Novelties in Slovenian legislation: new Market Inspection Act (ZTI-1)

26 February 2024

At the end of January, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the new Market Inspection Act (ZTI-1) (Official Gazette of Republic of Slovenia, No. 12/2024), which entered into force on February 24, 2024, and which repealed the current Market Inspection Act, adopted more than 25 years ago.

The main goals of the new Act are more efficient implementation of inspection procedures, greater consumer safety, elimination of administrative obstacles and coordination of operations with the general principles of public administration. Below are outlined some of the main highlights of the Act.

Some novelties are being introduced to the inspection procedure itself, wherein the market inspector is obliged to establish priority inspection procedure if it follows, from the report, that a large number of consumers suffered damages or that a significant amount of damage has been caused.

Despite the fact, that the Inspection Act (Article 24) stipulates, that the inspector must, regardless of the provisions of the General Administrative Procedure Act, also handle anonymous reports, the new Market Inpection Act now specifies the reasons for which the inspector will not consider anonymous reports – if the report is clearly unfounded and untruthful - while the reason for the non-performed inspection must also be recorded with an official note.

It is now allowed to, in addition to the information, regulated by the law, governing the general administrative procedure, for the purposes of carrying out offence proceedings, to state in the official records the resident’s personal registration number and an address of permanent or temporary residence, while in the case of a foreign natural person, their birth data, citizenship and an address of permanent or temporary residence.

Market inspectors now have levelled conditions for inspection procedure with other inspectors, while the new Market Inspection Act also grants them the right to perform the so-called mystery shopping and purchase goods, services or samples of goods for the purposes of carrying out compliance checks (directly or by means of remote communication, if necessary with a secret identity) – until now this was possible, in accordance with the Inspection Act (Article 19), only if signs of an offense or information about the offender could be identified in this way.

Inspectors now have the option, in the event of detected irregularities during the inspection, to first only draw attention to the irregularity and set a deadline for its correction. Inspector shall state his findings, a warning and a deadline in the records. If the irregularities are not corrected within the specified period, he then implements other measures in accordance with the law.

In accordance with the new Market Inspection Act and if other regulations do not specify otherwise, two samples are taken during the inspection – a sample for compliance verification as well as a sample for possible additional compliance verification. The verification of compliance is carried out by a professionally qualified institution.

Another important novelty is in the program of regular professional training. It is now stipulated that the inspectorate conducts a regular professional training program for market inspectors at least once a year; previously it was considered that professional training must be carried out every third year. The new Act also abolishes the provision, according to which the inspector had to undergo a written test on the contents of the regular professional training program. If the inspector failed to pass the test even in the second attempt, he then had to take the certification exam for the market inspector again.

Additionally, the Act newly introduces a special working condition, the institute of permanent readiness for work (on-call time). This means the market inspector’s availability by phone or by other means due to the possible arrival at the workplace or any other place where an inspection must be carried out urgently. The permanent readiness for work is exceptionally assigned according to the needs of the working process, taking into account the market conditions. The market inspector, who is called to work while on on-call time, needs to report to the workplace or the place where the inspection needs to be carried out as soon as possible, wherein he must be informed of the ordered readiness for work at least three days in advance.