Access to justice in environmental matters

Czech Republic

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Czech Republic

Liability of public administration for failing to act in compliance with legal requirements, including failing to provide effective access to justice, is regulated by the Act No. 234/2014 Coll., on Civil Service, and by the Act no. 40/2009 Coll., Criminal Code. Disciplinary measures according to Act on Civil Service include a written reprimand, deduction of 15% of salary for up to 3 months, removal from the position of senior servant or dismissal from the civil service. Punishment according to the Criminal Code for the abuse of competence of public official include imprisonment, dismissal from the civil service or fine.

In cases of silence of administration, one can also use rules to force the administrative body to act. Rules on silence of administration state that the administrative authorities have to proceed without undue delay. If the administrative authority does not act within the statutory period, or within a reasonable period if the statutory period is not specified, the provisions on protection against inactivity shall apply.

According to Article 80 of the Code of Administrative Procedure, if the administrative authority does not take a decision on the matter within the legal time limit, the superior administrative authority shall take official measures against inaction as soon as it becomes aware of it. After exhausting this administrative remedy, the affected person can, according to Article 79 of the Code of Administrative Justice, file an action with an administrative court.

In case of damage caused by either an illegal decision of the public authority or other unlawful maladministration, the victim can ask for redress before the civil court according to Act No. 82/1998 Coll., on Liability for Damage Caused by the Exercise of Public Authority by a Decision or Incorrect Administrative Procedure. Maladministration includes the silence of administration. An individual may claim damages as well as reasonable satisfaction for non-material harm. The possibility to claim damages according to Act No. 82/1998 Coll. covers claims for failing to provide effective access to justice as well.

When the administrative body does not comply with a judgment which orders it to act in some way, it is a specific case of maladministration. In this case, the above-mentioned measures concerning disciplinary or criminal liability, as well as civil liability for damages, can be applied.

In general, if any person or public authority does respect the court decision, there is a possibility of enforcement of the court decision either by the court itself or by a judicial executor. In cases of non-pecuniary duties, the execution can take a form of either direct enforcement (vacation of a building, clearing of a land, other kind of physical works, depriving of possession of an object etc.) or by imposing enforcement fines.

Last update: 27/07/2021

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