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Slovakia[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

We were unable to find the actual text of any statutes or laws relating to the representation of children in legal proceedings. Under the law of Slovakia, a minor's right to take legal action is dependent upon whether he has reached the age of which a mental maturity to make such a decision has been established.  If the child has not reached the age that the law views as necessary for formulating a view on a given legal issue, then any action on behalf of the child is taken by his or her legal representative.

 

The penal, administrative, and civil laws of Slovakia reflect the requirements of article 12 of the CRC. Slovakia has also signed the European Convention on June 22, 1998, but has not ratified it.[2] It is unclear exactly how much legal force the CRC commands, but given the recent legislation aimed at the CRC, it likely suggests that the CRC holds full weight. The provisions of the Civil Court Procedures (Act No. 99/1963 Coll., Act No. 38/1995 Coll.), enable a minor to be heard regarding adoption proceedings whenever he or she understands what adoption means. Minors have the legal capacity to express their views on their legal circumstances, specifically regarding adoption (sect. 67) or foster placement (Act50/1973 Coll. On Foster Care in Act 452/1992), assuming they are able to asses the implications of the action-this decision is made by the Court, which has traditionally viewed the age of 12 as the necessary age to achieve such an understanding.

 

We were also able to identify an amendment[3] to the Family Act which was prepared by the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family,[4] and sought specifically to further implement Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Slovakia has signed and ratified. The Amendment expressly defines the role of a collision custodian. The collision custodian is an individual chosen by the court who represents the minor in his or her legal proceeding, but specifically in cases in which the minor does not have legal representation.  Therefore, Slovakian law requires the presence of a legal guardian or legal representative at all legal proceedings involving a minor.

 

Though Slovakia has not made much progress in implementing the CRC, it is important to remember that it only split from the Czech Republic in 1993. Therefore, in addition to facing the problems of a fledgling democracy, Slovakia deals with issues of child protection regarding emotional abuse, drug addiction, children in institutional care, child pornography and child-trafficking.

 

However, Slovakia has been devoted to progress regarding the CRC, with new measures in social, economic, educational, and legal areas of children's rights.  In 2000, Slovakia created the Committee for the Rights of the Child, which is composed of sixteen representatives of state administration central authorities, non-governmental organizations, and local government, all dealing children's rights in legal proceedings.  The non-governmental organizations are subsidized by the state. The committee is headed by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family, while the vice-chair is a representative of the Slovak Committee for UNICEF.  This kind of cooperation bodes well for further implementation of the CRC. Slovakia is also in the process of creating new legislation, specifically in the family, civil, and criminal areas.   

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Statutes

 

Family Act, No. 36/2005 Coll.

 

Summary: [5]

Family Act

(Act No. 36/2005 Coll., Act on Family and Amendment and Supplementation of Certain Acts)

As indicated in the explanatory report, the aim of the new family law regulation has been predominantly to respond to the Convention of the Rights of the Child adopted in New York on 20 November 1989. This Convention came into effect in the Slovak Republic on 6 February 1991.

The new Family Act introduces changes mostly in regulation of the reasons for nullity and non-existence of marriage, parental rights and duties, new ways of regulating the relationship of a child, parent and other relatives, regulation of the child's property administration, educational procedures, forms of alternate care, introduction of guardianship. The Act newly regulates alimony contribution, determination and denial of fatherhood and adoption.

Representation of the Minor:

The Act explicitly introduces the definition of a collision custodian meaning a custodian determined by court who will represent the minor in proceedings or in connection with a specific legal act, if the minor has no legal representative or may not be represented by such person for reasons stipulated by law.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12[6]

 

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Translation (Unofficial)[7]

 

Èlánok 12

NÁZOR DIE•A•A

 

1. Štáty, ktoré sú zmluvnými stranami tohto Dohovoru, musia zabezpeèi• die•a•u, ktoré je schopné formulova• svoje vlastné názory, právo slobodne sa vyjadrova• o všetkých záležitostiach, ktoré sa ho dotýkajú, prièom sa názorom detí musí venova• primeraná pozornos• zodpovedajúca ich veku a úrovni.

2. Za týmto úèelom sa die•a•u musí predovšetkým poskytnú• možnos•, aby bolo vypoèuté v každom súdnom alebo administratívnom pojednávaní, ktoré sa ho dotýka, a to buï priamo alebo

prostredníctvom zástupcu alebo jeho príslušného orgánu, a spôsobom, ktorý je v súlade s pravidlami vnútroštátneho zákonodarstva.

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

www.government.gov.sk/english/

www.minv.sk

www.culture.gov.sk

www.education.gov.sk

www.justice.gov.sk

www.employment.gov.sk

www.concourt.sk

 



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights, Jan. 25, 1996, C.E.T.S.160.

[3] Act on Family and Amendment and Supplementation of Certain Acts, Act No. 36/2005 Coll.

[6] United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child art. 12, Dec. 12, 1989, UN General Assembly Document A/RES/44/25, available at http://www.cirp.org/library/ethics/UN-convention/ (entered into force in Slovakia on May 28, 1993).

[7] UNICEF, Convention on the Rights of the Child, http://www.unicef.at/kinderrechte/download/crcslo.pdf (Last visited Nov. 30, 2006), available as .pdf Document.

 

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