Since the process for writing the bill into law is still in its nascent stages, this article outlines the basic characteristics of the future act which will introduce class action as a concept into Czech law.
We already informed you in the December issue of our bnt JOURNAL that the legal framework for class action lawsuits in the Czech Republic is slowly but surely taking shape. Once enacted, this framework will add unprecedented concepts to civil-law proceedings with which both courts and litigants are entirely unfamiliar.
The bill, comprising 167 sections, has now made its way to the docket of the House of Deputies and its first reading is imminent, which makes this an appropriate moment to present the basic outlines of the proposed new law to our readers.
A class action suit, according to the bill, is a civil-law proceeding (as opposed to administrative or criminal proceedings) in which disputes on the rights of an entire group of plaintiffs will be heard and decided whose cases share the same factual or legal circumstances. The basis for the proceeding is the so-called class action (also known as representative action).
The bill envisions that the disputes resolved in class action suits will be disputes between businesses on the one hand and consumers on the other. In other words, the bill is restricted to the enforcement of claims related to the rights of consumers as end users (customers), arising from what is known as B2C relations. At least initially, the application of class action rules will be very narrowly defined; it remains to be seen whether the scope may be broadened in the future by taking inspiration from certain foreign jurisdictions and include also disputes among entrepreneurs themselves.
The bill proposes two kinds of class action suits: opt-in and opt-out, whereas opt-in is the (preferred) default option.
The bill for a class action suit has its supporters and its detractors, which is why we foresee stormy debates on the floor of the House of Deputies. Presumably, the proposed wording will emerge reshaped by the heat of these discussions. We will provide you with a detailed report in one of the future issues of the bnt journal.
Parliamentary press 775, accessible at: https://www.psp.cz/sqw/historie.sqw?o=8&t=775