The Slovenia Times

New amendments to the Constitution proposed

Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan presents proposed constitutional amendments. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA

The government has put forward an amendment to the Constitution designed to ease the workload of the Constitutional Court by giving it some discretion with regard to which cases it decides to hear, a change that the court has been demanding for years.

The key goal is to ensure better management of the backlog of cases at the court, Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan said on 18 May. The backlog has been a concern for a long time and it also undermines the right to a trial within a reasonable time, she added.

The country's top court has long demanded some say in which cases it admits. Right now anyone can petition the court, which consequently gets bogged down in minor cases that contribute little to what the court's job is supposed to be: to interpret the Constitution and decide on major constitutional issues.

The situation is a result of a very broad scope of the court's jurisdiction, which does not fully correspond to its specific role of a precedent court and supreme guardian of constitutionality and human rights, according to the minister.

Under the proposal, the court will have some discretion in choosing the cases to deliberate upon.

It would be able to decide on its own which petitions to process, but it would also have to take into account the systemic role of the case and the gravity of alleged violations of human rights and fundamental liberties.

The proposed amendment reduces the number of petitioners whose applications the court must deliberate on, and transfers certain jurisdictions to the Administrative Court.

Any changes to the Constitution require a two-thirds majority in parliament, which the government does not have.

The bill has already been presented to New Slovenia, the smaller of the two opposition parties, whose backing is enough for a two-thirds majority.

Švarc Pipan also intends to present it to the biggest opposition party, the Democrats.

This is the third set of changes to the Constitution put forward in the last few months.

In April two coalition parties and New Slovenia tabled amendments that would streamline the currently long and complex procedure for the appointment of a government.

And earlier this year the coalition tabled changes under which judges would be appointed not by the parliament but by the president.


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