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The Importance of Archival Law in Modern Society

Alma Mater Press has released a publication titled Archival Law by Professor Dr. Jelka Melik. Archival law is crucial for protecting and preserving documentary and archival materials that have enduring value.

"This publication aims to highlight the importance of archival materials, emphasize the key legal provisions of fundamental archival legislation, and encourage its supplementation and enhancement. Both students of archival studies and the general public need to understand that effective archival legislation is the greatest guarantee for the preservation of archival materials, which we need in various areas of life," points out Dr. Melik, continuing: "We simply need archival materials for survival, both as individuals and as a society. Legal and archival sciences must join forces to create good and effective legislation, which will contain precise provisions on the essential tasks of those responsible for archival activities."
There is no book titled Archival Law in Slovenia. Some monographs present archival science, record management, and valid archival legislation and by-laws related to archival activities. These monographs were published ten years ago and need updates to align with new societal conditions and record management methods from the latest technologies.
In Slovenia, the prevailing opinion is that records with enduring value primarily serve the needs of historical researchers and the formation or preservation of collective memory. However, the truth is far from that. Without awareness of the importance of archival materials for protecting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, these values cannot be established.
The publication aims to alert the legal and broader public to the importance of archival materials, which transcend national and ethnic boundaries. Slovenia is an excellent example of a country that has rectified many past injustices based on archival materials. At the same time, Slovenia is also an example of misunderstanding the importance of archival materials. Apart from a few Constitutional Court decisions that testify to this, the EU Court of Justice ruling on December 17, 2020, in case C-316/19, also confirmed it. The EU Court entirely upheld the European Commission's lawsuit against Slovenia, which violated the principle of the inviolability of EU archives by unilaterally seizing documents that are part of the ECB's archives. This ruling sets a precedent and serves as an example for other EU member states.
"Lastly, the publication also points out that Alma Mater Europaea University is an institution that trains candidates not only for work in public archives but also for work with creators of archival materials, thereby ensuring the preservation of memory and evidence for the Slovenian state and society. Finally, the publication is also important as a call for harmonizing archival law among EU member states, which, despite grand plans in the early 1990s, has completely stalled," concludes the author.
The publication can be found HERE