The Slovak legal system is based on codified principles of civil law. Acts and some other legal provisionsare published in the Collection of Laws (Zbierka zákonov) upon which they become valid and generallyknown. 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 SupremeCourt. All courts deal with civil (including labour), criminal, commercial and administrative matters. Ingeneral, 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 securitymatters, and the Supreme Court then functions as Appellate Court.
In addition, certain District Courts are appointed to handle very specific matters. For example, the DistrictCourt Bratislava II is competent for competition matters for all of Slovakia, and the District Court BanskáBystrica 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 ofRegional 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 theprinciples of the Slovak Constitution. It is competent to decide on the constitutional compliance of lawswith the Slovak Constitution, competence conflicts between public authorities (unless decided by otherbodies) and individual constitutional complaints of natural persons or legal entities against publicauthorities claiming violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.
The Slovak court system is currently viewed as being rather slow. Depending on the complexity of thecase, a dispute may take anywhere from 6 (six) months to 2 (two) years to be decided at the firstinstance level.
The proceedings generally start upon a motion of a party. Only in exceptional cases (such as custody ofchildren, 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 fromspecial 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 casessuch 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 theapplication without examining the defendant or holding hearings if it determines that the exercised rightfollows from the facts as stated by the claimant. If no objection, including reasoning, is filed against theissued order within 15 (fifteen) days, it shall have the effect of a final judgment. In addition, the court mayissue a payment order (cheque) without hearings if the claimant submits the original copy of a bill ofexchange or cheque whose authenticity is uncontested. The court may also issue a European order forpayment pursuant to Regulation (EC) No. 1896/2006 and order the fulfilment of any other obligation as apecuniary payment.
Furthermore, in small claims matters up to EUR 1,000, a simplified procedure is available (e.g. no oralhearing; only written evidence).
A court decision of a first instance court may be challenged by an appeal. It is the only ordinary legalremedy against a non-final judgment of a first instance court in Slovakia. The contested decision of alower-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. Proceduralirregularities or erroneous substantive law applications may be challenged and new facts and evidencemay be offered in support of the appeal.
Generally, the appellate proceedings are governed by the concentration principle, and new facts orevidence may be accepted only in exceptional cases (e.g. a party could not present these previouslythrough no fault of their own).
The second instance court will either decline or proceed with the appeal. In the latter case, it mayconsider additional facts and review the factual and legal aspects considered by the court of firstinstance. The second instance court is generally bound by the extent and reasons for the appeal. After afull 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 orterminate 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 specificcases 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 definedconditions, including petition for retrial and recourse and extraordinary recourse, to contest decisionsissued in civil or commercial matters.
In some cases, courts may grant interim measures, e.g. preliminary injunctions especially if there is aneed 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 andtravel expenses for witnesses incurred directly in relation to the court proceedings, and are generallypaid by the unsuccessful party.
Any person entitled to a valid judgment requesting performance from another person may, in theabsence of voluntary performance by the other party within the period specified in the judgment, requestthe services of a self-employed judicial executor who is appointed and authorised by the District CourtBanská Bystrica (judicial enforcement is possible only in cases of child-rearing). The statutory duration ofenforcement of judgments by a judicial executor is unlimited. Depending on the complexity of the case athand, 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 damagesmotivated the legislator to introduce various innovative methods for its suppression. The SpecialCriminal Court and the special prosecutor's Office dealing with, inter alia, cases of corruption are theleading examples of these efforts.
A common problem with business crime in Slovakia is that it often remains undisclosed. The primaryreason for this is the ineffectiveness of the respective authorities in revealing and investigating this formof criminal activity. Further, it is often the case that companies are reluctant to admit the failure of theirinternal controls or consider the potential reputational harm too severe and, as a consequence, try toconceal the offences. For this reason the number of reported business crime cases represents only afraction 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 areinitiated 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 anindictment, reference of the case, suspension, or (conditional) staying of criminal prosecution beforelaying an indictment.
Once an indictment has been filed, court proceedings are initiated. After a non-mandatory preliminaryhearing 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 courton the basis of witness statements and expert testimonies, and by questioning the accused. If there areno other motions for evidence examination or if the court rules that no other evidence will be taken, thepresiding judge of the panel declares the evidence examination for closed and gives the floor for finaladdresses. After the prosecutor's final address, the representatives of the injured party and thedefendant have the floor. After the final addresses are presented and prior to leaving for their finalconference, 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. Anappeal 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. onCriminal Liability of Legal Entities, as amended according to which even legal persons may be subject tocriminal 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 andprosecutors. 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/sheappears before a "regular" court, the special prosecutor only deals with cases falling under the authorityof the Specialized Criminal Court (e.g., corruption, organized crime). The supervision of all prosecutorsis carried out by the Prosecutor General.
The prosecutor has the authority to supervise the observance of the law prior to the commencement ofprosecution 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'sproperty, 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 (RegionalCourts 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 firstinstance 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 bya panel of judges.
The injured party is authorized to take an active part in the proceedings. The most important rights of theinjured party are, inter alia, the right to (a) consent to criminal prosecution of the accused party (inrespect to specific crimes); (b) file motions for the taking of evidence; (c) have access to files; (d) attendthe 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 itsjudgment, the accused party to compensation for the damage caused by its criminal act. Such motionmust 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 maysentence the accused party to damage compensation, the practice is that the injured party is in mostcases referred by the criminal courts to seek damage recovery in civil proceedings as generally furtherexamination 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 isfar less than those where damage was recovered in civil proceedings. Importantly, however, having aprior 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 fordamages inflicted as a result of a crime will be impeded or frustrated, it is possible to secure the claim byissuing 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 ofthe case and the authority in charge ("regular" courts vs. the Specialized Criminal Court and the SpecialProsecutors 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 (sixto eighteen) months court proceedings in first instance, 6 – 12 (six to twelve) months for second instanceproceedings), 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 forsecond instance proceedings).
The overall costs incurred by the defendant over the course of criminal proceedings are extremelyindividual and depend on the complexity of the case, the number of instances, and the defence counselappointed.
The costs of criminal proceedings, including sentence enforcement proceedings, are borne by theSlovak Republic. The defendant bears his/her own costs. There is generally no right for reimbursementof costs incurred by the defendant.
If the defendant was found guilty in a final sentence, he/she is obliged to reimburse the Slovak Republicfor (a) any costs incurred by his/her remand in custody; (b) the fee and cash expenditures of the counselassigned by the Slovak Republic unless the defendant is entitled to a free defence counsel; (c) the costsincurred for serving an imprisonment sentence; and (d) a lump sum for other costs borne by the SlovakRepublic. Further, the defendant is required to reimburse the costs incurred by the injured party inconnection 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 oninsolvency proceedings (recast) does not provide otherwise.
The bankruptcy courts are not organized as separate courts. Bankruptcy proceedings are conducted bythe 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 tosupervise 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 leasttwo 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 morethan one creditor. The assessment of the value of liabilities and assets is made based on the accountingbooks 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 thedebtor’s creditors pro rata (subject to statutory exceptions), from the proceeds of the sale, inaccordance with the rules set out in the insolvency law; and
-Restructuring/business reorganization proceedings: These are insolvency proceedings in accordancewith the court’s approval of a reorganization plan, under which the debtor is obliged to fulfil its debts byagreement with the creditors.
The aim of bankruptcy and restructuring is to achieve a proportional satisfaction for the creditors fromthe debtor's assets.
The debtor is obliged to file a bankruptcy application within 30 (thirty) days of discovering or learning ofits incapability to settle or maintain a solvent financial status. The bankruptcy application may also befiled by the debtor's creditors. The court decides about the commencement of the bankruptcy proceedingwithin 15 (fifteen) days from the filing of the application.
The commencement of bankruptcy proceedings has, in particular, the following effects: (a) the debtor isobliged 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 tocommence or continue with the enforcement of collateral rights on the assets of the debtor, due to theobligation of the debtor secured by the collateral right; (d) the winding up procedure without liquidation isterminated; and (e) no merger, acquisition or de-merger can be decided upon or can be validlyregistered with the respective Commercial Register.
If there are sufficient assets for the payment of bankruptcy costs, the court declares bankruptcy over theassets of the debtor. Otherwise, the bankruptcy proceeding is suspended. A creditor may prevent thesuspension 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 oralhearing prior to bankruptcy being declared.
The declaration of bankruptcy has, inter alia, the following effects: (a) disposal over bankruptcy assetspasses to the bankruptcy trustee; (b) unpaid obligations become mature; (c) court and any otherproceedings are suspended; and (d) no security instruments over the bankruptcy assets may beestablished.
The creditors are obliged to register their receivables within 45 (forty five) days from the declaration ofbankruptcy 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 registeredreceivables 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 theauthorisation of the restructuring.
The creditor or trustee of a debtor's assets is entitled to protest against the following legal acts of thedebtor: (a) legal acts without sufficient consideration; (b) advantageous legal acts; (c) shortening of legalacts; and (d) legal acts made after the cancellation of the bankruptcy proceeding. The right to protestexpires 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 bythe 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 debtormay 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 thecourt. The court will approve the restructuring proceeding and the restructuring plan if: (a) the debtorconducts business activities; (b) the debtor is or is likely to become insolvent; (c) the reasonableassumption exists that the essential part of the debtor's assets will remain unaltered; and (d) there is areasonable assumption that more creditors will be satisfied in bankruptcy.
If the restructuring proceedings start during the bankruptcy proceedings, the court suspends thebankruptcy proceedings.
If the debtor is a natural person who is not an entrepreneur or if at least two of the following conditionsare fulfilled, the court may decide within the so-called “small” bankruptcy proceeding: (a) the respectiveassets will probably not exceed EUR 165,000; (b) the income of the debtor did not exceed EUR 333,000in the previous accounting period; or (c) the debtor will probably not have more than fifty creditors. If anyof these conditions are met, the court shall decide the matter within a shorter time period. The court maydecide to replace the "small" bankruptcy with "ordinary" bankruptcy proceedings and vice versa, if thecircumstances change. The "small" bankruptcy is also envisaged in case of the confiscation of propertyimposed 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 bankruptcyproceedings or via an instalment schedule. Moreover, Slovak insolvency law contains special provisionsconcerning cross-border insolvencies (of EU/non-EU entities) as well as domestic financial institutionsincluding health insurance companies. With financial institutions and insurance companies, the bankruptcyapplication 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), partiesmay enter into an agreement that any or all disputes arising from their contractual relationship shall bedecided by one or more arbitrators or by a standing court of arbitration. The standing courts of arbitrationmay be established either by the national sport federation or a chamber established pursuant to the legalregulations, or on the basis of a special legal regulation (e.g. Act No. 492/2009 Coll. as amended onPayment Services). The act reflects the UNCITRAL Model Law to a certain extent and applies to bothdomestic 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 ofCommerce and Industry established in 2002. The Arbitration Court deals with commercial disputes ofboth 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 theparties, or as a separate agreement (e.g. as a “compromise” for disputes that arose after the originalcontract was concluded). An arbitration agreement must be in writing. It may be replaced by a statementof the parties in the minutes of an arbitral tribunal in which they subject themselves to the jurisdiction ofthe arbitral tribunal. This statement shall be made at the latest at the commencement of arbitrationproceedings. In order for the arbitration agreement to be valid, the dispute between the parties mustconcern 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 orexpiration of rights related to real estate; (b) concerns personal status disputes; (c) is linked to theenforcement 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 ofarbitration. However, disputes arising from domestic commercial or civil relationships are decided onlyon the basis of Slovak law. In addition, the parties are free to agree on the number of arbitrators andtheir 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 interimmeasures it deems necessary to protect the subject matter of the dispute and preserve the integrity ofthe proceedings. The arbitral tribunal may require that the party seeking interim measures providessecurity in exchange for any interim measures that are granted. Parties also have the right to seekinterim measures from the courts either before the constitution of the arbitral tribunal or after thetermination of the arbitration proceedings. The arbitral tribunal may also apply to the courts forassistance in enforcing an interim measure.
Generally, Slovak courts only uphold challenges to arbitral awards if there are compelling reasons forthem 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 arbitrationagreement 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 castsserious 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 aresubject to further significant restrictions. Alternative dispute settlement in this regard is governed by ActNo. 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 BrusselsConvention. Pursuant to the Slovak Act on International Private and Procedural Law, decisions of foreigncourts, as well as foreign judicial settlements and foreign notary deeds, are effective in the SlovakRepublic if the judgments have become final according to a foreign authority that is recognized by theSlovak 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 couldnot have been conducted before any authority of a foreign state if provisions concerning thecompetence of the Slovak courts had been applied to the foreign authority's consideration ofjurisdiction;
-in the same case, a final decision has been issued by Slovak authorities or a final and conclusivedecision 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 berecognized from taking part in the proceedings properly, particularly if the participant was not servedthe 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 shallapply 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 Protectionof Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, European Convention on theRecognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration ofCustody of Children, Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign PublicDocuments, 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 berecognized and enforced by the courts in the Slovak Republic. Recognition of a foreign arbitral awardshall not be declared in a special decision. The foreign arbitral award shall be recognized by therespective court in execution proceedings. In some instances, the courts may decline to recognize andenforce 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 ofForeign Arbitral Awards of 1958, with the reservations that the Convention will only be applied to therecognition and enforcement of awards made in the territory of another contracting state. With regard toawards made in the territory of non-contracting states, the Convention will only be applied to the extentto which those states grant reciprocal treatment.
The Slovak Republic is also a party to the 1961 European Convention on International CommercialArbitration and to the 1965 Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes betweenStates and Nationals of Other States.
The following European regulations are directly applicable in Slovakia: Regulation No. 1215/2012 onjurisdiction 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 inmatrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility; Regulation No. 805/2004 creating aEuropean Enforcement Order for uncontested claims; Regulation No. 1896/2006 creating a Europeanorder 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 andcooperation in matters relating to maintenance obligations.
With respect to the recognition and enforcement of criminal judgements issued within the EU, theapplicable piece of European legislation is the Council Framework Decision 2008/909/JHA of 27November 2008 on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments in criminal mattersimposing custodial sentences or measures involving deprivation of liberty for the purpose of theirenforcement 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 onCustodial Penalties in the European Union, as amended, custodial criminal judgements shall berecognized and enforced in the Slovak Republic. Furthermore, with regard to criminal judgements onnon-custodial penalties, these are also recognized and enforced in the Slovak Republic by virtue of ActNo. 533/2011 Coll. on Recognition and Enforcement of Criminal Judgements on Non-custodial Penaltiesin the European Union, as amended.
-In general, there is no formal discovery inSlovakia.
-Documents are subject to disclosure if theparty itself referred to the document in thecourse of the proceedings.
-The party is obliged by substantive law to
hand over the document referred to, or thecourt may order another person or entity tosubmit the document.
-Failure to comply with the order to produce suchdocuments can be subject to a procedural fineup 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.
There are no civil jury trials in Slovakia.
-Litigation costs include court fees, attorneys'fees, and expenses for expert opinions andwitnesses incurred directly in the proceeding.
-Court fees have to be paid upon filing the claimor upon the request of the court; otherwise, thecourt normally terminates the proceeding.
-Court fees in the first and second instances areto be paid by the filing party and are the sameamount; court fees in the recourse proceedingare 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 againstthe losing party who must reimburse thewinning party.
-If a claimant has been partially successful, thecosts of both sides are divided on a pro-ratabasis. However, reimbursement of attorneyfees is only made on the basis of the feesprovided for in the Regulation on Attorneys'Tariffs.
-The actual attorney fees of a party (dependingon the fee agreement between attorney andclient) may be substantially higher, but are ofno relevance to the opposing party.
-Agreements on Quota litis and contingencyfees are generally permitted for Slovak lawyersin all types of proceedings, but the attorneys'fees may not exceed 20% of the disputeamount (value).
Simple cases: first instance: 1 to 2 years; secondinstance: 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 forcollective redress. Traditional tools of multiparty practice such as joinder and consolidation ofproceedings are applied. Consumer organizations often have similar claims of consumers assigned
to them and file one complaint.
Pro Bono System
Court fees are based on the Court Fees Act anddepend on the amount in dispute (6% of theamount in dispute; to a maximum of EUR16,596.50 and a maximum of EUR 33,193.50 incommercial matters).
Examples: Amount in dispute EUR 1,000,000:Court fees: EUR 16,596.50 or EUR 33,193.50 infirst instance; IP rights: EUR 331.50 in firstinstance; Invalidity/cancellation of arbitrationdecision: EUR 331.50 in first instance.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 1,000,000:First instance: Preparation oftwo briefs, four hearings with a duration of 1h, 2h,4h, and 6h respectively, preparation ofhearings/meetings with client, witnesses,correspondence with client: In total EUR 25,000to EUR 35,000; second instance: One brief, nohearing: EUR 2,500 to EUR 10,000.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 10,000,000:First instance: Preparation of4 comprehensive briefs, four hearings with aduration of 2 x 2h, and 2 x 4h; preparation ofhearings/meetings with client, witnesses,correspondence with client: In total EUR 200,000to EUR 300,000; second instance: One brief, nohearing: EUR 21,000 to EUR 35,000.
-The burden of proof is on the side of prosecution.
-The defendant is not required to submitdocuments which would be to his/her detriment.However, a person who has an item (document)in his/her possession relevant to criminalproceedings is required to surrender it uponrequest of the police, prosecutor or the court.Such an item (document) may be seized upon anorder issued by a prosecutor, investigator or thepolice.
There are no criminal jury trials in Slovakia.
-The Slovak Code of Criminal Procedure doesnot specifically regulate class actions. However,it provides for joint proceedings in respect tocriminal offences committed by the accused andall the persons accused of interrelated criminaloffences.
-The court may jointly hear cases the indictmentsfor which were filed separately, hold jointproceedings and make a joint decision.
If the defendant is found guilty in a finalsentence, he/she is obliged to reimburse theSlovak Republic:
-the costs incurred by his/her remand incustody;
-the fee and cash expenditures of the counselassigned by the Slovak Republic unless thedefendant is entitled to a free defencecounsel;
-the costs incurred by serving animprisonment sentence;
-a lump sum for other costs borne by theSlovak Republic; and
-the costs incurred by the injured inconnection with damage recovery in thecourse of the criminal proceedings.
Complex cases: First instance (pre-trial stage):up to 2 years; court proceedings: 2 - 4 years;second instance; 1 – 2 years.
There are no court fees. The costs of criminalproceedings, including sentence enforcementproceedings, are borne by the Slovak Republic. Thedefendant bears his/her own costs, except in asituation that warrants pro bono representation.
First instance: representation at 2 interrogationswith duration of 2x2h, preparation of 2 briefs 4h +6h, participation at 2 court hearings with a durationof 2 x 2h, preparation of hearings/meetings withclient, witnesses, correspondence with client: Intotal EUR 10,000 to EUR 15,000; second instance:One brief, one hearing: EUR 6,000.
First instance: participation at a large number ofinterrogations, face-to-face confrontations,preparation of 4 complex briefs 4h, 2x6h, 8h,preparation of hearings/meetings with client,witnesses, correspondence with client. In total fromEUR 30,000 upwards; second instance: One brief,one hearing: EUR 15,000 and upwards.
Specialized criminal court cases are generallyshorter.
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 isremanded 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 particularlyserious felony; (d) if he/she is a juvenile and/or an escaped prisoner; (e) if the court or the prosecutor inpre-trial proceedings deem it necessary because they are in doubt whether, in view of his/her physical ormental 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), acounsel is mandatory when the accused person (a) is deprived of or has a restricted legal capacity; (b) isa 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 toproperly defend himself/herself.
In the proceedings held in respect of complaints alleging the breach of law and proceedings involving themotion for a new trial, counsel representation is mandatory (a) if the accused person is remanded incustody, serves an imprisonment sentence or is held for observation at a medical institution; (b) isdeprived of legal capacity or his/her legal capacity is restricted; (c) if the case concerns a particularlyserious felony; (d) if the accused is a juvenile who, at the time when the complaint alleging the breach oflaw or the motion for a new trial is heard in an open court hearing, is less than 18 years old; (e) if there isany doubt concerning the accused person's ability to properly defend himself/herself; and (f) if theproceedings are conducted against a sentenced person who died.
-The court may (and often does) decide aboutthe preliminary injunction without a hearing.
-The court is not obliged to examineevidence. However, it must verify theexistence of the claimed right and generalfacts proving the necessity of the preliminaryinjunction.
-Costs incurred by a successful applicant inpreliminary injunction matters can only besought in the main proceedings.
-If the preliminary injunction is cancelled orterminated for reasons different from thesatisfaction of the applicant’s claim, theapplicant is obliged to compensate theinjured party for incurred damages. Thecourt ordering the preliminary injunctiondecides about this compensation uponmotion of the injured party.
The court fee for any type of preliminaryinjunction is EUR 33. If the request for apreliminary Injunction is filed outside mainproceedings, the court fees are reduced to half infirst instance.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 1,000,000: Only the request for apreliminary injunction is filed, the court renders itsdecision without hearing the opponent: EUR1,300 to EUR 5,000 in first instance; secondinstance: one brief, no hearing EUR 1,300 toEUR 5,000.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 10,000,000: Apart from filing the requestfor a preliminary injunction, two comprehensivecounter statements are filed in reply to twostatements of opponent; witnesses are heard:Total costs (including meetings withclient/witnesses) of first instance: EUR 40,000 toEUR 50,000; second instance: one brief, nohearing: EUR 10,000 to EUR 20,000.
Preliminary Injunction Proceedings
Depending on the type of the preliminaryinjunction, the decision is rendered between 1and 30 days after the delivery of the request.
Appellate proceedings: Depending on the type ofthe preliminary injunction, the decision should beissued within 1 to 30 days after the submission ofthe matter pursuant to the Civil DisputeProcedure Code.
-In the request for a preliminary injunction, theapplicant must explicitly justify its claim andprove the existence of the danger of immediatethreatening damages.
-Appellate proceedings: In practice, the durationmay be up to 3 months.
-The arbitral tribunal only considers the evidenceproposed by the parties.
-In general, a party could ask the arbitral tribunalfor its support in document production.
-The arbitral tribunal may ask the general courtfor support in document production.
Costs depend on several factors: Whether a solearbitrator or an arbitral tribunal of three members isappointed, the complexity of the case, theadministrative charges and other expenses(translation, travel and accommodation of foreignarbitrators, etc.), if the dispute is national orinternational, whether a speedy decision isexpected, etc.
The following estimates are based on theprocedural costs of the Arbitration Court of theSlovak 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 indispute 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 disputeof EUR 1,000,000: Review of 100 pages ofdocuments; no challenge to the jurisdiction of thearbitral 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 anoral hearing; preparation and review of one posthearing brief. In total: EUR 25,000 to EUR 35,000.
Assumptions based on an amount in disputeof EUR 10,000,000: Review of 1,000 pages ofdocuments; no challenge to the jurisdiction of thearbitral tribunal; two exchanges of submissions;review of correspondence with arbitral tribunal;assistance with the preparation of 8 witnesses;review of 8 written statements; documentproduction up to 500 pages; preparation andreview of expert opinions; preparation of oralhearing and participation; preparation and reviewof one post hearing brief. In total: EUR 230,000 toEUR 400,000.
The usual duration of arbitration proceedings is between 1 month and 2 years.
-•In cases with a speedy decision within 1month, the arbitration fee is increased by75% and if within 4 months, by 50%.
-In simple proceedings (without any hearings,only based on evidence), the arbitration feeis decreased by 30%. Total decrease may beup to 50%. Similarly, the administrative feemay be decreased up to 30% in total.
-If the dispute is decided by a sole arbitrator,the arbitration fee is decreased by 30% andthe administrative fee by 20%
1 to 2 months until a decision on authorization tothe executor is rendered in first instance. 3 to 6months if the decision is appealed.
The duration of execution proceedings dependsmainly on whether the debtor has executableassets and whether execution measures areopposed by the debtor.
Enforcement of Foreign Judgments and Arbitral Awards
-Judgments that fall outside the scope ofapplication of EC laws described above mustbe submitted in the original or in a copy issuedby the court that rendered the judgment, alongwith information about its validity orenforceability and evidence that the other partywas duly delivered the court documents anddecisions.
-A certified translation of the judgment must
-For the enforcement of awards under the NewYork Convention, the creditor must provide thecourt with the authenticated original award or aduly certified copy thereof and the original ofthe arbitration agreement or a duly certifiedcopy thereof.
The court fee for the decision on authorizationexecutor is EUR 16.50.
Reward and expenses of the executor aregoverned by the Regulation on Rewards andExpenses 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 partyseeking recognition/enforcement mustsubmit a copy of the judgment which shouldbe accompanied by a Certificate ofAuthenticity issued either by the court thatrendered the judgment or by anothercompetent institution of the state of origin.
-Similarly, under EC Regulation 805/2004, thedecision has to be certified as a EuropeanEnforcement Order.
-Further, in order to avoid any delays,attaching a certified translation of thejudgment is highly recommended.
1 year to several years; in very complex cases duration of more than 10 years is possible.
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.
-The commencement of insolvencyproceedings and the declaration of insolvencyare published in the official commercial journal(available on the website of the SlovakMinistry of Justice underhttp://www.justice.gov.sk/yyyy.aspx).
-The period for registration of insolvencyclaims is 45 days as of the publisheddeclaration of bankruptcy and 30 days as ofthe published approval of restructuring.
-Late registration is considered withininsolvency proceedings (not withinrestructuring); however, the creditor cannotexercise any potential voting or other rightsassociated with the registered receivables. Itsreceivables – though secured – will besatisfied only from the general assets and notbe given any special/preferential treatment.
Filing ofInsolvency Claimsby Creditors
A creditor may file a motion for insolvencyproceedings if a debtor is
-insolvent, i.e., is not able to satisfy at least twomonetary obligations within 30 days followingtheir maturity date to more than one creditor; or
-over-indebted, i.e., has financial obligationswhere its liabilities exceed assets and hasmore than one creditor.