Transport law in Slovakia

According to the object of transport we recognize freight transport and passenger service.

Obligatory legal relations, subject of which is transport of goods, or freight (not passengers), are amended either by Civil Code (hereafter as "CC"), by contracting type: Contract on transportation of freight (§765 - 771 CC) and also by Commercial Code (hereafter as "COC"), and this by three contracting types:

  • Dispatch contract (§ 601 - 609 COC)
  • Contract on transport of a thing  (§ 610 – 629 COC) and
  • Contract on operating trtransportation vehicle (§ 638 - 641 COC). 

Civil and Commercial Codes contain only general amendment of contracting transportation of passengers and freight. More detailed amendment of rights and duties is left to transportation orders and tariffs, while we cannot forger the international treaties, which are binding for the SR, and which were published in the Collection of laws.Tansportation orders are published in the form of regulations in the Collection of laws and function as executive and supplementing legal regulation to general legal regulation contained in Civil and Commercial Code. 

Transport of things or freight

Commercial Code distinguishes three types of transportation contracts, out of which Dispatch contract and Contract on operation of transportation vehicle are so called absolute businesses; Contract on transport of a thing is so called relative business. 

So called absolute business means that only provisions of Commercial Code apply to binding relations, subject to the fact, that all terms of the Dispatch contract and the Contract on operation of transportation vehicle are fulfilled. In both cases therefore the provisions of Civil Code cannot be used. 

So called relative business means, that provisions of Commercial Code will be applied to binding relations on transport of a thing only in case the terms pursuant to the provision of § 261 sec. 1 and 2 of the Commercial Code apply.

In other cases the contracting relations are amended by provisions of Civil Code on transport of freight.

Dispatch contract (§ 601 - 609 COC)

By Dispatch contract the dispatcher is bound toward ordering party to carry out the transport of things under his own name at the costs of ordering party from certain place to place of destination and the ordering party is bound to pay the dispatcher the charges. The basic sign of the dispatch contract is procuring the transport of a thing from one place to another place, in the name of dispatcher and at the costs of ordering party and this for charge. This is a special type of consignment contract.  Considering the fact, that dispatch contract is absolute business the provisions of Commercial Code will apply regardless of which subjects are contracting parties.

Though this is charged contract, the determining the amount of charges is not substantial part of the contract.

The contract does not need to be concluded in written form. In this case the dispatcher has the right to issue written order to procure the transport (dispatching order). It can be issued also after concluding the contract.  The difference between dispatch contract and contract on transport of a thing is based in obligation of dispatcher, whose duty is only to procure the transport of a thing, which is to arrange the way and terms of the transport, but not to carry out the transport itself. If not in contradiction with the contract, or if not literally forbidden by the ordering party, the transport can be performed by dispatcher himself.

Contract on operation of transportation vehicle (§ 638 - 641 COC)

By Contract on operation of transportation vehicle the provider of operation of transportation vehicle (operator) is bound to transport the freight determined by the party ordering the operation of transport vehicle and for this purpose with the transport vehicle to carry out either one or several journeys determined beforehand, or in the course of agreed period to perform the journey according to the orders of ordering party and the ordering party is bound to pay the charges. The same as the dispatching contract, the contract on operation of transport vehicle also belongs to absolute businesses. Unlike the contract on renting transport vehicle (§ 630 and foll COC) the subject of obligation is the performance of the journey by certain transport vehicle and the obligation of operator to provide the transport vehicle with the crew and fuelling.  The difference between the contract on transport of a thing and contract on operation of transport vehicle is that the freight (object of the transport) does not need to be determined specifically. Usually it is determined at least in a framework manner, in relation to determining the transport vehicle. 

The law requires the written form of the contract on operation of transport vehicle to be legally concluded. 

Contract on transport of a thing (§610 - 629 COC)

By Contract on transport of a thing the transporter (entity, which must have the licence to operate the transport based in its subject of activity) is bound toward the dispatcher to transport a thing (shipment) from certain place (place of sending) to another certain place (destination) and the sending party is obliged to pay the charges (transport charges).

Determining the receiving party of the shipment is not the substantial part of the contract, because the sender of the shipment is entitled to change the transport dispositions and determine the different destination for the shipment and the different receiving party. Determining the subject of transport - it can be individually determined thing, or the thing defined generically. Though the payment of charges is one of the characteristics of this contracting type, the amount of transport charges does not need to be determined in the contract.

The contract may be concluded orally. Transporter may require from the sender to confirm the requested transport on shipping document. On the other hand, the sender may request from transporter to confirm the receiving of the shipment.

Contracting parties may contractually agree, that transporter is obliged to issue the literae recognitions for the sender at the time of receiving the shipment for transport, which entitles the receiving party to request handing over the shipment from the transporter.

The provisions of the act have the dispositive nature only, therefore contracting parties may agree deviously.

This contracting type represents general legal regulation of transport of things in various forms of transport (railway, road, ship, air, marine). These individual forms of transport are amended by specific executive transportation orders.

In area of international transport, the internal state regulation is preceded by international contracts listed above, which are bounding for the SR and which were published in the Collection of laws.   

Contract on transport of freight

Civil Code also contains general amendment of contractual transport of freight. Provisions of Civil Code apply to transport relations in case the terms for applying provisions of Commercial Code to the contract on transport of things are not fulfilled, or contracting parties did not include a clause about the application of provision of Commercial Code pursuant to § 262 of Commercial Code.

On the basis of the contract on transport of freight the right is established for the sender to transport the shipment for charges to the determined destination and hand it over to the determined receiving party. The contract on transport of freight does not need to have written form it is concluded informally, but transporter is obliged to confirm the receiving of the shipment for the sending party in writing. Until the shipment is handed over, the sender has the right, subject to terms determined in transportation orders, to give new orders to the transporter. When and under what terms the right to give new orders to the transporter belongs to the receiving party is determined in the transporting orders.

The sending party is obliged, upon request of transporter, to confirm in writing the order of transport and the transporter is obliged upon request of the sending party to confirm the receiving of the shipment in writing. Subject of the transport contract is the shipment, which can be any movable thing, if it fulfils the terms determined in individual transportation orders. 

In Civil Code, the liability for damage during freight transport is specifically amended, provisions of which are applied also to liability for damage caused to luggage transported separately on the basis of contract on transport of passengers. Transporter is liable for damage caused to transported shipment during the time from receiving it for transport until it’s handing over, unless the damage was caused by sender or receiving party, faults in shipment, its packing or wrapping, specific nature of the shipment or circumstance, which the transporter could not avoid. When loosing or destroying the shipment, transporter

is obliged to reimburse the price, which the lost or destroyed shipment had at the time of its receiving for transport. Apart from this, he is obliged to bear expedient costs established in relation to the transport or the lost or the destroyed shipment. When damaging the shipment or its partial loss, the transporter covers the amount, by which the shipment was devalued. If it is effective to perform a repair, the transporter pays the repair costs. For other damages in freight transport than damages on transported shipment, the transporter is liable only if caused by exceeding the delivery period. The right for indemnification must by applied by sender at transporter within six months from handing the shipment to the receiving party, or if not handed over, within six months from receiving the shipment for transport, otherwise the right ceases.

The liability of transporter is objective liability, which means, the infliction is not investigated.