Strasbourg, 13 February 2008
Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE)
Questionnaire for 2008 CCJE Opinion concerning the quality of judicial decisions: reply submitted by the delegation of the Slovak Republic
Part I: Preparation of the judicial decision
Is there a specific model to be followed in drafting judicial decisions?
The Code of Civil Procedure contains the obligatory elements of the decision but there are no specific models concerning the drafting judicial decisions.
Under the Code of Criminal Procedure each judgment has to be drafted in written form The Code of Criminal Procedure lays down exact requirements of the judgment and also contains specific regulation of simplified judgment.
Can each individual judge choose his own style of drafting his decision?
Within the rules mentioned above, each judge can choose his own style of drafting the decision.
Where the court is composed of more than one member, do judicial decisions have to be taken unanimously or a majority decision is equally effective and binding?
Majority decision is effective and binding.
In a two or even more member panel, does the president or most senior judge have a second or casting vote?
None of the judges has priority or casting vote.
Do judicial decisions have to deal with all points raised by the parties or their lawyers or is a synthetic or concise approach considered sufficient?
In principle, judicial decisions have to deal with all legal relevant points raised by the parties and within the scope of the claim.
In general terms, how is a first instance judicial decision drafted? (For example, does the decision state first the factual background, followed by the evidence, its evaluation and finally the application of the legal principles to the accepted facts?)
In the reasoning for the judgment, the court shall sum up the statements, give a concise and clear description of the facts that it considers proven or not proven, evidence on which it based its findings of facts and its deliberations in the examination of evidence, reasons for not admitting additional evidence, and shall give its evaluation of the ascertained factual situation in the light of relevant legal provisions that the Court applies.
How in general terms is an appeal /Supreme Court decision drafted? Is the appeal in your country by way of rehearing the case or not?
An appeal (supreme) court decision is drafted in similar way as the judgment of the first instance court. Decisions of the appellate courts contain more detailed legal arguments than decisions of the first instance courts.
In principle, the appeal court has competence for rehearing the case. The supplement of the fact is not excluded.
Is there a difference in the way a judgment is drafted according to the subject matter (civil, criminal, administrative)?
There are some differences. Legal requirements for the content of judgment in civil and administrative cases are quite similar. However, requirements for the judgment in a criminal case are more detailed.
Could you describe precisely how the decision is transmitted to the parties?
The decision is announced publicly at the end of the trial. Within a certain time limit (30 days) the decision is put into written form. The written decision is transmitted to the parties via postal service. The decisions of the appeal courts are transmitted to the parties by first instance courts.
Is the judicial decision binding only on the specific litigants or does it affect the public in general?
The judicial decision is not generally binding; it is binding on the specific case and specific litigants. The judgment rendered in respect of personal situation shall be binding on everybody.
The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic publishes Supreme Court Reporter which contains selected judgments that are respected by the minor courts.
Does your country acknowledge a difference in judicial decisions in personam and in rem?
How is a judicial decision enforced in your country? Does your country allow for contempt proceedings against a litigant who does not comply with a decision/order of the court?
Judgments are enforced according to the rules of the Code of Execution. “Contempt proceedings” do not exist as a term of art in our legal terminology.
Are judicial decisions handed down/announced in open court? Always or can the public/journalists be excluded - If so on what grounds?
Under the Constitution of the Slovak Republic the verdicts are proclaimed in the name of the Slovak Republic. They are always proclaimed publicly.
Public may be excluded from the hearing in whole or in part only if public hearing of the case could endanger state, business, trade or professional secrecy, important interest of the parties or morality. In such case, however, the court may permit individual citizens to attend the hearing, instructing them of criminal liability resulting from the breach of secrecy.
Even if the public is not excluded from the hearing, the court may deny access to minors or persons if there are reasonable grounds to believe they would endanger the dignity of the hearing.
To what extent do judicial decisions in your country take into account personal data protection legislation (i.e. publication of litigants’ names, other personal details etc)?
When judgments are published, the names and other personal details of the parties and other persons mentioned in the judgment are anonymized.
Are judicial decisions available to persons or authorities other than the litigants themselves? If so on what terms and prerequisites?
The judicial decisions are available to other persons or authorities upon their request which is reasoned by private or public interest.
Are judicial decisions published/available on the internet? If so, are all decisions available or only appeal or Supreme Court cases?
Some decisions of the District Courts and Regional Courts are published on the internet. At the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic exists Supreme Court Reporter. It consists of the selected decisions of the Supreme Court which are available on the internet.
Part II: Evaluation of the judicial decision
Is a system of evaluation of quality of justice in force in your country?
There is no general system of evaluation of quality of justice in Slovak Republic. The presumption is that the principles for the evaluation of judges will be accepted.
Does this evaluation include/envisage the evaluation of the quality of judicial decisions?
No, the quality of judicial decisions is evaluated only within the ordinary and extraordinary remedies.
If your country does evaluate the quality of judicial decisions by means of a specific system, could you specify the latter:
- legal basis:
- identification of the agencies that are responsible for the process:
- parameters that are evaluated:
- methods by which each parameter is evaluated:
There is no systematic evaluation of quality of judgments.
What are the advantages and disadvantages discussed in your country as far as the evaluation of quality of justice is concerned?
There was a discussion within the Judiciary Council of the Slovak Republic.
One of the competencies of the Judiciary Council is to approve principles for the evaluation of judges but these principles are not exact formulated yet.
In the opinion of the judiciary in your State, which factor could help to improve the quality of decisions?
Creating of the specialized personnel; training of judges; judges should have more time for each individual case.
Is a system of evaluation of quality of each of the following in force in your State:
- professional performance of police? no
- professional performance of public prosecution services? no
- professional performance of lawyers? no
- enforcement of judgments? no
- efficiency of ministry of justice services in general? no
- quality of legislation? no