When, in a civil or commercial case, a court or other body in an EU Member State must serve a judicial or extrajudicial document on a party who is resident in another Member State or a legal person or state body that is established in the territory of another Member State, the document in question will be served on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No 1348/2000 of 29 May 2000 on the service in the Member States of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil or commercial matters. In Slovenia local courts are responsible for implementing requests for the service of documents. Documents are served on addressees in Slovenia in accordance with Slovenian law.
Specific rules on the service of documents are necessary to ensure respect for the constitutional and human rights of individuals to equal treatment before the law and the principle of adversarial proceedings. Parties must be given the opportunity to cooperate in proceedings and to acquaint themselves with the statements and evidence of the opposing party and with the court’s rulings and decisions relating to procedure and to the substance of the case. The rules on the service of documents are the practical means of allowing individuals to exercise their right to cooperate in proceedings and of applying the principle that both parties must be heard. It must be possible for parties in proceedings to be served documents properly in accordance with the rules on service that apply in the country in which the document is served.
The rules on the service of documents in cases where courts hear and decide on disputes arising from personal and family relations and disputes on property and other civil-law relations between natural and legal persons are laid down in the Civil Procedure Act (Zakon o pravdnem postopku – ZPP, Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia No 36/2004 – consolidated text).
The Slovenian legal system recognises two forms of service of documents – ordinary service under Articles 140 and 141 ZPP and personal service under Article 142 ZPP. The following documents are served in person: complaints, court decisions that are open to special appeal, extraordinary legal remedies and reminders to pay court fees for an action. Other documents are served in person only where this is laid down by law or where the court deems it necessary because the documents enclosed are in the original or for any other precautionary reasons. Otherwise ordinary service is used.
Under Article 132 ZPP, documents may be served on addressees in the territory of Slovenia in the following ways: by post, by a court official, at the court or in another manner laid down by law.
At the request of the opposing party, the court may order the service of documents by a legal or natural person that performs service as a registered activity on the basis of a special authorisation from the Minister responsible for justice (process-server).
Courts in Slovenia generally serve documents of foreign courts by inviting the party on whom the document must be served to come to the court, where he or she is formally notified that the court is not obliged to receive documents that are not translated into the Slovenian language.
Where the party has a legal representative or authorised representative, the document is served on that person, save where otherwise provided by law.
The forms of personal and ordinary service and the relevant procedures are laid down in Articles 140 to 144 ZPP.
Where it is impossible to serve a document on the addressee, the ZPP provides for other possibilities; the procedure differs according to whether ordinary service or personal service applies.
In the event of ordinary service under Article 140 ZPP, if a document must be served on a person and he or she cannot be found at home, the document is handed over to an adult member of the household, who is obliged to receive it. If no such person can be found in the home, the document is handed over to the house caretaker or a neighbour, with their agreement. If the document is served at the workplace, but the addressee cannot be found there, it may be handed over to a person employed in the same place, if he or she wishes to accept it. Documents may not be handed over to other persons if they are participating in the case as adversaries of the addressee.
Under Article 141 ZPP, which governs cases where service under Article 140 is impossible, a document may be served on a natural person as follows: the process-server hands the document over to the court that ordered service or - in the case of service by post - to the post office at the place of residence, leaving on the door or in the house letter box or outside letter box at the address of residence a notice stating where the document is and setting a deadline of 15 days in which the addressee must collect it. In the notice and in the document itself the process server must state the reasons for taking this action, together with the date when he left the notice for the addressee, and sign his name. In Slovenian law there exists a possibility of "notional" service under the third paragraph of Article 141 ZPP, which means that if the addressee fails to collect the document within 15 days, service is deemed to have been performed on the date when the notice was left on the door or in the house or outside letter box. This fact must be pointed out to the addressee in the notice. In accordance with the same Article, the court that ordered service must be informed that the document has been served in this way.
Under the second paragraph of Article 142 ZPP, where a person on whom a document must be served in person is not found in the place where the document is to be served, the process-server inquires when and where he might find that person and leaves behind with an adult member of the household or another person referred to in the first and second paragraphs of Article 140 ZPP, under the conditions laid down in that Article, a written message for the addressee telling him to be at his home or workplace on a certain date and at a certain time in order to receive the document. If it is not possible to hand over the message in this way, the process-server leaves it in the house letter box or outside letter box or on the door. If the process-server is still unable to find the person on whom the document is to be served, Article 140 or Article 141 ZPP is applied and service is deemed to have been performed (notional service).
Under the seventh paragraph of Article 142 ZPP, a document is deemed to have been served on a party in person if it has been served on his legal representative or authorised representative.
The certificate confirming that the document has been served (certificate of service) is signed by the recipient and the process-server. The recipient himself records the date of receipt in words on the certificate of service. If service is performed under the second paragraph of Article 142 ZPP, the certificate must confirm receipt and also state that the addressee was notified in writing beforehand.
Where a document is served in violation of the rules on service, this constitutes a material infringement of civil procedure, which may be used by the party to appeal against the decision issued in the proceedings in question.
If, on appeal, the court rules that unlawful treatment, in particular the failure to serve documents, has deprived the party of the opportunity to bring a matter before the court, it may set aside the judgment given by the court at first instance in a proceeding in which there was a material infringement of procedure. The court of first instance will have to bring a new action that is not defective and hence serve the document anew in accordance with the rules on service that apply in the State of the addressee.
As a rule you do not have to pay for the service of documents, except where the court orders - at a party’s request - that documents be served by a legal or natural person that performs service as a registered activity on the basis of a special authorisation from the Minister responsible for justice. In that case the party proposing service by process-server must pay an advance on the costs of service; at the end of the proceedings the costs of the proceedings are borne by the party that loses or by both parties, each proportionate to its success in the case.
Last update: 04-10-2006