Court Map Version No. 3 Envisages Scrapping of Four District Courts

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Justice Minister Maria Kolikova (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, October 22 (TASR) – A new, now third version of the court map envisages the scrapping of four district courts, Justice Minister Maria Kolikova told a news conference on Friday.

Originally, the number of such courts should have been reduced from 54 to 30.

Courts to be scraped are district courts in Partizanske (Trencin region), Skalica (Trnava region), Banovce nad Bebravou (Trencin region) and Kezmarok (Presov region).

The changes should also concern regional courts. The minister plans to preserve all of eight of them, but organise them into three groups. Central regional courts should thus be located in Trnava (for the western-Slovak region), Zilina (for the central-Slovak region) and Presov (for the eastern-Slovak region), with branch offices in the other regional centres.

Meanwhile, the new version of the map still includes plans to set up new municipal courts in Kosice and in Bratislava. The changes should take place as of January 1, 2023.

The minister’s third draft takes into account comments made by the judicial community, prosecutors and MPs. “The draft court map preserves workplaces of courts to a large extent and leaves room for them to continue to operate. Court employees’ concern that they might lose their jobs or commute somewhere has been largely removed by this proposal,” stressed Kolikova.

“We want every citizen to be able to obtain a high-quality decision they understand and in a reasonable time. However, the concentration of judges will take place gradually, I had to apply a handbrake,” said the minister.

Kolikova is currently seeking support from coalition partners for her court map draft, holding an intensive dialogue with them. “They know I am submitting a proposal to the Government Legislative Council. I will also discuss it with caucuses, extra-parliamentary parties and with the opposition, if there’s interest on its part. I believe that the reform will be successful in the end,” added the minister.

The previous versions of the judicial reform met with opposition from judges and court staff. They expressed their disagreement in protests in front of court buildings all over Slovakia on October 13.