A lawyer with a university degree in the Republic of Slovenia may carry out a number of professions, including those of a judge, legal assistant, prosecutor, State attorney, attorney and notary, such professions forming part of the administration of justice.
The status of judges is governed by Articles 125 to 134 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia and by the Judicial Service Act. Judges are elected by the National Assembly on the proposal of the Judicial Council. The office of judge is permanent. Age requirements and other conditions for election are determined by law. A person may apply for the post of judge if he/she is a Slovenian citizen and has an active command of the Slovenian language, has the professional capacity and is of good general health, is at least 30 years old, has acquired the professional title of a lawyer with a university degree in Slovenia or has acquired a recognised degree from a legal faculty abroad, has passed the State examination in law and has a suitable disposition for performing a judicial office. Judges' salaries are determined by the Judicial Service Act on the same basis as those of members of the National Assembly. Judges have the status of a public official, but are bound to the Constitution and legal acts in the performance of their duties. Judicial office is not compatible with office in other State bodies, local self-government bodies and bodies of political parties and with other offices and activities as provided for by law. There is no formal educational specialisation among judges. The legal field in which the judge mainly operates is defined in the internal organisation of the individual court which, in order to resolve individual types of dispute, has various legal departments to which judges are assigned in line with its annual work programme. The Judicial Council decides on advancement to a higher judicial position and advancement in the pay scale. This body also makes a proposal to the National Assembly for relieving a judge of his judicial office if, in the performance of his duties, he violates the Constitution or seriously violates the law or if he deliberately commits a criminal offence through the abuse of his judicial office. The levels of advancement of judges in judicial office are set out in the organisation of courts in Slovenia. Judges may be local judges, circuit judges, higher judges or supreme judges. Judges belong to the Law Society which forms part of the International Law Association.
A legal assistant is a court employee with the status of a public official. His duties are set out in the Courts Act and judicial regulations and, more particularly, in the rules of procedure for individual legal sectors. The main task of a legal assistant (a lawyer with a university degree who has passed the State examination in law) is to assist a judge. Legal assistants thus prepare trials, interrogate the parties, receive applications for the minutes and draft decisions on execution, land registry, non-litigious and suspended proceedings. Legal assistants receive a salary determined by law and are appointed to the appropriate official position defined in the Civil Servants Act.
Under Article 135 of the Constitution, State Prosecutors file and present criminal charges and have other powers provided by law. The organisation and powers of state prosecutor offices are laid down in the State Prosecutor Act. As regards the rights arising from his position as a public official in Slovenia, the State Prosecutor is of equal status to a judge except where otherwise laid down in the State Prosecutor Act. The State Prosecutor's salary is linked to the salary of Members of the National Assembly. The State Prosecutor is an official who performs his duties at the State Prosecutor's Office. The State Prosecutor is appointed by the Slovenian Government acting on a proposal by the Ministry of Justice. The Minister proposes the candidate after obtaining the opinion of the State Prosecutor's Council. The conditions candidates must fulfil when applying for the post of State Prosecutor are linked with the conditions for appointments to a judicial office. The State Prosecutor's specialisation depends on the internal organisation of the individual State Prosecutor's Office. The State Prosecutor performs his duties in accordance with the Constitution and legal acts. The office of State Prosecutor is not compatible with office in other State bodies, local self-government bodies and bodies of political parties and with other offices and activities as provided for by law. The State Prosecutor's Offices are organised into District State Prosecutor's Offices, Higher State Prosecutor's Offices and the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office; this is also taken as a basis for the State Prosecutors' promotion scale. State Prosecutors also have assistants who are equivalent to local judges as regards status and conditions of appointment.
The role of State attorney is defined in the State Attorney Act. The Office of the State Attorney-General represents the State, its bodies and official agencies consisting of legal persons before the court and performs other duties in accordance with the law. The tasks of the Office of the State Attorney-General are performed by the State Attorney-General, State attorneys and the State attorney's assistants. State attorneys and State attorney's assistants are appointed by the Slovenian Government acting on a proposal by the Ministry of Justice after consulting the State Attorney-General. The term of office is eight years with the possibility of renewal. The conditions for appointment to the position of State attorney are the same as for judicial office with additional requirements relating to practical experience. The State attorney performs his duties in accordance with the Constitution and legal acts. He must represent the State ex officio. The State attorney's salary is linked to the salary of Members of the National Assembly. The provisions concerning the incompatibility of a judge's duties apply mutatis mutandis to the State attorney's duties.
Article 137 of the Constitution states that the Attorneyship is an independent service within the system of justice, and is regulated by law. The Attorneys Act states that, in the performance of his duties, an attorney provides legal advice, represents and defends parties before the courts and other State bodies, draws up documents and represents parties in their legal relations. Only an attorney may represent a party before a court against payment unless the law provides otherwise. An attorney must fulfil the following conditions:
A foreign attorney who has acquired the right to pursue the career of attorney in his home country may carry out the following in the Republic of Slovenia under the conditions laid down by law:
His home country is taken to be the country in which the attorney has the right to pursue the career of attorney under the career title obtained in accordance with the rules of that country.
For the purposes of this Act, attorneys from other Member States of the European Union are those with the right to pursue the career of attorney in any Member State under the career title obtained in accordance with the rules of that country.
The career of attorney is incompatible with the following:
An attorney may not advertise his activities. He may pursue his career independently or in an attorneys' practice. The right to pursue the career of attorney is obtained by means of an entry in the list of attorneys kept by the Bar Association. Attorneys who reach the required level or direction of specialist training may under specific conditions apply to the Bar Association for recognition of specialist attorney status. The Bar Association is the main attorneys' organisation and has its own rights and statutes. Attorneys from other countries must pass an examination on their knowledge of Slovenian judicial regulations before entry in the register of attorneys. The Decree on test examination for lawyers from other countries lays down the more precise content and procedure for taking the examination. Payment for the services of an attorney is regulated by the Attorneys' price list issued by the Bar Association with the consent of the Minister of Justice.
Article 137(2) of the Constitution states that the notariat is a public service regulated by law. The Notary Act states that: in accordance with the provisions of this Act, notaries, as persons enjoying public trust, draw up public documents concerning legal business, statements of intention and facts giving rise to rights; they take documents, money and securities into safekeeping for delivery to third persons or State bodies; at the instruction of the courts, they perform the tasks which may be delegated to them in accordance with the law. To be appointed, a notary must fulfil the following conditions:
Notwithstanding point 1 of the previous paragraph, foreign citizens who meet the other requirements set out in that paragraph may also be appointed as notaries subject to legal and actual reciprocity.
A notary's duties are incompatible with those of an attorney or any paid office or function.
A notary is not authorised to perform tasks which are incompatible with the respectability and integrity required for the performance of a notary's duties or which may undermine confidence in the notary's impartiality or in the credibility of the documents he draws up.
The notary is appointed to a vacant post by the Minister responsible for justice. The Notaries' Chamber of Slovenia is asked for its opinion of the candidates put forward before the notary is appointed. The number of notaries is restricted and is determined on the basis of limits set by the Ministry of Justice. As a rule, the limit is one notary per each local court area or, when the population density or economic activity is greater, one notary for each 20 000 inhabitants. Before taking up his duties, the notary swears an oath before the president of the higher court responsible. In the event of any irregularity defined by law, the notary will be dismissed by the Minister of Justice. The Notaries' Chamber is the main organisation for notaries.
In Slovenia the obligations or requirements concerning representation by specialist advocates are set out separately in the rules of procedure. Basically, in a local court, parties may also be represented by a person who is not an attorney or by a person who has not taken the State examination in law. However, in a circuit court or a court of higher instance, representation is restricted to an attorney or other person who has passed the State examination and demonstrates this to the court. Special arrangements apply to the criminal sector where the Criminal Procedure Act lays down the conditions for the representation of parties by an attorney acting ex officio.Top
Last update: 20-04-2007