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The Czech economy entered a deep slump in 2023 caused by the rather rare and unfortunate combination of negative economic and geopolitical factors, including one of the highest inflation rates in the EU, rising interest rates, high energy prices, a large public finance deficit, and the adverse impacts of the war in Ukraine. Altogether, these economic difficulties resulted not just in an economic recession but also adversely affected the Czech M&A market.

The annoying length of the construction permitting process in the Czech Republic became a notoriety. Thanks to this, the prices of new dwelling premises are sky-high, and foreign investors are leaving their projects because they are unable to plan their investment – a striking example of which is the recently abandoned Microsoft project of a new data center in Prague.

In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. As we bid farewell to 2023, this time around we turn our attention forward: What is your one main wish for 2024 and what do you see as the biggest potential risk?

The Czech Republic is marked by dynamic changes in the banking, finance, and technology sectors underpinned by the influence of ESG, compliance issues, and the impacts of global crises, according to PRK Partners Partner Jan Kohout, with the defense sector and strategic shifts in traditional industries making headlines as well.

In The Debrief, our Practice Leaders across CEE share updates on recent and upcoming legislation, consider the impact of recent court decisions, showcase landmark projects, and keep our readers apprised of the latest developments impacting their respective practice areas.

The Czech Republic is one of the first countries to have commenced the implementation process of a top-up tax into the tax system. The Czech Top-Up Tax Act is a transposition of an EU Directive (Council Directive 2022/2523 of December 14, 2022) and is based on the OECD BEPS project Pillar Two initiative. It is definitely worth becoming acquainted with the basic principles of this new tax.

In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. Shifting our focus to the financial aspects of legal work, we asked: What percentage of your issued bills end up being overdue, what percentage end up never paid, and what is your firm’s/office’s standard methodology to handle both cases?

On September 12, 2023, the Czech Parliament adopted an amendment to the Labor Code, which will become effective already from October 1, 2023 (unfortunately, employers will have very limited time to prepare for the new regulation). The main purpose of the amendment is to implement the European directives on the work-life balance of parents and carers (No. 2019/1158) and on transparent and predictable working conditions (No. 2019/1152) which were to be implemented by member states in August 2022. But there are further changes that should address problems in the daily operation of employers.

Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii Partner Gabriela Anton, Gecic Law Counsel Miodrag Jevtic, ACI Partners Head of Banking/Finance Marina Zanoga, Avellum Managing Partner Mykola Stetsenko, NazaIi Tax & Legal Partner Nilay Goker Duran, PRK Partners Senior Attorney-at-Law Norbert Hink, and Schoenherr Bulgaria Local Partner Tsvetan Krumov look at how the financial services landscape in the CEE region has been shifting, as local non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) are gradually gaining ground in an area historically dominated by the banking sector.

Cybersecurity is trending in Czechia again not only because of recent large-scale cyber-attacks targeting important institutions such as hospitals, the Czech public radio, or the national highway directorate (resulting in some of its systems being unavailable for several months) but also due to legislative developments. Specifically, cybersecurity is also making headlines as it is time for many Czech businesses to get ready for the NIS 2 Directive (Directive (EU) 2022/2555 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2022 on measures for a high common level of cybersecurity across the Union).

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PRK Partners at a Glance

PRK Partners, one of the leading Central European law firms, has been helping clients achieve their business objectives almost 30 years. Our team of lawyers, based in our Prague, Ostrava, and Bratislava offices, has a unique knowledge of Czech and Slovak law and of the business environment. Our lawyers studied at top law schools in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland and elsewhere. They also have experience working for leading international and domestic law firms in a number of jurisdictions. We speak your language, too. Our legal team is fluent in more than 15 languages, including all the key languages of the region.

PRK Partners has one of the most experienced legal teams on the market. We are consistently rated as one of the leading law firms in the region. We have received many significant honours and awards for our work. We represent the interests of international clients operating in the Czech Republic in an efficient way, combining local knowledge with an understanding of their global requirements in a business-friendly approach. We are one of the largest law firms in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Our specialised teams of lawyers and tax advisors advise major global corporations as well as local companies. We provide comprehensive legal advice drawing on our profound knowledge of local law and markets.

Our legal advice delivers tangible results – as proven by our strong track record. We are the only Czech member firm of Lex Mundi, the world's leading network of independent law firms. As one of the leading law firms in the region, we have received many national and international awards, in some cases several years in a row. Honours include the Chambers Europe Award for Excellence, The Lawyer and Czech and Slovak Law Firm of the Year. Thanks to our close cooperation with leading international law firms and strong local players, we can serve clients in multiple jurisdictions around the globe. Our strong network means that we can meet your needs, wherever you do business.

PRK Partners has been repeatedly voted among the most socially responsible firms in the category of small and mid-sized firms and was awarded the bronze certificate at the annual TOP Responsible Firm of the Year Awards.

Our work is not only “business”: we have participated on a longstanding basis in a wide variety of pro bono projects and supported our partners from the non-profit sector (Kaplicky Centre Endowment Fund, Tereza Maxová Foundation, Czech Donors Forum, etc.).

Firm's website: www.prkpartners.com