Public discussions

Public discussions or public consultations allow the public to express their opinions on and potentially influence the decisions taken regarding substantive matters of public importance. This is associated with the freedom of expression.

Public discussions or consultations with the public can take many different forms, including in person or remotely via governmental or media platforms or social media. In addition, public discussions take place at nearly all levels of governmental decision-making, ranging from regional, local and parliamentary.

Some examples of public discussions or consultations include, but are not limited to:

  • public input into draft legislation
  • advisory councils and work groups in ministries¬†¬†
  • municipal public discussions regarding the cutting down of trees or planned construction
  • public discussions regarding other decisions of public importance

Some of the most common issues on which a public discussion must be held in accordance with the law include environmental, construction, and territorial development matters.

important Public representatives on inter-institutional working groups and advisory councils must be selected via an open procedure. Whilst the organising institution may set criteria for selection, the law requires that members of the public who were not selected as representatives are also heard. This order is usually established by various legal regulations of the pertinent area in question.

How can you participate in a public discussion?

The most accessible way to provide your input on draft legislation is via the public platform e-Consultation (e-Savjetovanje), where you may review the draft legislation and submit your comments for proposals of the law. You may also research the advisory councils, work groups, and public discussions at the local or ministerial level and the steps you need to take in order to take part in them on the website of the respective governing body. Alternatively, you can enquire with the authority about the specific issue in which you are interested.

In certain cases, the law determines how far in advance and how late after the event information regarding the public discussion or consultation must be made available to members of the public.

What human rights violation may there be?

If you have not been given a say on a matter of public interest, either because the public has not been consulted or because you in particular have not been heard, your freedom of expression may have been interfered with or potentially violated. However, outside of environmental, construction, and territorial development issues, the government has a wide margin of discretion in the decision-making process and does not have to consult the public on every matter.

Resources

Last updated 22/03/2024