Mária Patakyová was elected the public defender of rights on 8 February 2017 and assumed the office by taking the oath before the Speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic on 29 March 2017 with period up to 29 March 2022.
She has been working at the Faculty of Law of Comenius University in Bratislava since her graduation in 1985 honoured with the Rector’s Award. Her beginnings at the university were associated with an internal research assistantship which she completed in 1992 by defending her thesis. She finished her habilitation and was awarded a PhD. degree in commercial law in 2000. She was appointed a university professor of commercial and financial law in 2010. Currently she is a professor of commercial law in charge of the development of commercial law at the Department of Commercial and Economic Law. Between May 2013 and February 2016 she was responsible for the development of civil law at the third grade of study at the Department of Civil Law.
As the department’s vice-dean between 2003 and 2011, she was in charge of the grant policy and international relations and a coordinator of European mobility programme LLP/Erasmus. From February 2011 to March 2017, she was a Comenius University vice-rector for legislative matters. She resigned from the post after having been elected the public defender of rights by the National Council of the Slovak Republic.
She represented Comenius University in Bratislava in international programme European Masters in Human Rights and Democratization (E.MA) coordinated by the European Inter University Centre (EIUC), Venice, Italy. Between September 2012 and March 2017, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the European Public Law Organisation, Athens, Greece, and has been a European Public Law Group member since September 2013.
She started her private practice as a commercial lawyer/advocate in 1995 and founded the Patakyová, Bartová, Kovácsová law office in 2008. Her private practice is currently suspended. As a member of the Academy of European Private Lawyers, Pavia, Italy, she participates in unification and harmonisation of European contract law (prof. Gandolfi) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the European Company Law, International Association, Krakow, Poland, she is involved in reviewing and commenting on proposals in the area of European company law and contract law.
She participated in several study programmes abroad – Cardozo Law School in Budapest (1990), European University Institute, Firenze (1995), the ABA/CEELI study programme in the USA (1996), the EU PHARE program on Competition Law in Spetses, Greece (1996), Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, FOWI (1999, 2004, 2005), Cambridge University (2007), Helsinki University (2016), Indianapolis (2016). In 2007 she successfully completed two-year programme Cambridge Diploma in an Introduction to an English Law and the Law of European Union.
She was granted an award for the best monograph in legal sciences by the Slovak Writers’ Society for her habilitation paper entitled Obchodný register. Vybrané a súvisiace problémy (Business Register: Selected and Related Problems) (Bratislava: VO PF UK, 1999). She is the chief author of a handbook entitled Spoločnosť s ručením obmedzeným a jej konateľ (Limited liability company and its executive manager) (Bratislava : Verlag Dashöfer, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010).
As a member of the working group on company law, she participated in harmonisation of the Slovak legislation with the Community law, on amendments to the Commercial Code and on the preparation of the Business Register Act. She is a member of the European Model Company Act (EMCA) working group since 2007 where she represents the Slovak Republic and participates in the development of an alternative model for the regulation of companies under company law.
She was a chief researcher in a number of national and international projects (Law in Global Society, University Scientific Park UK, activity 2.8) and currently also focuses on the issues of human rights and entrepreneurship under Corporate Social Responsibility, and participates in the SMART project towards sustainable development in terms of company law under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, coordinated by the University of Oslo.