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Monday, August 8, 2022

Toplak: “Judgment of Supreme Judges Golob and Kerševan is harmful and dangerous”

Professor Jurij Toplak estimates that the Constitutional Court has “reached a new bottom” and that the verdict of Supreme Court Judges Peter Golob and Erik Kerševan is one of the most harmful and dangerous verdicts. The Information Commissioner annulled the decision of the Constitutional Court and wrote that it was an »inadmissible restriction of human rights«.

Under the Constitution, judgments are public, trials are public, and the access process was quick and efficient. Anyone who asked for a copy of the judgment by email before May 2020 has received it. If not, he had the option of a quick and free procedure with the Information Commissioner.

In May 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in a case that did not deal with public verdicts at all, but with prosecutorial files and complaints, that court files are no longer in the ZDIJZ system and the information commissioner system. Peter Golob chaired the Senate, Erik Kerševan was the rapporteur and Brigita Domjan Pavlin was a member. Professor Jurij Toplak points out that the verdict contains untruths, for example that »court decisions are also publicly published on the courts’ websites«.

»This is one of the most damaging judgments in the last decade,« he adds. »Its consequence is the non-transparency of the judiciary.«

From May 2020 onwards, the courts deny access to copies of the judgments and refer to the judgment of the Supreme Court. Judgments, with the exception of judgments of the Supreme and Administrative Courts, are public only on paper and only a small proportion of the judgments of the higher courts are published online. Anyone seeking access to other judgments and decisions is referred by the courts to unknown lengthy proceedings outside the Information Commissioner’s system.

»We hoped that the Constitutional Court would restore the transparency of the judiciary as soon as possible, but the decision in my case shows that the Constitutional Court only wants to further narrow the field where the judiciary is transparent and public access to judgments is quick,« Toplak said.

In April 2020, dr. Toplak asked the Constitutional Court to send him copies of the documents in its file by e-mail, and received the answer that the court was »not obliged« to send them and that »all participants are treated in this way«. In May 2020, he asked for copies of constitutional review requests filed by other state bodies because he intended to publish them on the faculty’s website. He recalled the decision of the European Court of Human Rights from 2019, according to which the Constitutional Court must allow the public access to requests for the assessment of constitutionality. The Constitutional Court denied Toplak access with a decision and referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court. In the decision, the Constitutional Court explained that the judge was the »master« of the file and that Toplak did not sufficiently explain that he was a »guard dog«.

»It happened for the first time that the decision of the Constitutional Court was annulled by another body due to a violation of constitutional rights,« Toplak explains.

The decision was signed by a court official and was not decided by constitutional judges. But Toplak emphasizes that »it should not be underestimated, as such a decision is not made without the knowledge of the President of the Constitutional Court«.

Yesterday, the Information Commissioner annulled the decision of the Constitutional Court and wrote that it was an »inadmissible restriction of human rights«.

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