THE SUPREME COURT OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC

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The Slovak Republic is a sovereign democratic state governed by the rule of law. After coming into existence on 1st January 1993 the country rapidly gained diplomatic regognition by the world´s leading nations.

The State system of the Slovak Republic is a parliamentary democracy with a 150-member unicameral parliament (National Council of the Slovak Republic). The head of State is the President elected by the Parliament, and the supreme executive body is the Government of the Slovak Republic.

Under Chapter VII of the Constitution, judicial power in the Slovak Republic is exercised by the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic and other courts. An independent body to oversee compliance with the Constitution is the Constituonal Court of the Slovak Republic.

The courts rule on criminal and civil matters and review the legality of decisions made by administrative bodies. Judges sit on panels unless the law prescribes that the matter is to be decided by a single judge. The law specifies the cases in which the panels include lay judges as well as professional judges. The judgments are announced in the name of the Slovak Republic and are always announced in public.

Judges are independent in their decision-making and are bound only by law. If so provided by the Constitution or the law, judges are also bound by international instruments.

The system of courts in the SR consists of:

The Supreme Court of the SR, which sits in Bratislava; regional and district courts; and the Higher Military Court and military district courts.

As of 30 April 1999, the number of judges at courts of all levels in the Slovak Republic was 1,222; 77 were judges of the Supreme Court of the SR.

Under the law, the Supreme Court of the SR is the highest judicial authority of the Slovak Republic. It exercises its jurisdiction through its panels and their presiding judges; through divisions and their presiding judges; and through the President and Vice-President of the Supreme Court of the SR.

The distribution of cases at the Supreme Court in a given calendar year is determined by the work schedule formulated by the President of the Supreme Court upon a proposal presented by the presiding judges of the various divisions.

The Supreme Court sits on three-member panels composed of the presiding judge and two judges, and on five-member panels composed of the presiding judge and four judges. The head of the panel is the presiding judge.

Three-member panels:

rule on regular and exceptional legal remedies which challenge decisions made by regional courts, district courts, the Higher Military Court and military district courts, and other cases as set out in the law;

examine the legality of decisions made by central authorities of the state administration, unless the law stipulates otherwise;

decide on the recognition and enforceability of decisions of foreign courts in the territory of the SR in cases prescribed by law or byinternational treaty.


Five-member panels

rule on exceptional legal remedies which challenge decisions that the Supreme Court panels have adopted regarding regular legal remedies.

Based on the knowlegde derived from their decision-making, the panels:

suggest which of their final decisions should be published in the Collection of Judicial Decisions and Opinions of the Courts of the Slovak Republic;

bring to the attention of the presiding judge of the division those cases in which final court decisions reflect conflicting interpretations of laws and other generally binding regulations;

prepare inputs for the report of the Supreme Court concerning the effects of laws and other generally binding regulations, and for the proposals of new legislation.