The most important changes brought by the new judicial map
On 1 June 2023, the so-called reform of the "judicial map" will come into force, the primary objective of which, according to its authors, is to achieve faster and better-quality decision-making. The reform will lead to the abolition of several existing courts, the creation of new courts with case specific competences and, among other things, the transfer of competences between courts.
Establishment of municipal courts
One of the biggest changes is expected in the capital Bratislava and in the city of Košice. In these cities, new so-called municipal courts will be created by transforming the current district courts.
As part of the judicial reform, four municipal courts will be established in Bratislava with the following specialization of the agenda:
- criminal law agenda - Municipal Court Bratislava I;
- family law agenda - Municipal Court Bratislava II;
- business law agenda, including the agenda of the registry court - Municipal Court Bratislava III; and
- civil and labour law agenda - Municipal Court Bratislava IV.
The Municipal Court in Košice will replace the District Court Košice I, II and Košice - surroundings.
Changes in the maintenance of the Commercial Register in Bratislava and Košice
The Commercial Register will be newly maintained by:
- Municipal Court Bratislava III for the district of the Regional Court in Bratislava; and
- Municipal Court Košice for the district of the Regional Court in Košice.
This change will have an impact on the obligation to indicate the name of the ("new") registry court that keeps records of the registered person. Therefore, it is necessary for companies that are currently registered under the District Court Bratislava I to indicate the Municipal Court Bratislava III in business letters and orders in written or electronic form as of 1 June 2023. Companies currently registered under the Košice I District Court are newly required to indicate the Municipal Court Košice as the court of registration.
The other registry courts for the remaining districts remain unchanged.
The number of district courts will be reduced from 54 to 36 (including five municipal courts), with some of the abolished courts continuing to operate as offices of their successor district courts.
Commercial law disputes will now be ruled only in eight district courts and not in all of them as at present (i.e. a new case specific competence of courts in commercial law disputes has been added).
The changes will also affect the case specific competence of courts in labour disputes. Previously competent courts will be replaced by completely different district courts. For example, the District Court of Poprad will not be competent for the district of the Regional Court in Prešov as it is now, but the District Court of Prešov.
The existing county courts will remain. However, the following changes will take place:
second-instance commercial disputes will only be under the jurisdiction of the Regional Courts of Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Košice; and
second-instance family law cases will be under the jurisdiction of the Regional Courts of Trnava, Žilina and Prešov only.
Civil and criminal second instance cases remain in all eight regional courts.
The reform also leads to the establishment of three new first instance administrative courts, namely the Administrative Court in Bratislava, Banská Bystrica and Košice. These administrative courts will have the status of regional courts.
Whether the reform of the judicial map will actually achieve the expected aim and thus lead to a more efficient and shorter length of court proceedings will be determined by the application practice.
Nevertheless, in the coming months, it can be expected that individual court proceedings will be prolonged due to the change of statutory judges and postponements of hearings for the necessary time needed for the implementation of the changes.