Judiciary not perceived as independent

Slovakia is still at the bottom in perception of independence of judiciary.

Courtroom, illustrative stock photoCourtroom, illustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

Slovaks perceive the judiciary in their country the least independent compared to other European Union’s countries. This stems from the 2016 EU Justice Scoreboard report.

It suggests that Slovaks have not changed their perception of independence of their country’s judicial system compared with last year, which puts it to the last place among EU countries. The main reason for such a state is the interference of government, politicians and business people into judges’ work, the SITA newswire reported.

The most independent courts, according to the review, are in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Austria.

The report also indicates that Slovakia failed to shorten the length of civil and commercial proceedings, which still last more than 500 days. This places Slovakia among the four least effective EU countries, SITA wrote.

The length of proceedings in Slovakia extended between the years 2010 and 2014. On the other hand, Slovakia managed to shorten the length of administrative proceedings.

Moreover, the number of issued verdicts in administrative proceedings is higher than the number of new proceedings, which is a result of more effective administrative proceedings. On the other hand, the number of verdicts in civil and commercial proceedings is still lower than the number of new cases, SITA wrote.

As for the number of judges, Slovakia belongs to the European average. The report also shows that in number of court disputes per 100 inhabitants Slovaks belong among the top six states in Europe. On the other hand, the country fails to cut the duration of bankruptcy proceedings which last four years on average. This places it at the bottom of the EU.

The European Commission considers the use of IT an effective tool to make judiciary more effective as they help to save costs and cut duration of proceedings. Slovakia succeeded in securing online acceptance of complaints and other motions at all courts, which is not typical in all EU countries. The weak point, however, still remains the insufficient provision of electronic communication between the courts and lawyers.

On the other hand, Slovakia is a leader in publishing court decisions, SITA wrote.

The review also suggests that Slovakia belongs to countries which contribute the least money to legal aid.

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