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Response to the Constitutional Court decision: A small step for the Ombudsman; a big step for the rule of law

19.03.2013 15:55
Category: work and news


The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia is pleased to note that the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia upheld our arguments that certain provisions of Article 143 of the Fiscal Balance Act (ZUJF) were in contravention of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia.

The request for the review of the constitutionality of Article 143 of the ZUJF was filed immediately after its entry into force (on 19 July 2012) on the basis of initiatives of numerous associations and pensioners’ organisations and over 250 distressed individuals whose pensions were reduced by up to 24 per cent on the basis of the Act. We wish to repeat our thanks to everybody whose information or professional knowledge helped us formulate our request.

We stress that the Constitutional Court has repealed the unconstitutional provisions of the ZUJF, which means that these do not apply as of the publication of the decision (proactive effect), while an appropriate decision for the period after the entry into force of the ZUJF (for the past seven months) will have to be adopted by the legislator. In other words: by means of decisions of the Pension and Disability Insurance Institute (PDII), all reduced pensions will be restored to the level granted to eligible individuals prior to the entry into force of the ZUJF, while the payment of the difference accumulated from 1 June 2012 until today will have to be claimed by eligible individuals in yet incomplete procedures in which they secured the protection of their rights. Those individuals who did not complain against the PDII decision or did not file an action against its second instance decision will have to wait for an appropriate amendment to the Act.

We would like to draw the attention of competent authorities, which have recently made many a last minute amendment to provisions, to the financial consequences of the unconstitutional reduction of pensions. The same financial effect would be achieved by the general reduction of all pensions by 0.7 per cent, which would probably raise disputes only for the lowest pensions. Besides the anticipated legal amendments, the authorities should calculate and consider the costs incurred for the whole country by the discriminatory and insufficiently elaborated solutions. At the moment, nobody is able to estimate how much time has been and will be spent by different authorities (PDII at the first and second instance, then the Labour and Social Court in Ljubljana at two instances) to decide on the 12,500 applications filed against the so-called declaratory decisions, not to mention the time and nerves of all individuals in question and their families. The scope of additional work is illustrated by the information that the PDII annually considers about 9,000 complaints of second instance and that it had only resolved about 3,400 complaints concerning the ZUJF by January 2013.


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