1.Reform of democratic and rule-of-law state in Slovenia (Slovenian Research Agency, 2016-2018), Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Brdo pri Kranju, 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.
The global aim of the proposed research project is to investigate the state of democratic and rule-of-law state in Slovenia and to develop proposals for its reform. It examines whether and how has the influence of the Council of Europe (COE) through the European Court of Human Rights and European Union (EU) through the European Court of Justice influenced the conditions for democracy and rule of law in Slovenia. The project will investigate how Slovenian judicial, legislative and executive branches/authorities safeguard 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 Council of Europe and 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 remedied. The central research question, how to reform democratic and the rule-of-law state in Slovenia, underpins this research project.
2. Constitutional and Administrative Aspects of Real Estates Tax – Can Slovenia learn something from USA? (Slovenian Research Agency, 2017-2019), Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia
The right to own a property is a fundamental right in the field of property law, but is, at the same time, also a basic human right, which was the first to be established and has become the foundation for the entire development of the law and the system of human rights as we understand them today. The right to private property as a human right is determined in all the modern constitutions of democratic countries, Slovenia and the USA are not exceptions in this regard (33 and 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia and the 4th amendment to the US Constitution). A right to private property is certainly not an absolute right. Actually, it is the most limited of all rights. In addition to the restrictions with the rights of others, in Slovenia, for example, it is also limited “to ensure its economic, social and environmental function” (article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, Ur. L. RS, no. 33/1991 and et seq.). Very important and inevitable limitation of property rights are also taxes, which provide revenue for the state. At baseline, that taxes are a necessity, it is also clear that they are constrained by other constitutional provisions giving the rights to the citizens and limiting the state authorities. Tax policy has therefore be created in such a way that it is the most rational, economical and efficient, with the minimum possible interference with the property rights of citizens. A very important difference between the Slovenian and US fiscal policy is certainly a question of the taxation of real estate. For the US budget (and its federal states) a high property tax is very important budget revenue (in conditions of generally low taxation of the country in the comparative aspect). In Slovenia, the situation is reversed. The state has not managed to introduce the real estate tax until today. Considering the fact that such attempts have been already made in the past and that it will be difficult to avoid introduction of such a tax in the future, it would be very beneficiary to prepare a comparative analysis, which would show the positive and negative effects of such a fiscal policy in the country. US is the country with the most experience in this field, so preparing a comparative US-Slovenia study would be a very important foundation for the preparation of the first professional materials, which can then be the basis for the drafting of sectoral legislation.
3. Ideology in the Courts: the Influence of Judges’ Worldview on their Decisions (Slovenian Research Agency, 2017-2020), Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia
The purpose of the proposed project is to perform the first in-depth research into ideological profiles of members of the judiciary in Slovenia, while adapting the methodology and interpretation to take into consideration the usual criticism against similar research in other countries.
The objectives of the research are theoretical, applicative and normative.
O1: To develop a multidimensional analytical model for assessing ideological profiles of the most senior members of the judiciary.
In this research, the model will be applied to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia, and is later planned to be extended to cover the regular judiciary, especially the Supreme Court and higher courts. The model will be adapted to the conditions in Slovenia. However, these are part of the broader European approach to law, so the model could later also be expanded to include the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the EU.
The objective is for the application of the theoretical model to allow: (1) assessing the ideological profile of individual judges, (2) forecasting the results of future court cases.
O2: To assess the ideological positions of Constitutional Court judges by applying the model in an analysis of the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court.
O3: To analyse empirically the decisions of the Constitutional Court based on the results of the model.
The ideological positions of judges will be assessed based on their votes in a broad sample of important rulings. More details about how the sample will be formed and the ideological positions assessed, and about the planned empirical analysis can be found in the chapter on project content.
O4: To develop and propose guidelines for improving the functioning of the Slovenian judiciary by strengthening fundamental court values, like independence, impartiality and responsibility of courts and individual judges.
O5: To develop concrete institutional proposals for improving the appointment procedure for Constitutional Court judges and the system of appointments and promotions of judges in other courts.
The proposals will be based on the results of empirical research and the new theoretical findings about the functioning of the judicial system from our research, and on knowledge about the current normative regulation and its basis in legal theory and politics.
The research will result in a completely new perspective on the legal system for Slovenia, supported by original empirical findings about the role of ideological profiles. An important new contribution to the Slovenian (and also European) legal expertise will be the interdisciplinary approach to law as a value and discourse-based concept, combining the knowledge and methodology from law, economics, sociology and political science. We expect the results to encourage further research and thus contribute to a new interdisciplinary line of social science research.