On December 1, 2016, an amendment to Act No. 418/2011 Coll. on the Criminal Liability and Prosecution of Legal Entities, came into effect. The new law brings significant changes including the expansion of criminal acts for which a legal entity may be found culpable and offences that may be attributed to a legal entity. 

While the old law stated precisely the offences for which a legal person could be prosecuted, the new law takes the opposite approach. An exhaustive list describes only the crimes for which a legal entity cannot be prosecuted. These are offences that by their nature cannot be committed by a legal person (for example, the crimes of homicide, inebriation and abandonment of a child or protected person).

A legal person is now only culpable for unlawful acts committed in its interests or as part of its activities and not for offences committed in its name, as the previous regulation had it. The amendment also reduces the group of people whose behaviour may be attributed to the legal person.

There is also a new possibility for exemption from criminal responsibility. A legal person may be excused of responsibility if it took all steps that could reasonably be required to prevent the offence from occurring. Legal entities can, thus, avoid their criminal liability by adopting sufficient measures and ensuring that these are observed, checked and monitored.

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