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Basic Facts about the Country

Membership of the European Union

1 May 2004

Membership of the Council of Europe

14 May 1993

Entry into force of the European Convention on Human Rights

28 June 1994

Basic Facts about the Judiciary

Budget per inhabitant

Number of professional judges per 100,000 inhabitants


Tiers in the ordinary court system


First Instance Courts


Higher Courts (appeals)


Supreme Court


Constitutional Court


Nine judges are elected by the National Assembly, 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.

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

  • Eleven members, including six judges elected by judges among themselves, five nominated by the president of the republic and elected by parliament (the National Assembly) from among university professors and lawyers
  • Membership is honorary/unpaid.
  • Term of office: six years. Every three years, the parliament elects two to three members, and judges elect three members
  •  The Council president and vice president are elected from among its members by secret ballot, needing a two-thirds majority of all votes.

Court Presidents

  •  Appointed by the Judicial Council, except for the Supreme Court president

Personnel Councils (at each court)

  •  Consisting of court presidents and a few judges elected by judges

Judicial Training Centre

  •  Part of the Ministry of Justice
  •  Managed by a director who is a judge, seconded to the Centre for a term of three years

Ministry of Justice

  •  Office for the Supervision of the Court Management, established within the Ministry, headed by a judge

Distribution of Responsibility

Judicial Council
  • Selects and proposes candidates for judicial positions (including those on the Supreme Court) to the National Assembly; appoints an already elected judge to the advertised judicial post
  •  Appoints and dismisses presidents and vice presidents of all courts (other than the Supreme Court)
  •  Delivers an opinion in the process of the appointment and dismissal of the Supreme Court president
  •  Notifies the General Assembly about a final conviction of a judge
  • Proposes dismissals of judges to the National Assembly
  • Issues a declaratory decision on the termination of the judge
  •  Decides on promotions
  • Approves the negative evaluations of judges
  • Decides on the relocation of judges
  •  Nominates members of disciplinary bodies, initiates disciplinary procedures, and executes disciplinary sanctions as part of its disciplinary competences (these powers are being revisited through ongoing reforms)
  •  Adopts the criteria for judicial selection and professional evaluations; ethical code for judges
  •  Appoints the members of the commission for ethics and integrity
  •  Is consulted on organisational matters and the process of adopting relevant laws
  •  Gives opinions in cases of the detention or initiation of criminal procedures against judges
  •  Initiates a constitutional review with regard to regulations impinging on the constitutional status and the role of the judiciary
Court presidents
  • Preliminary selection of individuals to be appointed as judges by the National Assembly, upon a proposal by the Judicial Council
  • Chairing Personnel Councils and hence, participating in the professional evaluations of judges
  •  Administering courts
Personnel Councils (chaired by court presidents)
  •  Professional evaluations of peers; preparing judicial ratings – reviewing their peers, which influences judges’ chances of promotion and their entire careers
Judicial Training Centre
  • Initial and continuous training of judges, prosecutors, judicial assistants, and court clerks
  • Compulsory professional training of newly appointed court presidents and directors of the courts.
Ministry of Justice
  • The judiciary’s budget
  • Legislative drafts
  • Administrative oversight over the judiciary, through the Office for the Supervision of Court Management
  • Arranging continuing judicial education through the Judicial Training Centre
National Assembly
  • Adopts laws
  • Decides on the judiciary’s budget
  • Appoints all judges, upon the proposal of the Judicial Council
  • Elects the president of the Supreme Court (upon the proposal of the Ministry of Justice)
  • Dismisses judges, upon the proposal of the Judicial Council


Political (including parliamentary) appointments of (Supreme Court) judges

In Slovenia, the National Assembly, a legislative body, elects judges based on nominations by the Judicial Council. This applies to all first-time appointments to lower courts, as well as to appointments to the Supreme Court. While involving the legislature adds democratic value to the process, it creates the potential for the abuse of power by politicians, for example, by the rejection of deserving candidates for political reasons. Candidates who are not appointed have no recourse to judicial review against the Assembly’s decision, and the Assembly is not obliged to provide reasons for the rejection. Historically, the Assembly has automatically approved candidates proposed by the Council without substantial discussion but, in recent years, it has rejected a few candidates for Supreme Court positions. The Judicial Council argued that this amounted to the violation of the independence of judiciary, and called for the amendment of the Constitution and legislation to strip the National Assembly of these powers. This has sparked debates among experts and the public, with some considering it an exercise of checks and balances, while others view it as a risk for judicial independence.


In 2017, the Slovenian Constitutional Court asserted that the principle of separation of powers allows for various systems for judicial appointments. It also clarified that the Assembly’s rejection of proposed candidates does not violate the Constitution, since such decisions constitute acts of political discretion, and the Assembly is not obliged to explain them. However, a pattern of rejections would signal that selection is based on political considerations rather than merits, especially if it appears to be related to judges’ decisions in politically sensitive cases.


The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) has expressed concern about the failure to revise the procedure for appointing Supreme Court judges, and thereby minimising political influence. The European Commission echoed this concern in its 2023 Rule of Law Report, urging Slovenia to “ensure that the reform of judicial appointments contains adequate safeguards for judicial independence, taking into account European standards.”


To address these concerns, Slovenia is considering a constitutional amendment that would transfer the power to appoint first-time judges from the National Assembly to the president, while retaining the Judicial Council’s authority to select and propose candidates. The explanatory memorandum to the draft constitutional amendments did not, however, clarify whether the president would be obliged to follow the Council’s proposal, or whether the president would be required to provide the reasoning for refusal to appoint a candidate, and whether such a refusal would be subject to judicial review. An expert group appointed by the Constitutional Commission insisted on limiting the president’s discretion, by introducing an obligation to provide reasoning for rejecting candidates and to grant access to judicial review for such candidates. The group also strongly criticised the introduction of a probationary period before judges’ appointments for life, as it would pose a “systemic risk for a judge’s independence”, given the discretion in deciding about a judge’s permanent term of office.


In parallel, the Slovenian Ministry of Justice has been preparing amendments to the Judicial Service Act and the Courts Act that would transfer power to appoint Supreme Court judges and its president to the Judicial Council. The Council selects and proposes candidates for now. The Council and the Supreme Court support this proposal for the transfer of powers, but the Supreme Court insists that the Court’s president should be elected by the judges.

Parliamentary inquiries of the alleged abuse of power by judges and risks for judicial independence

Recently, the establishment of a parliamentary inquiry commission by the National Assembly endangered judicial and prosecutorial independence. The Commission’s mandate was to investigate the alleged abuse of power by judges and prosecutors in the prosecution of a high-profile right-wing politician. The Constitutional Court issued two orders temporarily prohibiting continuation of this investigation. In its final decisions, the Constitutional Court outlined the limits of parliamentary inquiry, under the principles of separation of powers and judicial independence/prosecutorial autonomy. The Court found that the Act establishing the parliamentary inquiry at hand was contrary to the Constitution, since the inquiry aimed at investigating the correctness of specific judicial decisions, and would thus lead to political control over judicial decision-making. The Court gave the legislature a year – until January 2022 – to remedy the legislative deficiency. The draft amendments are expected to be adopted by the end of 2023.


The European Commission identified the rules governing parliamentary inquiries as problematic, due to the lack of adequate safeguards for the independence of judges and prosecutors. It recommended introducing such safeguards in its 2022 Rule of Law Report, and since Slovenia has made some, but still insufficient progress, urged in its 2023 Report to “take forward the process”.

Danger of politicisation/lack of guarantees of prosecutorial independence

The composition of the nine-member State Prosecutorial Council raises concerns about potential politicisation of the Prosecutor’s Office. The majority of the Council’s members are appointed by politicians – four by the National Assembly, on a proposal by the president of the republic, and one by the minister of justice, among heads of District Prosecutor’s Offices. Only four members are elected by prosecutors themselves. This arrangement is viewed as problematic, especially as the Council holds significant decision-making powers over matters concerning state prosecutors – nomination, promotion, dismissal, etc. However, the Council’s most important decisions require reaching a high decision-making threshold (a two-thirds majority), which appears to serve as a safeguard against the political capture of the Council.

Low salaries of judges/court staff/prosecutors

The salaries of judges and state prosecutors have largely not changed in nominal terms since 2012, in stark contrast with the increased salaries of civil servants in the legislative and the executive branches. According to 2023 EU Justice Scoreboard, Slovenian judges’ and state prosecutors’ salaries are among the lowest in the EU, when compared to the average national salary. This disparity has raised concerns about the ability to attract and retain qualified individuals in the judiciary and Prosecutor’s Office.


The Judicial Council launched a procedure for constitutional review of judicial salaries, due to the imbalance between the public sector salary system and that for judges. On 30 June 2023, the Constitutional Court declared the judges’ salaries as unconstitutional and contrary to the principle of judicial independence, due to the lack of respect for the constitutional requirement of their stability. The Constitutional Court also recognised as relevant the imbalance of the salary grades of the judiciary compared to those of the legislative and executive branches, and the delay in increases of judges’ salaries compared to the increase of the average salary in Slovenia. The Court gave the National Assembly six months to remedy the situation. The elimination of disparities between the salaries of officials is envisaged as part of the upcoming 2023 public sector salary system reform.


In its 2023 Rule of Law Report, the European Commission urged Slovenian authorities to “take measures to increase the remuneration of judges and state prosecutors, taking into account European standards on resources and remuneration for the justice system.”

Issues with the functioning of the Judicial Council

The Judicial Council’s extensive formal powers are not matched by an adequate internal organisational structure to support its effective functioning. The Council’s honorary membership further contributes to its limitations. According to commentators, the Council does not have sufficient resources and staff to issue adequately reasoned decisions. As a result, the Council reportedly defers to other actors, such as court presidents and personnel councils, in its decision-making, including as regards judges’ promotion and career development. While the Council decides on these matters, the personnel councils and court presidents have significant influence on such decisions, a point highlighted by Slovenian scholars.


Empirical data collected by the Constitutional Court indicates that, when selecting new Supreme Court judges, the Council always picks candidates that have the backing of their future colleagues from the Supreme Court chamber to which they are to be appointed. Thus, while the Council has formal powers, it is the Supreme Court judges who effectively determine who joins them on the bench.


According to the ENCJ survey (2022), more than two-thirds of judges (70 per cent) either disagreed that judicial appointments and promotions were merit-based, or were not sure whether they were.

Flaws in disciplinary processes

In its 14 October 2021 judgment (U-I-445/18-13), the Constitutional Court found that the Judicial Council should not be able to initiate disciplinary proceedings against a judge where the Council members are also members of the Disciplinary Court. This dual role (with the same person initiating disciplinary proceedings and then deciding on disciplinary liability) can be grounds for questioning their impartiality. In order to prevent an unconstitutional situation, the Judicial Council decided not to start any disciplinary proceedings on its own initiative until the amendments resolving the issue are adopted. The Ministry of Justice prepared a draft amendment to address the Constitutional Court’s findings.

Judicial accountability gaps

The lack of accountability of the Slovenian judiciary has become a matter of concern, especially in connection with the transfer of powers to judges or judge-dominated bodies to enhance judicial independence. Critics argue that the judiciary has used the concept of judicial independence to avoid accountability, and has failed to address public or expert criticism.


The risk of arbitrariness is aggravated by the lack of transparency in decision-making by the Judicial Council. Commentators have expressed concern in connection with the Judicial Council’s closed meetings and its failure to provide reasoning for its decisions, including those on judicial appointments and promotions. A contentious issue was whether the Council was required to compare candidates to explain its choice. The Supreme Court (Order X Ips 333/2015 of 21 July 2016) validated the Council’s refusal to compare candidates, claiming that decision-making presupposes confidence in the Council’s decisions on the selection of the candidate that is most suitable for the office. The amendment to the Judicial Service Act of March 2015 obliged the Council to give a record of consultation and voting (presumably with the prevailing reason for the final decision). However, the Council reportedly does not fully comply with this obligation (no information is given regarding consultation) and, hence, there is no opportunity to verify why the Council selected one candidate and not another.

Risks for the internal independence of judges

Court presidents wield significant power, overseeing individual courts, running personnel councils, and sometimes even sitting in the Judicial Council. They have a significant role in the judicial selection; they prepare a preliminary reasoned selection of the best candidates for an advertised judicial position. Hence, they de facto filter who enters the judiciary. They also decide on the promotion of judges and play a leading role in the judicial evaluations by the personnel councils they are members of. Scholars explain this as “the informal influence they wield in a bureaucratic judicial structure, characterised by a collectivist judiciary as opposed to the one which is a sum of personally independent judges.” This power can be used to undermine internal judicial independence.


A case concerning the transfer of judges by court presidents is currently pending before the Constitutional Court. The current legislation gives court presidents unlimited power to transfer judges to other courts against their will. One such case prompted reflection in the Judicial Council, which then decided to request a constitutional review of these powers of presidents of the court from the perspective of judicial independence.

Positive Developments & Achievements

Despite the problems identified, there are a few developments that can be viewed as positive. A few good practices include:

  • The Constitutional Courts’ defense of judicial independence and prosecutorial autonomy, for example, in parliamentary inquiry cases;
  • The Judicial Council’s defence of internal judicial independence, by reacting to the transfer of a judge to another court by a district court president as a sanction for her behavior off-the-bench, and allocation of her cases to other judges. The Council asked for a review of the constitutionality of the legislation that was used as the basis for the transfer, and which granted unfettered discretion to the presidents of district courts to transfer judges in the district and local courts, by changing their annual work schedule.

Rankings and Surveys

Expert Recommendations

European Commission, EU Rule of Law Report, June 2023

It is recommended to Slovenia to:  

  • Take forward the process to ensure that rules on parliamentary inquiries contain adequate safeguards for independence of judges and state prosecutors, taking into account European standards on judicial independence. 
  • Ensure that the reform of judicial appointments contains adequate safeguards for judicial independence, taking into account European standards on judicial independence. 
  • Take measures to increase the remuneration of judges and state prosecutors, taking into account European standards on resources and remuneration for the justice system.
European Commission, EU Rule of Law Report, 2022

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 Slovenia to:  

  • Ensure that rules on parliamentary inquiries contain adequate safeguards for independence of judges and state prosecutors, taking into account European standards on judicial independence.
The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), Council of Europe

Adopted by GRECO at its 79th Plenary Meeting (Strasbourg, 19-23 March 2018) 

-Revision of the procedure for appointing judges to the Supreme Court to minimize the risks of political influence. 

  1. GRECO recommended that the Slovenian authorities consider revisiting the procedure of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, in order to minimise the possibilities of political influence. 
  2. GRECO recalls that this recommendation was not implemented according to the Second Interim Compliance Report. The Judicial Council had expressed its support for reform, but there were no tangible results to change the current procedure of election of judges to the Supreme Court by the National Assembly. 5 
  3. The authorities now state that the Ministry of Justice plans to present amendments to the Courts Act and the Judicial Service Act to the Government, which is to examine them to find ways of improving the appointment procedure of Supreme Court judges. The authorities indicate that these amendments are part of a broader reform of the judiciary, which also includes the optimisation of the judicial map. This requires a high level of support of all stakeholders and it will not be possible to propose these amendments to Parliament before the forthcoming parliamentary elections of June 2018. 
  4. GRECO takes note of the information concerning actions planned. However, in the absence of any tangible results, GRECO maintains its previous conclusion. 
  5. GRECO concludes that recommendation v remains not implemented.

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

Very good

Implementation record


Number of leading judgments pending implementation Very Low

13 %

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



Average time leading judgments have been pending implementation 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

Rutar and Rutar Marketing D.O.O. v. Slovenia,

The case concerns the violation of the applicants’ right to a fair trial due to the domestic courts’ failure in 2019 to reason their refusal to accede to the former’s request to seek a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (violation of Article 6 § 1).
The Court noted that neither the Nova Gorica Local Court nor the Constitutional Court addressed in any way the applicants’ request to seek a preliminary ruling, nor any other of their legal arguments (§63).
The government’s action plan/report is awaited.

View case details



Q and R v. Slovenia,

The case was concerned with excessive length of proceedings concerning foster care permission. The Court found a violation of the first applicant’s right to a fair trial on account of the excessively long foster care permission proceedings which commenced in 2016 and, as of the date of the Court’s judgment, were still pending at first instance (violation of Article 6§1). The Court found that the main reasons for the excessive length of the impugned proceedings related to the preparation of the expert reports, the remittal of the case following the first applicant’s constitutional complaint and the measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic (§ 79).

The government’s action plan was received on 1 February 2023 and is currently under assessment.

View case details



Dolenc v Slovenia,

The case concerns the violation of a right to a fair trial due to the recognition in 2017-2019 by Slovenian courts of judgments delivered in Israel, finding the applicant neurosurgeon liable for approximately 2.3 million euros in medical damages, without duly satisfying themselves of the Israeli trial’s fairness (violation of Article 6 § 1).
The Court found that in their decisions, the Slovenian courts did not attach sufficient weight to the consequences that the non-examination of the witnesses (including the expert on Slovenian law) via the Hague Evidence Convention procedure and the ensuing exclusion of their statements had for the applicant’s right to present evidence. It added that this right is a fundamental component of the principle of a fair hearing and the Slovenian courts should have satisfied themselves that it had been respected in the proceedings in Israel before recognising the Israeli judgments (§ 75).

The government’s Action plan/report is awaited.

View case details



Pintar and others v Slovenia,

This case concerns the authorities’ failure to introduce remedies that would provide the applicants with a reasonable opportunity to challenge the Bank of Slovenia’s 2013-2014 decisions, resulting in the cancellation of all shares or subordinated bonds held by the applicants, and/or seek compensation for the cancellation of shares or bonds they held in domestic banks (violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1). Under Article 46, the European Court indicated that the violation in this case affects many people and entities, namely thousands of former holders of the cancelled shares and bonds. It held that it was therefore essential that they have access to a legal avenue enabling them to effectively challenge the interference with their right of property, and that it must be provided in practice as soon as this becomes possible. Having regard to the time that has elapsed since the impugned measures were taken, the Court noted that it is particularly important that the appropriate arrangements are made in order to ensure that the proceedings, once initiated or resumed, are conducted without any further unnecessary delays (§114).

The Committee of Ministers examined the execution of this case during its 1468th DH meeting (June 2023)

On 17 June 2022 the authorities submitted an initial action plan (DH-DD(2022)665). On 23 March 2023 they provided an updated action plan (DH-DD(2023)361) the relevant information of which can be summarised as follows:

The authorities recalled that on 22 November 2019 the National Assembly of Slovenia adopted the Act on Procedures of Judicial Protection and Extrajudicial Settlement for Former Holders of Eligible Liabilities of Banks (“the 2019 Remedy Act”). This Act provided for proceedings in which the former holders of shares or subordinated debt could seek judicial protection or opt for an out-of-court settlement option with respect to the extraordinary measures cancelling their shares or subordinated bonds. The law inter alia set out rules regarding access to documents and information, publication of decisions, compensation for losses, collective litigation, resumption of proceedings, and deadlines for former holders to file actions It also envisaged that the cases would be dealt with exclusively by the Maribor District Court.

In March 2020 the Constitutional Court adopted a decision staying the implementation of the 2019 Remedy Act until it has rendered a final decision on its constitutionality. In January 2021, the Constitutional Court referred several questions regarding the interpretation of EU law to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“the CJEU”). Following the CJEU’s judgment on the above request dated 13 September 2022, on 16 February 2023 the Constitutional Court rendered its decision on the constitutionality of the provisions of the 2019 Remedy Act. The Constitutional Court annulled this piece of legislation. In particular, on the one hand, the Constitutional Court held that the Bank of Slovenia had not demonstrated that Article 10 (on the publication of certain documents on the Bank of Slovenia’s website) and Articles 11 to 23 (on the availability of relevant documents in the virtual data room) infringed the right to professional secrecy under Article 74(1) of the Constitution. On the other hand, it held that Article 40 of the 2019 Remedy Act was incompatible with the second sentence of Article 152(1) of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court found that the contested provision – which stipulates that the compensation fund shall be provided by the Bank of Slovenia from profit, dedicated reserves and general reserves affected the independence of the Bank of Slovenia, as it interfered with the Bank’s general reserves or prevented the Bank from forming them independently, and it was related to the imposition of liability for damages for the performance of a function that does not fall within the core functions of a central bank.

The authorities furthermore indicated that, in response to the present judgment, in June 2022 the Ministry of Finance established an interdepartmental working group, tasked to review the provisions of the 2019 Remedy Act and to prepare its amendments introducing an effective legal remedy for the individuals concerned. The working group met three times and through a further written exchange of views, drafted a proposal for improved, procedural solutions. The proposal was discussed with representatives of a group of independent legal experts engaged by the Bank of Slovenia. The Ministry of Finance has already started drafting a new law, taking into account the Court’s judgment, the procedural solutions elaborated by the working group and the above decision of the Constitutional Court. A first draft of the law was expected to be prepared and sent for public consultation by the end of March 2023. Its adoption by the National Assembly is foreseen by the end of 2023.

Finally, the authorities recalled that several applications similar to those in the present case were submitted to the Court. The government reached friendly settlements in several cases, pending the Constitutional Court’s decision.

Last Exam of the Committee of Ministers: 1468th CM-DH meeting, 5-7 June 2023

The Deputies

recalled that the European Court, in the present case, identified a structural problem affecting thousands of former holders of cancelled shares and bonds as a result of the extraordinary measures taken by the Bank of Slovenia in 2013 and 2014, and indicated that it is essential that all the affected persons have access to a legal avenue enabling them to effectively challenge the interference with their right of property, and that these proceedings are conducted without any further unnecessary delays;
noted with interest that the authorities have taken steps to prepare legislative amendments aimed at introducing the above-mentioned legal avenue for the persons concerned, taking into account the European Court’s judgment, and that these amendments are expected to be adopted by the end of 2023;
in light of the urgency of the situation indicated by the European Court, invited the authorities to adopt the envisaged legislative amendments, while co-operating closely with the Secretariat with a view to ensuring that the remedies to be introduced redress the violations found;
invited the authorities to provide the Committee of Ministers with information on the above points by 1 February 2024 at the latest.

View case details