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Czech Republic

Litigation    

Product liability liability in the Czech Republic is governed by several statutes which reflect European Union directives. The Act on Liability for Damage Caused by Defective Products (the Act) is the main statute governing producers’ objective liability for damage caused by defective products either to health or to an object, other than the defective product, that is designed and used predominantly for nonbusiness purposes. However, the producer is liable only for damage in excess of the equivalent of € 500. The injured party may choose to claim damages either on the basis of the general provisions on liability for damages stipulated by the Civil Code or on the basis of the Act. The advantage of making a claim under the Act is that the burden of proof is on the producer, who may only be exempted from liability in specific cases stipulated by the Act. The claimant only needs to prove the defect, the damage and causation between the two. 

Regulation   

Relevant authorities may initiate administrative or criminal proceedings when relevant legal regulations are breached. The General Product Safety Act (GPS) determines what a safe product is and establishes rights and duties aimed at ensuring the safety of products marketed and put into circulation. It also designates market surveillance authorities competent to enforce these obligations and determines the legal framework for the operation of the European information system, RAPEX, concerning the exchange of information on dangerous non-food products. When a product is found to be unsafe, this information must be communicated to the proper authority immediately. The proper authorities must then share such information immediately with other relevant authorities within the Czech Republic or, if the risks resulting from an unsafe product extend beyond the territory of the Czech Republic, with the proper authorities in the European Union.

The GPS stipulates a number of measures that can be used to punish any breaches of the law, including fines of up to CZK 50 million, bans on the offering and sale of products deemed to be dangerous or the withdrawal of such products from the market. In addition, criminal sanctions may be imposed, including fines, prohibition on business activities or imprisonment for a term of up to eight years.

These sanctions can only be imposed, on individuals. Czech law does not recognize that legal entities can bear criminal liability. However, if a legal entity is responsible for the harm, then any person acting on behalf of that entity may be held criminally liable. 

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Note past results are not guarantees of future results. Each matter is individual and will be decided on its own facts.