Summary: 1. Introduction. – 2. Justice in Law. – 3. Art. 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. – 4. Application Practice in the Slovak Republic. – 5. Concluding Remarks.
Background: The right to a fair trial, resulting from international documents, the Constitution, and the legal order of the Slovak Republic, is confronted in terms of content with the requirement and reasonable expectation of fair decision-making in criminal proceedings. The paper seeks to define the concept of justice and its procedural and substantive aspects as the course but also as the result of criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings are always aimed at resulting in a certain decision of the body active in criminal proceedings and the court. Criminal proceedings without a decision would not make sense. The content and quality of the decision, especially from the point of view of legality and fairness, reflect the legal culture of the state and its bodies.
Methods: The scientific methods used in this article are legal comparison, content analysis of websites, functional analysis of legal acts, and analysis of the decisions of many international and national courts.
Results and Conclusions: Justice in law has an ambiguous meaning from a legal-theoretical point of view, mainly because it is a concept with a high degree of abstractness. No legal-theoretical definition of justice can be found in the case-law of Slovak as well as Czech courts. In Slovak case law, the term justice occurs exclusively in the context of the right to a fair trial, i.e., at the procedural level. However, as already mentioned, the Criminal Codes also refer in several places to the term ‘fair decision’ as the result of criminal proceedings, i.e., the substantive level of justice. It should be recalled here that each individual has his or her own autonomous idea of justice and his or her own criteria for evaluating other people’s actions. It is almost impossible to reach a consensus on guilt and punishment in an individual criminal decision with the public and especially with the parties to the proceedings, i.e., the injured party and the accused. Especially, individual justice in the decision is debatable, especially in cases of diversions or in the application of the principle of opportunity.