The Act of the Year is the Amendment to the Act on Fast-Tracking the Construction of Basic Infrastructure
Prague, 16 April 2019 – The winner of the 10th edition of the Act of the Year is the intention to fast-track the construction of basic infrastructure in the Czech Republic. The amendment to the act on fast-tracking the construction of transport, water and energy infrastructure defeated the EU circular economy package and the Trademarks Act. In the brand new Vykřičník (‘Exclamation Mark’) category, four shortcomings of Czech legislation were highlighted.
The survey, which has been organised since 2010 by Deloitte Legal, saw hundreds of entrepreneurs vote on the best legal regulation, set of acts or legislative act with a positive impact on business in the Czech Republic. The survey again took place under the auspices of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Czech Bar Association. The Nomination Committee comprised about twenty authorities on various disciplines including but not limited to business.
“According to the results of the 2018 Act of the Year, Czech entrepreneurs’ call for faster and more transparent construction proceedings is, indeed, intense. In the 10-year history of the Act of the Year, no nomination has probably won with such a large margin as this year. My wish is that the act of the winning nomination, based on which we formulated the entrepreneurs’ call, would lead to improvement. It is bound to be subject to many more assessments as to the cause of the current situation and the way to responding to the intense call on the part of Czech business,” says Tomáš Babáček, Chairman of the Nomination Committee of the Act of the Year and a partner at Deloitte Legal.
The authors of the winning amendment are 17 deputies. The amendment seeks to reduce the process of issuing permits for the most significant transport infrastructure structures, namely motorways and railways. The amendment introduces the fiction of approval for issuing a binding opinion. Furthermore, it introduces the institutes of preliminary entry into possession, which fast-tracks the appropriation procedure in respect of major transport structures. As the fast-tracking limits the rights of participants in the procedure, the act is set to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court.
“Personally, I am very pleased that the winner is the amendment to the act on fast-tracking the construction of transport, water and energy infrastructure as the nomination had been proposed for short-listing by the Czech Chamber of Commerce. The slow construction of these strategic structures is an issue that entrepreneurs are genuinely concerned about. At present, another government amendment to the act is being prepared, which is even more ambitious. If adopted, highly positive impacts on business may be expected,” says Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.
“The results of the assessment clearly show that a legal regulation that affects the widest range of people is of primary public interest. At the same time, it is a legal regulation whose consequences will be – if the purpose of the act is successfully fulfilled – beneficial both for the business sector and individuals. The interest in the fast construction of public-interest structures that are of key importance for the whole of society has been shown to significantly prevail over interests that merely apply to the addresses of the legal regulations (trademarks) or that apply to a wide range of addresses, yet are not sufficiently transparent for ordinary people (EU circular economy),” adds Robert Němec, Vice-Chairman of the Czech Bar Association.
Deloitte Legal also introduced a new category for the anniversary edition entitled Vykřičník (‘Exclamation Mark’). As part of it, the participants from among the public nominated an act that, for example, waited long to be discussed or that unnecessarily formed part of the Czech legislation and should be abolished. This year, the Nomination Committee selected four Exclamation Marks from among the participants’ proposals:
- Regulatory Impact Assessments for everything and of high quality – In the Czech Republic, RIAs are currently only prepared for a fragment of the legal regulations being adopted and, what is more, their quality varies.
- Summaries of new legal obligations – All statements of reasons should include a clearly-arranged list of new obligations.
- New Construction Act – The Czech process of approving construction projects is one of the slowest in the world.
- Compliance with regulations should be ensured in a manner other than class lawsuits – The legalisation of class lawsuits is dangerous; what is more, the current proposal of the Ministry of Justice is ahead of the EU legislation, which is only being prepared.
Full results of the Act of the Year:
|1.||Functional infrastructure: amendment to the act on fast-tracking the construction of transport, water and energy infrastructure||66%|
|2.||Predictable business environment: an EU circular economy package defining a long-term concept for the European economy||25%|
|3.||Instrument for healthy competition: amendment to the Trademarks Act||9%|
“The substantial margin of the winning nomination may also be owing to the smaller awareness of the two remaining nominees and how they would affect the practice. Circular economy is slowly becoming a buzz word, yet only a few firms have so far been able to imagine what tangible effects it will have on them. This is despite the fact that turning this concept into reality is one of the major upcoming tasks for European firms and society as a whole,” said Babáček in commenting on the results.
“I perceive the low ranking of the third nomination (Instrument for healthy competition: amendment to the Trademarks Act) to be due to the wider context. In the Czech Republic, the awareness of regulating the protection of competition is traditionally low. What is more, the consensus as to the value of healthy competition itself is not very strong,” concludes Babáček.