Welcome at the Czech Bar Association
OUT OF COURT SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES BETWEEN LAWYERS AND THEIR CLIENTS - CONSUMERS AT THE CZECH BAR ASSOCIATION SINCE 5 FEBRUARY
With effect from February 2016, an amendment to the Consumer Protection Act has brought yet another possibility to settle a dispute between a lawyer and their client-consumer if they fail to reach a mutually acceptable compromise. The role of intermediary in this case is vested in the Czech Bar Association. It can be assumed that this option will be used mainly by consumers who are not satisfied with the way their complaints were dealt with or with a dismissal of complaints by the provider of legal services—the lawyer. The aim of the new legislation is to allow consumers to resolve a dispute extrajudicially and less expensively. However, certain requirements must be met for proceedings to be initiated; both parties must be willing to resolve their dispute.
The Czech Bar Association will be an intermediary of negotiations between consumers and lawyers in cases were the Czech Bar Association is contacted by a consumer seeking out-of-court settlement of a dispute with a lawyer—service provider. Out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes is free of charge and the associated costs are to be borne by the parties themselves.
A consumer may file a petition seeking initiation of out-of-court proceedings within 1 year from claiming for the first time with the lawyer his or her right which is the subject of the dispute.
Out-of-court settlement of the consumer dispute will be initiated upon the consumer’s petition, which must contain the following information:
- identification data of the parties to the dispute;
- a complete and comprehensive summary of the relevant facts;
- identification of what the petitioner is looking to achieve;
- the date when the petitioner claimed with the lawyer for the first time his or her right which is the subject of the dispute;
- a declaration that the matter has not been adjudicated by the court, no arbitration award has been issued and no agreement between the parties has been entered into as part of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement, and no court proceedings, arbitration proceedings or consumer dispute out-of-court settlement under the Consumer Protection Act have been initiated; and
- date and signature of the petitioner (consumer).
The petition must be accompanied with evidence that the consumer failed to resolve the dispute directly with the other party as well as other documents evidencing the alleged facts, if available (where the petitioner is represented on the basis of power of attorney, the petition must also include the power of attorney).
The petition may be filed in Czech using the attached form. The form can be sent to the CBA to its data box, by post or by email with a certified signature.
Please note that the PDF form may display incorrectly in some browsers. Use the MS Word form for sending by post.
Česká advokátní komora
Národní tř. 16
110 00 Praha 1
Data box ID: n69admd
Should the filed petition lack any of the above particulars or should it lack the required evidence, the petitioner will be requested to supply them within 15 days. The petition will be rejected by the Czech Bar Association if this time limit lapses.
The Czech Bar Association will also reject the petition in the following cases:
- it finds from the presented documents that the dispute does not fall under its subject-matter competence or if a court has already decided in the matter,
- an arbitration award has been issued or court proceedings or arbitration proceedings have been initiated, or consumer dispute out-of-court settlement in the matter has been initiated or completed with another entity,
- the petition was filed after the expiry of the one-year period or it is clearly unreasonable.
A rejection of the petition will be communicated to the parties, together with reasons for such rejection, by the Czech Bar Association within 15 days from the date of the receipt of the petition.
A commencement of out-of-court settlement of the consumer dispute will be communicated by the Czech Bar Association to the parties, together with advice that a party need not be represented by a legal representative and that independent consultancy or representation or assistance of a third party may be used. Moreover, the CBA will advise the consumer that they may at any stage withdraw from the consumer dispute out-of-court settlement. Both parties have the right to express their opinion on the matter, they may inspect the documents related to the present dispute, make copies of the claims, evidence, documents and facts produced by the other party and comment on them. Initiation of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement is without prejudice to the right of the parties to seek protection of their rights and legitimate interests before a court.
Consumer dispute out-of-court settlement must be completed within 90 days of its initiation, but the time limit may be extended for complex disputes, however, for no more than 90 days. The Czech Bar Association will inform the parties without undue delay of any extension of the time period and of the final deadline when the consumer dispute out-of-court settlement can be completed.
An optimal outcome of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement is conclusion of an agreement by the parties to the dispute. Such an agreement must be executed in writing and both parties must be informed about it as well as about completion of the consumer dispute out-of-court settlement. The Czech Bar Association is to deliver the documents to the parties to the addressees’ data boxes, to the addresses stated in the petition for initiation of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement or to the addresses, including electronic ones, listed by the parties for the purposes of delivery. A document is deemed to have been delivered even if the addressee did not learn about its delivery for reasons on the addressee’s side.
A lawyer is to provide the Czech Bar Association with a statement regarding the facts set out in the consumer’s petition within 15 working days of receiving a notification they have become a party to consumer dispute out-of-court settlement. It is the lawyer’s duty to closely collaborate with the Czech Bar Association and provide it with cooperation necessary for an effective course of dispute resolution.
Lawyers are also obliged, in providing legal services, to inform consumers about the entity providing consumer dispute out-of-court settlement, which is the Czech Bar Association. If they run a website, they are to list this information on the website too, and if a contract entered into between a consumer and a lawyer refers to the lawyer’s terms and conditions, the information must also be part of the terms and conditions. Lawyers are to modify their general terms and conditions within 3 months of the Act’s coming into effect.
The Czech Bar Association is notified on a list maintained by the European Commission.
The European Commission’s website dedicated to out-of-court settlement of consumer dispute is: http://ec.europa.eu/odr
- Form: a petition seeking initiation of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement proceedings (PDF)
- Form: a petition seeking initiation of consumer dispute out-of-court settlement proceedings (Word)
- Rules stipulated by the Czech Bar Association, laying down the procedure of out-of-court settlement of consumer disputes in accordance with Act No. 634/1992 Sb., on Consumer Protection
- Reconciliation Code
Recommended procedure of filling in the form
We recommend that you use the PDF version (1st link). Right click the link, select Save link as... and select, for example, Documents. Navigate to Documents and click the form icon, which will open in Adobe Acrobat Reader. Another procedure does not guarantee you will be able to write in the form.
Although the form allows you to write text that exceeds the size of the frames, these are, however, not printed! Therefore, we recommend that you continue with a longer text in a separate annex.
Please remember to save the form after filling in the text, otherwise the text will be lost. Send the completed form and any annexes, where applicable, by email.