Going to court in Slovenia

Here is some basic information for foreigners who are involved in proceedings before Slovenian courts.

Language

The courts in the Republic of Slovenia use the official language – which is Slovenian. In the area inhabited also by ethnic minorities, courts may also use Italian and Hungarian.

Written applications, letters, summonses and rulings

The court does not translate written applications, letters, summonses or rulings; therefore, if you need translations of these, you must provide them yourself. If you file an application in a foreign language, the court will ask you to file it in the Slovenian language; otherwise, the court will not consider the content of the application, but will reject it (except in the case of the aforementioned ethnic minorities).

Only if the translation is necessary for service abroad is the court obliged to provide a translation of court documents into a foreign language. The costs of translation are borne by the party whose application is served; however, the party may also submit a certified translation of the application.

If you do not understand the language used by the court, you may suggest that the court provide a translation.

Language at hearings

You have the right to use your own language at hearings. If the proceedings are not in your language and you do not understand Slovenian, the court will provide you with an oral translation of what is stated at the hearing and an oral translation of the documents used at the hearing for proof.

You must inform the court of this as soon as possible. If the court only finds out at the hearing that you do not understand the official language, it cannot immediately provide interpreting and the proceedings can be unduly delayed.

You must bear the costs of interpreting and translating at the hearings and in other procedural acts, except in criminal proceedings, when the costs are borne by the court.

If you need interpretation, report it to the register during office hours. When contacting the court, please provide basic information about the case – for example, that you are a party to the proceedings and the case reference number.

Interpreting is generally carried out by interpreters. A list of court interpreters is kept by the Ministry of Justice - list of interpreters.

In 2017, 138 court interpreters were available, interpreting in 15 languages.

Information about your case

The court usually does not provide information on the state of the case or information in relation to proceedings over the telephone. By telephone or by using electronic communications, the court may provide participants in the proceedings with the information needed to successfully implement proceedings (e.g. when the hearing is scheduled).

Basic information about a case may be obtained in person from the court register of the court handling the proceedings. At the register, during the official hours of the court, you can obtain information about, for example, which judge decides on the matter, whether the hearing is already scheduled and when it will take place, who the other parties to the proceedings are, whether the court ruling is final. At the register, you can view the file on your case and order copies of the documents of the file.

Register is a colloquial term for the court office where the files for individual types of proceedings are kept (e.g. criminal register, civil register).

When contacting the court, please provide basic information about the case – for example, that you are a party to the proceedings and the case reference number. When attending the court you also need a personal document.

The court may provide information about the course of the proceedings, but it may not give you legal advice (for example, what you should do to succeed with your request). If it is difficult for you to compile the application yourself, or if you want legal advice, assistance, or representation in specific proceedings, it is recommended that a person with legal knowledge assist you.

You can appoint a lawyer for representation, and in some cases another person. You can find the authorised representative before the beginning of the proceedings, or also during the proceedings.

An authorised representative is a lawyer or another person authorised by a party to represent them in court proceedings.

In proceedings with extraordinary legal remedies, you must have a representative who is a lawyer.

Tell your lawyer all about your case, and ask them about the expected course of the proceedings, possible case law and comparable cases, and estimated costs. The list of lawyers is kept by the Bar Association of Slovenia.

Did you know that free legal aid can also cover the costs of a lawyer? Learn more

Did you know that at the beginning of, or during, proceedings you can apply for free legal aid and exemption from payment, deferment or instalment payment of a court fee?

If your own financial situation and the financial situation of your family do not allow you to cover your legal costs and lawyers' fees, you may be entitled to free legal aid. The application is valid only for costs incurred since the date of application.

Exemption from payment of court fees

If you receive free legal aid, you may be entitled to full exemption from paying a court fee. You need to propose this to the court that manages the proceedings when you receive the first order to pay a court fee or earlier). Enclose the decision on being granted free legal aid with the proposal for exemption from fee payment.

You may also be exempt from paying a court fee if you have not filed a free legal aid application; in this case, in addition to the proposal for the exemption from court fee payment, you must also complete a form on the basis of which the court determines your material status.

In 2017, 138 court interpreters were available, interpreting in 15 languages.

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