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The Buzz in the Czech Republic: Interview with Michal Nulicek of Rowan Legal

The Buzz in the Czech Republic: Interview with Michal Nulicek of Rowan Legal

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“The Czech Republic is currently among the worst-hit countries when it comes to Covid,” says Rowan Legal Partner Michal Nulicek. “We have more than ten thousand new cases every day – which is a lot, considering that the entire country has about ten million people living in it.”

The Czech Republic is under a heavy lockdown, with travel limited, schools closed, and a many businesses forced to test their workers twice a week, Nulicek reports. “Vaccination efforts are continuing,” he says, “but we have to wait for an increase in vaccine supply before we are able to roll it out to the general population.” In the meantime, he says, Covid-related measures are “changing all the time, so it’s not very transparent and predictable as to what will happen next.” 

All of these efforts to combat Covid have slowed the government’s ability to make progress on other legislation, Nulicek says. “A lot of legislative activity has been postponed or placed on hold – even that which is related to implementing EU laws and directives.” As a result, he says, it appears those implementation efforts – despite rapidly approaching deadlines – will be delayed. The Czech Republic will have parliamentary elections in October, and Nulicek says that the overall situation is building momentum for the opposition. “It will be interesting to see what happens, come October.”

In the meantime, Nulicek says, the economy is not doing great. “The overall situation has started to take its toll,” he says. “Recently, a number of companies have declared their income for the past year and there has been a sizable decrease, especially in automotive industry companies like Skoda.” In addition, he says, “offline retail is heavily impacted, as are, of course, restaurants and hotels. We’ve also seen first major insolvencies with three Czech clothing companies – Pietro Filipi, Kara, and Blazek – all filing for bankruptcy.” 

Nulicek reports that the price of residential housings is “constantly increasing as well.” Still, he says, “there are not many new developments when it comes to real estate transactions. There is a steady demand, but not a lot of supply, when it comes to residential units.” Nonetheless, he reports at least one major development project going on in Prague, with the Sekyra group seeking to “revitalize huge parts of the city, including the former railway station, the Smichov district, and other plots of land, primarily brownfield.”

Nulicek says that the Czech government has lowered taxes in the hope that people will start spending after the Covid-19 crisis ends. He says this may not last, however. “With all the subsidies towards businesses, the strain on the budget grows, and it is likely that the new government will have to increase taxes following the elections later on in the year.”

Finally, Nulicek describes a major effort to introduce a digital identity in the Czech Republic. “The government, in cooperation with the banking sector, is developing a project that should enable citizens to use their Internet banking details as a means of proving their identity and gain access to government and banking services online – all in one place.” The first things to get connected will be state services and state offices, but private companies are expected to join the project soon. “New legislation on the digital service that provides the framework for this has already passed,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll see the first state services exist online by the back half of 2021.”

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

HAVEL & PARTNERS, attorneys-at-law, with offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Ostrava, has a team of 220 lawyers, tax advisors and 500 employees in total, is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe.

Our clients include large international companies, leading Czech and Slovak firms, including strategic state-owned companies and public sector authorities, as well as medium-size businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and investors. We advise approximately 100 of the Fortune 500 companies, and almost 50 of the Czech Top 100 companies. HAVEL & PARTNERS currently provides its services to a total of 2,000 clients. We have the most comprehensive international support available to both Czech and Slovak law firms. We provide legal and tax advice in 12 world languages in more than 90 countries around the globe. Up to 70 % of the transactions we deal with involve an international aspect.

HAVEL & PARTNERS was named the best law firm operating in the Czech Republic by the prestigious British rating agencies Chambers and Partners (2020) and Who’s Who Legal (2018, 2019). It is also the most successful law firm, providing the most comprehensive legal services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based on the total number of all nominations and awards in all years of the Law Firm of the Year awards. The firm became the absolute winner of this competition four times in the last six years, receiving the main award Domestic Law Firm of the Year in the Czech Republic (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and ranking as one of the most recommended law firms in all categories of law. Our company is also a three-time winner of the Law Firm of the Year award for Best Client Services (2015, 2016, 2019). In the field of M&A, HAVEL & PARTNERS is the best law firm in the Czech Republic based on the annual International Advisory Experts awards (2018, 2019). In Slovakia, it also won the prestigious global M&A Today Awards (2013–2018) for Mergers & Acquisitions six times in a row, and repeatedly won first place in the ranking by Lawyer International Legal 100 (2017, 2018). Prestigious international rating agencies EMIS DealWatch and Mergermarket have ranked HAVEL & PARTNERS among the leading law firms by the number of transactions completed in the entire CEE region since 2009. Based on annual awards of the Acquisition International magazine, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become the Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the M&A category in the CEE region.

Firm's website: https://www.havelpartners.cz/en/

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