Publication details

Capturing the Judiciary from Inside: The Story of Judicial Self-Governance in Slovakia

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source German Law Journal
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Law

Web Open access časopisu
Keywords judicial self-government; judicial council; confidence in judiciary; judicial independence; judicial accountability; transparency of judiciary; legitimacy of judiciary; Slovak judiciary
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Description The article discusses the development in the administration of the Slovak judiciary since the separation of Czechoslovakia and the impact of the empowerment of the judicial self-governance on the functioning of the judicial system. After independence, the administration of the judiciary initially rested in the hands of the executive. In 2002, Slovakia created its Judicial Council and transferred a considerable amount of powers on it, especially related to judicial careers. It was expected that this would de-politicize the judicial system. However, a high level of autonomy of the judiciary chiefly led to the empowerment of judicial elites. This reduced the democratic accountability of the judiciary, encapsulating it from society and enabling it to promote its own interests. Selection processes have often been used to fill judicial ranks with judges with close ties to the system. Accountability mechanisms such as promotions, disciplinary procedures or remuneration schemes were used to reward allies of those on the top of the hierarchy and to punish their critics. Still, adherence to EU-backed standards on the administration of the judiciary may have increased the legitimacy of the judiciary, while concentrating decision-making in one body enhanced transparency, which was furthered due to low public confidence resulting in unprecedented levels of information available about the Slovak judicial system. All in all, the Slovak example displays the dangers of establishing judicial self-governance in countries where an internal ethical culture and a strong sense of judicial duty are still lacking.
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