Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Reform of democratic and rule-of-law state in Slovenia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.05.00  Social sciences  Law   

Code Science Field
S110  Social sciences  Juridical sciences 

Code Science Field
5.05  Social Sciences  Law 
democracy, rule of law, human rights, constitutional law, Slovenia, Council of Europe, European Union
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (6)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  31643  PhD Matej Avbelj  Law  Researcher  2016 - 2018  748 
2.  35652  PhD Gorazd Justinek  Economics  Researcher  2018  203 
3.  32577  PhD Jernej Letnar Černič  Law  Head  2016 - 2018  564 
4.  31006  PhD Marko Novak  Law  Researcher  2016 - 2018  520 
5.  36485  PhD Dejan Valentinčič  Law  Researcher  2017 - 2018  329 
6.  31712  PhD Ines Vodopivec  Art history  Researcher  2017 - 2018  115 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  2629  New University, European Faculty of Law  Nova Gorica   2146916  4,665 
2.  8554  New University, Faculty of Government and European Studies  Kranj  1555057  4,550 
The global aim of the proposed research project is to investigate the state of democracy and rule of law in Slovenia and to develop proposals for their reform. The project examines whether and how has the Council of Europe (COE) through the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union (EU) through the European Court of Justice have influenced the conditions for democracy and rule of law in Slovenia. The project will investigate how Slovenian judicial, legislative and executive branches safeguard the democracy and rule of law. This research project will focus also on the question of how effective is the safeguarding of the human rights and fundamental freedoms in Slovenian legal order. It will study why democratic and rule of law state deficiencies are still present in the Slovenian legal order despite the influence of the Council of Europe and the European Union. In this way, it will identify the inadequacies and deficiencies in the Slovenian public sphere and devise solutions as to how the identified disadvantages can be removed. The central research question of the project therefore is: how to reform democracy and the rule of law in Slovenia. The rule of law in Slovenia is in a systemic crisis. This proposition, unfortunately, requires no support in an in-depth comparative law analysis. It suffices to have a short glimpse at the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, which demonstrates the degree of Slovenia’s compliance with the European Convention of Human Rights. It follows from this case-law, that the rule of law in Slovenia is failing in all those areas, which are essential for the individuals. Slovenia has been thus convicted for torture, police violence, medical mistreatments and lack of their investigation, for failing to ensure the right to family life in particular by the centres for social work. Furthermore, in its landmark Lukenda pilot-judgment the ECtHR went so far as to proclaim that the Slovenian violation of the right to a trial within a reasonable time is “a systemic problem that has resulted from inadequate legislation and inefficiency in the administration of justice. The problem continues to present a danger affecting every person seeking judicial protection of their rights.” Not infrequently the judicial proceedings in Slovenia take place in a selective way, so that the individuals, who are close to the centres of formal and informal power, ultimately escape the arm of justice. In so doing, the very foundations of the rule of law, which lie in the principle of equality before the law, are eroded. The state which falls short even of the formal requirements of the rule of law, which is what the equality before the law stands for, is not and cannot be said to comply with the rule of law.   Substantively the project will be broken down into four parts: the first part will look into the historical reasons, in particular into the socialist legacy, for the present state of affairs in the field of rule of law and democracy in Slovenia. The second part will focus on the endogenous factors influencing, positively or negatively, the rule of law and democracy in Slovenia from 1991 till present. This part will also have an important comparative dimension, analysing the Slovenian experience in rule of law and democracy building in comparison with other transitional countries as well as the countries that could be qualified as well-ordered societies. The last two parts will be devoted to exogenous factors. The third part will study the democratization and progress of rule of law in Slovenia under the influence of the ECHR. The fourth and final part will do the same with regard to the influence of EU law.
Significance for science
The present research project will produce the following outcomes, which will endow it with scientific relevance and help generate numerous positive effects for the development of the Slovenian society and its legal system: 1. An integral scientific analysis of the state of affairs of the Slovenian democracy and rule of law through the prism of a historical development, intended to produce normative reforms for the future, is currently completely absent from the Slovenian legal science. 2. From a legal perspective many dimensions of the Slovenian democracy and rule of law remain unexplored. Save for a few expert analyses, a comprehensive scientific approach, such as proposed by this project, is missing. 3. On a scientific level this project will fill a huge gap in the Slovenian legal literature, which exists as it comes to the analysis of the exogenous factors influencing the development of the Slovenian democracy and rule of law. 4. A comprehensive approach to this research problem is also necessary for the sake of Slovenia's presence in the international academic discourse and analyses. The review of the leading international literature addressing the development of the post-socialist states in the last 25 years reveals a curious absence of Slovenia from these discussions. This project is therefore intended also to fill this gap by publishing in the leading international academic journals, by organiznig scientific events and academic networking. 5. The research will for the first time in the Slovenian academic environment produce a systematic and comprehensive analysis of the consequences of the deficient democracy and rule of law for the human rights protection in Slovenia. 6. The research will also practically use the legal-historical scientific methods that have so far, by and large, only figured in legal literature on a theoretical level. In this way too the research will make an important original contribution to the field. 7. The research findings will be incorporated in the schools' teaching and other academic activities as part of the ordinary curriculum. Students will be involved too. The virtuous epistemic circle will be thus created, paving the road to have these original findings translated into practice.
Significance for the country
The rule of law and democracy are closely and substantively connected with the success of a particular economy and the well-being of any society. This research project is thus of direct and high importance for the Slovenian economy and polity as such. The standards of human rights protection, both on the books and in practice, are highly important. In the absence of the rule of law, when the judicial system fails to address human rights violations, the essence of the input democratic legitimacy: the principle of equality and the protection of human dignity, is eroded. If the judicial system fails to ensure the protection of contractual relations, the entrepreneurial initiative is stifled, foreign investors are driven away, the economic growth is in decline and so is, as a consequence, the output democratic legitimacy. If the judicial system does not take care of just and efficient collection of taxes, the state cannot procure welfare services, which again results in a lower output legitimacy. When the latter is gone, when the individuals are no longer treated equally, when the factions capture the political process, this signals the end of democracy, rule of law as well as of the welfare state. The overall dissatisfaction in the society grows, it can lead to violence, which is a fertile ground for political populism. The Slovenian and  European not so distant history is full of examples of such events. We ought to ensure that, despite too many resemblances with those darker historical events,  they do not repeat ever again. This research project will address, for the first time, these challenges in a comprehensive manner, both on a theoretical and practical level and devise concrete proposals for the reform of the Slovenian democracy and rule of law. Furthermore, there is a well known legal-economic research, which enjoys almost an unanimous support in the scientific community, that has demonstrated a direct causal relation, even in a short run, between the scope of foreign capital investment and the rule of law. As a result, the reform of the rule of law and democracy in Slovenia will improve the conditions for foreign investment, make the country economically more attractive and in this way also strengthen the Slovenian welfare state. However, the achievement of this objective is conditioned on a prior thorough analysis of the present situation as a stepping stone for the reforms in the future.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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