плата), Official Gazette No. 239/2019, the minimal monthly net salary in the country is 14.500 MKD (272,86$).

[115] Calculate using the median currency rate established by the National Bank of RNM.

[116] A four-person household (2 adults and 2 children aged less than 14) is considered at-risk-of-poverty if their annual income is 203.700 MKD. Source: State Statistical Office. Laeken poverty indicators in 2018. Skopje, 2019.

[117] Ibid.

[118] Law on Free Legal Aid, Article 19.

[119] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 20.

[120] Ibid. Art. 21.

[121] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 13. Par. 8.

[122] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 27 and 28.

[123] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 23.

[124] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 24.

[125] Law on Free Legal Aid, Art. 30.

[126] Rulebook on the procedure for appointing an attorney, Official Gazette No. 199/2019.

[127] Source: Annual reports on the implementation of the Law on Free Legal Aid. Ministry of Justice. Available at:

[128] Law on Court Fees (Закон за судски такси), Official Gazette 114/2009.

[129] Ibid. Article 2.

[130] Ibid. Article 6 paragraph 1.

[131] Supra note. Law on Litigation Procedure. Article 146 paragraphs 2 and 3.

[132] Supra note 19. Article 18. (Ex. For certain type of non-monetary claims where the value of the case is not possible to be calculated such as: matrimonial disputes, parental rights disputes, hindering of possession, real or personal servitude/easement etc. the Law on Court Fees presumes their value accordingly so a court fee may be calculated)

[133] The maximal amount of court fee per specific procedural action may be 48.000 MKD.

[134] Supra note 19. Articles 10 – 17.

[135] Supra note 19. Article 13 paragraph 1.

[136] Supra note 19. Article 13 paragraph 3.

[137] Pursuant to Law on Litigation Procedure, articles 368 – 371.

[138] Supra note 19. Article 14 paragraph 2.

[139] Law on Litigation Procedure, Article 168 paragraph 4.

[140] Ibid. Article 148 paragraph 1.

[141] Law on Litigation Procedure. Art. 186 par. 1.

[142] Law on Prevention and Protection from Discrimination (Закон за спречување и заштита од дискриминација). Official Gazette No. 101/2019. Article 35.

[143] Law on Attorneyship, Art.5 and Art.30 par. 3.

[144][144] Code on Professional Ethics of Attorneys, Associate Legal Professionals  and  Trainees-at-law of the Bar Association of Republic of Macedonia (Kодекс за професионалната етика на адвокатите, aдвокатските стручни соработници, и адвокатските приправници на Aдвокатската комора на Република Македонија).

[145] Rulebook on Disciplinary Liability (Правилник за дисциплинска одговорност).

[146] Ibid. Articles 12 and 13.

[147] Ibid. Articles 19 – 33.

[148] Ibid. Articles 34 – 39.

[149] Ibid. Article 40.

[150] Martinova, Kocevski, Smilevska. Legal Education in Macedonia in the period between 2003 – 2013 – Assessment of the reforms that (did not) improved legal education. Macedonian Young Lawyers Association. Skopje, 2014.

[151] Bar exam program and materials.

[152] Law Amending the Law on Attorneyship No. 60/2006.

[153] Constitutional Court of RM, Decision No. 31/2007.

[154] Statute of the Bar Association of Republic of North Macedonia (Статут на Адвокатската комора на Република Северна Македонија), Article 57.

[155] Law on Attorneyship, Article 6 paragraph 1.

[156] Supra. Note 43. Article 56 paragraph 2.

[157]  Law on Attorneyship, Article 11 paragraph 1.

[158] Code on Professional Ethics of Attorneys. Section 2, paragraph 1.

[159] Ibid. Section 2, paragraph 8.

[160] Goce Kocevski, Pavlina Zefikj & Svetlana Crvenkovska: Report on Opportunities and Perspectives of Pro Bono Legal Aid in the Republic of Macedonia. Macedonian Young Lawyers Association. September 2018.

[161] Ibid.

[162] State Statistical Office. News release – Usage of information and communication technologies in households and by individuals, 2019. No: October 2019.

[163] State Statistical Office. Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of North Macedonia, 2019 Section: Transport, tourism and other services. October 2019. P. 96.

[164] Agency for Electronic Communications. Research on public opinion with regards to the market for electronic communications in Republic of Macedonia. June 2017. p. 8.

[165] Agency for Electronic Communications. Report on the development of the electronic communications market in the 1st quartal of 2019.  P. 34.

[166] State Statistical Office. Survey on Income and Living Conditions. Skopje 2018.

[167] Ministry on Administration and Information Society. Strategy for reform of the public administration 2018 – 2022. Skopje 2018.







[174] Korunovska S.J, Korunovska N. Maleska T. Legal Needs and Path to Justice in the Republic of Macedonia. Foundation Open Society – Macedonia. 2013.

[175] For more information please refer to Section 12.