The 1994 Law on Heritage Protection defines public services in this field. A number of special decrees and regulations have further outlined rules on how to conduct inventories, to valorise and categorise cultural heritage as well as define the responsibilities of archives, museums, film archives and libraries.
Cultural heritage protection is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Culture because it represents the national traditions and identities of all people and cultures in Serbia.
The system and means of heritage protection is regulated by the Cultural Properties Law, dating back to 1994. A new law is still in the process of being enacted.
According to the 1994 Cultural Properties Law, the activities to be carried out by the heritage protection institutes consist of: research, registration, valorisation, proposing and determining cultural properties, categorisation, maintaining registers and the Central Register, preparing studies, proposals and projects, providing owners and users with expert assistance in preserving and maintaining cultural properties, proposing and overseeing how technical protective measures are carried out, publishing the results of cultural property protection activities, and participating in the preparation of urban and territorial plans.
The present law, as well as regulations, are outdated and do not correspond with changes in the theory and practice of conservation and protection of cultural and natural property. Since 2002, certain efforts have been made to prepare a new Law on Heritage Protection and it is still in the process of being enacted. A new Lw on Urban Planning and Construction (2009 and amended in 2011 and 2014) has marginalized a lot of administrative jurisdictions of the cultural heritage institutes. The national Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED) has a strong influence on the regulatory framework and on other policies since 2017 (new government appointment). In 2018, NALED created a new draft proposal for the Law on Heritage Protection, outside of any consultations with heritage professionals and other relevant cultural stakeholders. The Ministry of Culture initiated the draft of a new Law on Archive Documentation and the Archive Sector, which currently does not exist. The aim of the draft law is to outline a new legal framework for archival activities in line with European standards.