Brief Description of the Activities of the Criminal Division

Author: Aleš Pavel

The primary activity of the judges of the Criminal Division is deciding extraordinary appeals and complaints for violation of law as extraordinary remedial measures in criminal proceedings, irrespective of what court or authority involved in criminal proceedings issued the contested decision. By this activity, the Criminal Division ensures uniformity and lawfulness in the decision-making of lower courts.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court monitors and evaluates final decisions of courts in criminal proceedings and subsequently adopts standpoints on the decision-making activity of courts of first instance and appellate courts. For the purpose of unifying court practice, the Criminal Division issues the Collection of Decisions and Standpoints. It contains standpoints adopted by the Divisions or the Plenum and also selected decisions in the field of criminal, civil or commercial law approved in sessions of the respective Division of the Supreme Court, provided that such decisions are of significance to the interpretation and application of legislation.

The judges of the Criminal Division deal with complaints against decisions of High Courts acting as courts of first instance [Section 146(2)(c)], complaints against decisions of the Supreme Public Prosecutor [Section 141(3) and Section 146a(1)] or complaints concerning whether or to what extent a person is exempt from the jurisdiction of authorities involved in criminal proceedings [Section 10(2) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure]. These include, for example, complaints against a decision of custody (Section 74), decision to impose a fine (Section 66), decision to transfer (remove or refer) a case (Section 25) or decision on claimed bias (Section 31). Moreover, the judges review decisions of Regional Courts concerning whether it is admissible to extradite a person to a foreign country [Section 95(5) and (6) of the Act on International Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters], and they also decide in certain cases on a transit custody of a person in transit for criminal trial in a foreign country [Section 143 (4)].

Last but not least, the judges of the Criminal Division decide issues following from the subject-matter or from the explicit wording of legislation, for example in disputes over jurisdiction [Section 24, Section 188(1)(a), Section 222(1), Section 257(1)(a) of the Rules of Criminal Procedure] or removal and referral of a case (Section 25), if the Supreme Court is the immediately superior court for both courts or authorities involved.