For Transparent Judiciary Respecting the Principle of Equality

Aim and character of the project

The main aim of the project implemented by the Citizen, Democracy and Accountability (the former Citizen and Democracy) is to strengthen the impartiality of the judiciary system and the public confidence in its lawful and transparent decision-making. Our aim also covers the need to strengthen an important aspect in courts’ decision-making, cutting across all areas of their decision-making practice, which also requires an in-depth and interdisciplinary understanding of the issue. This important aspect is the equality principle.

The goal of the project, implemented from April 2009 to December 2010, is to strengthen the principles of the rule of law – in particular the principles of equality and non-discrimination, the principle of legal certainty and protection of legitimate expectations, and the principle of lawfulness. It is not only important to strengthen the public control of the judiciary system in general, but also the public control of the judiciary system with respect to courts’ decision-making concerning the right to equality in the broadest sense of the word. Equally important is to improve civic participation as a crucial condition for the public control of the judiciary.

In order to better establish the aforementioned principles in the decision-making practices of the courts, we provide training to judges on antidiscrimination issues, gender equality, and women’s rights. In addition, with the aim of improving the quality of decision-making practices of the courts, we further advance a more effective exercise of the right of the public to access to judicial decisions. This should contribute, among other things, to increasing the transparency of the judiciary system.

Target groups

The key project target group are judicial professionals, judges primarily, but also judicial candidates and clerks. The target group further involves the professional and general public which, once the project goals are met, should have more confidence towards the judiciary system thanks to a better access to judicial decisions and improved decision-making of the courts. The project envisages an active involvement of university students, i.e. enhancing capacities in this area, and increased sensitivity of young activists towards this issue.


The project provides judges with training activities covering the major aspects of antidiscrimination legislation in international, European and national contexts, as well as a better insight into several interdisciplinary aspects of gender equality in a wider context of women’s rights. Human rights education provided at law faculties, as well as human rights education obtained by particular specialised legal professions (for example, judges, lawyers) still fails to encompass the cross-cutting nature of the right to equality, i.e. the fact that individual fundamental rights and freedoms must be observed regardless of sex, race, age, colour of skin, ethnicity, disability etc.; that the right to equality must be observed together with all human rights and freedoms. The law studies do not reflect, in the necessary extent, relatively new provisions on the principle of equal treatment, stemming from the Community legislation, in particular its antidiscrimination directives. In addition, general law education programmes and the training provided to legal professionals do not built on an attempt for an in-depth understanding of discrimination related phenomena and its interdisciplinary contexts (mainly psychological and sociological). These facts are necessarily reflected in how the courts, as law enforcement authorities, incorporate the right to equality into their decision-making practice, either as an integral, cross-cutting legal principle in the broadest sense of the word, or as an accessory right pertaining to other fundamental rights and freedoms that are subject to judicial decision-making, or as a right embedded in the concept of the equal treatment principle.

The same holds true for gender equality and women’s rights issues which, though formally transposed in the Slovak legal system, still remain inadequately present in education programmes for legal professionals, in the legal discourse and, quite logically, in a day-to-day decision-making practice of the courts, as well.

Seminars – basic information

The project includes two sets of seminars for judges, which will be organised in cycles throughout the entire duration of the project. Each series consists of three two-day seminars. Each seminar will be attended by 20 judicial professionals, judges in particular. Even though individual sets of seminars are mutually complementary, it is possible for participants to take them separately The seminars will be led by internal and external experts of our association (including from abroad), having interdisciplinary expertise in the field of antidiscrimination, women’s rights and gender equality, mainly experts on law, psychology, sociology, and other related disciplines. The seminar methodology, involving a number of interactive and participative features, such as discussions and group work, is designed to also provide room for reviewing attitudes and prejudice that may often accompany judicial decision-making and lead to its discriminatory impacts.

A series of expert seminars entitled Antidiskriminácia v interdisciplinárnom kontexte (Antidiscrimination in Interdisciplinary Context) is focused on basic issues of antidiscrimination law in the context of the Slovak legal system (particularly with respect to the incorporation of the equality principle in the Slovak Constitution and the Antidiscrimination Act), as well as international standards governing the right to equality. Attention is also given to relevant issues concerning the right to equality and the non-discrimination principles in the context of their incorporation in the Community law. Since antidiscrimination is an interdisciplinary issue, the content of the seminars also covers its psychological and sociological aspects.

The seminars under the Rodová rovnosť a ľudské práva žien (Gender Equality and Women’s Human Rights) series focus primarily on the presentation of basic theoretical concepts and international law standards on women’s human rights and gender equality. The seminars also integrate theoretical knowledge from scientific disciplines other than the legal science.

The project is implemented under the NOS-OSF Block Grant and funded under the EEA Financial Mechanism, the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and the state budget of the Slovak Republic.


© 2010 Občan, demokracia a zodpovednosť