Archiving pursuant to the new law

27.05.2021.

In 2020, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Archive Material and Archive Activities (the “Law”), which application began on 2 February 2021.

This Law introduces in a new way the obligations for entities that create archive material and documentary material, meaning that a distinction between archive material and documentary material is made. Documentation that is permanently kept, which is significant for culture, art, science, education, and other social areas and which is defined as such in the list of categories of archive material and documentary material with retention periods is called archive material. Documentation that does not have to be kept permanently and that can be destroyed, after the expiration of the validity period provided for in the list of categories, is called documentary material. Also, the term archival book is regulated, which represents the basic records on the entire archive material and documentary material created in the work process of the company.

The Law introduces for the first time the possibility of creating and storing archive material in electronic form, which will have to be kept in accordance with the provisions of this Law and the Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Business https://www.paragraf.rs/propisi/zakon-o-elektronskom-dokumentu-elektronskoj-identifikaciji-i-uslugama-od-poverenja-u-elektronskom-poslovanju.html

Based on the notification of the Historical Archive of Belgrade, the obligation to submit transcripts of the archive book (for legal entities that have not submitted transcripts of archive books so far) arises in 2022. Read more about this on the following website https://arhiv-beograda.org/rs/

What are the obligations of legal entities?

Legal entities, as creators and holders of archive material and documentary material, are obliged to conscientiously keep the documentation in an orderly and safe condition in the form in which it was created. Also, they are obliged to, inter alia:

  • provide adequate space and equipment for storage and protection of documentation;
  • appoint a responsible expert for protection and handling of documentation;
  • record, mark, classify, date and archive documentation;
  • hand over archive material to the competent archive under the conditions and within the deadlines provided by the Law;
  • ensure the permanent storage of archive material in electronic form, its maintenance, migration, i.e. transfer to new media in the prescribed formats until the submission of archive material in electronic form to the competent public archive;
  • keep archive books;
  • submit to the competent archive a transcript of the archive book for the previous year no later than April 30 of the current year for the documentary material created in the previous year;
  • inform the competent public archive about its establishment, as well as about all changes that are important for the archive material (change of status and / or name, change of organization, change of address, as well as termination of work) no later than 30 days from the day of their occurrence;
  • obtain the opinion of the competent archive before taking measures related to documentation (status changes, physical relocation, adaptation of premises, opening of bankruptcy or liquidation, microfilming, digitization, etc.)
  • select archive material and extract for purpose of destruction worthless documentary material for which the storage period has expired, one year from the date of expiration of the established period.

Which legal documents have to be made by legal entities?

The Law prescribes the adoption of the following documents:

  • general act on the manner of recording, classifying, archiving, and storing archive material and documentary material;
  • a list of categories of archive material and documentary material with retention periods;
  • general act on the manner of recording, protection, and use of electronic documents;
  • plan of measures for the protection of archive material and documentary material in case of risk of catastrophes and emergency situations.

Based on the notification of the Historical Archive of Belgrade, the deadline for drafting mandatory normative acts has been extended to 31 December 2021. Read more about this on the following website https://arhiv-beograda.org/rs/

The Historical Archive of Belgrade pointed out on its website that if a company is not registered in the archive as a creator and holder of archival material, it must submit a copy of the founding act or an extract from the SBRA as well as contact details of the responsible expert who is in charge of the protection of archive material and documentary material, along with normative acts and copy of the archive book.

Can the documentation be destroyed?

Documentation that qualifies as archive material must be kept permanently and must not be destroyed, whether in paper or electronic form. The archive material that has been arranged and listed is handed over for storage to the competent public archive after the expiration of 30 years from the day of its creation.

Documentation that qualifies as documentary material, i.e. with a limited duration in accordance with the list of categories of archive material and documentary material, must be destroyed in accordance with a special procedure prescribed by the Law. Namely, documentary material which storage period has expired can be destroyed only if it is on the list of categories of archive material and documentary material to which the competent public archive has given its consent. Also, it is necessary that the specific documentary material is recorded in the archive book, and a transcript of the archive book is duly submitted to the competent public archive.

Documentary material in paper form for which a permanent retention period is not prescribed may be destroyed before the prescribed retention period, if it is stored within qualified electronic document retention, in accordance with the Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Business and the Decree on Conditions for Preparation of a Document for Reliable Electronic Storage and Document Formats that are Suitable for Long-term Storage.

When destroying documentary material, legal entities are obliged to take the necessary data protection measures that could violate the rights and legal interests of the person to whom the documentary material relates.

Are penalties prescribed for legal entities?

For non-compliance with the prescribed obligations, the Law provides for fines in the amount from RSD 50,000 to RSD 2,000,000 for a legal entity, or from RSD 5,000 to RSD 150,000 for a responsible person in a legal entity.

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