Social Courts in Theory and Practice: Yugoslav Workers' Courts in Comparative Perspective

By Robert M. Hayden | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Cases Brought to the CAL; or, Who Uses the Court, and for What?

Numbers of Cases

The CALs in all of Yugoslavia quickly developed both a substantial caseload and a backlog. The basic (trial-level) CALs were established in 1975 and 1976; in 1977, the CALs in all of Yugoslavia received 36,798 new cases, in 1978, 50,594 ( Perović 1980:107), and in 1980, more than 70,000 new cases ( Korać 1981:8). This caseload exceeded the capacity of the courts to process cases: 28,652 cases were finished in 1977 and 40,230 in 1978( Perović 1980:107). Similar caseloads were seen in the various republics: in Slovenia, 2,152 cases were filed in 1976 and 4,091 in 1978( Jambrek 1983:189), while those same years saw the filing of 11,221 and 17,548 cases, respectively, in Serbia ( GSURS 12:19).

In 1981, the year before the fieldwork began, the CALs in Serbia1 received 27,696 new cases. In Belgrade in 1981, the Basic CAL received 9,392 cases. Of these, 32 percent concerned the allocation of housing, 27 percent involved workers' claims for salary or other monetary benefits, 14 percent the establishment of work relations, 9 percent claims for compensation for damages, 8 percent workers' appeals from disciplinary measures, and 7 percent were challenges to job assignments ( OSURBI 1981:table 3). Since these categories are not selfexplanatory, they will be examined in detail in the next section.


Kinds of Cases

The CAL in Belgrade recognizes nine substantive categories of cases, which are given below. Each category is followed by its percentage of the total 1982 docket, as given in the court's Report for 1982. Descriptions of a few cases in each category are also provided. Although I

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