Would it help when lawyers reflect on it?
Under its judgment, the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic ruled on 25 April 2013 that Regulation No. 484/2000 Sb. issued by the Ministry of Justice, so-called “Predicative Regulation” would be cancelled. The justification for such ruling somewhat diverts from usual arguments embedded in the constitutional law and it rather shows some indication of an abuse of the regulation to a certain extent in order to enrich some debt collection agencies and other agencies or individuals offering debt management services to the detriment of common citizens. This is some indication of the legal abuse.
People less and less talk to each other in person. In contrary, they prefer to be in touch via electronic or other media. Such interpersonal relationships tend to be more and more anonymous which leads to the lack of mutual trust. The lack of trust is visible in contractual relations when, for example, a party has a need of applying some security instruments in a contract that would protect one party from another. Such a situation becomes absurd as the parties do not meet in order to solve a claim or a dispute, instead, they meet in order to enter into an agreement on further procedures and steps to be taken, such as a purchase agreement. Such parties do not trust each other right from the beginning and this lack of trust is then imposed on the lawyer who implements this feeling in a rather complicated body of the agreement. Subsequently, any frustration or mistrust is then diverted on to the lawyer.
Courts or other arbitration centers are snowed under by tens of thousands of claims for minor debts as well as other claims made between neighbours, family members, business partners or associates. People, companies and authorities (there are people involved again) expect to get justice from judges who sometimes have not left the courts.
Outcome or cause?
The above examples given on the current Czech (not only) legal situation mention the crisis in law that is ever present but not much discussed. We shall leave it up to the reader to decide whether this is the cause of any other crises or whether it is its outcome. However, the statement that Tomáš Baťa made in 1932 may be still valid: “The cause of the crisis is the decline in morality. The turning point of the economic crisis? I do not believe that turning points appear just by themselves. What we are accustomed to calling the economic crisis is in fact a different name for the decline in morality. The decline in morality is the cause, the economic crisis is the outcome”. And we wish to add that the same applies to law which is one part of morality. Perhaps, the most readable one as it is written in codes, acts and legal regulations.
It seems that some people are getting aware of this fact and it is only correct that they are the lawyers themselves, i.e. the ones who practice the Czech law.
Here are some activities done by the lawyers that try to fight the crisis in law, i.e. the field they specialize in. Returning the law back to the professionals when people are no more sure due to its complicated nature, lawyers taking in the views other than legal, new legal regulations that turn back to positive legal starting points and to strengthening the freedom and responsibility of people, other alternative ways of dealing with claims or disputes by way of entering into agreements or conciliations, mediation procedures and others.
However, this is not enough. The law was not written only for lawyers, but mainly it was written for others that are involved in other activities but that must sometimes face the law. They must – even unconsciously – stop to make demands on the lawyers that are often in contrary to the legal regulation applied or that refer to other fields of expertise than law. Despite their interrelated skills and knowledge, it may not be anticipated that lawyers would solve your relationship at home, in a company or with the other party without your will and input. A lawyer cannot solve your live but he/she can tell you whether such a problem has been dealt with in the past and whether it is desirable to deal with the matter from the legal point of view.
The title mentions the crisis in law. However, this is more about the crisis in society, in common relationships, about the lack of trust, about the trust in a business partner or a life partner, although supported by law. The simple matters become complicated not due to the law but due to the ones who address them. As a result, the crisis in law only reflects the crisis in trust of people in themselves or in others. The lawyers do something about it and now, we have to do something about it as well.
Mr. Martin Holub (Attorney)
Law Firm Šafra & partneři