According to Croatian law, it is within the competence of regular courts to assess evidence, determine whether facts have been proven and, ultimately, render a conclusion on the basis of such facts. The Constitutional Court of Croatia in its recent ruling No. U-III-2791/2016 from 1 February 2018 stated that, in exceptional circumstances, it is also within its authority to engage in the examination of evidence and facts of the case, but only to the extent necessary to provide protection from arbitrary court decisions.
Back in March 2015, the Croatian Competition Agency passed a decision in which it established that there was a prohibited cartel agreement between seven of the largest personal and asset security providers in Croatia. The decision was challenged by its addressees all the way to the High Administrative Court of Croatia, which upheld the Agency's decision. The Court's ruling was then ultimately challenged before the Constitutional Court for alleged infringement of, among others, the right to a fair trial.
In order to establish whether the Court and the Agency acted arbitrarily and consequently violated the right to a fair trial, the Constitutional Court deemed it necessary to (i) make an assessment of the evidence and the established facts, and (ii) determine if the established facts were sufficient to justify the underlying decision.
In its Ruling the...