Possible Future Legislative and Social Trends in the Protection of State, National, and Community Symbols in Slovakia

  • Ján Škrobák Associate Professor, Department of Administrative and Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, Comenius University Bratislava, Slovakia
Keywords: state symbols, municipality symbols, disorderly conduct, defamation of a state symbol, Slovak Republic, constitution


The paper deals with possible options and suggestions for changing the constitutional and legal regulations of the protection of state, national, and community symbols in Slovakia. In terms of constitutional regulation, the paper concludes that its change is not necessary—even in the context of the low overall rigidity of the Slovak constitution. In relation to the Act on State Symbols itself, only a change in the regulation of the use of the state emblem on the jerseys of the official national sports teams is proposed. Regarding the area of criminal law and administrative punishment, there is somewhat unclear distinction between the criminal offence of disorderly conduct and the infringement under Article 42(1)(a) of the Infringements Act. The distinction between misdemeanors and infringements is defined in the Criminal Code by means of substantive corrective. Thus, the relationship between the two offences in question is not dysfunctional and the ne bis in idem principle will not be infringed. However, the unclear relationship between the merits of the criminal offence and the infringement casts doubt on compliance with both the requirement of legal certainty and the requirements arising from the principle of nullum crimen sine lege certa. Despite the shortcomings of this approach, the only solution appears to be to leave the boundary between the respective criminal offence and infringement for the judiciary. The paper outlines how the courts approach the assessment of cases of defamation. However, the jurisprudence of Slovak courts in this matter is scarce and currently does not provide answers to all relevant questions. The decisions show the need for an individual and contextual assessment of the social danger of every case of defamation. The paper contains a proposal to create a new criminal offence—the defamation of a state symbol of the Slovak Republic. Criminal protection for foreign state symbols would continue to be provided in the context of the crime of disorderly conduct. This paper also provides proposals to change the regulation of the use of state symbols in public sports events. These amendments are intended to close the loopholes of the current regulation, which reduce its regulatory effectiveness. Furthermore, it is proposed to harmonize the rules governing the use of official stamps with state symbols—coat of arms—and with self-government symbols in relation to municipalities and self-governing regions. 


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How to Cite
ŠkrobákJ. (2023). Possible Future Legislative and Social Trends in the Protection of State, National, and Community Symbols in Slovakia. Law, Identity and Values, 3(1), 219-233. https://doi.org/10.55073/2023.1.219-233