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Can associations, organisations or other legal entities, who have a legitimate interest, engage, either on behalf or in support of the complainant, with his or her approval, in any judicial and/or administrative procedure concerning discrimination?

Key Area:
Anti-discrimination Legislation & Implementation
Discrimination, Equality
09/11/2011 - 23:57
Short Answer

Yes. Even though associations cannot represent the victims in judicial or administrative procedures, there are ways available to do it, such as third party intervention or legal representation by an individual who works for such association.  

Qualitative Info

The Act Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment in Article 23 states that non-governmental organizations shall have the right to take part in judicial and administrative proceedings initiated by alleged victims of discrimination. Non-governmental organizations are all private non-profit entities, which in Slovenian can be established as associations, institutes or foundations. Due to the lack of specificity of this provision the NGOs’ involvement however depends on other more specific provisions in procedural legislation, as described under the next question.


The Civil Procedure Act, which is used for civil procedures, and also when appropriate for the proceedings at the Constitutional Court or at the Labour and Social Court, states that a third party who has a legal interest (meaning a personal interest based on statute or other regulations) can intervene in support of one of the parties at any time until the end of the proceedings. Such third party is a so-called “side intervenient” (stranski intervenient). This is the only case in which an NGO can officially get involved in support of the party to the court procedure.


Different rules are in place for an entity to get involved in the proceedings on behalf of the party to the court procedure. In civil procedures the only legal entity that can represent the party to the procedure is a law firm. Individuals who can represent the party are attorneys and lawyers who passed the state legal exam, and in county court procedures also anybody with a legal capacity. However, these are not legal entities but individuals. In criminal proceedings, the victim can be represented by anyone with legal capacity. In administrative proceedings, according to the General Administrative Procedure Act, the party to the procedure can be represented by anyone with legal capacity, who would in this case act on behalf of the party. It can be an individual, and it can also be a legal entity, however, in the latter case the NGO has to appoint an individual who will act on behalf of the party. Namely, according to Article 54, § 3 of the General Aministrative Procedure Act, a professional organization which is recognized in certain activities directly connected with the relevant rights and duties of the party may represent this party during administrative proceedings. The party is also entitled to invite an expert in special circumstances, which could be relevant for NGOs knowledgeable in issues of anti-discrimination. This expert may provide explanations and legal advice on in support of the party concerning legal matters but is not entitled to represent the party (Article 61 of the General Administrative Procedure Act).


In disciplinary procedures it is important to mention the role of trade unions in disciplinary procedures. Namely, according to Article 179 of the Employment Relationship Act, an employer must notify the employee’s trade union of a disciplinary procedure in writing; if there is no such trade union or if the employee is not a member of it, the workers' council or the trade union organizer shall be notified. Furthermore, Article 208 of Employment Relationship Act stipulates that a trade union whose members are employed by a specific employer may appoint or elect a trade union organizer to represent the trade union before the employer. If no trade union organizer is appointed, the trade union is represented by its chairman. Trade union organizers have the right to exercise and protect the rights and interest of their members vis-à-vis the employer.


According to the Constitutional Court Act, societies and other associations do not have the right to challenge regulations that interfere with the legal status of their members or other persons. They only have legal interest if the regulation in question interferes directly with their rights, legal interests or their status as a legal person. The Constitutional Court exceptionally recognizes a society or association’s legal interest in filing a petition in the name and in the interest of its members when it has been established with the purpose for which the action has been filed – in this case there is a requirement of chartered aims (for example the Society of Erased Persons). The Helsinki Monitor for Human Rights, for example, cannot represent the petitioners. Pursuant to Article 86 of the Civil Procedure Act, which is applied mutatis mutandis concerning representation in proceedings before the Constitutional Court, only a natural person can be authorized to represent a party. A legal entity can represent a party if it is a law firm. 


The situation is different with the informal procedure before the Advocate of the Principle of Equality. There the NGOs can act either on behalf in in support of the victim of discrimination. There are no specific rules on whether an entity has to be registered to act on behalf of or in support of the victim in the procedure before the Advocate. 



Zakon o uresničevanju načela enakega obravnavanja – Uradno prečiščeno besedilo [Act Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment – Official Consolidated Version], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 93/2007. 

Zakon o splošnem upravnem postopku [The General Administrative Procedure Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 80/1999, 70/2000, 54/2002, 73/2004.

Zakon o pravdnem postopku – Uradno prečiščeno besedilo [Civil Procedure Act – Official Consolidated Version], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 73/2007.  

Zakon o ustavnem sodišču [The Constitutional Court Act], Official Journal of Republic of Slovenia, No. 15/1994, 64/2001.

Zakon o delovnih razmerjih [Employment Relationship Act], Official Journal of the Republic of Slovenia, No. 42/2002 and 103/2007.



Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Roma & Travelers, Muslims, Ethnic minorities, Religious minorities, Linguistic minorities, Majority, Asylum seekers, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Persons with disability
Type (R/D) Extremism - organised Racist Violence, Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Anti-semitism, Islamophobia, Afrophobia, Arabophobia, Anti-roma/zinghanophobia, Religious intolerance, Nationalism, Homophobia, On grounds of disability, On grounds of other belief
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement, Employment - labour market, Housing, Health and social protection, Education, Culture, Media, Internet, Sport, Anti-discrimination, Anti-racism, Daily life, Religion
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