Supreme Court president says past judicial year was successful


Speaking at the traditional reception marking the start of the new judicial year at the Presidential Palace, Florjančič said the number of unsolved cases at the end of 2019 was lower than a year ago and the average length of procedures decreased as well.

He regretted the fact that the planed legislative changes which would overhaul the court network and introduce court districts as basic cells of the judiciary and so-called uniform judges, had not been passed yet.

The Justice Ministry presented the changes last year and they were almost ready for passage, he said about the changes he believes would make first-instance courts more efficient.

Florjančič also noted that no improvements had been made to the judges' pay system and that the judiciary still lacked room and staff.

Since judges' salaries have been flat for almost a decade, young people are less inclined to opt for this career, he highlighted, adding that renting court venues cost EUR 4 million per year.

He believes cooperation with the legislative branch of power could be better, especially when it comes to legislative solutions that strongly affect the judiciary.

For example, the bill designed to provide legal recourse for holders of subordinated bank liabilities wiped out in the 2013 bank bailout has created the potential for a massive increase in courts' workload, he said.

Courts could be swamped with "as many commercial law cases as the entire Slovenian judiciary handles in about 19 years," he illustrated.

The resulting proceedings would last five or six years, he said, adding that it would take even longer to determine final rulings.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court vice-president Miodrag Đorđević pointed out that the number of the plaintiffs posed another major issue since there were more than 100,000 of them, suggesting class action lawsuits as a potential way to move forward.

Last year the new family law was implemented, raising the number of new cases from this field at district courts by 70%. Unexpectedly, the number of non-contentious civil procedures also jumped, by as much as 190%, he said.

This year, special attention will be devoted to the Administrative Court, which saw a rise in the number of unsolved cases due to its new tasks.

Florjančič said another priority would be criminal law, where procedures took a little longer last year, mostly due to a rise in cases involving migrants.

Regarding the judiciary's reputation, he said that people's trust in the judicial branch was improving, however it was still relatively low.

President Pahor said that unfortunately "a single statute-barred case overshadows thousands of successfully closed cases".

This is why it is important to protect the independence of the judiciary, which helps increase its reputation, he said.

Thanking judges for their work, the president said the rule of law applied in Slovenia even if opinions on this vary.

The traditional reception was attended by the Constitutional Court president, Rajko Knez, Judicial Council President Erik Kerševan, Justice Minister Andreja Katič, State Prosecutor General Drago Šketa, State Attorney General Jurij Groznik and Bar Association chairman Roman Završek.