The Supreme Court confirmed – Companies may claim damages for covid regulations

Nielsen Legal Market news, Uncategorized

In January, we received the decision of the Supreme Court, confirming that businesses, whose premises had been closed since March 2020 due to the state of crisis, may claim damages according to the Crisis Act. As such, the Court refused purposeful interpretation of Section 36 of the Crisis Act by the Ministry of the Interior. According to thius interpretation, only those who suffered damage during the execution of the crisis regulations would be entitled to compensation. And in addition, only damage to the property should be compensated. Loss of profit, for example, shoud not. The courts of first and second instance supported this interpretation. It was only in August (in a different case) that the Supreme Court ruled that the Crisis Act could not be interpreted in this way. And his opinion was confirmed in our case regarding an operator of recreational areas and sport grounds.

What is it all about?

The Crisis Act gives the government the right to temporarily restrict fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of Human Rights in order to deal with the state of crisis caused by various natural disasters. It also balances this right by giving persons the right to claim damage caused by applied crisis measures. During the covid pandemic, this law was overused from the beginning, for example to close the business premises. And although the state authorities originally declared that they would compensate for the damages incurred when the entrepreneurs demanded it, the state rejected their claims through the Ministry of the Interior, stating that damage caused by a general measure issued through a generally binding legal regulation (sub-statutory regulation) should not be compensated. The Supreme Court refused this interpretation and confirmed our argument that in the case of the Crisis Act, it is a very special situation of compensation for damages, where compensation belongs to a person not only in the case of an illegal procedure of the state, but also where the state proceeds in accordance with the law in resolving crisis situations.

Now, the disputes of those who did not give up even after the decision of the courts of appeal return to the beginning. We will keep you informed about the development.

You can find the whole Supreme Court’s decision here (only in Czech).