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Filing documents with the court five minutes before deadline

Electronic communication with the courts allows filing of electronic documents at the very last minute.

True. But the case of a lawyer sending an appeal on the very last day at 11:55 pm had to be resolved by the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (Nr. III. ÚS 479/2018).

In this case, a lawyer filed an appeal literally five minutes before midnight on the very last day for appeal. The message – the appeal – was received by the district court’s system just minutes after midnight. Thus, the district court registered the appeal as received one day after the deadline. The district court, following the civil process procedure, handed the court file to the county court. The county court, using only the information given by the district court’s electronic system, dismissed the appeal as not filed in time. Since the appellant and its lawyer could not appeal against the dismissal of an appeal, the lawyer filed an appellate review with a higher court. However, the higher court dismissed the appellate review with the argument that it is directed against a ruling that cannot be reviewed by the higher court. The only possibility left was the Supreme Court, which accepted the complaint and concluded that an appeal is filed on time if a court lacks the conclusion, proven beyond reasonable doubt, that the appeal was filed late. The Supreme Court emphasized that the appeal was filed on time.

Despite the happy ending, the lawyer could have saved two years, two months and a lot of work if the appeal had been filed at least a few minutes earlier.

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