State’s liability for mistakes of its (government) authorities

A company from the area of Celje sued the Republic of Slovenia for damages that arose due to unlawful conduct of one of its public bodies, specifically a certain court, which wrongfully served a lawsuit to a defendant in some other proceeding, which the aforementioned company initiated against it. The defendant in this proceeding was a company from the Republic of Macedonia. The court served the lawsuit to the company from Macedonia directly by post to the Republic of Macedonia, even though the bilateral convention between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Macedonia specifies that court documents should be issued through diplomatic or consular channels. The defending company from Macedonia ignored the court's summon and did not reply to it, which is why the court issued a default judgment, which became final, but the company from the area of Celje could not achieve the recognition and enforcement of the judgment in Macedonia, as the Macedonian court deemed the lawsuit as wrongfully served.

A company from the area of Celje sued the Republic of Slovenia for damages that arose due to unlawful conduct of one of its public bodies, specifically a certain court, which wrongfully served a lawsuit to a defendant in some other proceeding, which the aforementioned company initiated against it. The defendant in this proceeding was a company from the Republic of Macedonia.  The court served the lawsuit to the company from Macedonia directly by post to the Republic of Macedonia, even though the bilateral convention between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Macedonia specifies that court documents should be issued through diplomatic or consular channels. The defending company from Macedonia ignored the court’s summon and did not reply to it, which is why the court issued a default judgment, which became final, but the company from the area of Celje could not achieve the recognition and enforcement of the judgment in Macedonia, as the Macedonian court deemed the lawsuit as wrongfully served.

In the proceeding it was proven that the court’s action was unlawful beyond doubt. That is why, in the proceeding against the country, the court mainly dealt with judging on the remaining suppositions of damage liabilities. The company from the area of Celje was first reproached that it did not suggest an annulment of the clause on the finality of the verdict and the enforcement of the issued default judgment, which is why this company is supposed to have missed the opportunity to prevent damages, therefore the causal link between the unlawful conduct and damages is supposed to have been broken. Consequently the company should alone bear the damages that arose from the unenforceable judgment.

The applicant repeatedly emphasized in the proceeding that the court ruled completely without consideration of the defendant’s factual grounds. The defendant did not raise certain objections or did not raise these in time, which is why in this case it is completely a matter of arbitrary propagation of the defendant’s factual basis from the court itself. The court wrongfully helped the defendant. With such conduct of the court, an infringement of the rules of procedure was made, specifically an infringement of the hearing principle from Article 7 of ZZP (Foreign Trade Act), which influenced the regularity and legality of the judgment, as the court based its decision exactly on these circumstances.

Therefore the court explicitly benefited the defendant with its actions in this part, as it ruled completely without consideration of the statements and thus infringed the applicant’s right to a statement, thereby making a substantial breach of the rules of procedure from point 8 of paragraph 2, as these facts were not a part of the defendant’s objections and could therefore not have been considered due to their contradictory nature.

The higher court recognized these irregularities and emphasized that in connection with determining the unlawful conduct of the district court when serving court documents to the defendant – a legal person from Macedonia, the court did not choose the appropriate way, as the possibility of directly serving documents between the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Macedonia is excluded and added that “one must conclude that the documents were not served at all.”

By infringing the rules of the burden of proof and statements and the hearing principle, the court made a substantial breach of the rules of procedure, which influenced the legality and regularity of the judgment. Considering that the defendant did not give substantiated objections regarding this in time, this is also a case of absolute violation of the rules of procedure from point 8 paragraph 2 article 339 of the ZZP.