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The Parliament of the Czech Republic, in response to the economic impact of the current crisis resulting from the government measures related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, adopted the Act No 191/2020 Coll, on certain measures to mitigate the effects of the SARS CoV-2 coronavirus epidemic on parties involved in legal proceedings, harmed persons, crime victims and legal entities, and to amend the Insolvency Act and the Enforcement Code (hereinafter the ‘Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic’). Written by Václav Kment of Kinstellar, s.r.o., advokátní kancelář, Prague.
The Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic is effective as of 24 April 2020.
The Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic contains a number of significant changes, particularly in the areas of procedural, insolvency and corporate law. The changes seek to respond to the consequences of the emergency measures taken by public authorities as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) (hereinafter the ‘Coronavirus’) epidemic (hereinafter the ‘Epidemic’).
Most of the changes will be temporary for the duration of (i) the economic and social consequences of the Epidemic, (ii) the state of emergency declared by the government of the Czech Republic due to health threats associated with the occurrence of coronavirus (COVID-19) (hereinafter the ‘State of Emergency’) and (iii) related to the emergency measures taken by public authorities.
Consequently, the Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic does not contain generally applicable measures. Relief granted to its recipients merely aims to mitigate the situations caused by the Epidemic for the duration of its consequences.
a debtor-business operator who is not insolvent as at 12 March 2020 will have the opportunity to file a proposal for an extraordinary moratorium which can last (if extended) up to six months (hereinafter the ‘Extraordinary Moratorium’); the Extraordinary Moratorium will be newly introduced directly in Act No 182/2006 on insolvency procedures (hereinafter the ‘Insolvency Act’)
Prior to the approval of the Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic, a draft amendment to the Insolvency Act was also submitted by judges of the Insolvency Section of the High Court in Prague. The draft aims to both mitigate the effect of the Epidemic and to introduce provisions to protect debtors in the event of any future crisis or emergency situation. Its authors argue that the current regulations contained in the Insolvency Act do not reflect and anticipate crisis situations of the current type, including the wide-scale potential insolvency of business owners in the Czech Republic. However, amendments in the form proposed by the judges of the High Court in Prague have not been implemented in the Act on the Mitigation of the Impact of an Epidemic.
We look at various countries worldwide which are expediting reforms to their restructuring and insolvency laws, temporarily suspending onerous insolvency law provisions, increasing limits for statutory demands, suspending enforcement powers and introducing other measures to deal with the coronavirus crisis. As the situation is rapidly evolving with more countries adding new measures daily, you should contact local lawyers in the relevant jurisdiction to check the current measures in force.
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