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State passes legislation to protect itself from lawsuits

The ruling Smer party pushed through an amendment in parliament on Wednesday, October 17, that makes it more difficult to claim reimbursement for mistakes by the state. As of December 2012, citizens will be able to claim damage only if they use vaguely defined "efficient tools for reparation", the Sme daily wrote in its Thursday issue.

The ruling Smer party pushed through an amendment in parliament on Wednesday, October 17, that makes it more difficult to claim reimbursement for mistakes by the state. As of December 2012, citizens will be able to claim damage only if they use vaguely defined "efficient tools for reparation", the Sme daily wrote in its Thursday issue.

The amendment also introduces a limit to any reimbursement. The state will pay maximum of €16,000 in non-pecuniary damages. Justice Minister Tomáš Borec, whose ministry submitted the revision, argued, as quoted by Sme, that he wanted to prevent cases when a citizen intentionally does not report a mistake in order to profit from it.

His spokesman Pavol Kubík says that the intention is to force citizens not to be passive and to file a complaint to the respective office, reporting the mistake and thus preventing further damage.

However, Peter Wilfling, a lawyer cooperating with the legal-affairs pressure group Via Iuris, warned that the amendment does not allow for sufficient reimbursement. "It is at odds with the European Convention on Human Rights," he commented.

The TASR newswire wrote that meanwhile a proposal by opposition MP Martin Chren (Freedom and Solidarity (SaS)) to include a provision on introducing material responsibility for public officials in managing public resources was rejected by Smer, despite his argument that similar legislation is in place in neighbouring Austria, and that the law would encourage public officials to be more careful when spending public money.

Sources: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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