Recently, public authorities adopted the bylaws containing detailed regulations on application of the Law on Archival Material and Archival Activities (which is applied since 1 February 2021).
Based on these regulations, virtually all companies producing archival and documentary material (i.e., engaged in any kind of business activity) must:
- adopt a general act on the manner of keeping, archiving, classification, and storage of archival and documentary material;
- adopt a general act on the manner of recording, protection, and use of electronic documents (which ultimately must be in line with the newly adopted bylaws on storage of electronic documents and digitalization of hard copies of business documents and archival material);
- adopt a list of categories of archival material and documentation with retention periods (which must be approved by the competent public archive);
- appoint an expert responsible for protection of archival and documentary material and provide professional training for all persons who will be in touch with such material;
- ensure adequate space and equipment for storage and protection of archival material and documentary material (which needs to conform to specific requirements set out in the newly adopted bylaws);
- keep and submit to the competent archive the archive book no later by 30 April each year, for documentary material created in the previous year;
- hand over archival material to the competent public archive within the deadlines specified by regulation.
- inform the competent public archive about all changes in relation of their status, name, address and other data.
It is a general impression that the regulation is quite extensive and detailed, but it is yet to be seen whether the Law will be enforced vigorously and systematically in practice. Nonetheless, penalties for non-compliance are rather steep (RSD 50,000.00 to 2,000,000.00 for companies, and RSD 5,000.00 to 150,000.00 for the responsible person in the company), and thus the issue of compliance should not be taken lightly.
We recommend that all companies adopt the documents prescribed by the above-mentioned regulations, and to appoint relevant persons in charge with archiving, as soon as possible to avoid scrutiny of authorities and fines.
This text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.
Damjan Despotović, partner
Srećko Vujaković, partner