Judicial power is exercised by the courts, which are autonomous and independent. According to the law, bodies of state authority are obliged to protect the Constitution and laws confirmed by the legal order of the Republic of Croatia and to guarantee the uniform application of the law and equal rights and privileges of all before the law. The courts decide on disputes concerning basic human and civil rights and obligations, the rights and obligations of the state and units of local self-government, and impose criminal and other measures upon perpetrators of criminal offences established by law.
Judges are appointed and relieved of duty, and their disciplinary responsibilities are decided on by the National Judiciary Council, elected by the Parliament from the ranks of eminent judges, lawyers and university legal science professors.
The judicial system comprises the Supreme Court, county, municipal, misdemeanour and commercial courts, the High Misdemeanour Court, the High Commercial Court and the Administrative Court.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the Republic of Croatia and ensures the uniform application of the law and the equality of all citizens. The President of the Supreme Court is elected (for a period of 4 years) and relieved of duty by the Croatian Parliament at the proposal of the President of the Republic, with the prior opinion of the General Session of the Supreme Court and the competent committee of the Croatian Parliament.
The State Attorney’s Office plays a special role in the judicial system of Croatia as an autonomous, independent judicial body authorised and obliged to proceed against perpetrators of criminal offences and other punishable offences, to undertake legal actions to protect the property of the Republic of Croatia, and apply legal remedies to protect the Constitution and the law. The State Attorney General is appointed for a period of 4 years at the proposal of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
The Croatian legislative system, in accordance with the legal tradition of continental Europe, also recognises the institution of the Constitutional Court, which is separate from the judicial pyramid. The Constitutional Court decides on the conformity of law with the Constitution, on the conformity of other regulations with the Constitution and law, and on constitutional claims against individual rulings of state bodies, bodies of units of local and regional self-government and legal persons vested with public authority. The Constitutional Court monitors constitutionality and legality, resolves jurisdictional disputes between the legislative, executive and judicial branches, decides on the impeachment of the President of the Republic, supervises the constitutionality of the programmes and activities of political parties and supervises the constitutionality and legality of elections, state referenda, etc.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatian is composed of 13 judges who are elected by the Croatian Parliament for a period of 8 years.
The Ombudsman is a commissioner of the Croatian Parliament who promotes and protects the constitutional and legal rights of citizens. Any person who claims that their constitutional or legal rights and freedoms have been infringed or threatened by the unlawful or irregular work of state bodies, bodies of local and regional self-government and legal persons vested with public authority, may lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman in order for proceedings to be launched. The Ombudsman is elected by the Croatian Parliament for a period of 8 years.
The Republic of Croatia has a special Ombudsperson for Children, an Ombudsperson for Gender Equality and an Ombudsperson for Persons with Disabilities.