Developments in Slovak Constitutional Law: The Year 2015 in Review

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This report reviews the decision-making of the Slovak Constitution Court in the year 2015, categorising the deicions into three categories.

The first focuses on various separation of powers disputes. Notably, this subject involves many aspects of the judiciary, including the powers of the CC itself. Perhaps the most important issue, affecting the CC significantly, involves an ongoing controversy over its composition. The Court has not been at its full capacity of 13 members since 2014. This was further intensified as one justice’s term expired in 2016. Thus, currently there are only ten justices running its bench. The CC has already had two opportunities to address this issue in the recent period, but the matter has remained unresolved for now. Besides that, the Court reviewed the constitutionality of a statutory freezing of judicial salaries in 2015, and also scrutinized the constitutionality of changes in the Judicial Council’s composition.

The second category analyses cases dealing with fundamental rights and freedoms. The “Data Retention” ruling occupies a place of particular importance. The ruling declared unconstitutional the national statutory provisions transposing the EU directive. The Court was in this case undoubtedly influenced by the Court of Justice of the European Union’s decision in the Digital Rights Ireland case. Furthermore, the CC’s rights and freedoms decision-making activity revolves around contentious limitations of social rights. In that respect, in 2015 the CC considered the constitutionality of obligatory work in exchange for allowance in material distress. Another important case involved “tax licences” as minimum tax paid by entrepreneurs/legal entities regardless of their profit or loss in a given year.

The third category focuses on electoral disputes, singling out one representative decision of the last year. In this case many persons, on very short notice before the regional elections, relocated their residencies in order to participate in the ballot. In that way they could influence the entire outcome of the elections. This has been a quite regular and disruptive electoral practice that has raised a vast number of electoral disputes at the local level of governance. The CC seized this opportunity and finally established a legal test of constitutionality for future similar manipulations. The case aptly illustrates the cut-and-thrust of the CC workload in this subject area.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
PublisherBlog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 231253627