This is another installment in a series of articles in our newsletter on the proposed changes to civil procedural law. As previously announced, we want to guide you, step by step and sufficiently ahead of time, through these changes. A particular important and fundamental one concerns the issue of mandatory representation in disputes by an attorney.
In the January issue of the bnt Journal, we informed you about the justice ministry’s intention to replace the current Code of Civil Justice with an all-new, comprehensive Code. A white paper has made the rounds, and both the general public and the community of legal practitioners is eager to see where the development of this new Code of Civil Justice is headed.
Among the proposed changes is an expansion of the categories of disputes in which legal representation in court by an attorney is mandatory, including situations in which no lawyer is required today.
The draft bill introduces mandatory representation not only for procedures before the Supreme Court but also for procedures before the regional and upper courts and, if the disputed value exceeds CZK 50,000, also before the district courts.
The ministry’s declared goal behind the expansion of mandatory legal representation in litigation is to speed up the course of proceedings: supposedly, the presence of legal experts (that is to say, attorneys) in a court dispute helps do away with the need to repeatedly advise the parties of their rights and responsibilities (as is currently the case where litigants are not represented by an attorney).
The proposed change is certainly welcome in the sense that it seeks to expedite and de-clutter court procedures. On the other hand, even relatively straightforward disputes will doubtlessly become more costly due to the need to be represented by an attorney, and this will surely be unpopular with clients. However, some say that this may in fact be intentional: the ministry may hope that citizens, faced with higher expenses, will think twice before taking their disputes to court.
Be sure to follow future issues of our newsletter to find out about other upcoming changes to Czech civil procedure law.