This paper examines the emergence of shortened criminal procedures in European courts, with attention to such a trend in Slovenia.
The incentive for speeding up criminal case processing, particularly in the course of a trial, has been to reduce the financial and personnel resources involved in lengthy cases. Mechanisms used in various European countries have involved the elimination of long and complex pretrial proceedings and the use of written proceedings designed to eliminate trials. A central feature of shortened procedures has been the simplifying of systems for presenting evidence such that the procedures are voluntarily accepted by both parties, although the judge ultimately determines the form of any modified procedures. Recently, the Slovenian Criminal Procedure Code was changed to allow for a summary procedure that is available to the public prosecutor at any point in case processing after charges have been filed. The changes reflect the features of plea negotiations used in the United States and the United Kingdom. In some countries emphasis is on securing a guilty plea in order to eliminate a trial. In Slovenia the severity of the offense is the most important criterion in determining whether summary procedure is appropriate. High priority is given to the rights of the defendant when entering the pretrial or the trial phase. Under summary procedures, the defendant is not required to admit guilt, but is offered some kind of "reward" for agreeing to a shortened or simplified criminal procedure. This can reduce the delay in case processing without requiring that the defendant enter a guilty plea. 7 notes and 29 references