The Buzz in the Czech Republic at the moment, according to Barbora Rovenska, Partner at Rovenska Partners, involves “not really law but politics.”
According to Rovenska, "we’re facing both Parliamentary elections in October and Presidential elections in January, so the political climate is quite interesting and busy.” And, she notes, many of the questions related to those elections "influence the legal environment as well.” According to her, “the session of Parliament is about to end, so some laws which have been discussed for a long time, including potential amendments to the Labor Code, will not be finalized, and we’ll have to start all over again when the new Parliament is established.” In addition, she says, "of course there are political decisions influenced by the upcoming elections, such as the recent decision to increase the minimum salary, which will take effect in January of next year."
When asked whether the incoming government is expected to be pro-business or not, Rovenska says she isn’t sure, in large part because "it’s difficult to say what the results will be.” According to Rovenska, Ano 2011, the party that’s likely to win control of the government, is led by Czech businessman Andrej Babis, "who should encourage business, but ultimately it’s not clear yet whether his focus will be on larger corporates or not.” Either way, she notes, "I don’t imagine it will be anti-business, though of course you never know.” Ultimately, she says, “it’s quite emotional, the political scene here at the moment, as the police has asked permission from Parliament to start criminal investigations of Babis.”
Ultimately, she says, “elections always influence business, but at the moment I would not say it’s effecting law firm business significantly.” Indeed, Rovenska is upbeat: “The economic situation is growing, business is growing, and clients have new ideas which they come to us for help with.” And signs are positive the rest of the year: “It’s summer, so of course that influences things, but as far as I can see the clients are already returning from vacation and I’m already receiving new assignments.”
And it’s a familiar kind of business. Rovenska says “from my perspective what’s very interesting is the GDPR, which of course is talked about across all of Europe.” Rovenska notes that although she has read "lots of articles and seen many theoretical discussions,” about the GSPR, she doesn’t believe the significance of it has really hit home for many companies yet. She says, "I’m not sure how much the companies are really taking the necessary steps to prepare for the new regulations, so in my view this is something that will be really important in the second half of the year, and we will certainly be encouraging our clients to pay real attention to the matter.”
Finally, Rovenska sighs, "we’re still dealing with the new legislation — the Civil Code and Act on Corporations which came into effect back in 2014 — which of course is not that new anymore.” She agrees that, slowly, it’s becoming better understood and more useful, "but there are still many unresolved questions and many discussions about how certain provisions should be interpreted.” As a result, she says, “even now it’s something we have to deal with, and of course we still work with the old legislation, because it continues to govern some business relationships.” In Rovenska’s opinion, “I think this is the biggest challenge of the Czech legal environment in the past few years, and it remains so. We’re still waiting for case law from the courts to develop, and still waiting for some decisions to be answered, but of course it takes time for cases to wind their way through the Czech court system.”