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Last update: 19-04-2007
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Legal aid - Slovakia

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them? 1.
2. What is legal aid? 2.
3. Can I benefit from legal aid? 3.
4. Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes? 4.
5. Is there a specific procedure for emergencies? 5.
6. Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid? 6.
7. Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid? 7.
8. Where should I register my request for legal aid? 8.
9. How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid? 9.
10. If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do? 10.
11. If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer? 11.
12. If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial? 12.
13. If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs? 13.
14. If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial? 14.
15. If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)? 15.
16. If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision? 16.

 

1. What are the costs of a trial and who should normally pay them?

The costs of a trial are basically the expenses of the parties to the proceedings and their representatives, including court fees, the lost earnings of the parties and their legal representatives, the cost of furnishing evidence, the notary’s fee for the execution of the acts of a judicial commissioner and his or her cash expenses, the fee of the executor in inheritance proceedings and his or her expenses, interpreting fees and the representation fee, where representation is by a lawyer.

The parties to the proceedings pay the trial costs incurred by themselves and those of their representatives. Shared costs are paid by the parties in proportion to their involvement in the case and the proceedings.

Where the party is assigned a representative, the State covers the representative's expenses and representation.

In inheritance proceedings the notary's fee and expenses are paid by the heir, provided the estate is not insolvent. If there are several heirs, they pay these costs in proportion to the net value of their share of the estate. In other cases these costs are borne by the State.

2. What is legal aid?

The term 'legal aid' is defined in Act No 327/2005 on the provision of legal aid to persons in material need (the Legal Aid Act) amending the Bar Association Act No 586/2003 and the Act on trading activity No 455/1991 (Trading Act), as amended by Act No 8/2005, which came into force on 1 January 2006. Section 4(a) of the Legal Aid Act reads as follows: "legal aid means the granting of legal services to persons entitled under this act in connection with the exercise of their rights, principally in the form of legal advice, assistance with out-of-court proceedings, the drawing up of submissions for courts, representation in court and the performance of acts in connection therewith, as well as defrayment in full or in part of the associated costs".

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3. Can I benefit from legal aid?

On the conditions laid down in the Legal Aid Act, in the case of in-country disputes legal aid may be granted to any natural persons, whereas in the case of cross-border disputes it may be granted only to natural persons domiciled or habitually resident in a Member State (this includes all the Member States of the European Union apart from Denmark).

'Eligible persons' means natural persons who, on proof of meeting the conditions laid down in Section 6 of the Legal Aid Act, have been granted entitlement to legal aid by a valid decision of the Legal Aid Centre.

‘Foreign eligible persons’ means natural persons who meet the conditions laid down in the Legal Aid Act for entitlement to claim legal aid in a cross-border dispute and have been granted this entitlement by a valid decision of the Legal Aid Centre.

‘In-country eligible persons’ means natural persons who are permanently or temporarily resident in the Slovak Republic and seek legal aid in another Member State in which the competent court is handling the cross-border dispute.

4. Can legal aid be obtained for all disputes?

Under the Legal Aid Act, legal aid may be granted in civil law, labour law and family law cases (what are known as "in-country disputes"), whereas in cross-border disputes it may be granted in civil law, family law and commercial law cases.

5. Is there a specific procedure for emergencies?

Yes, if an applicant is liable to miss a deadline, he or she can ask the Legal Aid Centre to be granted interim legal aid at the same time as submitting the application. The Legal Aid Centre then takes a decision on granting the interim legal aid straight away before taking the decision on the legal aid entitlement proper.

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6. Where can I obtain an application form for legal aid?

Applicants apply in writing, using the form at the Legal Aid Centre office in the place where they are domiciled or temporarily resident and attaching documents substantiating the facts referred to in the application.

7. Which documents should I attach to my request for legal aid?

The documents required are documents substantiating the facts referred to in the application as well as documents (no more than three months old) proving that the applicant has insufficient means.

8. Where should I register my request for legal aid?

At the Legal Aid Centre office in the place where the applicant is domiciled or temporarily resident.

9. How will I be informed of whether or not I am eligible for legal aid?

By decision of the Legal Aid Centre within 30 days of receipt of the application.

10. If I qualify for legal aid, what should I do?

When invited by the Legal Aid Centre, the applicant must conclude a legal aid contract directly with the Centre or with the appointed lawyer and grant them power of attorney to carry out the acts associated with the granting of the legal aid.

11. If I qualify for legal aid, who will choose my lawyer?

In the decision granting entitlement to legal aid, the Legal Aid Centre appoints a lawyer to represent the eligible person in court, where this is necessary in order to safeguard their interests.

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12. If I qualify for legal aid, will this cover all the costs of my trial?

See Section 4(a) of the Legal Aid Act.

13. If I qualify for partial legal aid, who will pay the other costs?

The Legal Aid Centre's decision either grants entitlement to legal aid or it doesn't.

14. If I qualify for legal aid, will it cover any review I might make following the trial?

Legal aid is also granted for appeal proceedings and enforcement proceedings.

15. If I qualify for legal aid, can it be withdrawn before the end of the trial (or even after the trial)?

The circumstances in which legal aid may be withdrawn are governed by Section 14 of the Legal Aid Act. The Legal Aid Centre may decide to withdraw the legal aid if: the eligible person fails to cooperate with the Centre or appointed lawyer as required; in the course of the legal aid being provided, there are changes in the eligible person’s income and financial circumstances and he or she no longer meets the condition laid down in Section 6(1)(a) for the legal aid entitlement to continue; the eligible person fails to conclude a contract with the appointed lawyer or fails to grant power of attorney to the Centre or the appointed lawyer; it emerges that the applicant was granted entitlement to legal aid on the basis of false or incomplete information; or the eligible person fails to act on the request referred to in Section 13(3) (i.e. the request from the Centre to be provided with evidence of the facts qualifying the eligible person for legal aid within 8 days).

16. If I do not qualify for legal aid, can I appeal against this decision?

A decision refusing legal aid must not only contain the particulars stipulated in the Administrative Procedure Act No 71/1967 (Code of Administrative Procedure), but also inform the applicant that, unless there is a change in their income or financial circumstances, they may not re-submit an application for the same case until six months after the decision is issued.

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Last update: 19-04-2007

 
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