Avtor obravnava dva položaja, ko se sodišče v pravdnem postopku srečuje s kazensko sodbo oziroma vprašanjem obstoja kaznivega dejanja. Za predhodno vprašanje gre v tistih redkih primerih, ko je obstoj civilnopravne obveznosti odvisen od obstoja kaznivega dejanja. Če kazenskega postopka še ni bilo je sporno, ali tedaj domneva nedolžnosti pravdnemu sodišču preprečuje, da bi samostojno odločalo o obstoju kaznivega dejanja. Glede predhodnih vprašanj je pravdno sodišče vezano na kazensko obsodilno in oprostilno sodbo, sporna pa je vezanost na kazensko zavrnilno sodbo. Pri identičnem dejanskem stanju, je pravdno sodišče, ki obravnava isti historični dogodek kot ga je pred tem kazensko sodišče, vezano le na kazensko obsodilno sodbo. Gre za edini primer, ko je v slovenskem pravu uveljavljena vezanost kot collateral estoppel. Vezanost na kazensko obsodilno sodbo je v nasprotju z načelom kontradiktornosti in s pravico stranke do zaslišanja v postopku, v kolikor gre v škodo oseb, ki v kazenskem postopku niso imele možnost sodelovati.
Concerning the interaction between criminal and civil law, there are extremely few cases in Slovenian legislation where the existence of a criminal offence is a pre-condition for the application of a certain consequence in the field of civil law. The only such a case in the field of Law of Obligations concerns the length of the prescription period for obligations in torts; if the event that caused the damage was a criminal offence, the prescription period may be longer (Article 353, Code of Obligations). In such a case, a civil court is bound by both the conviction and the acquittal of the wrongdoer in criminal procedure (thus, if the wrongdoer was acquitted, the civil court may not in a later action for damages use a longer prescription period based on a finding that the wrongful act was a criminal offence). If, however, a criminal procedure has not taken place yet and the civil court is faced with a preliminary question of whether a criminal offence was committed (because this is decisive for the determination of the length of the prescription period), the civil court may not, in principle, decide on this preliminary question by itself. According to the position of the Supreme Court, if a civil court would find, even if just as a preliminary question, that the wrongful act was a criminal offence although a criminal procedure has not been accomplished yet, it would violate the presumption of innocence (Article 27 of the Constitution).
Cases where a criminal offence represents a preliminary question in civil proceedings need to be distinguished from so called »identical historical event«; which are cases, where in order to establish civil liability the court needs to establish (partially) the same facts as were previously established in criminal proceedings. For such cases, the Civil Procedure Act provides for a certain effect of a collateral estoppel, produced by a conviction in a criminal case. In a case when the same cause of action resulted in previous conviction of the wrongdoer in criminal procedure it is easier for the aggrieved party to pursue its civil claim. The CPA (Article 14) determines that when the claim is based on the same state of facts that has already been adjudicated in criminal proceedings, the court shall be bound by the final condemnatory sentence issued in criminal proceedings, but only in respect of the existence of criminal offence and criminal liability of the offender. For instance, in such a claim, the defendant will be precluded from raising an objection that his act was not illegal or objection that there was no causal link or that no damage occurred. In fact, this is the only case of the so-called collateral estoppel in Slovenian civil procedure (there is no such effect between two civil procedures, just between a criminal and a subsequent civil procedure).
A Criminal Offence as a Preliminary Question in Civil Proceedings and Civil and Criminal Cases Based on the Same Cause of Action
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