Admin staff

Slovenia’s vaccination mandate for state administrative staff declared unconstitutional

The new rule was supposed to come into effect from October 1, but was suspended by the court after it was challenged by several groups of public administration workers, including a police union.

It was on the latter’s initiative that the court now considered that a PC warrant would be comparable to the imposition of compulsory vaccination as a condition for certain jobs or professions, which, according to the court, should be addressed. in accordance with the law on communicable diseases. .

The government wanted to impose the new rule on public administration employees, including various government departments and affiliated bodies, inspection services, police forces, armed forces and administrative units, rather than the entire public sector.

Although the relevant government regulation is no longer valid as it has since been superseded by another, the court made a substantive decision on the matter.

He noted that the legal basis for compulsory vaccination was Articles 22 and 25 of the Communicable Disease Law which prescribe various (compulsory) vaccinations, but government regulations were not aligned with the conditions set out there.

Therefore, the court ruled that the contentious rule runs counter to article 120 of the constitution, which provides that administrative authorities carry out their work independently within and on the basis of the constitution and laws. .

The court did not say whether the measure, if imposed on the basis of an appropriate legal basis, would be constitutionally acceptable from the point of view of proportionality and equality before the law.

The court was keen to say that its ruling did not mean that vaccinating employees as a condition for exercising certain jobs or professions would be a disproportionate measure, but said that such a measure should be prescribed on the basis of the Disease Act. transmissible.

The court also noted that the contested rule could not be compared to the PC measure introduced in Austria, as the Austrian legislator had passed a law in which it created an explicit and specific legislative basis for imposing such measures.

It also notes that the Austrian solution is different in that in Austria the PC rule mainly restricted some public life, while in Slovenia the PC rule was imposed by a regulation issued by the executive exclusively to determine access to the public. workplace and even that only for employees in state bodies.

The court delivered its judgment by six votes to three. Judges Klemen Jaklič and Rok Svetlič presented separate dissenting opinions and Špelca Mežnar, Katja Šugman Stubbs, Rok Čeferin, Rajko Knez and Marijan Pavčnik gave favorable opinions. Marko Šorli also voted against.

Svetlič and Jaklič argued that the government measure sought to protect human life and health as a basic constitutional right, with Jaklič stating that “formalism should not be placed above human lives”.

Jaklič also argues that there are many legal bases for the government to impose the PC measure, including the government law and the law on occupational safety and health, while even in their absence, the right to life and health guaranteed by the constitution is sufficient.

Čeferin dismissed the claim that the court put legitimacy above the protection of life, saying that “no matter how daring legal acrobatics are, they cannot lead to the conclusion that the government is complies with the legal basis to prescribe compulsory vaccination for employees of state bodies “.

Public Administration Minister Boštjan Koritnik responded by saying that the court ruling did not mean that the measure would be disproportionate or unnecessary. He added: “We will have to find common solutions and find them quickly.” He is happy the court made a substantive decision, but he would be happier if he did so sooner.

Police union PSS, which challenged the PC rule, hailed the court ruling as a victory for the rule of law on its Twitter profile.

The law firm representing the union, Pirc Musar & Lemut Strle, noted that the court highlighted the case as a major precedent-setting constitutional issue, as similar questions could arise regarding acts of a similar nature.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Janez Janša re-tweeted a message from Judge Jaklič as well as another from economist Matej Lahovnik saying: “The difference between Austria and Slovenia is obvious and it’s called the Court. constitutional.