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MP's private liability for an unjustifiable infringement of personal rights

05.05.2020

In a decision on 15 April 2020 (sp. zn. 25 Cdo 2386/2019), the Czech Supreme Court dealt with the legal question of whether the parliamentary immunity enshrined under Article 27 (2) of Constitutional Law No. 1/1993 Coll., the Czech Constitution, should prevent the court from deciding on a civil action in which an MP sought personal protection.

In the case at hand, the plaintiff demanded an apology for a false statement that the defendant had made on the floor of the Chamber of Deputies, which had an unjustifiable effect on the plaintiff's reputation (good name). The defendant's speech about the applicant had not referred to the programme under discussion in any way, and, moreover, was not limited to the Chamber of Deputies, but was transmitted and broadcast on public television.

Both the court of first instance and the Court of Appeal decided to stay the proceedings and refer the case to the Mandate and Immunity Committee of the Chamber of Deputies on the grounds that  assessing the gravity of a deputy’s statements in the Chamber of Deputies and the capacity of those statements to infringe on another deputy’s personal rights was not within the court’s jurisdiction.

In its decision, the Czech Supreme Court disagreed with the conclusions of both these courts, arguing that the “lack of a restriction on private law claims that are based on the exercise of a parliamentary mandate is, thus, evident from the entire immunity rule system under Article 27 of the Constitution. The first paragraph completely rules out the liability of deputies and senators for their manner of voting; the second paragraph exempts them from criminal liability for speeches given in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate; and the third paragraph excludes them from liability for misdemenours.". 

Mgr. Anna Rozmánková
T   +420 270 006 111
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anna.rozmankova@achourpartners.com

Anna Rozmánková specializes in private, business and financial law. She also focuses on intellectual property and personality protection legislation. Anna provides legal services in the fields of corporate, contract, real estate and intellectual property law.

Anna graduated from the Charles University Faculty of Law. During her studies, she gained experience through several internships, including at Raiffeisen stavební spořitelna a.s. and the Czech Ministry of Culture. As part of her internship at the Ministry of Culture, Anna helped prepare statements on preliminary matters submitted to the Court of Justice of the European Union and assisted with agenda items that concerned new European Commission bills