Minister of Justice Mária Kolíková.
The new, already third version of the court map envisages the abolition of four district courts. Originally, their number was to be reduced from 54 to 30.
However, the establishment of municipal courts in Košice and Bratislava is still planned. This was stated by the Minister of Justice Mária Kolíková in front of the journalists on Friday.
The remaining courts will remain as workplaces or headquarters. In practice, the districts of the district courts will be increased to 30, in which, however, there will be more workplaces. The District Court of Partizánske, Skalica, Bánovce nad Bebravou and Kežmarok should be abolished.
The change should also apply to regional courts
The minister wants to keep all eight of them, but plans to increase their districts to only three. The seat of the regional courts should be Trnava for the West Slovakian district, Žilina for the Central Slovakian district and Prešov for the East Slovakian district. The new court map still counts on the establishment of municipal courts in Košice and Bratislava. The change should take place on January 1, 2023.
According to the Minister, the third draft of the court map reflects the comments of the judicial community, prosecutors or deputies. “The draft court map largely preserves the workplaces of the courts and gives room for them to continue to function. The fear that employees will lose their jobs and judges will have to go somewhere is greatly removed by this proposal,” Kolíková pointed out.
She emphasized that enlarging districts at district or county level, regardless of the number of places of work, gave room for “judges to fall into one basket” and be able to specialize in major legal agendas. “We want every citizen to get a quality decision that he understands and within a reasonable time. However, the concentration of judges will take place gradually, I had to apply the handbrake,” the minister specified.
Pinova talks about reform
The head of the ministry is currently seeking support from the coalition partners for the draft court map, with whom he has an intensive dialogue. “They know that I am submitting the proposal to the legislative council of the government. I will also discuss it with parliamentary groups, with non-parliamentary parties and, if there is interest, with the opposition. I believe that the reform will be successful in the end,” Kolíková added.
The original, second version of the reform of the court map envisaged the reorganization of regional and district courts as well as the establishment of municipal courts in Košice and Bratislava. The number of district court districts was to be reduced from 54 to 30. The number of regional courts was to be reduced from eight to three. He also provided for the creation of three administrative courts.
The proposal met with opposition from judges and court staff alike. On Wednesday, October 13, they expressed their disapproval by protests in front of several court buildings throughout Slovakia. The protesters feared the loss of work, the cost of commuting and claimed that the minister did not take their comments into account when drafting the second draft court map.