1. LEGAL SYSTEM

The Slovak legal system is based on codified principles of civil law. Acts and some other legal provisions are published in the Collection of Laws (Zbierka zákonov) upon which they become valid and generally known. The efficiency of laws is specifically set forth in the respective law.

Judicial precedents are not binding but generally taken into consideration by courts and the parties in dispute.

However, decisions of Slovak courts are not necessarily published and made available to the public.

The Slovak court system is composed of District Courts (54), Regional Courts (8) and the Supreme Court. All courts deal with civil (including labour), criminal, commercial and administrative matters. In general, cases are heard before District Courts, and Regional Courts act as Appellate Courts. Exceptionally, Regional Courts may act as first instance courts, in particular, in some social security matters, and the Supreme Court then functions as Appellate Court.

In addition, certain District Courts are appointed to handle very specific matters. For example, the District Court Bratislava II is competent for competition matters for all of Slovakia, and the District Court Banská Bystrica is competent with respect to all enforcement proceedings. Special criminal cases (e.g. organized crime, corruption etc.) are handled by the Specialized Criminal Court, having the position of Regional Court, and appeals are subsequently decided by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court never acts as a first instance court.

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court serves as an independent body protecting and upholding the principles of the Slovak Constitution. It is competent to decide on the constitutional compliance of laws with the Slovak Constitution, competence conflicts between public authorities (unless decided by other bodies) and individual constitutional complaints of natural persons or legal entities against public authorities claiming violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.

The Slovak court system is currently viewed as being rather slow. Depending on the complexity of the case, a dispute may take anywhere from 6 (six) months to 2 (two) years to be decided at the first instance level.

The proceedings generally start upon a motion of a party. Only in exceptional cases (such as custody of children, inheritance, legal capacity of an individual, etc.), proceedings may be commenced without a motion.

In addition to the exact identification of the parties, the motion must contain the description of the matter, identification of the alleged evidence and the petition. The petition is to concern in particular the following:

-claim for consolidaation of rights and obligations of the parties, if such consolidation results from special regulation;

-performance of an obligation;

-determination of existence of a legal fact, if it results from special regulation; or

-determination if there is a legal relationship or right subject to the existence of an urgent legal interest.

There is generally no deadline for courts to render a decision under Slovak law (except for some cases such as interim injunctions etc.). Therefore, court delays and long proceedings are not rare in Slovakia.

Disputes claiming the right to payment of a pecuniary amount or performance are usually shorter (approximately 3 (three) months) if decided within the order procedure. The court may rule strictly on the application without examining the defendant or holding hearings if it determines that the exercised right follows from the facts as stated by the claimant. If no objection, including reasoning, is filed against the issued order within 15 (fifteen) days, it shall have the effect of a final judgment. In addition, the court may issue a payment order (cheque) without hearings if the claimant submits the original copy of a bill of exchange or cheque whose authenticity is uncontested. The court may also issue a European order for payment pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 1896/2006 and order the fulfilment of any other obligation as a pecuniary payment.

Furthermore, in small claims matters up to EUR 1,000, a simplified procedure is available (e.g. no oral hearing; only written evidence).

A court decision of a first instance court may be challenged by an appeal. It is the only ordinary legal remedy against a non-final judgment of a first instance court in Slovakia. The contested decision of a lower-level court is resolved by the superior court (so-called devolutionary effect).

A party may appeal almost all first instance decisions and their respective proceedings. Procedural irregularities or erroneous substantive law applications may be challenged and new facts and evidence may be offered in support of the appeal.

Generally, the appellate proceedings are governed by the concentration principle, and new facts or evidence may be accepted only in exceptional cases (e.g. a party could not present these previously through no fault of their own).

The second instance court will either decline or proceed with the appeal. In the latter case, it may consider additional facts and review the factual and legal aspects considered by the court of first instance. The second instance court is generally bound by the extent and reasons for the appeal. After a full reconsideration of the relevant facts, the second instance court may:

-confirm the first instance decision;

-reverse the first instance decision and return the matter to the first instance court, interrupt or terminate the proceeding; or

-change the first instance decision and issue a new ruling on the matter.

Appellate courts usually decide on a matter without a hearing. The hearing is compulsory only in specific cases set forth by law (e.g. in cases where a hearing is required by public interest etc.).

In addition to appeals, Slovak law enables the use of extraordinary legal remedies under strictly defined conditions, including petition for retrial and recourse and extraordinary recourse, to contest decisions issued in civil or commercial matters.

In some cases, courts may grant interim measures, e.g. preliminary injunctions especially if there is a need to urgently consolidate legal relationship(s) prior, during or after the court proceeding itself.

Litigation costs are mainly composed of court and attorneys' fees, expenses for expert opinions and travel expenses for witnesses incurred directly in relation to the court proceedings, and are generally paid by the unsuccessful party.

Any person entitled to a valid judgment requesting performance from another person may, in the absence of voluntary performance by the other party within the period specified in the judgment, request the services of a self-employed judicial executor who is appointed and authorised by the District Court Banská Bystrica (judicial enforcement is possible only in cases of child-rearing). The statutory duration of enforcement of judgments by a judicial executor is unlimited. Depending on the complexity of the case at hand, it may last weeks or even years.

Despite the fact that according to publically available data business crime only represents less than 1% of all crimes dealt with by Slovak authorities, its growing sophistication and the substantial damages motivated the legislator to introduce various innovative methods for its suppression. The Special Criminal Court and the special prosecutor's Office dealing with, inter alia, cases of corruption are the leading examples of these efforts.

A common problem with business crime in Slovakia is that it often remains undisclosed. The primary reason for this is the ineffectiveness of the respective authorities in revealing and investigating this form of criminal activity. Further, it is often the case that companies are reluctant to admit the failure of their internal controls or consider the potential reputational harm too severe and, as a consequence, try to conceal the offences. For this reason the number of reported business crime cases represents only a fraction of the overall criminal activity of this kind.

The investigation of criminal offences is undertaken by police bodies, investigators and prosecutors. Providing that the results of an investigation warrant further action, judicial criminal proceedings are initiated on the basis of an indictment filed by a prosecutor.

The judicial proceedings comprise of (a) the pre-trial stage; and (b) the proceedings before the court. The pre-trial stage starts with the opening of an investigation and ends with, inter alia, the filing of an indictment, reference of the case, suspension, or (conditional) staying of criminal prosecution before laying an indictment.

Once an indictment has been filed, court proceedings are initiated. After a non-mandatory preliminary hearing of the indictment, the main hearing before the District, Regional, Specialized or Supreme Court (depending on the nature and stage of the case) is opened. Criminal cases are heard in an open court, however in exceptional circumstances public attendance can be excluded.

At the main hearing the prosecutor presents the indictment. Subsequently, evidence is taken by the court on the basis of witness statements and expert testimonies, and by questioning the accused. If there are no other motions for evidence examination or if the court rules that no other evidence will be taken, the presiding judge of the panel declares the evidence examination for closed and gives the floor for final addresses. After the prosecutor's final address, the representatives of the injured party and the defendant have the floor. After the final addresses are presented and prior to leaving for their final conference, the presiding judge of the panel grants the defendant the last word.

The court rules in a judgment whether the defendant is found guilty or acquitted from the indictment. An appeal may be lodged against a sentence.

It should be noted that as of 1 July 2016, the Slovak Republic has introduced Act No. 92/2016 Coll. on Criminal Liability of Legal Entities, as amended according to which even legal persons may be subject to criminal sanctions and may be found guilty of criminal offenses explicitly stipulated in the said act.

The investigation of criminal offences is in the competence of police bodies, investigators and prosecutors. In court proceedings, the prosecution is conducted by a prosecutor or a special prosecutor. The difference between the two is that while the first one can be considered "general", meaning he/she appears before a "regular" court, the special prosecutor only deals with cases falling under the authority of the Specialized Criminal Court (e.g., corruption, organized crime). The supervision of all prosecutors is carried out by the Prosecutor General.

The prosecutor has the authority to supervise the observance of the law prior to the commencement of prosecution and in the pre-trial proceedings (inter alia, to give binding instructions for the investigation). Further, the prosecutor is authorized to file an indictment, order the seizure of the accused person's property, or secure the injured party's title to damage compensation.

With respect to court proceedings, as a general rule, District Courts serve as first instance courts (Regional Courts being the courts of appeal); however in certain cases, Regional Courts also serve that purpose (with the Supreme Court being the court of appeal). In cases of corruption, for instance, the court of first instance is the Specialized Criminal Court (with the Supreme Court being the court of appeal).

Cases with a potential penalty of up to 8 (eight) years imprisonment are decided by single judges, while cases above that threshold are dealt with by a panel of judges. Appeals are always decided by a panel of judges.

The injured party is authorized to take an active part in the proceedings. The most important rights of the injured party are, inter alia, the right to (a) consent to criminal prosecution of the accused party (in respect to specific crimes); (b) file motions for the taking of evidence; (c) have access to files; (d) attend the court hearing; (e) give an opinion on the submitted evidence; (f) present a closing speech: and (g) apply for legal remedies with regard to the part of the judgment dealing with damage.

As indicated, the injured party has the right to submit a motion asking the court to sentence, in its judgment, the accused party to compensation for the damage caused by its criminal act. Such motion must be submitted no later than at the main hearing before the taking of evidence.

Despite the fact that the Slovak Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that the court in its judgment may sentence the accused party to damage compensation, the practice is that the injured party is in most cases referred by the criminal courts to seek damage recovery in civil proceedings as generally further examination of evidence is expected to be required in these instances.

In light of the foregoing, the number of cases where damage was recovered in criminal proceedings is far less than those where damage was recovered in civil proceedings. Importantly, however, having a prior sentencing judgment does make the damage recovery in civil proceedings considerably easier.

Further, if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the settlement of the injured party's claim for damages inflicted as a result of a crime will be impeded or frustrated, it is possible to secure the claim by issuing an attachment order on the corresponding part of the accused's property.

As regards the duration of the proceedings, this is determined by two major factors - the complexity of the case and the authority in charge ("regular" courts vs. the Specialized Criminal Court and the Special Prosecutors Office). The proceedings before the Specialized Criminal Court are generally shorter. Simple cases are generally resolved within months (typically; 2 (two) months pre-trial stage, 6 – 18 (six to eighteen) months court proceedings in first instance, 6 – 12 (six to twelve) months for second instance proceedings), while complex cases often take years to investigate and decide (up to 2 (two) years pre- trial stage, 2 – 4 (two to four) years court proceedings in first instance, 1 – 2 (one to two) years for second instance proceedings).

The overall costs incurred by the defendant over the course of criminal proceedings are extremely individual and depend on the complexity of the case, the number of instances, and the defence counsel appointed.

The costs of criminal proceedings, including sentence enforcement proceedings, are borne by the Slovak Republic. The defendant bears his/her own costs. There is generally no right for reimbursement of costs incurred by the defendant.

If the defendant was found guilty in a final sentence, he/she is obliged to reimburse the Slovak Republic for (a) any costs incurred by his/her remand in custody; (b) the fee and cash expenditures of the counsel assigned by the Slovak Republic unless the defendant is entitled to a free defence counsel; (c) the costs incurred for serving an imprisonment sentence; and (d) a lump sum for other costs borne by the Slovak Republic. Further, the defendant is required to reimburse the costs incurred by the injured party in connection with damage recovery in the course of the criminal proceedings.

Slovak insolvency law is applicable only if Council Regulation (EC) No. 2015/848 of 20 May 2015 on insolvency proceedings (recast) does not provide otherwise.

The bankruptcy courts are not organized as separate courts. Bankruptcy proceedings are conducted by the District Courts having the same seat as the Regional Courts. The Regional Courts in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Košice serve as appellate courts. The main role of the bankruptcy courts is to supervise and approve any measures undertaken by the trustee and the creditors.

In general, a debtor is considered bankrupt when it is: (a) insolvent, i.e., it is not able to satisfy at least two monetary obligations within 30 (thirty) days following their maturity date to more than one creditor; or (b) over-indebted, i.e. it has financial obligations, where its liabilities exceed its assets and it has more than one creditor. The assessment of the value of liabilities and assets is made based on the accounting books or in an expert opinion, whereby the expert opinion has preference.

Slovak insolvency law distinguishes between two main types of insolvency proceedings:

-Bankruptcy proceedings: The purpose of which is to sell the debtor’s assets, and to satisfy the debtor’s creditors pro rata (subject to statutory exceptions), from the proceeds of the sale, in accordance with the rules set out in the insolvency law; and

-Restructuring/business reorganization proceedings: These are insolvency proceedings in accordance with the court’s approval of a reorganization plan, under which the debtor is obliged to fulfil its debts by agreement with the creditors.

The aim of bankruptcy and restructuring is to achieve a proportional satisfaction for the creditors from the debtor's assets.

The debtor is obliged to file a bankruptcy application within 30 (thirty) days of discovering or learning of its incapability to settle or maintain a solvent financial status. The bankruptcy application may also be filed by the debtor's creditors. The court decides about the commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding within 15 (fifteen) days from the filing of the application.

The commencement of bankruptcy proceedings has, in particular, the following effects: (a) the debtor is obliged to restrict the performance of its activities only to day-to-day legal acts; (b) enforcement (execution) proceedings are suspended or cannot be commenced; (c) except for some exceptions (e.g. receivables from the bank account, government bonds, transferable securities), it is not possible to commence or continue with the enforcement of collateral rights on the assets of the debtor, due to the obligation of the debtor secured by the collateral right; (d) the winding up procedure without liquidation is terminated; and (e) no merger, acquisition or de-merger can be decided upon or can be validly registered with the respective Commercial Register.

If there are sufficient assets for the payment of bankruptcy costs, the court declares bankruptcy over the assets of the debtor. Otherwise, the bankruptcy proceeding is suspended. A creditor may prevent the suspension of bankruptcy proceedings by taking over the pre-payment of the bankruptcy costs.

In case of a creditor's motion for a debtor's bankruptcy, the court is generally required to hold an oral hearing prior to bankruptcy being declared.

The declaration of bankruptcy has, inter alia, the following effects: (a) disposal over bankruptcy assets passes to the bankruptcy trustee; (b) unpaid obligations become mature; (c) court and any other proceedings are suspended; and (d) no security instruments over the bankruptcy assets may be established.

The creditors are obliged to register their receivables within 45 (forty five) days from the declaration of bankruptcy over the debtor’s assets. Late registration is considered within insolvency proceedings; however, the creditor cannot exercise any potential voting or other rights associated with the registered receivables and the receivables may be satisfied only from the general assets even if they were secured.

In case of restructuring, the receivables shall be registered not later than 30 (thirty) days after the authorisation of the restructuring.

The creditor or trustee of a debtor's assets is entitled to protest against the following legal acts of the debtor: (a) legal acts without sufficient consideration; (b) advantageous legal acts; (c) shortening of legal acts; and (d) legal acts made after the cancellation of the bankruptcy proceeding. The right to protest expires within 1 (one) year after the commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding.

In cases involving the conversion of a debtor's assets into financial means, the trustee is not bound by the contractual pre-emption rights, but solely by the statutory pre-emption rights of third parties.

If bankruptcy poses a threat to the debtor or if bankruptcy proceedings have already started, the debtor may authorize the trustee to prepare a restructuring report. If the restructuring report is not older than 30 (thirty) days and recommends it, the debtor or creditor may file an application for restructuring with the court. The court will approve the restructuring proceeding and the restructuring plan if: (a) the debtor conducts business activities; (b) the debtor is or is likely to become insolvent; (c) the reasonable assumption exists that the essential part of the debtor's assets will remain unaltered; and (d) there is a reasonable assumption that more creditors will be satisfied in bankruptcy.

If the restructuring proceedings start during the bankruptcy proceedings, the court suspends the bankruptcy proceedings.

If the debtor is a natural person who is not an entrepreneur or if at least two of the following conditions are fulfilled, the court may decide within the so-called “small” bankruptcy proceeding: (a) the respective assets will probably not exceed EUR 165,000; (b) the income of the debtor did not exceed EUR 333,000 in the previous accounting period; or (c) the debtor will probably not have more than fifty creditors. If any of these conditions are met, the court shall decide the matter within a shorter time period. The court may decide to replace the "small" bankruptcy with "ordinary" bankruptcy proceedings and vice versa, if the circumstances change. The "small" bankruptcy is also envisaged in case of the confiscation of property imposed in criminal proceedings against a natural person or a legal entity.

Natural persons are entitled to ask for the discharge of any claims through the means of bankruptcy proceedings or via an instalment schedule. Moreover, Slovak insolvency law contains special provisions concerning cross-border insolvencies (of EU/non-EU entities) as well as domestic financial institutions including health insurance companies. With financial institutions and insurance companies, the bankruptcy application may only be filed by the supervising institution (e.g. the National Bank of Slovakia).

Pursuant to the Slovak Act on Arbitration Proceedings (Act No. 244/2002 Coll., as amended), parties may enter into an agreement that any or all disputes arising from their contractual relationship shall be decided by one or more arbitrators or by a standing court of arbitration. The standing courts of arbitration may be established either by the national sport federation or a chamber established pursuant to the legal regulations, or on the basis of a special legal regulation (e.g. Act No. 492/2009 Coll. as amended on Payment Services). The act reflects the UNCITRAL Model Law to a certain extent and applies to both domestic and international arbitration proceedings, if the seat of arbitration is in the Slovak Republic.

The main arbitral institution in the Slovak Republic is the Arbitration Court of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry established in 2002. The Arbitration Court deals with commercial disputes of both national and international nature. It has its own rules of arbitration.

An arbitration agreement can be included as a clause contained in the initial contract between the parties, or as a separate agreement (e.g. as a “compromise” for disputes that arose after the original contract was concluded). An arbitration agreement must be in writing. It may be replaced by a statement of the parties in the minutes of an arbitral tribunal in which they subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal. This statement shall be made at the latest at the commencement of arbitration proceedings. In order for the arbitration agreement to be valid, the dispute between the parties must concern a subject matter that is not otherwise excluded by law from resolution by a judicial settlement.

A dispute cannot be decided by arbitration where the dispute: (a) concerns the origin, change or expiration of rights related to real estate; (b) concerns personal status disputes; (c) is linked to the enforcement of a decision; or (d) arose in the course of bankruptcy or restructuring proceedings.

The parties are free to agree on the substantive law, the procedural rules, the seat and language of arbitration. However, disputes arising from domestic commercial or civil relationships are decided only on the basis of Slovak law. In addition, the parties are free to agree on the number of arbitrators and their method of appointment. However, there must always be an odd number of arbitrators.

According to Section 22 of the Arbitration Act, the arbitral tribunal has authority to issue any interim measures it deems necessary to protect the subject matter of the dispute and preserve the integrity of the proceedings. The arbitral tribunal may require that the party seeking interim measures provides security in exchange for any interim measures that are granted. Parties also have the right to seek interim measures from the courts either before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or after the termination of the arbitration proceedings. The arbitral tribunal may also apply to the courts for assistance in enforcing an interim measure.

Generally, Slovak courts only uphold challenges to arbitral awards if there are compelling reasons for them to do so. Section 40 of the Arbitration Act provides the following grounds for challenging an award:

-the subject matter of the dispute was non-arbitrable;

-the award dealt with a dispute not contemplated by or not falling within the terms of the arbitration agreement and the party challenging the award objected to this fact before the arbitral tribunal;

-the award addressed issues that had already been determined by a previous court or arbitral tribunal;

-a party to the arbitration challenges the validity of the arbitration agreement;

-a party to the arbitration was unable to present its case (e.g., was not duly represented);

-the award was rendered by an arbitrator who had been removed for bias;

-the principle of the equality of the parties was violated;

-there are compelling reasons for re-opening the case (e.g. new evidence has emerged which casts serious doubt upon the correctness of the arbitral tribunal’s decision);

-the award was tainted by fraud or other criminal conduct; or

-the consumer protection laws were violated.

Please note that as of 1 January 2015 arbitration proceedings with respect to consumer protection are subject to further significant restrictions. Alternative dispute settlement in this regard is governed by Act No. 391/2015 Coll. on Alternative Settlement of Consumer Disputes, as amended.

Since its entry into the European Union on 1 May 2004, the Slovak Republic is a party to the Brussels Convention. Pursuant to the Slovak Act on International Private and Procedural Law, decisions of foreign courts, as well as foreign judicial settlements and foreign notary deeds, are effective in the Slovak Republic if the judgments have become final according to a foreign authority that is recognized by the Slovak authorities.

The foreign decision shall be neither recognized nor enforced if:

-the subject matter falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Slovak courts, or the proceedings could not have been conducted before any authority of a foreign state if provisions concerning the competence of the Slovak courts had been applied to the foreign authority's consideration of jurisdiction;

-in the same case, a final decision has been issued by Slovak authorities or a final and conclusive decision of an authority of a third state has been recognized in the Slovak Republic;

-the authority of the foreign state prevented the participant against whom the decision is to be recognized from taking part in the proceedings properly, particularly if the participant was not served the lawsuit or the writ of summons personally;

-the recognition is contrary to Slovak public order;

-the decision is not valid or enforceable in the issuing foreign state; or

-the decision is not a decision on the merits of the case.

Pursuant to the Slovak Act on International Private and Procedural Law, the provisions of this act shall apply unless an international treaty binding on the Slovak Republic stipulates otherwise. In civil matters, the following conventions recently became binding for the Slovak Republic: Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, European Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children, Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, and Convention on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co- operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children.

Pursuant to the Slovak Act on Arbitration Proceedings, arbitral awards issued abroad shall be recognized and enforced by the courts in the Slovak Republic. Recognition of a foreign arbitral award shall not be declared in a special decision. The foreign arbitral award shall be recognized by the respective court in execution proceedings. In some instances, the courts may decline to recognize and enforce a foreign arbitral award based on the petition of the party obliged by the award.

The Slovak Republic is a party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of 1958, with the reservations that the Convention will only be applied to the recognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting state. With regard to awards made in the territory of non-contracting states, the Convention will only be applied to the extent to which those states grant reciprocal treatment.

The Slovak Republic is also a party to the 1961 European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration and to the 1965 Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States.

The following European regulations are directly applicable in Slovakia: Regulation No. 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters (recast); Regulation No. 2201/2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility; Regulation No. 805/2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims; Regulation No. 1896/2006 creating a European order for payment procedure; Regulation No. 861/2007 establishing a European small claims procedure; and Regulation No. 4/2009 on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and cooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations.

With respect to the recognition and enforcement of criminal judgements issued within the EU, the applicable piece of European legislation is the Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA of 27 November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal matters imposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of their enforcement in the European Union, which has been transposed into Slovak law.

Pursuant to Act No. 549/2011 Coll. on Recognition and Enforcement of Criminal Judgements on Custodial Penalties in the European Union, as amended, custodial criminal judgements shall be recognized and enforced in the Slovak Republic. Furthermore, with regard to criminal judgements on non-custodial penalties, these are also recognized and enforced in the Slovak Republic by virtue of Act No. 533/2011 Coll. on Recognition and Enforcement of Criminal Judgements on Non-custodial Penalties in the European Union, as amended.

2. LITIGATION

3. BUSINESS CRIME

4. INSOLVENCY

5. ARBITRATION

6. ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS AND ARBITRAL AWARDS

7. PRACTICE TIPS

TYPE OF PROCEEDINGS

PRACTICE TIPS

PROCEDURE AND ASSUMPTIONS

STANDARD CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

Approximate Costs

COURT FEES

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

Simple case

Complex case


Approximate Duration

-In general, there is no formal discovery in Slovakia.

-Documents are subject to disclosure if the party itself referred to the document in the course of the proceedings.

-The party is obliged by substantive law to

hand over the document referred to, or the court may order another person or entity to submit the document.

-Failure to comply with the order to produce such documents can be subject to a procedural fine up to EUR 500 (if repeated up to EUR 2,000).

Generally no, with the exception of cases relating to bankruptcy and restructuring, competition law,

unfair competition, trade secret breach or infringement, and in cases relating to intellectual property.

Document Production

jury trials

There are no civil jury trials in Slovakia.

Limited.

class actions

-Litigation costs include court fees, attorneys' fees, and expenses for expert opinions and witnesses incurred directly in the proceeding.

-Court fees have to be paid upon filing the claim or upon the request of the court; otherwise, the court normally terminates the proceeding.

-Court fees in the first and second instances are to be paid by the filing party and are the same amount; court fees in the recourse proceeding are double this amount.

-Court fees are payable by a bank transfer, postal money order, by card or in cash.

-Some proceedings are exempt from court fees.

-Litigation costs are generally awarded against the losing party who must reimburse the winning party.

-If a claimant has been partially successful, the costs of both sides are divided on a pro-rata basis. However, reimbursement of attorney fees is only made on the basis of the fees provided for in the Regulation on Attorneys' Tariffs.

-The actual attorney fees of a party (depending on the fee agreement between attorney and client) may be substantially higher, but are of no relevance to the opposing party.

-Agreements on Quota litis and contingency fees are generally permitted for Slovak lawyers in all types of proceedings, but the attorneys' fees may not exceed 20% of the dispute amount (value).

Simple cases: first instance: 1 to 2 years; second instance: 8 to 18 months.

Complex cases: first instance: 1 to 5 years; second instance: 1 to 3 years.

Yes. There is legal aid for people who can't afford (full or partial) costs of legal proceedings

(if the dispute is not apparently arbitrary or unsuccessful).

Limited. The Slovak Civil Dispute Procedure Code does not provide for a special proceeding for collective redress. Traditional tools of multiparty practice such as joinder and consolidation of proceedings are applied. Consumer organizations often have similar claims of consumers assigned

to them and file one complaint.

Mandatory Representation

by Counsel

Pro Bono System

Court fees are based on the Court Fees Act and depend on the amount in dispute (6% of the amount in dispute; to a maximum of EUR 16,596.50 and a maximum of EUR 33,193.50 in commercial matters).

Examples: Amount in dispute EUR 1,000,000: Court fees: EUR 16,596.50 or EUR 33,193.50 in first instance; IP rights: EUR 331.50 in first instance; Invalidity/cancellation of arbitration decision: EUR 331.50 in first instance.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 1,000,000: First instance: Preparation of two briefs, four hearings with a duration of 1h, 2h, 4h, and 6h respectively,  preparation of hearings/meetings with client, witnesses, correspondence with client: In total EUR 25,000 to EUR 35,000; second instance: One brief, no hearing: EUR  2,500 to EUR 10,000.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 10,000,000: First instance: Preparation of 4 comprehensive briefs, four hearings with a duration of 2 x 2h, and 2 x 4h; preparation of hearings/meetings with client, witnesses, correspondence with client: In total EUR 200,000 to EUR 300,000; second instance: One brief, no hearing: EUR 21,000 to EUR 35,000.

jury trials

-The burden of proof is on the side of prosecution.

-The defendant is not required to submit documents which would be to his/her detriment. However, a person who has an item (document) in his/her possession relevant to criminal proceedings is required to surrender it upon request of the police, prosecutor or the court. Such an item (document) may be seized upon an order issued by a prosecutor, investigator or the police.

There are no criminal jury trials in Slovakia.

class actions

Approximate Duration

-The Slovak Code of Criminal Procedure does not specifically regulate class actions. However, it provides for joint proceedings in respect to criminal offences committed by the accused and all the persons accused of interrelated criminal offences.

-The court may jointly hear cases the indictments for which were filed separately, hold joint proceedings and make a joint decision.

APPROXIMATE COSTS

COURT FEES

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

Simple case

Complex case

If the defendant is found guilty in a final sentence, he/she is obliged to reimburse the Slovak Republic:

-the costs incurred by his/her remand in custody;

-the fee and cash expenditures of the counsel assigned by the Slovak Republic unless the defendant is entitled to a free defence counsel;

-the costs incurred by serving an imprisonment sentence;

-a lump sum for other costs borne by the Slovak Republic; and

-the costs incurred by the injured in connection with damage recovery in the course of the criminal proceedings.

Simple cases: First Instance (pre-trial stage): Up to 2 months; court proceedings: 6 – 18 months; second instance: 6 – 12 months.

Complex cases: First instance (pre-trial stage): up to 2 years; court proceedings: 2 - 4 years; second instance; 1 – 2 years.

Business Crime

There are no court fees. The costs of criminal proceedings, including sentence enforcement proceedings, are borne by the Slovak Republic. The defendant bears his/her own costs, except in a situation that warrants pro bono representation.

First instance: representation at 2 interrogations with duration of 2x2h, preparation of 2 briefs 4h + 6h, participation at 2 court hearings with a duration of 2 x 2h, preparation of hearings/meetings with client, witnesses, correspondence with client: In total EUR 10,000 to EUR 15,000; second instance: One brief, one hearing: EUR 6,000.

First instance: participation at a large number of interrogations, face-to-face confrontations, preparation of 4 complex briefs 4h, 2x6h, 8h, preparation of hearings/meetings with client, witnesses, correspondence with client. In total from EUR 30,000 upwards; second instance: One brief, one hearing: EUR 15,000 and upwards.

Document Production

Specialized criminal court cases are generally shorter.

Mandatory Representation

by Counsel

Pro Bono System

Yes. There is legal aid for people who can't afford a defence counsel.

During the pre-trial proceedings the accused person must be represented by a counsel (a) if he/she is remanded in custody, serves an imprisonment sentence or is held for observation at a medical institution; (b) if he/she is deprived of legal capacity or his/her legal capacity is restricted; (c) in case of a particularly serious felony; (d) if he/she is a juvenile and/or an escaped prisoner; (e) if the court or the prosecutor in pre-trial proceedings deem it necessary because they are in doubt whether, in view of his/her physical or mental handicap, the accused is capable of proper defence, or; (f) in case of extradition proceedings.

In the sentence enforcement proceedings (in which the court decides in an open court hearing), a counsel is mandatory when the accused person (a) is deprived of or has a restricted legal capacity; (b) is a juvenile released on parole who, at the time of the open court hearing, is younger than 18 years of age; (c) is remanded in custody; or (d) if there are any doubts concerning the ability of the accused person to properly defend himself/herself.

In the proceedings held in respect of complaints alleging the breach of law and proceedings involving the motion for a new trial, counsel representation is mandatory (a) if the accused person is remanded in custody, serves an imprisonment sentence or is held for observation at a medical institution; (b) is deprived of legal capacity or his/her legal capacity is restricted; (c) if the case concerns a particularly serious felony; (d) if the accused is a juvenile who, at the time when the complaint alleging the breach of law or the motion for a new trial is heard in an open court hearing, is less than 18 years old; (e) if there is any doubt concerning the accused person's ability to properly defend himself/herself; and (f) if the proceedings are conducted against a sentenced person who died.

Limited.

Limited.

-The court may (and often does) decide about the preliminary injunction without a hearing.

-The court is not obliged to examine evidence. However, it must verify the existence of the claimed right and general facts proving the necessity of the preliminary injunction.

-Costs incurred by a successful applicant in preliminary injunction matters can only be sought in the main proceedings.

-If the preliminary injunction is cancelled or terminated for reasons different from the satisfaction of the applicant’s claim, the applicant is obliged to compensate the injured party for incurred damages. The court ordering the preliminary injunction decides about this compensation upon motion of the injured party.

The court fee for any type of preliminary injunction is EUR 33. If the request for a preliminary Injunction is filed outside main proceedings, the court fees are reduced to half in first instance.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 1,000,000: Only the request for a preliminary injunction is filed, the court renders its decision without hearing the opponent: EUR 1,300 to EUR 5,000 in first instance; second instance: one brief, no hearing EUR 1,300 to EUR 5,000.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 10,000,000: Apart from filing the request for a preliminary injunction, two comprehensive counter statements are filed in reply to two statements of opponent; witnesses are heard: Total costs (including meetings with client/witnesses) of first instance: EUR 40,000 to EUR 50,000; second instance: one brief, no hearing: EUR 10,000 to EUR 20,000.

APPROXIMATE COSTS

COURT FEES

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

Simple Case


Complex Case


Preliminary Injunction Proceedings

Approximate Duration

Depending on the type of the preliminary injunction, the decision is rendered between 1 and 30 days after the delivery of the request.

Appellate proceedings: Depending on the type of the preliminary injunction, the decision should be issued within 1 to 30 days after the submission of the matter pursuant to the Civil Dispute Procedure Code.

-In the request for a preliminary injunction, the applicant must explicitly justify its claim and prove the existence of the danger of immediate threatening damages.

-Appellate proceedings: In practice, the duration may be up to 3 months.

-The arbitral tribunal only considers the evidence proposed by the parties.

-In general, a party could ask the arbitral tribunal for its support in document production.

-The arbitral tribunal may ask the general court for support in document production.

Costs depend on several factors: Whether a sole arbitrator or an arbitral tribunal of three members is appointed, the complexity of the case, the administrative charges and other expenses (translation, travel and accommodation of foreign arbitrators, etc.), if the dispute is national or international, whether a speedy decision is expected, etc.

The following estimates are based on the procedural costs of the Arbitration Court of the Slovak Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Assumption: sole arbitrator appointed and

an amount in dispute of EUR 1,000,000:

Total costs: Arbitration fee of EUR 14,000, administrative fee of EUR 9,500.

Assumption: Sole arbitrator and an amount in dispute of EUR 10,000,000: Total costs: arbitration fee of EUR 62,400; administrative

fee of EUR 16,700.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 1,000,000: Review of 100 pages of documents; no challenge to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal; two exchanges of submissions; review of correspondence with arbitral tribunal; assistance with the preparation of 4 witnesses; review of 4 written witness statements; no experts; preparation of oral hearing and participation in an oral hearing; preparation and review of one post hearing brief.  In total: EUR 25,000 to EUR 35,000.

Assumptions based on an amount in dispute of EUR 10,000,000: Review of 1,000 pages of documents; no challenge to the jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal; two exchanges of submissions; review of correspondence with arbitral tribunal; assistance with the preparation of 8 witnesses; review of 8 written statements; document production up to 500 pages; preparation and review of expert opinions; preparation of oral hearing and participation; preparation and review of one post hearing brief. In total: EUR 230,000 to EUR 400,000.

Arbitration Proceedings

APPROXIMATE COSTS

Procedural Costs

Simple Case

Complex Case

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

Simple Case

Complex Case

Document Production

Limited.

The usual duration of arbitration proceedings is between 1 month and 2 years.

Approximate Duration

-•In cases with a speedy decision within 1 month, the arbitration fee is increased by 75% and if within 4 months, by 50%.

-In simple proceedings (without any hearings, only based on evidence), the arbitration fee is decreased by 30%. Total decrease may be up to 50%. Similarly, the administrative fee may be decreased up to 30% in total.

-If the dispute is decided by a sole arbitrator, the arbitration fee is decreased by 30% and the administrative fee by 20%

1 to 2 months until a decision on authorization to the executor is rendered in first instance. 3 to 6 months if the decision is appealed.

The duration of execution proceedings depends mainly on whether the debtor has executable assets and whether execution measures are opposed by the debtor.

Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards

-Judgments that fall outside the scope of application of EC laws described above must be submitted in the original or in a copy issued by the court that rendered the judgment, along with information about its validity or enforceability and evidence that the other party was duly delivered the court documents and decisions.

-A certified translation of the judgment must

be submitted.

-For the enforcement of awards under the New York Convention, the creditor must provide the court with the authenticated original award or a duly certified copy thereof and the original of the arbitration agreement or a duly certified copy thereof.

Approximate Duration

The court fee for the decision on authorization executor is EUR 16.50.

Reward and expenses of the executor are governed by the Regulation on Rewards and Expenses of Court Executors.

Application for recognition/enforcement:

Simple case: EUR 1,300 to EUR 3,000

Complex case: EUR 2,000 to EUR 6,000

-Under EC Regulation 1215/2012, the party seeking recognition/enforcement must submit a copy of the judgment which should be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity issued either by the court that rendered the judgment or by another competent institution of the state of origin.

-Similarly, under EC Regulation 805/2004, the decision has to be certified as a European Enforcement Order.

-Further, in order to avoid any delays, attaching a certified translation of the judgment is highly recommended.

APPROXIMATE COSTS

COURT FEES

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

1 year to several years; in very complex cases duration of more than 10 years is possible.

Insolvency Proceedings

The initiation of insolvency proceedings and registration of insolvency claims are free of charge.

Court fees are paid upon the sale of assets from the achieved proceeds.

Registration of insolvency claim (depends on the fee arrangement):

Simple case: Approx. EUR 400 to EUR 600.

Complex case: Approx. EUR 2,000 to EUR 5,000.

APPROXIMATE COSTS

COURT FEES

ATTORNEYS’

FEES (NET)

Approximate Duration

-The commencement of insolvency proceedings and the declaration of insolvency are published in the official commercial journal (available on the website of the Slovak Ministry of Justice under http://www.justice.gov.sk/yyyy.aspx).

-The period for registration of insolvency claims is 45 days as of the published declaration of bankruptcy and 30 days as of the published approval of restructuring.

-Late registration is considered within insolvency proceedings (not within restructuring); however, the creditor cannot exercise any potential voting or other rights associated with the registered receivables. Its receivables – though secured – will be satisfied only from the general assets and not be given any special/preferential treatment.

Filing of Insolvency Claims by Creditors

A creditor may file a motion for insolvency proceedings if a debtor is

-insolvent, i.e., is not able to satisfy at least two monetary obligations within 30 days following their maturity date to more than one creditor; or

-over-indebted, i.e., has financial obligations where its liabilities exceed assets and has more than one creditor.

CONTACT

OFFICE

Aupark Tower, Einsteinova 24

SK - 851 01 Bratislava

+421 2 591 012 40

bratislava@wolftheiss.com

www.wolftheiss.com/offices/slovak-republic