The Slovenia Times

Judicial Council points to systemic issues in annual report


Ljubljana - The Judicial Council highlights several systemic issues in its 2021 report, which is published on the website of the National Assembly, noting that judges should not be appointed by MPs, that courts are understaffed and judges underpaid, while the generation gap among judges is deepening. It also calls for a better promotion system.

The number of judges in Slovenia must increase to come closer to the EU average, the council says in the report, joining the calls by the Supreme Court that the gradual decrease in the number of judges must not continue unless courts are provided with properly trained support staff in sufficient numbers.

Noting that the generation gap among judges has been deepening, the council insists that the main criteria for picking candidates for judges must still be their expertise. The gender and age structures of judges at a particular court are already taken into account, it says.

It is right that in general, judges are people who have experience with life and work, the council says, adding that it supports the efforts of the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Court for an overhaul of the system of training for judges.

A major obstacle to employing the best legal experts as judges and to judicial independence is pay, the council believes, noting that judges' pay has not changed since 2012.

The council turned to the Constitutional Court last year regarding judges' pay and would like the government and parliament to address it before the court reaches a decision.

As for the system of promotions, the council insists that it should be simplified and that special attention should dedicated only to the judges who are graded as either very good or as very bad.

The council has also been calling for a while for a comprehensive strategy to optimise the network of courts around the country to improve efficiency.

In 2021, the 11-member Judicial Council, which among others vets candidates for judges, held 22 regular and two correspondence sessions and shortened the judges appointment procedure by eight days to an average 159 days.

Last year, a total of 33 calls for applications were issued for judges, up 38% compared to the year before. The number of candidates who applied was the second largest in the last five years.


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