Operation of courts during the declared epidemic

Operation of courts during the declared epidemic

Author: Nino Bostič Sluga

On 19 October 2020 the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia issued an Order on special measures from Article 83.a of the Courts Act due to the declared epidemic of the infectious disease COVID-19 in the Republic of Slovenia, pursuant to Article 83a of the Courts Act.

The Order stipulates the organization of entry points into court buildings for clients, their counsels and other users of court services, and separate entry points for judges and court staff, where possible. At the entry points, all necessary preventive measures shall be taken to prevent the viral infection of the infectious disease COVID-19, including the measurement of body temperature.

The Order also sets out some specifics regarding the operation of courts:

1. With the exception of urgent matters referred to in the third paragraph of Article 83 of the Courts Act, the parties, their counsels and other persons may:

    1. submit writings only by post or via the eSodstvo portal, and
    2. use the published e-mail addresses and telephone numbers during office hours to communicate with the courts.

Additionally, if a person is not invited to appear in front of the court, he or she will be allowed entrance into the court building during office hours only with a prior notice.

2. Hearings, sessions and examinations may, if the technical and spatial conditions are met, be conducted by videoconference, with due regard to other procedural conditions for the performance of the procedural act.

If not conducted by videoconference, a distance of at least 1.5 m must be ensured, all persons must wear protective equipment, and the room must be disinfected and ventilated in accordance with the professional recommendations. Presence lists are kept with contact details of all persons present.

If the above measures cannot be provided, the court shall cancel the hearing.

3. The (presiding) judge has the possibility to temporarily restrict the public of the whole or part of the main hearing and impose other appropriate protective measures.

The presidents of individual courts are empowered to take additional measures, which shall apply only to the specific courts. Before visiting a particular court, it is therefore necessary to check whether any additional measures have been taken for that court.

The order is valid from 20 October 2020 until the publicly announced revocation of the President of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia.