SLOVENIA: Access to justice for children

This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

Slovenia has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but has yet to implement a consolidated child law that would incorporate all the provisions of the CRC into national legislation. Nonetheless, the CRC is directly enforceable in the courts and takes precedence over national laws. Children aged 15 years and older can bring cases by themselves and in their own names. All cases on behalf of younger children must be brought by or with the assistance of a representative, but representation is curbed by the concept of best interest of the child. Yet, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has voiced particular concern about the lack of weight given to the views of children in court proceedings. Every claimant in Slovenia is entitled to free legal aid and limitation periods for criminal and civil claims stemming from criminal offences committed against children only elapse five years after a child turns 18. Cases by or on behalf of children can be filed in civil, criminal, administrative and constitutional courts and special provisions exist to protect child victims and witnesses giving evidence, but there are no specialised juvenile courts. Laws and regulations deemed to be contrary to the Slovenian Constitution or international instruments can be challenged by way of a constitutional complaint in front of the Constitutional Court and such complaints can also be brought in the name of a legal entity without the need of naming an individual victim. The Ombudsman for Human Rights can also lodge constitutional complaints. In addition to the national courts, children can also turn to the European Court on Human Rights and collective complaints can be made in front of the European Committee of Social Rights.

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