Delší spánek, méně zábavy (a svobody..)
S blížící se sezonou příjemných letních večerů musíme vzpomenout na jeden z počinů našeho zákonodárce. V roce 2016 nabyla účinnosti novela přestupkového zákona převzatá i do nové právní úpravy přestupků, podle které není možné omezit dobu nočního klidu jinak, než na základě obecně závazné vyhlášky.
With the upcoming season of pleasant summer evenings, it’s important to remember one of the actions taken by our legislators. An amended version of the Act on Offences entered into force in 2016 and with it, new regulations that made it impossible to define night-time quiet hours in any way other than on the basis of a generally binding ordinance.
Our legal system had previously allowed administrative proceedings to define individual night-time quiet hours on a case-by-case basis. If you wanted to have a party underneath the starry sky back in 2016, to celebrate your mother’s birthday, an important historical anniversary or the establishment of Czechoslovakia, the process involved simply filing a request, and the local authorities could decide to grant exceptions from the generally defined night-time quiet hours in each specific instance. Today you have to convince the entire city council to adopt a general ordinance regulating all night-time quiet hours for the specific day, and which grants the same right, no less, to every other resident in the given municipality or borough. Even if the council was convinced to issue such an ordinance for these purposes, the lengthy process means you’d have to start planning that celebration at least half a year in advance.
The Ministry of Interior justified this change by claiming that local authorities were often issuing unlawful legal orders in this context and referred to the Constitutional Court, which had allegedly ordered such change (this is not based in truth whatsoever and it’s more readily attributable to the ignorance of the ministry’s lawyers or a clear example of scapegoating). Legislators therefore attempted to resolve the problem of a law that was not being properly used by local officials through no fault of their own by simply cancelling it. All this instead of simply taking action that would allow the existing law to be applied in the correct manner. For instance, they could have simply made adjustments to the administrative procedures for such instances or instructed local authorities on the correct way to handle and decide on these requests.
The problem was quickly and effectively resolved from the perspective of the state authorities. In short, it simply doesn’t work. The rest of society, however, can now rest easier. Given the fact that legislators have taken started to take a similar approach to these issues more frequently in recent years (the Building Act is another prime example), society may soon face a situation where there is nothing else to do but stay home and sleep.
We don't think it will every get to that level, and we’ll be able to continue enjoying those beautiful summer nights under the stars.
Wishing everyone a beautiful summer 2018. Your lawyers.