27. 3. 2020
In connection with the declaration of the state of emergency, the issue of administrative procedural time limits in the current situation also arose. The Administrative Procedure Code does not generally regulate the issue of time limits during a state of emergency, but at the same time the situation affects the public addressees so much that they may have considerable difficulties in meeting procedural time limits. For this reason, the Ministry of the Interior issued an opinion on the assessment of time limits in the public administration during the state of emergency. Here is its summary in our Public Flash.
Time limits for addressees of public administration
To put it simply, there are two basic types of procedural time limits – time limits set by law (for example time limits for filing regular remedies) and time limits set directly by an administrative body (for example time limits for correction of administrative filing).
In the course of statutory deadlines, the state of emergency may be a reason for waiving a lapsed time limit since emergency measures ordered in the context of an emergency may be deemed as serious reasons occurring through no fault of the participant, thus one of the conditions for waiving a statutory time limits pursuant to section 41 of the Administrative Procedure Code may have been met.
However, it cannot be said that the administrative bodies will waive lapsed statutory time limits automatically. The opinion of the Ministry of the Interior itself states that administrative bodies must carry out an individual assessment of such cases. As an example of the reason for waiving a missed act is that the ability to carry out such act through postal services may be more difficult. On the other hand, if a party to the proceedings has a data box and the act may have been carried out within the set time limit, the declared state of emergency will not be a sole reason for waiving the failure to act and so the application must be sufficiently further substantiated.
The deadline for the application for the waiver is 15 days from the date on which the obstacle giving the reason for missing the time limit passed. After the end of the emergency, a time limit of 15 days for requesting the waiver of the participant’s failure to act will start to run. Together with this application, the applicant must also attach the lapsed act (for example an appeal).
However, it should be noted that even if the participant fulfils all the conditions for waiving the lapsed time limit, the administrative body will not comply with the application, if it is apparent that the harm which would be caused by prejudice to rights acquired in good faith or to the public interest exceeded the threat thereof. In the current situation, this will mainly involve actions necessary for the protection of health.
In addition to the issues addressed by the opinion of the Ministry of the Interior, we consider that in the case of time limits set directly by administrative bodies, it is appropriate to request an extension of the time limits pursuant to section 39 of the Administrative Procedure Code.
Time limits for administrative bodies
The administrative bodies themselves are also bound by time limits for carrying out certain acts. However, since most of these time limits are of a procedural nature, no sanction is imposed for non-compliance. Since the administrative bodies concentrate their resources on the emergency agenda based on Government Resolution No. 207 of 15 March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior recommended that higher authorities take this situation into account when assessing inactivity. At the same time, the Ministry of the Interior recommended postponing or at least limiting the imposition of remedial measures against inactivity since in the current situation they cannot fulfil their purpose and this would be an unnecessary administrative burden.
The foregoing cannot be applied to time limits with which the law connects certain consequences, for example fiction of decision. In such case, it depends on the specific law whether it provides for exceptions justifying an extension of the time limit which could be applied to acts at the time of the declared emergency.
Time limit for entry in the list of qualified suppliers
The above conclusions can also be applied to public procurement pursuant to Act No. 134/2016 Sb., On Public Procurement since the Administrative Procedure Code will be applied as an alternative in these proceedings.
Suppliers that are on the list of qualified suppliers are legally obliged to report by 31 March 2020 that there has been no change in the entries on this list and submit the required documents. This obligation is not affected in any way by the current situation and suppliers have a general obligation to notify. If the Supplier is unable to make a notification for reasons related to the declaration of the state of emergency, they may request a waiver of this time limit together with all required documents. This application will then be assessed individually by the Ministry for Regional Development. Also in this case, the application for a waiver of lapsed time and the related documents must be filed within 15 days of the end of the state of emergency.
If you need more detailed consultation or legal analysis on these topics, please feel free to contact our team. You can also contact us if you have any other questions or requests for legal analysis for your situation.
Looking forward to working with you.
 Declared by Government Resolution No. 194 of 12 March 2020, in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of Constitutional Act No. 110/1998 Sb., On the Security of the Czech Republic, for the territory of the Czech Republic due to health threat in connection with the occurrence of coronavirus in the Czech Republic
 Act no. 500/2004 Sb., Administrative Procedure Code, as amended
 Opinion of the Ministry of the Interior of 23 March 2020 can be found here: https://www.mvcr.cz/clanek/stanovisko-ministerstva-vnitra-k-posuzovani-behu-lhut-v-oblasti-verejne-spravy-v-dobe-trvani-nouzoveho-stavu.aspx