THE COURT SYSTEM IN THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC
In the Slovak Republic difference is made between general courts and a separate court, which is the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic. Independent and impartial courts administer general justice.
The Slovak Republic has a two-level court system.
District courts are competent courts to try proceedings at first instance. Regional courts hear cases as appeal courts. The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic has the function of an appellate review court. Being the supreme judicial body the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic never acts as a first instance court.
The system of courts is composed of:
- The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic with its seat in Bratislava – and other courts (Article 143 of the Constitution SR), i.e.
- regional courts
- district courts
The courts decide in civil and criminal matters, they also review the lawfulness of decisions by administrative bodies. They decide in panels of judges unless the law provides that a single judge shall decide in the matter. The law stipulates when lay judges chosen from citizens participate in the decision-making of panels and in which cases a court official authorised by the court can also decide.
The Constitution of the Slovak Republic stipulates the status of judges, of the President and Vice-presidents of the Supreme Court (appointment, removal, resignation and other). A more detailed regulation of the court system, their jurisdiction, organisation and proceedings before them as well as the manner in which the lay judges are appointed shall be laid down by law (Articles 143 and 148 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic).
The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic is an independent judicial body protecting the constitutionality (Article 124 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic). The Constitution of the Slovak Republic lays down the status of the Constitutional Court and of Constitutional Court justices. In addition to deciding on the conformity of lower legal norms with higher legal norms, the Constitutional Court also decides competence conflicts between the central bodies of state administration unless the law stipulates that another state authority shall decide in these disputes. The Constitutional Court also decides on various complaints, interprets the Constitution or constitutional statutes in disputed issues. A separate legal norm specifies details of the organisation of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic.