The Law On Associations (“Offical Gazette of RS”, no. 51/2009)

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The Law on Associations (“Off. Gazette of RS”, no. 51/2009, hereinafter the “the Law“) came into force on  July 22, 2009, and will be applicable upon the expiry of three months from the date of entry into force, ie October 23, 2009.

The Law regulated the matter of associations in a modern way with compliance with the Constitution, and the association is defined as a voluntary and non-profit organization, based on freedom of association of natural persons or legal entities, established to protect and improve certain common or general goals and interests, which are not prohibited by the Constitution or the Law. A foreign association is defined as an association with headquarters in another state, established by the laws of that country to achieve some common or general interest or goal, and is non-profitable, as well as an international association or other party, or international NGO that has members who have voluntarily associated to pursue a non-profitable, common or general interest or objective.

The Law subsidiary applies to other other types of associations (political parties, trade unions, sports organizations, etc.), regulated by the special laws, if certain issues are not regulated by special laws.

It  also provides voluntary registration of domestic associations in the registry, which is one of the most significant novelty in relation to earlier regulations, the possibility of establishing for a definite or  indefinite period of time, reducing the number of founders, with the requirement that at least one of the founding members must have residence/ headquarters on the territory of the Republic of Serbia.

The Association is established by adopting the Founding act or the Statute, and the election of the person authorized to represent, at the founding assembly of the association, where the prescribed minimum content of the Founding act or the Statute.

Associations are required to keep the books, prepare financial statements and is subject to internal audit of financial statements in accordance with the regulations of the Accounting and Auditing,  and may engage in economic activity to achieve the objectives stated in the Statute, if the activity is small-scale and entered in the Register.

The transitional provisions of the Law regulates the deadline for compliance of existing association with the Act and are given a deadline of 18 months for domestic, and three months for foreign associations to coordinate their operations with the new Law.  For community organizations, citizen associations and their unions established under the Law on Social Organizations and Associations of Citizens (“Official Gazette of SRS”, no. 24/82, 39/83, 17/84, 50/84, 45/85 and 12/89 and “RS Official Gazette”, Nos. 53/93, 67/93 and 48/94) stipulates to continue to operate as associations, but they are required, within 18 months from the date of implementation of the Law to harmonize their statutes and other general acts, while the real estate they use, become assets owned by the state on which the right to use has a local government unit on whose territory the real estate is situated.

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