In June 2017, a new law – Act No. 250/2016 Coll., on Liability for Misdemeanours and Related Proceedings – took effect. Not only does this statute replace the frequently amended 1990 Misdemeanours Act (together with another 78 pieces of legislation) but it introduces a brand new understanding of misdemeanours and liability.

The new law recognises that a legal entity may commit a misdemeanour (as opposed to a mere administrative offence). Several provisions cover all (i) natural persons (in general), (ii) legal entities and (iii) entrepreneurs. Other provisions like those on liability relate separately to the three categories. For both legal entities and natural persons, statutory liability applies; there is no need to establish fault.

The liability of legal entities for misdemeanours (i.e. the imputing of a natural person’s conduct to a legal entity) and the very possibility of these developments reflect current regulations on the liability of legal entities for criminal acts. In particular, a legal entity may only be liable for a misdemeanour if this duty applies exclusively to legal entities or to an extended class of people (including legal entities). A legal entity’s liability for a misdemeanour will also pass to its legal successor.

Other changes under the new statute include increases in the maximum penalties (with a fine of CZK 10,000 applying, for example, to on-the-spot charges) and the introduction of new statutory limitation periods based on the seriousness of the offence.

Act No. 250/2016 Coll. is accompanied by the Misdemeanours Act (Act No. 251/2016 Coll.). Article 9 of the Misdemeanours Act covers "misdemeanours concerning business practice" while Article 10 concerns "misdemeanours related to the infringement of corporate rights". A fine of up to CZK 100,000 now applies for a breach of the duty "to arrange for the registration, change or removal of entries in the Commercial Register (and other registers, as applicable) or the deposit of items in the collection of documents."

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