“Kosovo’s parliament has recently adopted a new law that mainly affects private companies,” reports Artan Qerkini, Founding Partner at Sejdiu & Qerkini Law, who notes that one of the new law's provisions — a requirement that 40% of company board members be women — has already generated significant controversy.
“The parliament adopted the law to improve the position of woman in Kosovar society,” says Qerkini, “but I believe that the government cannot force its ideas on private businesses. In the end, the president of the Republic of Kosovo will have to decide whether to pass the law or not, but for the moment he is reluctant to sign, for he also believes that the initiative violates the constitutional rights and sovereignty of private enterprises.” In any event, he says, even if the president signs the law, it will almost certainly be challenged at the Constitutional Court. “Law firms in Kosovo are also saying that the provision is not constitutional, and lately quite a few businesses have asked us to help them to challenge its provisions at the Constitutional Court.”
Besides this initiative, the legal sector is being kept busy with recent changes in Kosovo’s Criminal Procedural Code, designed to harmonize Kosovo’s legislation with EU regulations. “The new Criminal Procedure Code tries to balance the rights of prosecutors and attorneys during the pre-trial procedure,” Qerkini says. “We also have a lot of work to do regarding of right of attorneys to have access to the prosecutor’s case files during the investigation stage.” Under the amended Code, prosecutors must present all evidence to the defendant based on which they could establish reasonable doubt in their request for pre-trial detention.
Finally, Qerkini reports that the new Law on Bankruptcy in Kosovo, which was adopted earlier this year, “will definitely affect businesses in the future, for it intends to exclude businesses that are unable to pay debts for more than three months from the market.”