Rule of Law in Czech Republic

Justice

Effective justice systems are essential for upholding the rule of law. Independence, quality and efficiency are the defined parameters of an effective justice system, whatever the model of the national legal system and tradition in which it is anchored. Whilst the organisation of justice in the Member States falls within the competence of the Member States, when they are exercising that competence, Member States must ensure that their national justice systems provide for effective judicial protection. The independence of national courts is fundamental to ensuring such judicial protection. National courts ensure that the rights and obligations provided under EU law are enforced effectively. As re-affirmed by the European Court of Justice, the very existence of effective judicial review to ensure compliance with EU law is of the essence for the rule of law. Effective justice systems are also the basis for mutual trust, which is the bedrock of the common area of freedom, justice and security, an investment friendly environment, the sustainability of long-term growth and the protection of EU financial interests. The European Court of Justice has further clarified the requirements stemming from EU law regarding judicial independence. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights also provides for key standards to be respected to safeguard judicial independence.

Independence

yellow
A reform of the selection procedure for judges is being discussed in Parliament.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The perception of judicial independence among the general public and companies is average.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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A draft reform of the disciplinary regime for judges, prosecutors and bailiffs is now before Parliament.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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A draft reform of the public prosecution service was proposed by the Minister of Justice.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Quality

green
The Government has proposed an amendment to the Court Fee Act, which is now under consideration in Parliament.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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A system of broadened legal aid has been implemented by the Bar Association.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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There is room for improvement in the digitalisation of the justice system.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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A reform of insolvency proceedings was adopted in 2019.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Efficiency

yellow
The justice system is not facing any particular efficiency challenges in civil and commercial cases, but proceedings in administrative cases remain lengthy.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Anti-corruption

The fight against corruption is essential for maintaining the rule of law. Corruption undermines the functioning of the state and of public authorities at all levels and is a key enabler of organised crime 48 . Effective anti-corruption frameworks, transparency and integrity in the exercise of state power can strengthen legal systems and trust in public authorities. Fighting corruption needs to be based on evidence about its prevalence and form in a given country, the conditions that enable corruption and the legal, institutional and other incentives that can be used to prevent, detect and sanction corruption.

Institutional Framework

yellow
In the latest Transparency International 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index, Czechia scored 56/100 and was ranked 13th in the European Union and 44th globally.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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Czechia has a well-established strategic anti-corruption framework.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The anti-corruption criminal legal framework is broadly in place although some challenges remain.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Prevention

green
The Act on conflict of interest contains rules on conflict of interests and disclosure of assets.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Several initiatives aim to strengthen the anti-corruption and integrity rules as regards public administration.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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There is an ongoing debate as regards a draft bill extending the powers of the Supreme Audit Office.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Lobbying regulation has been proposed.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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A number of measures provide for whistleblower protection and encourage the reporting of corruption.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The register of contracts was launched in July 201670 and publishes contracts above CZK 50,000 (approximately EUR 2,000) online.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The Act on nominations to state-owned companies was adopted by the Parliament in December 2019 and entered into force in January 2020.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Repressive measures

green
The number of persons investigated, prosecuted and convicted for corruption offences has been fluctuating over the past three years.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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There are ongoing investigations and audits at national and European level into potential conflicts of interest and the use of EU funds.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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In 2019, the Government carried out a corruption risk analysis of the healthcare sector.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Media Freedom

All Member States have legal frameworks in place to protect media freedom and pluralism and EU citizens broadly enjoy high standards of media freedom and pluralism. Freedom of expression, media freedom and pluralism and the right of access to information are generally enshrined in the Constitution or in secondary law. Media pluralism and media freedom are key enablers for the rule of law, democratic accountability and the fight against corruption. The murders of journalists who were investigating high-level corruption and organised crime allegations have been a wake-up call reminding Member States of the obligation to guarantee an enabling environment for journalists, protect their safety and pro-actively promote media freedom and media pluralism.

Regulatory authorities

green
The Government is considering a reform to further strengthen independence of media regulator.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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The competences of the Council are well-defined in law and effectively applied in practice.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Transparency of Media

red
Czechia has no specific rules regulating the transparency of media ownership.
View source | Our evaluation: red
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Czechia does not possess specific rules regarding allocation of state advertising
View source | Our evaluation: red
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Journalists' Protection

yellow
Access to information is guaranteed by the law but obstacles can exist in practice.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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While journalists are considered to be safe from any physical harm, verbal insults and threats against them are not unknown in political discourse.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Other Institutional Issues

Institutional checks and balances are at the core of the rule of law. They guarantee the functioning, cooperation and mutual control of State organs so that power is exercised by one state authority with the scrutiny of others. In addition to an effective justice systems, checks and balances rely on a transparent, accountable, democratic and pluralistic process for enacting laws, the separation of powers, the constitutional and judicial review of laws, a transparent and high-quality public administration as well as effective independent authorities such as ombudsperson institutions or national human rights institutions.

Preparing and enacting laws

green
Conducting impact assessments and consulting stakeholders are established practices for enacting legislation.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been subject to judicial review.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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There is a practice of organising debates on the justice system in the Senate.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Civil Society

yellow
There is a vibrant and diverse civil society but the pressure on certain types of NGOs is rising.
View source | Our evaluation: yellow
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Accessibility

green
Efforts to further increase the transparency of the legislative process are ongoing.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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Independent Authorities

green
The Public Defender of Rights (Ombudsperson) defends the rights of individuals vis-à-vis public authorities and promotes good governance standards.
View source | Our evaluation: green
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