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Operations of the court systems

Slovak republic has adopted an Act No. 62/2020 Coll. on certain extraordinary measures in the justice sector in connection with the spread of COVID-19, a dangerous communicable viral disease, which also amends certain other laws (the “Act”). Below is the summary of the provisions of the Act that affect several areas of law:

Suspension of time limits and periods

Under the Act, all statutory limitation periods in the private-law context are suspended from the effective date of the Act until 30.4.2020. This also applies to the time limits prescribed by law or set by the court for the parties to judicial proceedings to appear before court or take procedural steps in relation to the proceedings. When it comes to criminal proceedings, the suspension only applies to the time limits within which the accused, his or her legal counsel, the victim(s) and the parties involved may seek remedy.

The Act also provides that if a matter brooks no delay because a delay could cause a threat to life, health, security, freedom or considerable damage to a party to the proceedings, the court may rule that the suspension shall not apply and will set a new adequate time limit. No appeal against such a ruling will be possible.

As regards the limitation periods which were running after 12.3.2020 until the effective date of the Act, these periods will not end earlier than 30 days after entry into force of the Act.

Presence of public at hearings

The Act also affects the participation of public at court hearings. The Act says that during an extraordinary situation or state of emergency, all court hearings and public sessions shall be open to public to the minimum extent necessary and that the protection of public health is the ground on which public may be excluded from the courtroom or a public court session.

Petition for bankruptcy

The Act amends the time limit within with the debtor, on having become insolvent, is obliged to file a petition for bankruptcy in respect of his assets. The Act affects the insolvencies occurring from 12.3.2020 to 30.4.2020 and the time limit for filing a petition for bankruptcy is extended to 60 days. 

Decisions adopted per rollam by the boards of legal entities subject to private law 

The Act also amends the way in which the boards of legal entities established under civil law or commercial law may vote. During an extraordinary situation or state of emergency, the boards may use postal voting or enable their members to participate in board meetings through electronic means, even if the bylaws or statutes of the company do not foresee this option.

Temporary ban on foreclosures and auctions

Under the act, all foreclosures are suspended until 30 April 2020 and the auctioneers, bailiffs and bankruptcy trustees must refrain from holding auctions. As a consequence, any steps taken towards foreclosure and any auctions carried out between the effective date of the new Act and 30.4.2020 shall be void. 

Public procurement 

According to the Act, during an extraordinary situation or state of emergency, the state may enter into contracts in a public procurement procedure also with the entities not registered in the Public Sector Partners Register, provided, however, that the conditions for a direct contract award because of an extraordinary situation have been met.