Legal procedures for enforcing pecuniary claims in Slovenia
The Slovenian legal system offers creditors two options to commence legal action. The creditor can either file a lawsuit or start Enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument.
Enforcement procedure on the basis of an authentic instrument
Types of authentic instrument are prescribed by law. The most common authentic instruments are invoices, a statement of account, cheques and bills of exchange. The enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument is more recommended in situations where debtor’s objection is not expected. Since 2008, the motions for executions are filed mostly on-line. Upon receipt of the creditor’s application the court issues a writ of execution automatically and services it to the debtor. If the debtor doesn't object within eight days, the writ of execution becomes final and enforceable.
This type of procedure takes the longest 40 days. If the debtor objects to the writ of execution in time, the court will pass the file to a litigation procedure.
The creditor will have to prepare the complaint and support it with full documentation about the claim (invoices, contract, proof of order, proof of delivery etc.). The creditor can also withdraw from lawsuit by settling a court fee for withdrawal from legal action. If the complaint is not submitted or the court fee for legal action is not settled in time, the court will reject creditor's application.
If debtor's objection against the writ of execution is to general (e.g. the debtor claims to have settled all debts towards the creditor or that they have no knowledge of creditor's company), the creditor can file a motion for preliminary order for freezing of debtor's assets for the time of the litigation.
A creditor can also file a lawsuit without having to institute the Enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument.
If the claim is supported by an authentic instrument, the court should issue payment order, instructing the debtor to settle the claim within 8 days or to file an objection. The court must service the lawsuit (and the payment order) to defendant in 30 days. If the defendant's objection against payment order is justified, the court will set the payment order aside and continue with the litigation procedure.
If the court hasn't issued the payment order, the court must service the lawsuit to the defendant within 30 days. Unless the defendant files an answer to lawsuit within 30 days, the court will issue a default judgement in plaintiffs favour, on condition that all proofs support plaintiff's claim. The court must service the defendant's answer to the plaintiff in 30 days. In emergency cases the court can set a date for a court hearing immediately after checking the lawsuit, without servicing the complaint to the defendant. Usually several court hearings are necessary before the court renders the judgement.
The court always invites the parties to try solving the dispute by mediation, however, this step is not necessary for the parties.
The parties can also conclude the court settlement at the court hearing.
The judgement must be issued in 30 days from the last court hearing. Both parties have 15 days to appeal against the judgement. If none of both parties appeals, the judgement becomes final and enforceable.
Courts accept only documentation in domestic language, therefore all documents must be translated into Slovenian language by the court certified translators.
The creditor can also avail himself of protective measures (e.g. freezing of debtor's assets) such as preliminary order and interim order. Debtor's objections and appeals against protective measures don't stay the proceedings.
In case of the enforcement procedure on the basis of the authentic instrument the creditor can ask for preliminary order. The creditor has to prove that there is a probable risk that enforcement of the claim would otherwise be impossible or rendered considerably more difficult. It is assumed that such risk exists if the content of debtor's objection against the writ of execution was to general (e.g. if the debtor claims that they have settled all claims towards the creditor or that the creditor's company is unknown to him).
The preliminary order states the amount of the secured claim, with interest and costs, the security ordered and the period of time for which it is allowed.
A preliminary order may last no longer than eight days from the occurrence of the conditions for enforcement, meaning that in the period of eight days the creditor must start the enforcement procedure otherwise he will lose the benefits of the preliminary order. The creditor can ask the court for extension of duration of the preliminary order if the court decision hasn’t become enforceable yet.
The application for temporary order can be submitted to the court prior to filing a lawsuit or in the course of lawsuit. If an order is issued before the submission of an action, the court provides the creditor with a deadline by which it must commence legal action. If the legal action is not started by that date, the court will halt the proceedings.
The court issues the interim order only if the creditor can demonstrate
- the likelihood of the existence of a claim or that a claim against the debtor will arise
- the risk that enforcement of the claim will be impossible or rendered considerably more difficult (due to disposal, concealment or other use of the property by the debtor.
If a creditor can demonstrate that interim order would cause to the debtor only insignificant damage, the creditor doesn't have to prove the risk.
If the claim is to be enforced abroad and outside European Union, the creditor also doesn't have to prove the risk.
The period of validity of an interim order is determined by the court. If the interim order is issued before the submission of an action or the commencement of another procedure, or if an order is issued to secure a claim that has not yet arisen, the court provides the creditor with a deadline by which it must commence a procedure or submit an action.
Legal costs consist of court fee, attorney fee, translation costs, costs in connection with witnesses or appointing an expert. The losing party must reimburse legal costs to the party who won the lawsuit.