I. Lists and registers of experts
There is an official list/register of experts in Czech Republic.
According to Section 7 Subsection 4 of the Act on Experts and Interpreters (n. 36/1967 Coll.), implemented by the Ministry of Justice Regulation of 17 April 1967 (n. 37/1967 Coll.), the individual lists of sworn experts and interpreters shall be publicly accessible.
The List of experts and interpreters is available here and the list of expert institutes is available here.
The responsible entities for keeping the register of experts are Regional Courts and the Ministry of Justice.
Pursuant to Section 4 Subsection 1 paragraphs a), c), e) of the Act on Experts and Interpreters (n. 36/1967 Coll.), implemented by Regulation n. 37/1967 Coll., in order to be listed in the register, experts have to meet the following criteria:
- Nationality (CZ, EU with long-term or permanent residence, 3rd countries with permanent residence),
- Further education,
- Full legal capacity,
- No criminal record.
Experts have to swear an oath in order to be registered. The oath is: “I promise that in my expert activity I will strictly comply with the law, that I will act impartially to my expert knowledge, that I will make full use of all my knowledge and that I will keep confidential the facts of which I became aware in the exercise of the expert activity.”
Experts have to apply to the competent court (in some cases, to the Ministry) in order to be listed.
Experts can be dismissed from the register due to expert´s
- declaration of death as at the date on which the decision of the court of Justice declares the death,
- deprivation or limitation of legal capacity at the date on which a court ruling on depravation or limitation of legal capacity has become final,
- a final conviction for an intentional criminal offense or a final conviction for a negligent offense committed in connection with the pursuit of the activities of an expert,
- written request for removal from the list of experts and interpreters, submitted to the Ministry of Justice or to the President of the Regional Court, after the end of the calendar month in which the request for removal from the List of experts and Interpreters was delivered to the Ministry of Justice or to the President of the Regional Court.
The termination of the permit is further regulated in Section 20b of the Act on Experts and Interpreters (n. 36/1967 Coll.). The provision applies in cases where the expert no longer fulfills the conditions for appointment as an expert or, in the long-term prospect, is unable to perform any activity (subsection 2).
In order to be in the register, the expert doesn’t have to subscribe to a code of conduct or code of ethics. However, the personal characteristics of the candidates are assessed during the appointment process. Experts have to swear an oath.
The list of experts is regularly updated both by the Ministry of Justice and by the Regional Courts.
An expert can be found by using the search tool. This search tool covers all experts.
Experts are listed by specialisation. There are currently around 50 main specialisations. The specialisations are accessible on the register.
The expert has to send an activity report to the body holding the list.
II. Expert’s qualifications
Experts have to obtain a certain educational level in their specialised discipline in order to call themselves experts.
Experts do not have to be a member of a professional body to practise as an expert.
Experts do not have to update or improve their skills regularly. There is no system of Continual Professional Development.
III. Remuneration of experts
The expert’s remuneration is calculated according to the Regulation n. 37/1967 Sb., on experts and interpreters.
There are restrictions on how experts can be remunerated.
Experts appointed by court can’t receive a payment in advance.
The duty of payment of the experts’ remuneration is handled as follows:
The costs of proceedings includes an expert´s fee. Each party shall bear the costs that they incurred and the costs of their representative. The court shall provide the party achieving complete success in the matter with the reimbursement of costs incurred during the efficient exercise or defense of their right against the unsuccessful party. If a party is only partially successful, the court shall fairly divide the reimbursement of costs or pronounce that none of the participants shall be entitled to reimbursement. Based on the results of the proceedings, the State shall be entitled to reimbursement of the costs of the proceedings borne by the State from the parties, if such costs are not expected to be exempted from the court fees.
The costs necessary to conduct criminal proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, lie with the State. If the defendant was lawfully convicted, he is required to repay the State a lump sum of other expenses covered by the State, but only if the expert´s report was requested in the proceedings.
There is no way for the parties to obtain legal aid with regard to the expert’s remuneration.
IV. Liability of experts
The regulations of the Czech Republic do not contain any particular provision dealing with the expert’s liability. General regulations (tort/contractual law) are applicable.
Until now, experts are not obliged to cover their possible liability via professional indemnity insurance. Yet, there will be an insurance obligation after the next reformation of the applicable law.
Expert’s liability is not subject to a cap by law.
V. Additional information about expert proceedings
The main legal provisions applicable to judicial expertise in the Czech Republic are found in the Act No 36/1967 on experts and interpreters, the Civil Procedure Code Act No 99/1963, the Criminal Procedure Code Act No. 141/1961, and the Administrative Procedure Code Act No 500/2004. There is no English version of such provisions accessible online.
General rules for the appointment of an expert for the purpose of proceedings before a civil, criminal or administrative courts are similar. The title of expert is protected.
The legal system of the Czech Republic does not distinguish between expert witnesses, technical experts, law experts or any other kind of experts.
The total number of registered experts is approximately 9000. The Ministry of Justice has prepared a Draft of the new Act on experts. The Draft was presented by the government to the Parliament. The Draft should come into force in 2021.
1. Appointment of experts
Experts can be appointed by a court and/or by the parties.
In civil and administrative court proceedings, it is not possible to appoint an expert prior to the start of the proceedings.
In Criminal Proceedings, Section 105 paragraph 1 of CCP: If clarification of the facts relevant to the criminal proceedings requires expert knowledge, the authority involved in criminal proceedings will request a professional’s opinion. If such a procedure is not sufficient due to the complexity of the assessed issue, an expert will be appointed by the authority involved in criminal proceedings. In pre-trial proceedings, the expert will be appointed by the authority involved in criminal proceedings that considers the expert opinion to be necessary for the decision, which is the public prosecutor, if the matter was referred back for further investigation, and the presiding judge in trial proceedings. The accused person, and in trial proceedings the public prosecutor, will be notified about the appointment of an expert. Other persons will be notified about the appointment of an expert, if it is deemed necessary that they enable the expert to access a certain place or act in any other way necessary to conduct the expert proceedings.
1.a Appointment by a court
The court can appoint the expert when he or she does not have expert knowledge that is needed in a particular case. There are also cases in civil and criminal law where the appointment of an expert is mandatory.
Criminal Procedure Act No. 141/1961 Coll., Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter "CCP") Section 105 paragraph 1 of CCP: If clarification of the facts relevant to the criminal proceedings requires expert knowledge, the authority involved in criminal proceedings will request a professional opinion. If such a procedure is not sufficient due to the complexity of the assessed issue, an expert will be appointed by the authority involved in criminal proceedings.
There are no differences between the appointment of an expert for the purpose of proceedings before a civil, criminal or administrative court.
Court-appointed experts have a legal obligation to report any conflict of interest.
In cases, where experts are appointed by courts, the court uses a list or register of experts to select them, as the court is legally bound to appoint an expert from the register.
1.b Appointment by the parties
Parties can appoint an expert whenever they want. Expert’s reports prepared by judicial experts (registered in a national public directory) appointed by the party have the same authority as a report from a court appointed expert.
The parties do not have to follow a particular process or particular rules when they appoint an expert.
A single expert can’t be appointed by both the litigation parties.
The court can’t order that both parties appoint a single expert (such as in low value or fast track cases) rather than each have their own expert.
The parties to the litigation need to provide detailed instructions to the expert and questions that the expert should answer.
2.a Civil procedure
There are no specific requirements that an expert needs to adhere to in their report and/or court proceedings as, for example, in case law.
The court doesn’t monitor or control the progress of the expert’s investigations.
There is no quality control on the performance of the expert (i.e. a judge does not make any assessment in this respect in the judgement).
Experts are usually cross-examined during the trial.
The court is not bound by the expert´s opinion. The expert´s report is of the same importance as any other evidence, the judge is obliged to evaluate it objectively and in the context of other evidence. There is no presumption of the accuracy of the expert's opinion given by the expert appointed by the court. The expert report prepared by a judicial expert (registered in a national public directory) appointed by a party has the same authority as a report of a court appointed expert. The parties can challenge the report by statements.
There is no procedure whereby experts meet prior to trial or are cross-examined prior to trial to seek to narrow the issues and for the court to understand the differences of opinion.
Experts are allowed to be in contact with the parties during the proceedings but have to meet the requirements of Section 11 of the Act on Experts and Interpreters (n. 36/1967 Coll.) which states that the expert (interpreter) may not give an opinion (translation) if his / her relationship with the case, the executing authorities, the participants or their representatives may be in doubt as to his or her impartiality.
As soon as the expert (interpreter) becomes aware of the facts for which he has a conflict of interests, he shall notify it without delay; the parties have the same obligation. Whether the expert (interpreter) is not allowed to provide an expert report (translation) is decided by the body that appointed him for the submission of the expert report. The provisions on witnesses shall apply mutatis mutandis to the question in which cases an expert (interpreter) may refuse to submit an expert report (translation) and in which cases the expert report (translation) may not be ordered.
Parties are obliged to cooperate with experts. Sometimes parties are invited for an examination or questioning by the expert. Experts have the right to ask questions to witnesses during a hearing.
In particular, the expert doesn’t have to hold meetings with the parties in order to collect their comments.
1. Expert report
The formal requirements the Expert has to meet in the report are set out in Section 13 of the Act on Experts and Interpreters (n. 36/1967 Coll.). Section 13 provides that if the expert submits the report in writing, he / she is obliged to sign each copy and attach a seal; the interpreter has the same obligation for certified translations.
Experts are not required to provide a preliminary report.
Experts are not obliged to address the parties’ arguments in the preliminary or final report.
There are no other specific requirements that an expert needs to adhere to in his or her report and/or court proceedings as, for example, in case law.
There are cases where the expert has to produce an additional report after the parties and judge asked additional questions.
Experts deliver their report in writing. The expert may be asked to defend his or her report.
2. Court hearing
The expert doesn’t have to attend a preliminary hearing.
The expert has to attend a hearing in order to answer the court and parties’ questions.
Experts are usually cross-examined during trial.
The information presented here was gathered during the Find an Expert Project from contacts per country selected by the European Expertise & Experts Institute EEEI.
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