Serb lawyers freeze courts during seven day strike over tax

Serbian courts were brought to a standstill last month when the legal profession went on strike over tax.

The strike started in Belgrade, but spread nationally over the seven-day stoppage. Courts have now reopened, pending the Serbian government meeting the demands of the legal profession.

The conflict is over the state taxes lawyers are obliged to pay. They were increased by 200 per cent in the last year as the government tried to finance an economy recovering from war and trying to cope with an influx of 800,000 refugees.

“We want a minimum reduction of about 30 per cent,” said Milan Vugin, president of the Serbian Bar Association.

“We've had meetings with the Minster of Finance and the Minister of Justice and the signs are positive.”

If the legal profession's demands are not met by the end of December, it threatens to strike again. Others, such as the medical profession, may follow the same route to see if they can extract tax concessions.

Vugin says he expects the state to finance the running of the country by improving the economy.