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State and compensation in case of natural disasters - on legal protection and transparency

Marko Turudić ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zagreb, Hrvatska
Bosiljka Britvić Vetma ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Splitu, Split, Hrvatska

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Natural disasters leave behind them immeasurable consequences: death, injury, and disease as well as considerable material damages. As natural disasters in the context of damages represent extraordinary events, there is no state liability for compensation for citizens from such caused damage. However, the government often, out of solidarity to its citizens, and in keeping with their means, choose the compensatory measure for at least a portion of the damage. The State can so adopt a special law by which it commits to compensate the entire damage or a portion of it. However, if the government chooses to do so, does it have the right from the application of such law to exclude legal protection and transparency? Can assistance normed in such a way enable authorized bodies to act without court supervision and spend public budget money in a non-transparent way? Unfortunately, the Republic of Croatia has experience with passing such special laws. The most recent example was with the catastrophic earthquake in Zagreb in March 2020 which took one life, caused numerous injuries and material damage costing tens of billions of Kuna. The other important example resulted from the catastrophic floods in Gunja in 2014. Similar motivation for adopting such laws makes them ideal for comparison with legislative solutions from 2014 and 2020, that is, establishing how (and whether) the stated laws modify (deny) the possibility of using legal remedies, that is, what is the level of transparency in the application of the afore stated laws.


liability for damages; extraordinary events; natural disasters; earthquake in Zagreb

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