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Slovenia's Digitalizing, Striking, and Powering Through: A Buzz Interview with Maja Subic of Senica & Partners

Slovenia's Digitalizing, Striking, and Powering Through: A Buzz Interview with Maja Subic of Senica & Partners

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The Slovenian justice system has been abuzz in recent months with talks of digitalization, according to Senica & Partners Partner Maja Subic, who also reports on the ongoing administrative strike in the country. Despite the latter and other grounds for initial concern, the year is shaping up well for the Slovenian market.

"One of the most significant advancements when it comes to the digitalization of the justice system is the ability to file a motion for admission of revision electronically with the Supreme Court," Subic begins. "This is a crucial step because one of the Ministry of Justice’s key priorities is to fully digitalize the justice system." As Subic reports, the goal is to make it possible to file all motions and access all files electronically, including electronic service of documents. 

Furthermore, and in line with the digitalization trend, Subic reports that "lawyers are eagerly anticipating the introduction of video conferencing for main hearings. While our legislation already supports this, the courts are not yet well-equipped, and judges are somewhat hesitant to adopt these technologies." Unequivocally though, Subic feels that video conferencing would be incredibly beneficial, "especially for cross-border matters involving witnesses from abroad. I am hopeful that we will see this digital tool become commonplace soon."

Continuing, Subic reports of an ongoing strike of administrative units in Slovenia. "The strike has significantly impacted both clients and lawyers. There are 60 administrative units responsible for issuing various permits, from work permissions to building permits." As Subic reports, the strike has caused procedures to slow down considerably, leading to long lines and delays. "This situation has particularly affected transactions, as we are now waiting much longer for approvals. The catalyst for the strike is the demand for higher salaries in the public sector, which the government has been hesitant to approve." Although the number of striking units is gradually decreasing and there is pressure from the ministry to perform at least basic and urgent work, the overall process has slowed down, Subic says.

Still, despite all of these challenges, the Slovenian market appears to be doing just fine. "Surprisingly, the market for M&A deals is improving," Subic goes on to say. "We are seeing a return to the number of deals we had before COVID-19, indicating that the market is slowly recovering. This is encouraging, especially given the geopolitical context." In particular, real estate transactions seem to have top billing. "Real estate investment remains very popular in Slovenia, especially residential properties," Subic says. "During the COVID-19 era, the number of deals increased significantly, but now it has slowed to a more normal level compared to those peak times. Regarding commercial real estate, there is still a huge demand for logistics and hotels, although availability is limited – investors are cautious due to high interest rates and construction costs, but overall, the sector is looking up," Subic explains.

Finally, assessing the year so far, Subic says that while 2024 started with an air of slight worry, things are now running smoothly. "We started the year with some worries, particularly because Slovenia's economy is closely tied to Germany’s, and there were concerns about potential impacts. However, for now, lawyers are busy with a lot of work and transactions." Ultimately, Subic concludes by saying that "it seems that the market is resilient, and things are steadily improving despite the initial concerns."

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