This page provides you with information about the costs of justice in Slovakia. For a more in-depth analysis on the costs of proceedings, please consult the following case studies: Family law - Divorce Family law – custody of the children Family law – alimony Commercial law – contract Commercial law – responsibility
Section 1 (2) of Act No 586/2003 on the legal profession and amending Act No 455/1991 on licensed trades, as amended, reads as follows:
“The practice of the legal profession means representation of clients before courts, governmental authorities and other legal entities, defence in criminal proceedings, provision of legal advice, the writing of instruments of legal acts, legal analyses, administration of clients’ property and other forms of legal advice and assistance, if carried out continuously and in return for a fee (hereinafter referred to as ‘legal services’).”
Lawyers’ fees are governed by an implementing decree of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic (No 655/2004 on lawyers’ fees and compensation for the provision of legal services) – an English version is available on the website of the Slovak Bar Association.
A lawyer’s fee must be determined by agreement between the lawyer and his or her client (contract fee). The vast majority of all lawyers’ fees are agreed on a contractual basis, unless the law prescribes tariff fees. If the parties fail to reach agreement on the matter, the relevant provisions on tariff rates (the implementing decree on lawyers’ fees) are used to determine the amount. The tariff fee is determined by multiplying the basic rate by the number of acts or legal services that the lawyer has provided.
Bailiffs do not exist in the Slovak Republic. However, execution functions are performed by enforcement officers under Act No 233/1995 on court officers and distraint activities (the 'Execution Procedure Act').
Fixed costs for litigants in civil proceedings
All categories of fees are set out in the respective regulations, and are determined in various ways:
Court fees are governed by Act No 71/1992 on court fees and copies of entries in the criminal records, as amended (“Act on Court Fees”). The amount is fixed or given as a percentage, or a combination of the two (depending on the type of claim).
Enforcement officers’ fees are governed by Act No 233/1995 on court officers and distraint activities. The amount is determined as a tariff fee (a fixed amount or given as a percentage depending on the subject matter of execution) or a contract fee.
Lawyers’ fees are governed by Implementing Decree No 655/2004 on lawyers’ fees and compensation for the provision of legal services. The amount is determined as a tariff fee (a fixed fee for each legal service provided, depending on the value of the claim or its subject matter) or a contract fee.
Experts’ fees are governed by Implementing Decree No 491/2004 on fees and compensation of costs and lost time for experts, interpreters and translators. The amount is determined as a tariff fee (a fixed fee for each service, an hourly rate, or a percentage depending on the subject matter of the expert’s services) or a contract fee.
Witness compensation is governed by Act No 99/1963 Code of Civil Procedure and subsequently by Implementing Decree No 543/2005 on the administration and office rules of district courts, regional courts, the Special Court and military courts, Act No 311/2001 Labour Code, Act No 595/2003 on income tax and Act No 663/2007 on the minimum wage. The court decides on the refund of the necessary out-of-pocket expenses incurred and compensation for lost earnings (in line with the rules set out in the implementing decree on administration and office rules).
Translation/interpreting fees are governed by Implementing Decree No 491/2004 on fees and compensation of costs and lost time for experts, interpreters and translators. The amount is determined as a tariff fee (a fixed fee for each hour/page in the respective language or for the service provided by the translator/interpreter) or a contract fee.
Therefore, in the majority of potential civil proceedings, it is virtually impossible for anyone who is not a lawyer to determine the anticipated overall actual costs without professional advice.
However, a professional (especially a lawyer) can advise a client much more precisely as to the various costs to expect throughout the proceedings, based on the circumstances of the case. Where it is difficult to anticipate the outcome, the lawyer can also advise the client on anticipated costs associated with various possible outcomes, which will ultimately depend on the court’s consideration and discretion.
The various types of costs that may be incurred in civil proceedings are governed by specific regulations/laws. These contain different ways of calculating fees, which may be divided into two main categories: tariff fees and contract fees.
Stage of the civil proceeding where fixed costs for litigants must be paid
Under Act No 71/1992 on court fees and copies of entries in the criminal records, as amended, only the court fee must be paid before the hearing begins.
Under Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure), in addition to court fees the costs of proceedings mainly include the out-of-pocket expenses of the litigants and their counsels. These include:
These costs are usually paid after the court judgment has been rendered.
Furthermore, the costs of civil proceedings depend to a great extent on the case being heard and discretion of the court (mainly regarding the choice of evidence and which costs are to be refunded to the court or the other party). Therefore, it is difficult to foresee the actual costs before the proceedings.
Fixed costs for parties in criminal proceedings
The court has the discretion to decide on costs in criminal proceedings once the final decision is rendered.
Stage of the criminal proceeding where fixed costs must be paid
Any costs incurred in criminal proceedings are paid after the judgment becomes final, since part of this judgment is the decision on the reimbursement of costs of proceedings (Act No 301/2005 Code of Criminal Procedure).
Fixed costs for parties in constitutional proceedings
In matters of representation before the Slovak Constitutional Court which cannot be expressed in money terms, the basic rate of the tariff fee for each individual legal service must be one sixth of the calculation base (Section 11 of Implementing Decree No 655/2004 on lawyers’ fees and compensation for the provision of legal services).
Stage of the constitutional proceeding where fixed costs must be paid
A situation similar to that in civil and criminal proceedings applies in constitutional proceedings. Act No 99/1963 (Code of Civil Procedure) applies.
Section 18 of Act No 586/2003 on the legal profession and amending Act No 455/1991 on licensed trades, as amended, lays down the following:
The above laws on costs are published in the Collection of Legislative Acts in Slovak (under Section 8 of the National Council of the Slovak Republic Act No 1/1993).
Mediation is governed by Act No 420/2004 on mediation.
Information about costs is available at the IGNUM website, which contains legislation of general application, as well as current and former Slovak rules and regulation. The website is hosted by the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic.
You can find this information in the statistical yearbook of the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic.
Information on average costs and fees is difficult to determine due to the following:
If the enforcement officer is registered as a VAT payer, VAT will be added to his or her calculated income and costs (under Section 196 of Act No 233/1995 on court officers and distraint activities).
If the lawyer is registered as a VAT payer his or her income and costs calculated under this provision will include VAT (Section 18 (3) of the Ministry of Justice Implementing Decree of No 655/2004 on lawyers’ fees and compensation for the provision of legal services).
If the expert, interpreter or translator is registered as a VAT payer the fees calculated will be inclusive of VAT (Section 16 (2) of the Ministry of Justice Implementing Decree No 491/2004 on fees and compensation of costs and lost time for experts, interpreters and translators).
VAT is not applicable to court fees (Act No 71/1992 on court fees and copies of entries in the criminal records, as amended). However, it applies to mediation fees, since the performance of the mediating activity is a business activity, and to arbitration fees at the 20% rate, providing that the person collecting the fee is registered as a VAT payer.
This threshold is governed by Section 4(i) of Act No 327/2005 on the provision of legal aid to people in material need and amending Act No 586/2003 on the legal profession and amending Act No 455/1991 on licensed trades (the Trading Act), as amended, as amended by Act No 8/2005.
The relevant part reads: “A natural person is deemed to be in material need if he or she is in receipt of allowances or benefits in material need, 1e) or if his or her income is equal to or lower than 1.6 times the amount of the subsistence minimum 2) and if the natural person does not have the means allowing him or her to pay for legal services”. (EUR 311.30)
The income threshold for defendants wishing to be assisted by an ex officio counsel in the area of criminal justice is not laid down. The Code of Criminal Procedure (Sections 37 and 38) provides for the circumstances in which defence is mandatory:
Section 38 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that:
Under Section 558 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court decides on the compensation of costs for the injured party after the judgment becomes final.
All conditions are set out in Act No 301/2005 Code of Criminal Procedure.
There are two types of exemption from court fees (Section 4 of the Slovak National Council Act No 71/1992 on court fees and copies of entries in the criminal records, as amended). Exemption from court fees applies to the following:
Under Section 138 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court also has discretion to award full or partial exemption from court fees to a party if this is justified by the situation of the party, and provided the claim is not frivolous and provided the party is not exercising or defending a right clearly without hope of success. However, the court may withdraw the awarded exemption at any time during the proceedings.
Under Act No 327/2005 on the provision of legal aid for people in material need (or the law on legal aid), legal aid means the provision of legal services to a person entitled to aid under this Act when asserting his/her rights, mainly in the form of:
Nevertheless, where the person concerned meets the requirements for the provision of legal aid, he or she is likely also to be exempt from payment of the costs of proceedings (including the court fees). There is no express provision laying down whether a person entitled to legal aid is also exempt from court fees. However, it is very likely that the court would grant such an exemption.
A person may apply to the competent court for a full or partial exemption from court fees. The court may, on its own motion, award the (fully) successful party the costs necessarily incurred in the proceedings (including court fees). In the case of partial success, the court will award a portion of the costs of proceedings to each of the parties, and also may rule that none of the parties has the right to compensation for the costs of proceedings. However, the court may award the partially successful party full compensation for the costs of proceedings if the decision on the amount of the payments imposed to be made by such party depended on an expert opinion or the court’s discretion, or if the lack of success is related to a relatively negligible part of the proceedings.
If at least a part of the costs of proceedings was awarded to the victim, the convicted person is obliged to reimburse the victim for the costs necessarily incurred in the proceedings, including the costs of representation when defence is mandatory.
Even if the victim has not been awarded costs as above, the court may award the costs of proceedings in full or in part to the victim on the basis at the victim’s instigation and taking into account the circumstances of the case.
The Ministry of Justice Implementing Decree No 491/2004 on fees and compensation of costs and lost time for experts, interpreters and translators lays down the amounts of expert fees. The list of experts, managed by the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic, is accessible to the public on its website. An expert is added to the list when the applicant has met all requirements (under the implementing decree on fees for experts, interpreters and translators).
The expert’s fee must be determined by agreement between the expert and the client (contract fee). If the parties fail to reach agreement, the relevant provisions on tariff rates must be used to determine the fee.
It is noted that VAT applies only to the contract fee, provided that the translator/interpreter is registered as a VAT payer.
The tariff fees are determined on the basis of:
More specific information on the costs of proceedings in Slovakia is available in some specific case studies.
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