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Last update: 08-05-2007
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Bringing a case to court - Slovakia

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Imagine a situation in which you are in dispute with a company, a professional person, your employer, a member of your family or somebody else in your own country or abroad. In order to solve this problem, you ask yourself a number of questions:



 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Do I have to go to Court? 1.
2. Am I still in time to bring a court action? 2.
3. Am I sure that I should go to a court in the Slovak Republic? 3.
4. If yes, which particular court should I go to in the Slovak Republic, given where I live and where the other party lives, or other aspects of my case? 4.
5. Which particular court should I go to in this Member State, given the nature of my case and the amount at stake? See the “Jurisdiction of the courts - Slovakia” theme 5.
6. Can I bring a court action by myself or do I have to ask an intermediary, such as to be represented by a solicitor? 6.
7. Who exactly do I apply to: to the reception office or the office of the clerk of the court or any other administration? 7.
8. In which language can I make my application? Can I do it orally or does it have to be in writing? Can I send my application by fax or by e-mail? 8.
9. Are there special forms for bringing actions, or, if not, how must I present my case? Are there elements that have to be included in the file? 9.
10. Will I have to pay court charges? If so, when? Will I have to pay a lawyer right from the introduction of my application? 10.
11. Can I claim legal aid? (“Legal Aid” theme) 11.
12. From which moment is my action officially considered to have been brought? Will the authorities give me some confirmation that my case has been properly presented? 12.
13. Will I have detailed information about the timing of subsequent events (such as the time allowed for me to enter an appearance)? 13.

 

PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS BEFORE BRINGING A CASE TO COURT

1. Do I have to go to Court?

It might be better to use alternative dispute resolutions procedures. See this theme.

Disputes need not always be taken to court. The parties should first to try to come to an agreement with each other on an amicable basis and find a compromise that they are both happy with. Disputes can also be resolved using mediation in accordance with the Mediation Act No 420/2004. Mediation involves settling the dispute out of court with the help of an expert known as a mediator. Going to court is recommended only once all alternative means of dispute resolution have been exhausted or where the aim is to define the precise legal position of the two parties, i.e. their rights and obligations towards each other.

2. Am I still in time to bring a court action?

Time limits for bringing court actions vary according to the case. This question of time limits can be clarified with a legal adviser or at an office providing citizens with information on access to law.

Time limits for bringing action apply only to claims subject to a period of limitation. Under Act No 40/1964 (Civil Code), a right lapses if it has not been exercised within the specified statutory time limit. Once a right has lapsed, the party may not assert it in court following a plea of tender. All rights in property lapse, with the exception of the right of ownership and rights in respect of deposits in savings books or other forms of deposit and current accounts for the duration of the investment contract. There are different periods of limitation laid down by law (Sections 101-110 of Act No 40/1964), but the general rule is three years running from the date on which the right could first have been exercised.

3. Am I sure that I should go to a court in the Slovak Republic?

See the ‘Jurisdiction of the courts’ theme.

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Sections 37 ff. of the Private International Law and Procedures Act No 97/1963 stipulate when action must be brought in a court in the Slovak Republic. This act lays down the rules governing the procedural jurisdiction of Slovak judicial bodies. The basic rule is that the Slovak courts have jurisdiction if the person against whom the action is to be brought has their place of residence or registered offices within the territory of the Slovak Republic or, in cases involving rights in property, if they have property in Slovakia. Further rules lay down conditions on determining the jurisdiction of the Slovak court. Parties involved in a contractual relationship can specify jurisdiction directly in the contract. The jurisdiction of a Slovak court may also be exclusive, for example in proceedings concerning tenure of immovable property where the property in question is located on the territory of the Slovak Republic.

4. If yes, which particular court should I go to in the Slovak Republic, given where I live and where the other party lives, or other aspects of my case?

See the ‘Jurisdiction of the courts - Slovakia’ theme.

The territorial jurisdiction of the court is determined by Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure). Section 84 of this act states that the court that has jurisdiction is the general court for the place of residence of the person against whom the action is being brought (the defendant). For an individual the general court is the court in whose area of jurisdiction they have permanent residence or, if they do not have permanent residence, where they currently reside. For a legal entity the general court is the court in whose area of jurisdiction it has its registered office. For a State the general court is the court in whose area of jurisdiction the events that serve as the basis for the right being claimed took place. In commercial cases, the general court is the court in whose area of jurisdiction the defendant has its registered office or, failing that, the court in whose area of jurisdiction the defendant has its place of business. Exceptions to the basic rule determining the territorial jurisdiction of a court are contained in Sections 87 and 88 of Act No 99/1963.

5. Which particular court should I go to in this Member State, given the nature of my case and the amount at stake? See the “Jurisdiction of the courts - Slovakia” theme

See the ‘Jurisdiction of the courts - Slovakia’ theme.

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The basic rule of material jurisdiction for courts in the Slovak Republic, laid down in Section 9(1) of Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure), is that first instance proceedings are the responsibility of the district courts. Regional courts act as courts of first instance only in specifically defined cases, such as disputes involving a foreign State or persons who have diplomatic immunity and privileges, where such disputes come under the jurisdiction of the courts of the Slovak Republic. The Slovak Republic also has courts that deal with specific matters (laid down in Act No 371/2004 governing the seats and areas of jurisdiction of the courts of the Slovak Republic), such as bills of exchange and cheques, asylum, registration etc. The amount at stake in the dispute has no effect on which court has jurisdiction.

STEPS TO FOLLOW TO BRING A CASE TO COURT

6. Can I bring a court action by myself or do I have to ask an intermediary, such as to be represented by a solicitor?

Yes, in civil law proceedings you can represent yourself. There is no need to be represented by a solicitor.

7. Who exactly do I apply to: to the reception office or the office of the clerk of the court or any other administration?

In accordance with Section 42(1) of Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure) the application may be made in writing, orally at the court office, electronically signed with a secure electronic signature, by telegram or by fax. Applications relating to the merits of the case submitted by telegram must be followed by a submission in writing or orally at the court office within three days; where the application is submitted by fax, the original must be provided within three days. Submissions not followed up in this way within three days are disregarded.

8. In which language can I make my application? Can I do it orally or does it have to be in writing? Can I send my application by fax or by e-mail?

Since the parties to a civil dispute have equal status, the application does not have to be made in Slovak. In court the parties have the right to use their native language or an official language of the country which they do understand. The court is required to ensure that they have equal opportunity to exercise their rights, which means providing translation and interpretation (Section 18 of Act No 99/1963 - Code of Civil Procedure). The application may be submitted orally, in writing, electronically signed with a secure electronic signature, by telegram or by fax.

9. Are there special forms for bringing actions, or, if not, how must I present my case? Are there elements that have to be included in the file?

The application can also be made on the standard form laid down in a generally binding legal provision by the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic (Section 76(3) of Act No 99/1963 - Code of Civil Procedure). The general elements that have to be included in the application are laid down in Section 42(3) of Act No 1999/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure): it must be clear which court it is addressed to, who it is being submitted by, what it concerns and what is being sought, as well as being signed and dated. The application must be submitted with the right number of copies and annexes, so that the court keeps one copy and each party receives a copy as necessary. If the applicant fails to provide the right number of copies and annexes, the court makes copies at the applicant's expense. Further particulars are specified in Section 79(1) of the act: the application must state the first names, family names and places of residence of the parties (and their representative, if they have one), their nationality, a faithful description of the key facts and a list of the evidence the applicant intends to rely on; the application should also make it clear what the applicant is seeking. In the case of a legal entity, the application must also state the entity's name or trading name, registered office and identification number, if one has been assigned. In the case of a foreign national, the application must be accompanied by an extract from a register or other records in which the foreign person is entered. In the case of an individual authorised to do business, the application must also state the trading name, registered office and identification number, if one has been assigned. In the case of a State, the application must give the name of the country and the competent State body that is to act on its behalf.

10. Will I have to pay court charges? If so, when? Will I have to pay a lawyer right from the introduction of my application?

Applications are subject to a court charge. The charge has to be paid by the party making the application (the applicant/plaintiff), unless the court has waived the charge at the applicant's request or the applicant is exempted from paying it by law. The amount of the fee is laid down in the schedule of court charges (annexed to the Court Charges Act No 71/1992). The charge is payable when the application is submitted. The court must check that the applicant has paid the charge or is exempted from paying it. In cases where an application is submitted without the charge having being paid but the applicant is not covered by any of the provisions waiving the charge and has not requested that it be waived, the court invites the applicant to make the payment within a given time. At the same time the court notifies the applicant that failure to pay the charge means that the application will not be acted on.

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It is not compulsory to use the services of a solicitor in civil law proceedings.

11. Can I claim legal aid? (“Legal Aid” theme)

Under Section 138(1) of Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure), the court may, on request, grant the applicant full or partial exemption from court charges. Two conditions must be satisfied: it must be justified by the applicant's circumstances, and the case must not involve the frivolous or manifestly futile exercise or protection of a right. Where an applicant meets the criteria to be exempted from court charges, the judge or, at the judge's request, a delegated member of the court staff appoints a lawyer to represent the applicant, if this is necessary in order to safeguard the person's interests (Section 30 of Act No 99/1963).

Exemption from court charges directly applies to certain proceedings by law, for example, in cases involving custody, child care, adoption, authorisation to marry, legal capacity, etc. These cases are listed in Section 4 of the Court Charges Act No 71/1992. The exemption also applies to proceedings dealing with appeals, higher appeals, re-trials and enforcement.

FOLLOW-UP

12. From which moment is my action officially considered to have been brought? Will the authorities give me some confirmation that my case has been properly presented?

The action is deemed to have been brought on the date on which the court received the application. The court provides the applicant with confirmation that the application has been received and duly recorded in the court registry.

13. Will I have detailed information about the timing of subsequent events (such as the time allowed for me to enter an appearance)?

The court forwards the submission to the other parties concerned and informs them of their rights and obligations. As part of the preparations for the proceedings, the court forwards the submission to the defendant (the respondent) and, if the nature of the case or the circumstances require, it may order the defendant to respond in writing, stating the key facts in its defence, attaching the relevant documentation and listing the evidence to substantiate its claims. The court lays down a time limit for the defendant to submit its response.

« Bringing a case to court - General information | Slovakia - General information »

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Last update: 08-05-2007

 
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