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Cabinet backs civil law re-codification

THE SLOVAK cabinet has backed a proposal by the Justice Ministry to re-codify the civil law. The Code of Civil Procedure, Civil Suit Procedure and Civil Non-suit Procedure shall replace the Civil Procedure Code dating back to 1963. 

(Source: Sme)

The proposed laws belong among the biggest and most important legal reforms since Slovakia became independent in 1993, each of them having around 500 paragraphs. Justice Minister Tomáš Borec stressed that the re-codification of civil law “brings a whole complex of changes that shall speed up, simplify and improve civil proceedings to a completely new level. They should mean an important move forward,” he stressed, as quoted by the SITA newswire. He called the approved laws “a Christmas gift for citizens who can look forward to them”.

Borec said that after the first reading in January 2015, the draft shall be commented upon and changed; until summer, the draft should be passed and become effective only in July 2016 – taking into consideration how crucial they are.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Daniela Švecová and head of the Judicial Council Jana Bajánková were present at the discussion surrounding them which only shows their importance.

The Civil Suit Procedure is the key part of the re-codification; it defined the steps of the court, parties and people who are involved in court proceedings.

Things to be changed include the delivery of summons for natural entities; the concentration of suit behaviour (when a judge will be able to set a deadline for both parties to present evidence, and afterwards, no new evidence will be accepted); the introduction of the preliminary hearing term of the suit (which could find e.g. that no trial is needed in fact); the duty of each party to secure the witnesses proposed for trial; and a fine of up to €500 if any party claims bias of a judge, but this was later refused and found to be an obvious obstruction.

The Code of Civil Procedure will be used in cases scrutinising decisions of public administration bodies; and the Civil Non-suit Procedure will be used in a non-suit agenda, mainly consisting of cases when the state and society have eminent interest in solving them, like deciding on minors, inheritance cases, etc.

Unlike the suit cases; in non-suit cases the court is not reliant on evidence brought by parties alone, but has to produce evidence itself. A proceeding can be usually launched also without any party proposing it, unlike the suit cases.  

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