Courts reducing backlogs, but issues remain

Ljubljana – Slovenian courts continued to reduce backlogs last year, even compared to the pre Covid-19 time, but the results are less good in major cases and in the per-judge resolution rate, Supreme Court President Damijan Florjančič reported on Wednesday as he presented the 2021 court statistics. Trends are not favourable at the Administrative Court either.

Overall, Florjančič assessed that Slovenian courts successfully adapted to the changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and preformed relatively well.

“I won’t say that the results were excellent, because they can’t be during the Covid-19 epidemic, but we adapted to the situation with appropriate measures,” he told reporters.

The number of unsolved cases rose above 5% in 2020 but the trend was reversed in 2021. The courts resolved more cases than they received and by the end of the year reduced the number of pending cases again.

The number of pending cases was reduced by 4% compared with 2019 and by 31% compared with the end of 2016, said Florjančič as he addressed a ceremony launching a new legal year.

However, speaking to reporters, he said the number of major pending cases last year was up by 7% when compared with the pre-Covid year of 2019. The Supreme Court will thus dedicate specific attention to this area this year.

They will also focus on why the number of resolved cases per judge and in general has been “constantly” decreasing in recent years. A special taskforce has been formed to look into that.

Taskforces have also been formed to examine and form positions on legislative amendments that are being drawn up by the Justice Ministry, including those amending the court act and the judicial service act.

Florjančič said the changes affect “very broadly” virtually all articles of the laws, whereby he believes sight is being lost of what needs to be changed for the judiciary to deliver better results.

The judiciary also do not sees the need to create a new independent specialised criminal district court planned under the new courts act.

The Supreme Court president also noted bad trends at the Administrative Court in recent years with the number of pending cases and average duration of procedures increasing.

He said the reason was the legislative branch was expanding the administrative judiciary’s responsibilities too fast and too often.