Slovakia: streamlined court procedures


The Code of Civil Procedure has been amended to improve the efficiency of court proceedings and make changes to the way court decisions are applied by judges.


From 1 January 2006, creditors and others with court judgment can carry out distraint directly against the other party only through the distrainer. Previously, rights could be enforced either through the courts or through the distrainer, which both executed judgments and carried out distraint (seizing and selling the debtor’s property) itself.

The court is still responsible for carrying out personal distraint, which is mainly used in cases about custody or access to children (N.B. This does not include recovery of unpaid alimony!). The court also retains responsibility for recovering its own debts, such as court fees, penalties, witness’s fee, expert’s fee, court fee and other related proceeding fees. This can only be done by deductions from salary or an order that the sum due be transferred (e.g. from a bank account).


To prevent the endless traffic of cases back and forth, the court of appeal now has authority to substitute its own decision when upholding an appeal rather than sending the case back to be decided again by the lower court. The court of appeal can send the case back to the lower court (court of 1st distance) only in cases determined by the law, otherwise it has to decide in the matter.

The lower court must now hand over its file for the case being appealed to the court of appeal. This was not possible before, as the lower court retained limited decision-making powers, such as refusal to allow a late filing.


Penalties of up to SKK 50,000 may now be imposed for breach of a court order, such as for failure to attend a hearing. In addition, penalties may no longer be remitted: the court must recover them.


The grounds, essential elements of recusal and time limits for recusal - when parties seek to disqualify a judge on grounds of prejudice or conflict of interest - have now been codified. This has been done to prevent abuses by parties raising recusal as a means of obstructing proceedings.