SLO
 
SLOVENIA
Constitutional Court
 
 
I.   Introduction
 
1. Historical background
 
The Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia (SRS) of 1963 (Official Gazette of the SRS, no. 10/63) provided for a Constitutional Court; the Law on the Constitutional Court (Official Gazette of the SRS, nos. 39/63 and 1/64) established the Court's powers and procedures and stipulated that it would begin operating on 15 February 1964. The first Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Court were adopted on 23 February 1965 (Official Gazette of the SRS no. 11/65), and on 5 June 1963 the President and the eight judges of the Constitutional Court were elected for the first time by the Assembly of the SRS (decision published in the Official Gazette of the SRS, no. 22/63). The President and judges officially took up their duties in the presence of the President of the Assembly on 15 February 1964.
 
The 1974 Constitution reorganised the status and powers of the Constitutional Court (Official Gazette of the SRS, no. 6/74); the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia (Official Gazette of the SRS, nos. 39/74 and 28/76) laid down more detailed provisions clarifying the powers and procedures of the Court; new rules of procedure of the Constitutional Court were also adopted (Official Gazette of the SRS, no. 10/74).
 
The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia (RS), adopted in 1991, once again changed the status and powers of the Constitutional Court (Official Gazette of the RS, no. 33/91). A new law on the Constitutional Court clarified the powers and procedure of the Constitutional Court (Official Gazette of the RS, no. 15/9).
 
2.   Hierarchical position in the judicial system
 
The Constitutional Court is the supreme judicial body responsible for supervising the constitutionality and legality of acts, protecting not only such constitutionality and legality but also human rights and the fundamental freedoms.
 
 
II.   Basics texts
 
-   Constitution of 1991 (Official Gazette of the RS, no. 33/91);
-   Law on the Constitutional Court (Official Gazette of the RS, no. 15/9).
 
III.   Composition, procedure and organisation
 
1. Composition
 
In pursuance of Article 165.1 of the Constitution, the Court has nine members (including the President).
 
The membership of the Court was completed on 1 May 1993.
 
In accordance with Article 163.3 of the Constitution, the President is elected by the judges for a three-year term.
 
By virtue of Article 163.1 and 163.2, the judges are elected by the National Assembly from among legal experts and appointed by the President of the Republic. Their term of office is nine years and they may not be re-elected.
 
The following activities are incompatible with the office of Constitutional Court judge (Article 166):
 
-   duties discharged in State bodies;
-   duties discharged in local self-government bodies;
-   duties discharged in political parties;
-   other duties and activities incompatible with the office of Constitutional Court judge, such as those laid down in the Law on the Constitutional Court.
 
The members of the Constitutional Court enjoy the same immunity as members of the National Assembly in accordance with Article 167 of the Constitution.
 
Article 164 of the Constitution provides for the (temporary) suspension of members of the Constitutional Court in the following cases:
 
-   if the judge himself so requests;
-   if the judge is punished by imprisonment for a criminal offence; or
-   if the judge has permanently lost the capacity to perform his or her office.
 
2. Procedure
 
Proceedings before the Constitutional Court are free of charge.
 
Under the terms of Article 162.3 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court normally takes its decisions by a majority vote from all its judges. The Law on the Constitutional Court does, however, provide for a number of exceptions.
 
The Court, in principle, deliberates in plenary session, but may sit in restricted chamber when examining constitutional complaints (Article 162.3).
 
3. Organisation
 
The Constitutional Court establishes its own internal organisation, thus exercising its power of administrative autonomy.
 
Technical services: one principal secretary (organisation and documentation); one deputy secretary (financial matters).
 
Specialist services: legal information centre with a specialised library: 13 specialist staff and 20 administrative staff.
 
The Court is financed under a separate line in the State budget.
 
IV.   Jurisdiction
 
The Slovene model is based on the European tradition of concentrating major powers in the field of constitutional review in a single court.
 
1. Review of acts
 
a. Preventive review
 
During the ratification of an international agreement, the Court issues an opinion on its conformity with the Constitution (Article 160.2 of the Constitution); its opinions are binding on the National Assembly.
 
b. A posteriori review
 
i. Abstract review
 
The Court decides (Article 160.1 of the Constitution) on:
 
-   the conformity of legislation with the Constitution;
-   the conformity of laws and other statutory instruments with the international treaties ratified by Slovenia and with the general principles of international law;
-   the conformity of statutory instruments with the Constitution and the law;
-   the conformity of the legislation of the self-government bodies with the Constitution and the law;
-   the conformity of provisions generally applicable by government departments with the Constitution, the law and regulations currently in force;
-   whether it is necessary to annul (ex tunc) or revoke (ex nunc) regulations or general acts by means of a decision on a constitutional complaint (Article 161.2 of the Constitution).
 
ii. Concrete review
 
The Court also conducts concrete reviews of standard-setting texts on request from the ordinary courts (Article 156 of the Constitution).
 
2. Other powers
 
Article 160.1 of the Constitution provides that the Court is also responsible for the following matters:
 
-   constitutional complaints of specific acts allegedly breaching human rights and fundamental freedoms;
-   disputes as to jurisdiction between the National Assembly, the President of the Republic and the Government;
-   unconstitutionality of acts and activities of political parties.
 
The Court also pronounces on:
 
-   charges brought against the President of the Republic (Article 109 of the Constitution);
-   charges brought against the Prime Minister or any of his or her ministers (Article 119 of the Constitution);
-   appeals against decisions of the National Assembly relating to examination of deputies' mandates (Article 82.3 of the Constitution).
 
3.   Bringing cases before the Constitutional Court
 
-   complaints submitted by citizens: anyone who is able to prove his or her legal interest in submitting such a complaint (Article 162.3 of the Constitution)
-   constitutional complaints (Articles 160, 161 and 162 of the Constitution);
-   abstract review: National Assembly (by at least one third of the deputies), State Council, Government, bodies representing the self-government bodies, trade union representatives;
-   concrete review: courts, State Counsel, Bank of Slovenia, Auditor General's Department, ombudsman;
-   disputes as to jurisdiction: the bodies concerned;
-   indictments: National Assembly;
-   unconstitutional activities of political parties: citizens and bodies already holding locus standi with the Court in matters of abstract review;
-   examination of deputies' mandates: the candidates concerned or representatives of lists of candidates;
-   preventive review of international agreements: President of the Republic, Government or National Assembly (one third of the deputies).
 
IV.   Nature and effects of decisions
 
The decisions of the Constitutional Court are binding in nature (Article 1.3 of the Law on the Constitutional Court) and their effects are enforceable erga omnes.
 
Article 161.1 of the Constitution provides for:
 
-   possible suspension of application of the measure pending a final decision;
-   abrogation in whole or in part (ex nunc) of unconstitutional laws; such abrogation may take effect immediately or within a period of time determined by the Constitutional Court, although such period may not exceed one year;
-   annulment (ex tunc) or abrogation (ex nunc) of other unconstitutional regulations or general acts;
-   annulment (ex tunc) or abrogation (ex nunc) of regulations or general acts pending the outcome of a constitutional complaint (Article 161.2 of the Constitution).
 
The legal effects of decisions of the Constitutional Court are defined by law (Article 161.3 of the Constitution).
 
Promulgation of decisions:
 
-   judgments and individual conclusions are published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Slovenia (in Slovene);
-   judgments and conclusions, as well as dissenting/concurring opinions, are published verbatim in the Compendium of Judgments (with summaries in Slovene and English);
-   extracts from judgments and conclusions are published in the journal Pravna praksa (case-law) (in Slovene);
-   judgments and conclusions, as well as dissenting/concurring opinions, are published verbatim in Slovene and English in a computerised database (using STAIRS, ATLASS and TRIP software).