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Czechia

Pillar III [page 41-43]

“It is incumbent on states to protect human rights. This duty includes the provision of efficient and effective means of remedy for those whose rights have been infringed. Article 36 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms provides that: “Anyone may claim, in the prescribed manner, their rights in an independent and impartial court and, where so provided, before another authority .“The third pillar of the National Action Plan is designed to ensure that, in the field of business and human rights, this right is genuinely available to everyone without unnecessary obstruction, and that it results in efficient remedies.

That is not to say that the third pillar is simply a framework for the improved functioning of the courts. Extrajudicial remedies are also attainable. The third pillar also includes quasi-judicial tribunals, dispute resolution authorities, informal ombudsman-type institutions and mediation institutions (such as the National Contact Point, a Government-devised neutral platform to hear complaints about infringements of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises). Ultimately, the ideal dispute is one that never arises in the first place. The third pillar also includes the means to prevent disputes at the businesses themselves. …

Extrajudicial state resources: Other state bodies may also provide means of redress. These include both subsequent and preventive means.

Provisional protection permits various activities that may constitute a risk, in particular industrial operations with a major impact on the surrounding area. The public is entitled to participate in these proceedings. Arrangements must be in place so that public engagement is not complicated and so that the public is informed in plain language and in a readily accessible. On the other hand, this engagement must not be exploited for obstruction or to make proceedings longer and more expensive than they need to be.

In proceedings on offences, authorities tend to provide subsequent protection – if there is a breach of the law, an authority may, ex officio or on a proposal, order a remedy and, where appropriate, impose penalties. It is imperative for authorities to be steadfast in identifying and prosecuting breaches of the law and for the penalties to be effective and enforceable.

Ultimately, authorities may deal with several types of dispute. As a rule, such proceedings are faster and less formal than judicial proceedings. Dispute resolution by an authority should really be selected only in those areas where this makes sense in view of the nature of the dispute. The decision must subsequently be reviewable by a court.

 Extrajudicial non-state resources: The Czech Republic acknowledges the benefits and advantages of alternative dispute resolution. Alternative dispute resolution is often faster, cheaper, less formal and more accessible to the parties. As the parties to a dispute are apt to accept an amicable solution better than an authoritative ruling, the Czech Republic welcomes and supports the development of alternative dispute resolution platforms among non-state entities, especially consumer organisations, trade unions and industrial associations. Nevertheless, no means of alternative dispute resolution must restrict access to an ordinary court. This means that arrangements must always be in place to ensure that both parties have decided on alternative resolution knowingly and voluntarily, except in situations where participation in an extrajudicial solution is required directly by the law. Under no circumstances, however, is the protection of the weaker party (e.g. the consumer) allowed to be violated.

Nonetheless, it should be remembered, first and foremost, that the ideal situation is one where no dispute occurs at all. When an action is brought before a court, this is not the start of the dispute, but the final step after previous attempts to reach a settlement have failed. The businesses themselves should offer a formalised mechanism for the amicable settlement of disputes. The dispute resolution instruments offered by the state should be geared towards prevention and actively assist in the search for an amicable solution.”

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