Have you already filed the required documents on internal archiving procedures with Historical Archives of Belgrade for approval?


If not, we have news…

The Historical Archives of Belgrade have announced on their website that it is still not possible for companies that have not filed to submit the required documents on internal archiving procedures with the Historical Archives of Belgrade (the “Archives”). The Archives were supposed to announce the new extended deadline for filing by the end of January 2022.

However, they have recently stated on their website that they still have a substantial number of processing requests in progress (as many as 20,000) and that they would announce at some later point when they would be able to start receiving new requests. Even though this unexpected extension has provided more time, companies should start preparing the required documents and records as soon as possible since another deadline is already around the corner – end of April 2022. This is when companies are expected to also file transcripts of their archiving records for 2021.

Enacted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia on 24 January 2020, the Law on Archival Materials and Archiving Activities (Official Gazette of the RS, No. 6/2020) (the "Law") went into force on 2 February 2021 after a vacatio legis of more than a year.

Led by an underlying principle of archival material protection, the Law differentiates between archive material and documentary material, the first being documentation that is permanently kept, due to its significance for culture, art, science, education, and other social areas, and is defined in the List of categories. Documentary material is any documentation that does not have to be kept permanently and may be destroyed upon expiration of the validity period provided for in the internal List of Categories.

The Law sets off numerous obligations for creators and holders of archival material and documentary material in terms of protection, recording and submission to the competent archive. (A creator is deemed to be a legal or natural person whose activities create archival material and documentary material, whereas a holder is a holder of rights to archival material and documentary material or any other person who, in any way and on any basis, has possession over archival material and documentary material). Besides being obliged to conscientiously keep archival and documentary material in an orderly and safe condition (the form in which they were first created), obligations of legal entities also include:

  • providing appropriate premises and equipment for storage and protection of archival and documentary material;
  • recording, labeling, classifying, dating, archiving of archival and documentary material and the keeping of archiving records (a basic record on the entire archival and documentary material created in the course of business of an entity) in a prescribed form;
  • submitting a transcript of the archiving records to the competent archive no later than 30 April of the current year for documents produced in the previous year;
  • appointing a responsible expert for the protection and handling of archival and documentary material, employed by the company being a creator of archival material. Professional training and education, and the professional competence check of employees managing archival and documentary material are required as well;
  • notifying the competent public archive of all changes that are important for the archive material no later than 30 days from the day of their occurrence;
  • handing over archival material to the competent archive under the terms and retention periods set out by the Law;
  • ensuring permanent storage of archival documentation in electronic form;
  • obtaining the opinion of the competent archive before taking measures related to documentation (e.g., status changes, physical relocation, adaptation of premises, the opening of bankruptcy or liquidation, etc.);
  • selecting archive material and extracting for the purpose of destruction worthless documentary material for which the storage period has expired (i.e. one year from the date of expiration of the established period).

Additionally, companies (irrespective of their size or the number of employees) were obliged to draft and adopt appropriate internal general acts by 31 December 2021, which are as follows:

  • list of categories of archival and documentary material with retention periods, which must be submitted for approval to the competent public archive in two copies by the end of 2021 with this deadline now being extended until further notice (the purpose of this step is to check whether there are documents with the quality of archival material and whether the planned retention periods are appropriate);
  • rulebook on the manner of recording, classification, archiving and storage of archival and documentary material, which shall be submitted by the end of April 2022 to the competent archive along with a transcript of the archiving records (in two copies);
  • rulebook on the manner of recording, protection and use of electronic documents, which shall be submitted by the end of April 2022 to the competent archive along with a transcript of the archiving records (in two copies).

According to an interpretation of the Law published on the website of the Archives, the following entities are at the moment not obliged to comply with the above rules: (i) entrepreneurs; (ii) associations founded solely by natural persons; (iii) representative offices of a foreign company; and (iv) branches of a foreign company.

For more information, contact your CMS client relationship partner or local CMS experts.