At the beginning of 2011, I received a decision from the land registry, which had been processing my submission since 2006. In its Annual Report 2010 the Slovenian Supreme Court stated that the average time for such decisions is 2.2 months. Should we trust the Ministry of Justice that the time for decisions will be only 15 days starting December 2011?
The newest thing – Electronic land registry
Reasons to be positive can be found in amendments to the legislation applicable since 1 May 2011 – the complete computerisation of the land registry.
Already since 2004 check of land registry data is available on the web (see https://evlozisce.sodisce.si/evlozisce/ javni_izpisi/list.html). Online excerpts are free of charge.
As of May this year, the land registry is fully computerised. The basic principles and the documentation required remain unchanged. But the number of eligible submitters is limited, while the e-service calls for electronic legal documents, type documents, e-signatures, e-delivery, and centralised storage.
Everything has its pluses and minuses
Certain court fees have decreased, while notary costs have increased due to their key role in the procedures. Introduction of general territorial jurisdiction does not mean that the applicant may choose the court to rule on her application. This is done automatically by the land registry information system, which assigns the application to a court that is the least burdened. So the founder of a land charge over a property in Koper and who resides in Koper might have to personally collect the land letter issued by a court in Murska Sobota, almost 300 kilometres away.
Currently, the only court competent to rule on appeals is the High court in Koper. Such exclusive jurisdiction should result in uniformity, but will also likely prolong appeal decisions.
Previously applications could be filed by any person based only on a power of attorney. Now, besides notaries and attorneys at law, only the State (municipal) Attorney’s Office for the public authorities and real estate agencies involved in the transaction are eligible submitters. To avoid possible constitutional issues on the limitation of postulation capacity, the amendments expanded the number of applicants to every natural person or legal entity entitled to file the application in their own name, if they are enrolled in the computerised system for safe electronic service.
Except in the rare cases of filing paper applications in court, the notary must be involved in the registry procedure, even if the notary has not filed the submission. In such cases the applicant must submit to a notary the underlying documents (which must include a legal basis for the registration with notarised land registry permission), and the notary converts the documents to electronic form and submits them to the court.
The system certainly has bugs. One journal published a series on users’ experiences, most of which were negative. The most criticised, however, was the land registry’s decreased transparency, increased administration, and irrational procedures; in some cases, data transfer errors also occurred.
But, despite the criticism, nobody claims the system is bad, particularly as some problems are being solved. But the Ministry of Justice has already amended its 15-day forecast with the condition that all applications filed before the land registry was computerised must first be solved. Considering I received a decision on my 2006 filing five years later, one can only imagine how long this will take.
The only court competent to rule on appeals is the High court in Koper. Such exclusive jurisdiction should result in uniformity, but will also likely prolong appeal decisions.