Costs of proceedings and attorney’s fee
in Czech Republic
Statutory provisions relating to the costs of judicial proceedings are stipulated in the Czech Civil Procedure Code (Act No. 99/1963 Coll.). Pursuant to the Code, costs of proceedings include, without limitation, cash expenses of the parties and their attorneys (including court fees), loss of earnings of the parties as well as their attorneys, costs of evidence and interpreter’s fees. Generally, the party ordered by court to pay the costs of proceedings is the losing party. However, the court has a discretionary power, and provided a party was successful only in part, it is up to the court to decide about the distribution of fees.
The costs of proceedings include the above-mentioned court fees calculated either per proceedings or per individual legal acts. The rates are set by the Act on Court Fees (Act No. 549/1991 Coll.). The rates of proceeding costs are either fix (e.g. a petition to enter a joint stock company into the Commercial Register costs CZK 12,000 or approx. EUR 466) or they are calculated as a percentage of the fee’s basis. To give an example, if you file a court petition the subject-matter of which is a monetary claim up to CZK 20,000 (approx. EUR 783), the resulting fee will be CZK 1,000 (approx. EUR 39). In case of disputes where the monetary claim exceeds CZK 20,000, the costs amount to 5 % of the disputed sum.
However, subjecting court proceedings to fees may result in inadequately harsh legal consequences and, in the end, even an obstacle in a party’s access to court. For this reason, the Czech legal system established an institute relieving parties from payment of court fees which allows the petitioner or the plaintiff, under certain circumstances, to become exempt from their obligation to pay court fees.
In the course of 2013, the Czech Republic has witnessed several vital changes regarding the amount of the fee payable to attorneys representing a party in civil proceedings. By cancelling the regulation relating to this particular remuneration, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic has changed a year-long established method. Presently, the attorney’s fees in the Czech Republic (unless the client and the attorney enter into a contract) are governed by a regulation of the Ministry of Justice (No. 177/1996 Coll.). The regulation stipulates the attorneys’ tariff setting out the amount of remuneration based on a non-contractual fee rate per legal act and based on the number of legal acts performed by the attorney in the case. The regulation also provides for reimbursement of cash expenses and compensation for wasted time.
For instance, the minimum rate of a non-contractual fee from the tariff value up to CZK 500 (approx. EUR 20) is CZK 300 (approx. EUR 12). The maximum rate exceeds the value of CZK 10,000,000 (approx. EUR 392,000) per legal act (e.g. drafting of a legal action).
Apart from the exemption from court fees and the possibility to ask the court for appointment of an attorney, the regulation also stipulates it is possible to seek help directly with the Czech Bar Association. However, in all of these cases, the applicant must show sufficient proof of lack of financial resources