#76Courts cannot make excuses when they are inactive, Constitutional court says

The Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic in the proceedings under case No. III. ÚS 572/2022, has heard the applicant's constitutional complaint concerning the alleged violation of her fundamental right to have her case heard without undue delay under Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and Article 38 paragraph 2 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

On 19.02.2022, the Complainant filed an administrative action before the Regional Court seeking review of the Decision issued by the Directorate of Border and Aliens Police dated 11.12.2019. The appeal filed by the Complainant was rejected and the Decision of the Border Police on the renewal of the Complainant's temporary stay in the territory of the Slovak Republic was confirmed.

On 28.07.2022, the Complainant filed a complaint pursuant to Act No. 757/2004 Coll. on Courts and on Amendments and Additions to Certain Acts, as amended, against the delays in the proceedings before the Regional Court. The President of the Regional Court dealt with the complaint filed by the complainant on 12.08.2022, in which he stated that the complaint of the complainant is justified. Further, the President of the Regional Court stated that the inaction of the Regional Court was due to objective facts.

The Regional Court, upon service of the application, asked the Complainant to pay the court fee, served the Respondent with the application and invited him to file a statement of defense, which was subsequently served on the Complainant. However, the County Court was subsequently inactive for a prolonged period of time until 05.08.2022, which shows that the County Court was inactive for more than two years.

In this connection, the Constitutional Court emphasized that systemic deficiencies in the administration of the judiciary, such as a difficult personnel situation, cannot be a reason for not recognizing the fundamental right to have a case heard without undue delay and does not relieve the Slovak Republic of its responsibility for the delays. The Regional Court infringed the applicant's fundamental right to a hearing without undue delay.

The failure to comply with that obligation is unlawful because the individual cases were dealt with in the order in which they arose, thereby causing delays in the proceedings. It therefore constitutes an unlawful interference with a fundamental right under Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution. The inadequate staffing and organization of the courts by the State, which, through the courts acting, provides judicial protection in cases of delay, is responsible for the violation of the fundamental right to a trial without undue delay.

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court found that the measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic could not have had a negative impact on the length of the contested proceedings in the present case, since the Administrative Court is not bound by the conduct of the proceedings in the presence of the parties when making its decision. In the light of the foregoing, the Constitutional Court finds that the procedure of the Regional Court in the contested proceedings was marred by delays which can be classified as unnecessary delays within the meaning of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution and Article 38 paragraph 2 of the Charter.

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  • AuthorAdmin
  • Date16.2.2023