Dialogue between the Slovenian Highest Courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union

  • Marko Novak Full professor of jurisprudence and constitutional law; European Faculty of Law, New University; Former president of the Slovenian Judicial Council
Keywords: Court of Justice of the European Union, Slovenian Constitutional Court, Slovenian Supreme Court, transfer of sovereign rights, preliminary ruling reference, restrained constitutional review


The relationship between European Union (EU) law and national Slovenian law progressed across three different stages starting from the beginning of this century to date, as discussed by EU and Slovenian legal theorists. The first one, just before Slovenia’s entry into the EU, considered the EU an international organisation and EU law a type of public international law. It was dismissed even before Slovenia joined the EU, with an amendment to the Constitution, and was succeeded by the second, supranationalist, view that required maximum restraint by national courts while dealing with EU issues. Finally, about a decade ago, the third pluralist view of EU law vis-à-vis national law emerged, calling the particularly highest national courts to enter a more critical dialogue with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Although Slovenian theorists have been actively discussing the relationship between EU and national law before and immediately after Slovenia joined the EU, it seems that practising lawyers and judges needed time to adapt to the new law. Finally, in 2009, the first reference for a preliminary ruling was made by Slovenian courts. Soon after, the Slovenian Supreme Court made its first preliminary ruling reference and, in nearly 20 years since, proved itself to be the most frequent interlocutor with the CJEU from Slovenia. It regularly cites CJEU cases in its case laws, and demands that lower courts follow them wherever appropriate. From the highest national courts in Slovenia, the Constitutional Court joined the dialogue with the CJEU last. It has made four preliminary ruling references to the CJEU and demonstrated restraint vis-à-vis reviewing legal issues touching upon EU law. The legal culture (including public opinion) in Slovenia has predominantly been pro-EU. This applies to the internal legal culture, namely lawyers who support liberal democratic values such as the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. As long as the EU remains dedicated to these values, in such an environment, the highest Slovenian courts are not expected to show a bolder attitude vis-à-vis CJEU case law


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How to Cite
NovakM. (2023). Dialogue between the Slovenian Highest Courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union. Central European Journal of Comparative Law, 4(2), 201-214. https://doi.org/10.47078/2023.2.201-214