This page provides you with information about the legal system in Slovakia.
Information on the legal order in Slovakia can be found on the page European Judicial Network: civil justice legal order.
The term ‘sources of law’ is used in three senses:
On the basis of how legal norms emerged and the binding form in which they are expressed, the following types of sources of law are traditionally distinguished:
One of the basic principles of the Slovak legal order is the hierarchy of legal norms. Comprehending it correctly both in legislative practice and implementation is vital in terms of legality. The hierarchy of norms is not, however, simply a question of straightforward logical precedence or subordination. Hierarchy relates to the entire issue of legitimate authority and also includes the categorical imperative that a piece of legislation may only be made by a body authorised to do so by law – within the limits of the law and its own legislative powers.
Legislation is categorised by what is known as ‘legal force’. Legal force refers to the properties of legislation, one piece of legislation being subordinate to another (i.e. one with greater legal force), or where one piece of legislation is derived from another having greater legal force. In a situation involving pieces of legislation with different legal force, the weaker provision may not contradict the stronger one, whereas the stronger provision may override the weaker one.
Legislation may be hierarchically arranged as follows according to the level of legal force:
Primary legislation (acts)
Secondary legislation (subordinate legislation)
In the system of legal provisions, where a given act has precedence this basically means that all the other legal provisions must flow from that act, be compatible with it and not contradict it. This means that, in practice, in a situation where a legal provision lower down the hierarchy contradicts a higher-ranking provision, it is the higher-ranking one that must be acted on.
The bodies and authorities listed below have the power to adopt legislation (law-making bodies):
Stages of the legislative process:
Presenting a bill – legislative initiative
Under Article 87(1) of Act No 460/1992 (the Constitution of the Slovak Republic), bills may be presented by the following:
Bills are submitted arranged in sections, together with a preamble.
Debating the bill
In accordance with the rules of procedure of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (Act No 350/1996), bills go through three readings:
Voting (decision on the bill)
For a law to be passed, an absolute majority of members present must vote in favour of it.
The Constitution may be amended and individual articles repealed only if passed by a qualified majority, which means three-fifths of all members of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (3/5 of 150).
The National Council of the Slovak Republic is quorate if at least half its members are present.
Signing the adopted bill
The adopted bill is signed by:
This step in the procedure involves checking the content, procedural correctness and final form of the adopted bill. By signing, these highest-ranking constitutional officials endorse the wording of the act.
The President has the right to exercise a ‘suspensive veto’ and refuse to sign an adopted act on the grounds of defects in its content. He or she must then return the adopted act, together with his or her comments, to the National Council of the Slovak Republic to be debated again.
The returned act then goes through the second and third reading stages. At this point, the National Council of the Slovak Republic may – but does not have to – take the President’s comments into account. The National Council of the Slovak Republic may overturn the ‘suspensive veto’ by voting again, in which case the act must be promulgated, even without the President’s signature.
Promulgation (publication) of the piece of legislation
Promulgation is the final stage in the legislative process. Legislation applying to the country as a whole is formally published in the Collection of Legislative Acts (Zbierka zákonov) of the Slovak Republic; this publication falls within the remit of the Slovak Ministry of Justice. The Collection of Legislative Acts is the state publication instrument of the Slovak Republic. The Collection of Legislative Acts is issued in electronic form and paper form. The electronic version and the paper version of the Collection of Legislative Acts have the same legal effects and identical content. The electronic version of the Collection of Legislative Acts is available free-of-charge through the Slov-Lex portal.
Entry into force/effect
Legislation enters into force on the date of its promulgation in the Collection of Legislative Acts.
Legislation enters into effect on the 15th day after promulgation in the Collection of Legislative Acts unless a later date of entry into effect is stipulated therein.
Other acts become binding on the date of their promulgation in the Collection of Legislative Acts.
A normative instrument of lower legal force may not contradict a normative instrument of greater legal force.
A normative instrument may only be amended or repealed by a normative instrument of the same or greater legal force.
In practice, the rule for resolving incompatibility between legislation having the same legal force is that a more recent piece of legislation repeals or amends an older piece of legislation, or that a specific norm repeals or amends a general norm.
The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic reviews and rules on whether:
Where the Constitutional Court rules that there is incompatibility between legal provisions, such provisions – or parts or rules thereof – cease to be effective. Where the bodies that issued the provisions fail to bring them into line with the relevant higher-ranking instruments within the statutory time limit following the issue of the ruling, the provisions – or parts or rules thereof – cease to be in force.
The Ministry of Justice's “Electronic Collection of Legislative Acts (Slov-Lex)” portal is based on two interconnected information systems:
Benefits for target groups:
The fundamental legal principle that all people are familiar with the law as valid and in force and are aware of their rights and obligations is increasingly difficult to apply in practice due to the increasing volume and complexity of legislation. The Slov-Lex project will help to improve implementation of this principle by ensuring effective access for all to the legislation in force:
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