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Last update: 18-12-2008
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Legal professions - Slovakia

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Judges 1.
2. Prosecutors 2.
3. Court officers 3.
4. Bailiffs 4.
5. Lawyers 5.
6. Notaries 6.

 

1. Judges

A judge represents the judiciary. He contributes to the judiciary by delivering decisions in matters falling within the jurisdiction of Slovak courts. Courts rule in civil and criminal matters; courts also review the lawfulness of decisions by public administrative bodies and the lawfulness of decisions, measures or other involvement of public authorities where provided by law.

Under the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, in the performance of their duties judges are independent, and in their decision-making they are bound by the Constitution, constitutional law, international treaties and laws.

Judges are appointed and removed by the President of the Slovak Republic on a proposal from the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic; they are appointed without time-limit.

A Slovak citizen who meets the following requirements may be appointed a judge:

  1. he has reached the age of at least 30 years on the date of appointment,
  2. he holds a university degree in law,
  3. he has full legal capacity, and is medically fit to perform the duties of a judge,
  4. he is of good character and his moral qualities guarantee that he will duly perform the duties of a judge,
  5. he is permanently resident in the Slovak Republic,
  6. he has passed an expert judicial examination,
  7. he has successfully passed the selection procedure.

A judge assumes office by taking an oath before the President of the Slovak Republic.

The specific relationship between a judge and the state from which the rights and duties of the judge and the state as laid down by the Judges Act derive, is established on appointment of the judge and ends when the judge ceases to hold office. In this relationship, the state is represented by the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic.

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A judge performs his duties as an occupation. The performance of a judge's duties is incompatible with another public office, a civil-service relationship, employment, business activities, membership of the management or supervisory body of a legal entity engaged in business activities, or other economic or gainful activity, apart from the management of the judge's own assets, academic, pedagogical, literary or artistic activity, or membership of the Judicial Council of the Slovak Republic.

The emoluments of judges are determined by law.

A judge may be transferred to another court only with his consent or by a decision of a disciplinary tribunal.

A judge may be criminally prosecuted or remanded in custody only with the consent of the Constitutional Court. Where this consent is denied, a judge is immune from criminal prosecution or remand over the period that he performs his duties as a judge.

2. Prosecutors

The prosecutor's office of the Slovak Republic protects the rights and legally protected interests of natural and legal persons and the state.

The prosecutor's office is headed by the prosecutor general, who is appointed and removed by the President of the Slovak Republic on a proposal from the National Council of the Slovak Republic.

The prosecutor's office is an autonomous hierarchically structured uniform system of public authorities headed by the prosecutor general, where prosecutors act in relations based on subordination and superiority.

A prosecutor is appointed without time-limit to a designated prosecutor's office by the prosecutor general.

A Slovak citizen who meets the following requirements may be appointed a prosecutor:

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  1. he has reached the age of at least 25 years on the date of appointment,
  2. he holds a university degree in law,
  3. he has full legal capacity,
  4. he is of good character and his moral qualities guarantee that he will duly perform the duties of a prosecutor,
  5. he is proficient in the national language,
  6. he is resident in the Slovak Republic,
  7. he is not a member of a political party or political movement,
  8. he has passed an expert judicial examination,
  9. he consents to his appointment as a prosecutor at a designated prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors carry out the duties of the prosecutor's office in criminal matters (the criminal prosecution of persons suspected of having committed an offence, supervision of legality in criminal proceedings, etc.) and in non-criminal matters by exercising their authority in proceedings before the courts, supervising the legality of public authorities' activities, and contributing to the preparation and implementation of preventive measures designed to obviate breaches of laws and other legislation of general application.

The performance of a prosecutor's duties is incompatible with another public office. A prosecutor may not, parallel to the performance of duties as a prosecutor, hold any other paid office, engage in business, or carry out other gainful activity, with the exception of the management of the prosecutor's own assets, academic, pedagogical, instructional, literary, journalistic or artistic activity. A prosecutor may hold offices in a professional organisation of prosecutors or in the National Institute of Magistracy.

The emoluments of prosecutors are determined by law.

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3. Court officers

Court officers are:

  1. senior court officers,
  2. registrars,
  3. probation and mediation officers (only in criminal proceedings).

Court officers are civil servants who must comply with the legal requirements posts in the civil service. Complete secondary education is sufficient to perform the duties of a registrar. High court officers must hold a university degree in law.

A high court officer, by virtue of a written authorisation from a judge, has the power to execute judicial acts in civil proceedings and autonomously take decisions on the scale laid down by law. For example, a high court officer takes decisions regarding petitions for the issue of a payment order, in probate proceedings, in enforcement proceedings, and in proceedings on the custody and redemption of instruments. He also rules on procedural decisions having a bearing, in particular, on evidence and the conduct of proceedings, e.g. on fines, the costs of evidence, legal costs, and the staying of proceedings.

A high court officer is also authorised to carry out actions independently which are connected with the preparation of hearings, the determination of conditions for the issue of in absentia judgments, judgments based on the recognition or waiving of an entitlement, and the preparation of judgments for judges.

Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, an appeal may be lodged against a decision issued by a court officer under the same conditions as against a decision of a judge. An appeal lodged against such a decision may be upheld in full by a judge. If a judge does not intend to uphold an appeal in full, the matter is presented to an appeal court for a ruling.

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High court officers have the status of a civil servant.

4. Bailiffs

A bailiff is a person appointed and empowered by the state to enforce court rulings and other decisions.

A bailiff carries out enforcement impartially and independently. In the performance of his duties, he is bound only by the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, constitutional laws, international treaties, laws, other general implementing legislation, and court rulings issued in enforcement proceedings.

In connection with enforcement activities, a bailiff has the status of a public official, and the performance of enforcement activities is regarded as the exercise of official authority.

A bailiff is appointed by the Minister for Justice. The bailiff’s registered office is designated on appointment of the bailiff.

A citizen who has full legal capacity, holds a university degree in law, is of good character, has at least three years’ experience of enforcement or judicial activity connected with the enforcement of decisions and has passed an expert examination may be appointed a bailiff. A person who has been subject to disciplinary action stripping him of the office of bailiff or who has been subject to disciplinary action striking him from the bar register, disciplinary action stripping him of the office of notary, disciplinary action stripping him of the office of prosecutor or disciplinary action removing him from the office of judge may not be a bailiff.

A bailiff’s activities are incompatible with another employment relationship, entrepreneurship, membership of the bodies of a commercial company or cooperative, or with the performance of other gainful activity, with the exception of academic, pedagogical, literary, artistic and journalistic activity.

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A bailiff carries out enforcement pursuant to authorisation issued by a court of enforcement.

In return for performing enforcement activities, a bailiff is entitled to a fee, reimbursement of cash expenses and compensation for lost time. The amount is determined by the Ministry of Justice by means of a regulation of general application.

The Slovak Chamber of Bailiffs is the self-governing institute of bailiffs. The role of the chamber and its bodies is to protect the interests of bailiffs, supervise the activities of bailiffs, and oversee other matters entrusted to it by law.

The Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic is responsible for supervising the activities of the chamber and bailiffs.

A bailiff is held liable for disciplinary wrongdoing resulting in an infringement of obligations in the performance of a bailiff’s duties, the breaking of the bailiff’s oath, conduct that violates the dignity of his office, and continuation of activities incompatible with the office of bailiff despite receiving prior warning.

5. Lawyers

In their practice, lawyers provide clients with legal services in the following manner: representation of clients in proceedings before courts, public authorities and other legal personalities, defence counsel in criminal proceedings, the provision of legal advice, the drawing-up of instruments on acts in law, the preparation of legal analyses, the management of clients’ estates, and other forms of legal guidance and assistance, if performed systematically and for a fee.

A lawyer is a person registered in the bar register kept by the Slovak Bar Association. In the provision of legal services, a lawyer is independent and is bound by legislation of general application and, within those limits, by the instructions of his clients. The practice of a lawyer is a liberal profession that may be pursued solely in accordance with the law.

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The Bar Association will register a person in the bar register who has full legal capacity, holds a university degree in law, has acquired at least three years’ experience as an articled clerk, has passed a bar examination, is of good character, has not been subject to final disciplinary action striking him from the bar register or register of articled clerks, has not been subject to disciplinary action stripping him of his office in another legal profession, and has taken an oath before the chairman of the Bar Association.

A lawyer may not be in an employment or similar working relationship, with the exception of pedagogical, journalistic, literary, academic or artistic activity, and must not engage in activities which are incompatible with the nature and ethical principles of the profession of a lawyer.

In practising his legal profession, a lawyer must protect and promote his clients’ rights and interests and follow their instructions. Where such instructions are inconsistent with legislation of general application, a lawyer is not bound by them and must advise the client thereof in an appropriate fashion. In practising his legal profession, a lawyer must act honourably and conscientiously; he must make rigorous use of all legal means and do everything in the client’s interest that he regards as beneficial. In doing so, he ensures that the legal services rendered are purposeful and efficient. In his practice, a lawyer proceeds in a manner that does not impair the dignity of the legal profession. In this respect, he is required, in particular, to follow rules on professional ethics. He is also obliged to preserve the confidentiality of all facts learned in his practice as a lawyer.

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A lawyer provides legal services for a fee, which is set by agreement between the lawyer and the client; if no agreement is reached, the lawyer is entitled to remuneration based on a scale of fees drawn up under a regulation of general application.

The Slovak Bar Association is a self-governing professional organisation bringing together all lawyers registered in the bar register kept by the association. The Bar Association’s bodies are the conference of lawyers, the presidium of the Bar Association, the review committee and the disciplinary committee.

Legislation to ensure the free exercise of lawyers’ services within the EU

A national of a Member State of the European Union or of another state party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area who is authorised to provide legal services independently by virtue of a professional title expressed in the official language of the state of registration is termed a ‘euroadvocate’ and is entitled to provide legal services in the Slovak Republic either as a guest euroadvocate or an established euroadvocate.

A guest euroadvocate is a euroadvocate who provides legal services in the Slovak Republic temporarily or occasionally; a guest euroadvocate may not draw up instruments on the transfer of immovable property. In the representation of a party to proceedings before a court or other public authority, and when acting as the defence counsel for the accused in criminal proceedings, a guest euroadvocate is obliged to cooperate with a lawyer registered in the bar register (‘cooperating lawyer’), otherwise he is not entitled to represent a party to proceedings or an accused in the capacity of lawyer.

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An established euroadvocate is a euroadvocate who provides legal services in the Slovak Republic systematically and who is registered in the register of euroadvocates kept by the Bar Association.

A euroadvocate is obliged to perform the duties of a domestic lawyer and to observe legislation in his state of registration.

A citizen of a Member State of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development who is authorised, in his state of registration, to provide legal services independently and without limit and who is registered in the register of foreign lawyers kept by the Bar Association may operate as a foreign lawyer.

A citizen of a Member State of the World Trade Organisation who is authorised, in his state of registration, to provide legal services independently and without limit and who is registered in the register of international lawyers kept by the Bar Association may operate as an international lawyer.

6. Notaries

A notary is a person appointed and empowered by the state to practise as a notary and carry out other activities in accordance with the law. Notarial activities comprise the drawing-up and issue of instruments on acts in law, the certification of legally significant facts, procedure in cases of notarial custody, and acts in matters of notarial central registers. In connection with his practice, a notary may provide parties with legal advice, draw up other documents, manage assets, and represent clients in the management of their assets.

In probate proceedings, the court appoints a notary to provide consultation on the inheritance in the capacity of court commissioner, and to issue a certificate of inheritance in cases where legal requirements have been met. The acts of a notary are regarded as the acts of a court.

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A notary is appointed by the Minister for Justice in the light of the results of selection procedure, as a general rule to hold office within the geographical jurisdiction of a court of first instance.

A citizen of the Slovak Republic may be appointed a notary if he has full legal capacity, holds a university degree in law, is of good character, has gained five years’ legal experience, of which at least two in the context of a notarial practice, has passed a notary examination, has not been subject to disciplinary action stripping him of the office of notary, has not been subject to disciplinary action stripping him of an office or striking him off the register of another legal profession.

Before he can start practising, a notary must take an oath, enter into a liability insurance contract covering damage that could occur in the course of his notarial activities, and remit a financial guarantee to the Chamber’s account at an amount set by the presidium of the Chamber to secure the connection of the notary’s office to the Chamber’s central information system.

A notary is impartial and independent in the performance of his duties. He is bound only by the Constitution, laws and other general implementing legislation. The office of a notary is incompatible with entrepreneurial activities or other gainful activity, except for the management of the notary’s own assets and those of his minor children, and academic, publishing, pedagogical, interpreting and artistic activity. A notary may not act as an expert in cases where he is a court commissioner.

State supervision of the activities of the Chamber and notaries is in the competence of the Minister for Justice of the Slovak Republic, who inter alia appoints and removes notaries, sets the number of notary’s offices for each court of first instance (number of notaries) and makes related changes as required.

A notary may refuse to execute a requested act only if that act would contravene a law or other legislation of general application. A notary and his employees are obliged to preserve the confidentiality of all facts learned in his practice as a notary.

In return for notarial activities, a notary is entitled to a fee, reimbursement of cash expenses and compensation for lost time. This fee is classified as income of the notary. A notary may demand a reasonable advance on his fee and cash expenses. The amount of the notary’s fee and the method used to set it are laid down in legislation of general application.

The Chamber of Notaries of the Slovak Republic, seated in Bratislava, is an autonomous professional organisation bringing together all notaries and maintaining the register of notaries. A notary becomes a member of the Chamber on appointment as a notary. Membership of the Chamber terminates on the removal of a notary from office, on his death or if he is declared dead. The role of the Chamber and its bodies is to protect the interests of the notarial profession, supervise the activities of notaries, and oversee other matters entrusted to it by law.

The Chamber’s bodies are the conference of notaries, the presidium of the Chamber, the review committee, the disciplinary committee, and the training committee.

« Legal professions - General information | Slovakia - General information »

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Last update: 18-12-2008

 
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