Only Persons Coming from Judiciary Can Become Judges

Even though the candidates coming from other than Judiciary background still can become judges, since January 2016 they have to comply with a new condition in order to participate in the tender procedure- they have to attend an initial training at the Judicial Academy. However trainings have not been running yet. First seminaries are planned for the spring. Attorneys, notaries or prosecutors cannot thus participate in tender procedures (37 tender procedures) which are taking place currently.

In January 2016 there entered into force an amendment to the Act on Judges which has introduced as a new condition for the participation in tender procedures for the positions of judge, the completion of the initial training at the Judicial Academy of the Slovak republic. Latter training shall focus on the acquirement of the skills necessary for the exercise of the function of the judge. This condition concerns candidates from other legal professions (e.g. attorneys, prosecutors, notaries) and also persons that are in position of court trainees or senior judicial officials less than one year.

Despite the fact that this condition was adopted in December 2014, the Council of the Judicial Academy has not addressed it until December 2015 when its parameters were set. First trainings shall initiate from March 2016. So, first certificates of the participation should be delivered only in the second half of the April 2016.

Participants from other legal professions represent approximately a quarter of participating and successful participants in tender procedures for the positions of judge. In reason of the inactivity of competent institutions this group of participants cannot exercise their right to access public function in the current tender procedures.

VIA IURIS considers that announced tender procedures should not take place at least before first initial training is concluded. Otherwise the right to access public functions in equal conditions of candidates of other legal professions would be violated. The Judicial Academy should reconsider to move initial trainings to earlier dates.

Initial or so-called adaptation trainings are supposed to be implemented in three series of two days seminaries during working days and each two day seminary will have a cost of 122, 20 euros.. Academy will deliver a certificate of the participation in case when participant will attend at least 5 from 6 days of the training. Even though the tender procedures are formally open also to participants from other legal professions, requirement of the initial training in this form is according to VIA IURIS discriminatory in comparison to candidates coming from the Judiciary. Fact that trainings should be taking place during working time and that they are paid might be discouraging for the participants from other legal professions which undermines the effort to open the Judiciary even to participants working out of the Judiciary.

VIA IURIS has serious doubts on effectiveness and necessity of this form of education for all participants even those who would not be successful in the tender procedure. In the framework of the campaign (“chinking for the change”) we thus suggest that initial training concern only successful participants of the tender procedures which are in consequence brought to the Judicial Council´s deliberation.

The project is supported by Think Tank Fund – Open Society Foundations a EEA Grants which are administrated by Nadácia otvorenej spoločnosti.

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