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Basic Facts about the Country

Membership of the European Union

1 May 2004

Membership of the Council of Europe

30 June 1993

Entry into force of the European Convention on Human Rights

1 January 1993

Basic Facts about the Judiciary

Budget per inhabitant

Number of professional judges per 100,000 inhabitants


Tiers in the ordinary court system


District Courts


Regional Courts


Specialised criminal Court


Supreme Court


Supreme Administrative Court


Constitutional Court


Nine judges are elected by the National Council (the parliament), based on the proposal of the president of the republic, for a non-renewable term of nine years.


The president of the Court is elected by judges from among themselves, for a term of three years.


Following the 2020 constitutional reform, only one-third of judges can now be elected during one term of parliament. This helps avoid concentration of powers in the hands of one political party.

Public Prosecutor

Part of the executive branch, but independent


The main powers regarding the career of state prosecutors and its functioning rest with the State Prosecutorial Council (a body of self-governance) and the prosecutor general

Gender breakdown of judges

All instances


Supreme court

View source

Judicial Governance

Type of governance system

Judicial council model - Moderate

Judicial Council

  • Eighteen members: nine are serving judges, elected and recalled by their peers (all of the judges); three are appointed and recalled by the president of the republic; three are appointed and recalled by the government; and three appointed and recalled by the National Council. The National Council, the president and the government can appoint only a person that is not a serving judge. According to the Slovak authorities, this measure increases public control of the judiciary and integrates perspectives from outside of the judicial environment. This still leaves the Judicial Council with nine judge members elected by their peers.
  • Court presidents can no longer be elected as members of the Judicial Council.

Selection Committees

  • New judges are now selected by five-member committees, consisting of two members nominated by the Judicial Council, two members nominated by the minister, and one member elected by the collegium of judicial boards of the given region.
  • Court presidents are also selected by five-member committees. However, three members of such committees are nominated by the minister of justice, meaning the executive branch still has control over the process, but the remaining spots are reserved for one judge nominated by the Judicial Council and one by the judicial board of the court

Court Presidents

  • The minister of justice appoints all court presidents, except for the presidents of the supreme courts for a five-year term from judges who were successful in the selection procedure and who are not members of the Judicial Council. Court presidents are selected through a transparent procedure. A candidate can be any judge from any court of the same or higher instance than the court of the opened position. The selection committee consists of five members: three nominated by the minister, one elected by the Judicial Council, and one by a respective court. A simple majority of the present members is required for a decision. Selection procedures are public, except for voting for members of the selection committee.
  • The president of the republic appoints the president and vice-president of the Supreme Court from the judges of the Supreme Court, upon a proposal of the Judicial Council, for five years. The same applies to the president and vice-president of the Supreme Administrative Court, respectively. The same person may be appointed to two consecutive terms. The president and vice-president of the Supreme Court and of the Supreme Administrative Court, respectively, can only be dismissed by the president of the republic during their term based on reasons contained in Article 147 of the Constitution.

Disciplinary Bodies

  • Pursuant to an 11 November 2021 act, disciplinary proceedings against judges are conducted by disciplinary bodies composed of five members, three of which, including the chair, are judges of the Supreme Administrative Court. Two members are selected randomly from a list of persons elected by the Judicial Council. A judge condemned in the disciplinary proceedings may challenge the decision before an appellate body if the decided sanction is dismissal from office. Stakeholders have welcomed the new regime of disciplinary proceedings, expecting, among other things, an increase in efficiency, transparency, and uniformity of decisions.
  • A judge condemned in the disciplinary proceedings may challenge the decision before an appellate body if the decided sanction is dismissal from office. The appellate body is composed of five judges of the Supreme Administrative Court.
  • There is also the possibility to challenge the decision of the disciplinary panel before the Constitutional Court in such cases.
  • Prior to the reform, disciplinary proceedings were conducted by disciplinary bodies organised and supervised by the Judicial Council.

Judicial Boards

  • Has three to nine members, elected from among and by the court’s judges for five years. Court presidents and vice-presidents are barred from being members.

Judicial Academy

  • The supreme body of the Academy is the Board, which manages the training and educational activities of the Academy from the professional point of view. The Board has ten members. The statutory body of the Academy is the director, who is nominated and removed by the Ministry of Justice, upon the proposal of the board.

Distribution of Responsibility

Judicial Council

Competences under the Constitution:


  • Adopts opinions as to whether candidates for appointment to the post of judge meet the prerequisites of judicial eligibility; submits to the president of the republic the names of candidates proposed to be appointed judges, and the names of judges proposed to be removed
  • Decides on the assignment and transfer of judges
  • Submits to the president of the republic proposals to appoint the chairman and deputy chairman of the Supreme Court, and the chairman and deputy chairman of the Supreme Administrative Court, as well as for their recall
  • Submits proposals to the government of candidates for judges who should represent the Slovak Republic in international judicial bodies
  • Comments on a draft budget of the courts, in the process of drafting of the state budget, and submits to the National Council an opinion on the draft budget for the courts
  • Supervises whether a judge meets the prerequisites of judicial eligibility that give assurance that they will discharge the duties of a judge properly for the entire duration of their judicial term
  • Issues the principles of judicial ethics, in cooperation with the bodies of judicial self-administration

Additional competences under the Act on the Judicial Council:

  • Participates, to the extent provided by law, in the management and administration of the courts
  • Evaluates reports on the results of the internal review of the courts, analyses the causes of the deficiencies found, and proposes measures for their elimination
  • Adopts measures to strengthen public confidence in the judiciary
  • Ensures the participation of its members in the sessions of the plenary of the Supreme Court and the plenary of the Supreme Administrative Court, and in the selection commissions, pursuant to a special regulation
Court Presidents
  • Administration of their respective courts
  • Creation of work schedules
  • Appointing chamber presidents
  • Giving their opinions for the purpose of evaluating judges’ performance
Selection Committees
  • Selection of judges
  • Selection of court presidents
Judicial Boards
  • Issue opinions on the courts’ budget and on work schedules
  • Have the power to file disciplinary motions
  • Selection of court presidents
  • Can elect the members of the committee that selects court presidents
Disciplinary Bodies
Judicial Academy
  • Provides training for judges
Judicial Associations
  • Election of Judicial Council members (de facto)
  • Influence on the functioning of the Judicial Council (de facto)
Ministry of Justice
  • Managing financial, personal, material resources
  • Managing the organisation of courts
  • Involved in the selection of court presidents


Issues with the functioning of the Judicial Council

In the early 1990s, powers related to judicial careers were concentrated in the hands of the executive. Once established, in 2002, the Judicial Council emerged as a powerful actor in the appointment, promotion, and secondment of judges, and with considerable powers in disciplining and dismissing judges. Slovak academics have argued that putting a powerful council in charge of judicial careers to depoliticise the system resulted in the aggrandisement of judicial elites, and reduced democratic accountability.


The European Commission urged the authorities to improve the regime for the dismissal of non-judge members of the Judicial Council. The conditions for the dismissal of non-judge members of the Council have not been laid down in law. This created the risk that they would be removed prematurely in an arbitrary fashion. There has been no progress in ensuring that the process of removing members of the Judicial Council is independent and non-partisan, although no members have actually been dismissed.


In their submissions to the Commission, the Slovak authorities argued that the provision had not been abused in practice. While they acknowledged the Commission’s concerns, they pointed out that achieving the constitutional majority needed for legislative changes seemed impossible in the given political context.

Aggrandisement and lack of accountability of the prosecutor general

Currently, under Article 363 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the prosecutor general has the power to annul any decision of lower ranking prosecutors or the police made in the course of criminal proceedings. It has been a subject of concern for the civil society that this provision provides the prosecutor general with too many powers to intervene in pre-trial proceedings. The prosecutor general can, for example, annul an indictment order. There is no legal remedy against such a decision, and no judicial review. This power has been used to stop criminal proceedings against several high-profile defendants, including those from SMER-SD party. Stakeholders have raised concerns regarding the consistency and transparency of the process.


A group of MPs and the president of the republic challenged the article before the Constitutional Court, but the latter concluded that the provision did not violate the Constitution. The European Commission emphasised that interested parties or victims should be able to challenge decisions of the public prosecutors not to prosecute. The Commission also noted that lower ranking prosecutors should be able to appeal against assignments by or the instructions of superior prosecutors. It was suggested that, overall, a limitation of powers of the prosecutor general would be in line with European standards related to autonomy and internal independence within the prosecution services.

Concerns about judicial and prosecutorial integrity

There is a longstanding concern regarding integrity within the Slovak Justice system. In 2022, high-profile police operations involving judges resulted in four indictments, two proposals for indictments, and three convictions in court. Twelve investigations were ongoing as of March 2023.


As part of the 2020 Constitutional amendments, the parliament introduced the new criminal offence of “abuse of law”, under which judges may be prosecuted for any arbitrary decision causing damage or bestowing a favour on another person. The amendment was introduced to enhance the integrity of judges. This provision raised concerns about the risks of its abuse, and the need for sufficient guarantees against such abuse. In February 2023, the Judicial Council approved a resolution demanding the offence be removed from the Criminal Code, yet the Judicial Council does not have the power of legislative initiative and, therefore, the motion was sent to the minister of justice. It emerges from a report by the NGO Via Iuris that the Ministry of Justice ultimately proposed an amendment, but it has yet to be approved.


By March 2023, more than 100 crime reports had been filed based on this provision, and one judge was convicted for this crime. Stakeholders reiterated that the mere existence of such a crime and such complaints has a negative psychological effect on judges, as the lack of clarity and insufficient safeguards could lead to the misuse of the provision. The European Commission urged Slovak authorities to ensure that sufficient safeguards against abuse are in place and observed when subjecting judges to criminal liability for the crime of “abuse of law” as regards their judicial decisions.

Positive Developments & Achievements

The reform of the judicial map has entered into force, as one of the key reforms to make the justice system more efficient The reform, which is also part of the Slovak National Recovery and Resilience Plan, decreases the number of district courts from 54 to 36, changes the territories of regional courts, and establishes five municipal courts. This will allow the introduction of specialisation of judges on the main judicial agendas – civil, criminal, commercial, and family law. Administrative law cases will be addressed in a separate system of administrative courts. The expectation is that the new map and specialisation of judges will improve the efficiency and quality of the justice system.

The reform of the disciplinary system has been assessed relatively positively.

The activities of the Judicial Council have been praised as overall transparent.

Rankings and Surveys

Expert Recommendations

European Commission, EU Rule of Law Report, June 2023

Overall, concerning the recommendations in the 2022 Rule of Law Report, Slovakia has made:

  • No progress yet on ensuring that the members of the Judicial Council are subject to sufficient guarantees of independence as regards their dismissal, taking into account European standards on independence of Judicial Councils.
  • No progress on ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place and duly observed when subjecting judges to criminal liability for the crime of “abuse of law” as regards their judicial decisions.


On this basis, in addition to recalling the commitments made under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, relating to certain aspects of the justice system, it is recommended to Slovakia to:

  • Introduce measures to ensure that the members of the Judicial Council, notably those not elected by judges, are subject to sufficient guarantees of independence as regards their dismissal, taking into account European standards on independence of Judicial Councils.
  • Ensure that sufficient safeguards are in place and duly observed when subjecting judges to criminal liability for the crime of “abuse of law” as regards their judicial decisions.
Liberties, Key recommendations, 2023

Key recommendations

  • Revision of Section 363 of Act No. 301/2005 Coll. Criminal Procedure Code and consideration of comprehensive reform of the prosecutor’s office (including regulation of internal relations, competences, external and internal independence, the relationship between the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Special Prosecutor’s Office, training and appointment of future prosecutors).
  • Full and timely implementation of the new judicial map
  • Further clarification of the competence and activities of the Judicial Council

Compliance with European Courts' Judgements

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)

State Performance


Number of unimplemented CJEU rulings related to the judiciary

European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

State Performance

Moderately poor

Implementation record


(5% of total)

Number of leading judgments pending implementation Moderate

51 %

Percentage of leading judgements from the last 10 years still pending implementation High



Average time leading judgments have been pending implementation Moderately Low
Non-Implementation of European Courts Judgments and the Rule of Law | EIN & DRI

Judgements with pending implementation

Selected on relevance to the judiciary / rule of law

Harabin v Slovakia,

Breach of the applicant’s right to a fair hearing by an impartial tribunal in disciplinary proceedings before the Constitutional Court in 2011, which related to his role as the President of the Supreme Court and which led to the imposition of a disciplinary sanction (violation of Article 6 § 1).

The judgment was published in the Judicial Review and disseminated among the judges of the Constitutional Court. Emphasising the isolated nature of the violation found, the authorities are of the view that the dissemination measures are sufficient to prevent future similar violations.

View case details



Maxian and Maxianova v Slovakia,

The Maxian and Maxianova group of cases concerns excessive length of civil proceedings, enforcement proceedings or administrative judicial proceedings examined by the civil courts (violations of Article 6 §1).

General measures: Practical and technical measures were adopted between 2013 and 2019 with a view of accelerating proceedings, followed by adoption of two new codes of civil procedure in 2015: the Code of Civil Dispute Procedure and the Code of Civil Non-dispute Procedure, as well as the new Code of Administrative Procedure. They entered into force from 1 July 2016. Moreover, wide-ranging awareness raising activities took place with a view to harmonisation of the case-law of the Constitutional Court with the European Court’s case-law on the matter. The reform of the judicial map is also underway. The relevant judgments were published and disseminated among domestic judges and in particular, Constitutional Court judges. The authorities also work on a project with the CEPEJ covering, among others, timeframes, statistical data collection and electronic case management.

The average length of civil proceedings in 2018 was 21,78 months, in 2019 – 21,6 months, and in 2020 – 21,66 months (calculated from the lodging of the case to the final decision of first instance). The authorities report that the methods of data collection and reporting have been synchronised with the CEPEJ norms. The authorities note that the statistics for the district and regional courts for the past three years (2018-2020) show that in almost all types of cases these courts dealt with, the clearance rate is near or above 100%, which indicates that the backlog is decreasing or not increasing in most cases. Although the disposition time has increased over the past three years in respect of the district courts and the Supreme Court, it nevertheless remains, in most type of the cases, below one year.

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Javor and Javorova v Slovakia,

Excessive length of proceedings concerning a compensation claim attached to criminal proceedings and excessive length of criminal proceedings lasting for different periods between 2002 and present (violation of Article 6).

Questions about the excessive length of criminal proceedings were previously examined by the Committee of Ministers in the Krumpel and Krumpelová groups of cases, after the authorities had adopted acceleratory measures and an effective remedy to speed up proceedings, including pre-trial investigations. In the cases from the Javor and Javorova group, the delays have been accumulated in their main part or entirely after the measures in the Krumpel and Krumpelová group had been adopted.

As concerns the current case-law of the Constitutional Court on the civil claim attached to the criminal proceedings, the authorities refer to a letter from the President of the Constitutional Court, in which the latter analysed the practice of that court, cited judgments in which that court had referred specifically to the findings of the European Court in the Javor and Javorova judgment and concluded that the practice was in line with the case-law of the European Court.

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Kuc v Slovakia,

The case concerns the lack of “relevant and sufficient” reasons provided by the courts when assessing if the applicant should remain in pre-trial detention after the quashing of his previous conviction (concerning two periods from April to September 2016 and from April to November 2017), as well as lack of special diligence by the authorities in the conducting of the procedure (violation of Art. 5 § 3).

An action report was provided on 22/03/2022 (DH-DD(2022)365). Comments by the Department for the Execution of Judgments were provided on 25 March 2022. Updated action report is awaited.

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Draft – Ova A.S. vs Slovakia,

This group of cases concerns a breach of the right to a fair trial on account of extraordinary appeals lodged by the Prosecutor General and allowed by the Supreme Court against final, binding and enforceable judgments given in civil lawsuits in the applicant companies’ favor. The European Court found that the interference in the final decisions was in breach of the principle of legal certainly as well as that of equality of arms (violation of Article 6§ 1).

In the case of DRAFT – OVA A.S. the Court also found the interference with the applicants possessions may not be considered justified since a fair balance was not preserved and the applicant company was required to bear an individual and excessive burden (violation of Article 1 Protocol 1).

As of 1 July 2016, the new Code of Civil Contentious Procedure replaced the Code of Civil Procedure. New provisions on extraordinary appeals on points of law provide for a strengthened protection against unjustified interference with final, binding and enforceable judgments, in line with the Court’s case-law. The admissibility conditions for filing extraordinary appeals by the Prosecutor General have been considerably reduced; so, has been the time limit for bringing an extraordinary appeal – from one year to six months. The judgments in the present cases were also published and disseminated and, in the follow-up, the Constitutional Court on 18 March 2015 adopted a uniform opinion according to which extraordinary remedy could not be used to quash the judicial decision in cases of disagreement on assessment of facts or legal conclusions made by the courts in the ordinary proceedings. The authorities provided examples of the newest case-law which followed the abovementioned approach.

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