On 9 December 2020, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved a bill of an extensive constitutional law in the department of justice, representing one of the most comprehensive judicial reforms in the Slovak Republic history. Some parts of this new constitutional law are effective from 1 January 2021. This law includes reforms of the composition of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic and the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, the establishment of the Supreme Administrative Court of the Slovak Republic, verification of the assets of all judges with the verification of judicial competence, and age census for the termination of the position of judge.
Moreover, the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic submitted a new law bill on seats and districts of courts to the inter-departmental review. The judicial reform in the Slovak Republic, widely discussed by the general public, has taken its next step in restoring citizens' confidence in the judiciary system. According to the reform proposals, the courts should become more specialized, improving the quality of court decisions, speeding up the court proceeding, and improving the predictability of the court decisions.
The court map shall be divided into thirty districts of first instance courts and three districts of courts of appeal, located in Trnava for western Slovakia district, Banská Bystrica for central Slovakia district, and Prešov for eastern Slovakia district. Commercial agenda shall be governed by the causal jurisdiction of general courts at the seats of courts of appeal.
It is also proposed to establish administrative courts, which will form the administrative justice system with the Supreme Administrative Court of the Slovak Republic. The administrative justice system will be two-tiered, where the first-instance courts will be the courts in Nitra, Žilina, and Košice.
The new court map evokes mixed feelings in the professional community. There is a tremendous societal demand for judicial reform. Still, in our view, such a fundamental reform should be accompanied by a broad public debate among representatives of all legal professions. The presented court map is in its initial stages. We are convinced that it will undergo significant changes before it reaches its final form. Only in this way, we can effectively solve the problems of citizens' access to justice and restore their confidence in the judiciary system.
Falath & Partners
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