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Last update: 24-05-2007
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Jurisdiction of the courts - Slovakia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. Should I apply to an ordinary civil court or to a specialised court? A.
B. Where the ordinary civil courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to? B.
I. Is there a distinction between lower and higher ordinary civil courts and if so which one is competent for my case? I.
II. Territorial jurisdiction (Does the court of city/town A or of city/town B have jurisdiction for my case)? II.
1. The basic rule of territorial jurisdiction 1.
2. Exceptions to the basic rule 2.
C. Where specialised courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to? C.

 

A. Should I apply to an ordinary civil court or to a specialised court?

For proceedings in the first instance the competent courts are basically the district courts (Section 9(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure).

The term 'material jurisdiction' is generally taken to refer to the distribution of first instance powers between the different types of court. Having material jurisdiction is one of the basic procedural conditions applying to any court. The court must as a matter of course examine whether it has material jurisdiction at every stage in the proceedings and at every level.

Where there is an irresolvable problem concerning the court's material jurisdiction, the court must discontinue the proceedings. Where the case does not fall within the jurisdiction of the court or must be preceded by some other proceedings, the court issues a decision discontinuing the proceedings and then forwards the case to the competent body; in such cases the legal effects of the initiated action are not affected.

Where there is a material jurisdiction problem that can be resolved, the court takes the necessary measures to resolve it. In such cases, the court can generally go ahead with the proceedings, but may not issue a judgment terminating them. If the material jurisdiction problem cannot be resolved, the court discontinues the proceedings.

B. Where the ordinary civil courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to?

The absence of material jurisdiction is a procedural defect that constitutes grounds for appeal.

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I. Is there a distinction between lower and higher ordinary civil courts and if so which one is competent for my case?

Act No 371/2004 governing the seats of courts and their areas of jurisdiction, which came into force on 1 January 2005, introduces considerable changes to the material jurisdiction of civil law courts as well as creating courts with what is know as subject-specific jurisdiction. The Act defines these courts according to the matters falling within their material jurisdiction.

These courts basically include the district courts as courts of first instance, with one exception, which is the review of decisions handed down in asylum proceedings under the Asylum Act No 480/2002, where the court of first instance is the competent regional court.

The new legislation governing the areas of jurisdiction, seats and powers of the courts dealt with the jurisdiction of registration courts, bankruptcy and composition courts, courts handling bills of exchange and cheques, courts handling the protection of industrial property and protection against unfair competition and the court that deals with stock exchange transactions.

Under Section 9(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure, regional courts are the courts of first instances in the following cases:

  1. disputes concerning the mutual settlement of a benefit wrongly granted or granted for an amount higher than was due between an employer and the person who received the benefit in accordance with the social security legislation in force;
  2. disputes between the competent sickness insurance body and an employer regarding payment of losses incurred as a result of a procedural error in the handling of the sickness insurance;
  3. disputes involving a foreign State or persons who have diplomatic immunity and privileges, where such disputes come under the jurisdiction of the Slovak courts.

II. Territorial jurisdiction (Does the court of city/town A or of city/town B have jurisdiction for my case)?

1. The basic rule of territorial jurisdiction

Territorial jurisdiction determines which of the courts of a given type is competent to hear and issue judgment in a given case.

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Section 84 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that the competent court is the general court of the place of residence of the party against whom the action is being taken (the defendant), except where otherwise stipulated.

2. Exceptions to the basic rule

On the basis of the legislation in force, the literature distinguishes the following territorial jurisdiction scenarios:

  • general territorial jurisdiction;
  • choice of jurisdiction;
  • exclusive territorial jurisdiction.
When is it possible to have a choice between the relevant court for the defendant's permanent residence (general territorial jurisdiction) and other courts?

Exclusive territorial jurisdiction takes precedence when determining a court's territorial jurisdiction. Only where exclusive territorial jurisdiction does not apply is consideration given to general jurisdiction or to a choice of jurisdiction.

When do I have to choose a court?

On the conditions laid down in Section 87 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the plaintiff has the right to choose a court that is competent in accordance with Section 87 other than the general court of the place of residence of the defendant.

Can the parties themselves attribute jurisdiction to a court that would not be competent otherwise?

General territorial jurisdiction comes into play where exclusive territorial jurisdiction does not apply, the plaintiff has not exercised the right to choose which court has jurisdiction and no agreement on territorial jurisdiction was reached before the action was brought.

C. Where specialised courts have jurisdiction how can I find out which one I should apply to?

Where the case concerns a matter that falls within the jurisdiction of the Slovak courts, but the conditions for territorial jurisdiction are not met or cannot be determined, the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic decides which court is to hear the case.

Where appropriate, a case may be assigned to a court other than the court that has territorial jurisdiction. In such cases, the application must still be submitted to the court that has territorial jurisdiction.

In cases involving children being made wards of court, if there is a change in the circumstances that determined jurisdiction, the court that would otherwise have had jurisdiction may transfer it to another court.

Where more than one court has territorial jurisdiction, jurisdiction falls to the court where the proceedings were first initiated.

« Jurisdiction of the courts - General information | Slovakia - General information »

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Last update: 24-05-2007

 
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