20. 11. 2020

Court restrictions and suspension of deadlines

Given the current epidemiological situation, the President of the Supreme Court has decided to restrict the work of the courts commencing 16 November 2020 - except in urgent matters, all hearings are canceled, and in non-urgent matters, procedural deadlines are suspended. By Government order, effective from 20 November onwards, deadlines for exercise of rights by parties to court proceedings determined by law (i.e. material deadlines) are also suspended for at least one month.

Material deadlines are deadlines for exercising material rights under material regulations; within the material deadline it is necessary to initiate court proceedings: this is not possible at a later date. A typical material deadline is e.g. statute of limitation. Procedural deadlines are deadlines set down under procedural law for certain procedural acts during the proceeding; a typical procedural deadline is e.g. a deadline for filing a response to a lawsuit or filing an objection against an enforcement order.

Procedural deadlines and restrictions on the work of the courts 

On 13 November 2020, the President of the Supreme Court, pursuant to Article 83.a of the Courts Act (ZSod), issued a decree (Decree) restricting the work of courts (holding hearings) and suspending procedural deadlines in non-urgent matters. It is not necessary for judges to cancel hearings in an individual case, but the parties (or at least the witnesses) should also receive a special notification. The cancellation of the hearings is valid until the Decree is revoked. Currently, there is no indication as to when that will happen. Given the restriction on the work of the courts, visits to the courts are by appointment only (unless you are explicitly invited). In addition, the use of electronic communication with the courts via published e-mail addresses and telephone numbers is encouraged. In all non-urgent matters, as of 16 November 2020 all procedural deadlines are suspended; however, court documents in these cases are still being served. The procedural deadlines will thus begin to run or, where they were suspended, resume when the President of the Supreme Court revokes the Decree.

Urgent cases, in which procedural deadlines are still running and hearings are due to be heard, are listed in Article 83 of the ZSod (or complemented by the Decree), namely:
  • investigations and trials in criminal cases in which the defendant is deprived of or restricted of liberty and sentencing proceedings;
  • non-litigious cases concerning detention of persons in psychiatric health institutions;
  • non-litigious matters under the law governing the prevention of domestic violence;
  • enforcement matters relating to procedures for the protection of the interests of children;
  • proceedings in matters of insurance (but not bill of exchange and cheque complaints and bill of exchange lawsuits);
  • disputes regarding publication of a correction of published information;
  • insolvency and winding-up proceedings;
  • other matters defined by the law (for example, a criminal case which is set to become time-barred within 6 months).

Material deadlines 

Given that the epidemiological situation still has not improved, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, on a proposal from the President of the Supreme Court, also adopted an order to temporarily suspend deadlines for the exercise of rights by parties to court proceedings (Order). This means that material deadlines will be suspended from 20 November 2020 for as long as the Order is valid, which stands (for the time being) at 30 days.

Law office Fabiani, Petrovič, Jeraj, Rejc d.o.o.

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