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Legal order is the entirety of legal rules and principles that are in force in a certain state and legal community, and legal relationships in which legal subjects mostly exercise these rules and principles. The Slovenian legal system belongs to the continental legal group of which it is typical that legal rules are formed by state authorities and not primarily by the courts as it is the case of the Anglo-Saxon legal group. The decision to join the European Union significantly influenced the Slovenian legal order ever since Slovenia had begun gradually harmonising its legislation with the EU law during the preparation to become a full member of the European Union. To use legal acts and decisions of the European Union in compliance with legal arrangements of the European Union, the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia had to be amended, and new Article 3a was added to this end.

Foundations set by the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia

The Slovenian legal order proceeded from Slovenia’s independence process when several acts of constitutional and legal significance were adopted.

In Slovenia the foundations of legal and state arrangements were established with the new constitution since the constitution of Slovenia as a federal unit within the Yugoslav federation was not a constitution of an independent state. Furthermore, it was for the most part no longer compliant with the political and social development or comparable with other modern, particularly European constitutions.

Compliance with international law and EU law

In Slovenia general legal acts are adopted at the state and local levels. Laws and other regulations shall be in conformity with generally accepted principles of international law and with international treaties ratified by the National Assembly of Slovenia. Ratified and published international treaties shall be directly applied as they are part of the domestic legal system and thus generate rights and obligations for natural and legal persons.

The principle of primacy of the EU law is very important and means that legal rules adopted at the level of the European Union prevail over the rules of Member States’ legal order. This principle prevents Slovenian legislators to adopt laws and regulations which are contrary to the EU law, and limits the judges to apply norms of the domestic law if they are in conflict with EU law.

Observance of case-law and common law

Slovenian legal order does not acknowledge case-law as a mandatory legal source, which means that decisions of higher courts are not formally binding for lower courts. Nevertheless, lower courts frequently observe and comply with case-law of higher courts and the Supreme Court, particularly general legal opinions of the latter court, which are important for uniform application of laws.

It is typical of the Slovenian legal system that it belongs to the continental legal group and involves a civil law system which means that common law as such is not part of the legal system. However, Slovenian legislation recognises common law to some extent. For example, in contractual obligations the required conduct of business entities and effects thereof are being considered by taking into account business customs, usages and commercial practices.