23rd March 2016

Criminal liability of corporations: a new philosophy

The Chamber of Deputies passed today a bill that amends the Act on Criminal Liability of Corporations. The intent of the draft amendment is to replace a list comprising a limited number of criminal acts by a list of criminal acts with which legal persons cannot be charged. This approach should cover a much wider range of criminal breaches, the proponents suggested. Since 2012, when the act took effect, there were 468 criminal proceedings opened with legal entities (22 in 2012 compared with 207 in 2015).   

MPs passed a change proposal submitted by Social Democrats that enables corporations to defend themselves by proving that they have done maximum to prevent criminal act, by e.g. implementing compliance programs for their employees and management. In that case criminal proceedings could be quit. It is natural to enable legal persons to have equal position and options for avoiding criminal proceedings as natural persons have, says former Social Democratic Minister of Justice Marie Benešová. Former Civic Democratic Minister of Justice, currently MEP, Jiří Pospíšil commented on the change proposal that if adopted it would go against the purpose of the original act. (Source: Hlidacipes.org) The current Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán (ANO) said it is possible to set standards for corporations in such a way that it will allow authorities to find out whether corporations have done maximum.(Source: Czech Television)

The list of criminal acts will newly include the criminal act of libel and slander.

The draft amendment is heading to the Senate, the Upper Chamber of the Czech Parliament.

Read more details and data here. Lawyers' views are available here (October 2015 conference).

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic