Legal representation is commonly available at any court venue nowadays. In the Czech Republic, property disputes not relating to copyright or to some other exception are conducted before district courts. Legal representation in these disputes is not required by law (as opposed to the Slovak Republic, for example). It is not, however, very common to initiate litigation in the Czech Republic without a lawyer, especially if the plaintiff does not speak English or is not familiar with the Czech procedures.
As in all professions, there are lawyers specialising in specific issues. When searching for a suitable lawyer, it is advisable to base the decision on the nature of the issue under dispute – for issues concerning a damaged artwork seek a specialist in damage and insurance, for issues concerning copyright seek an expert in intellectual property rights, etc.
However, first of all, it is necessary to consider the potential amount of the lawyer’s fees; the expected costs of legal representation, therefore, also play a role in choosing the suitable lawyer. Until the end of the litigation each party pays its own costs of legal representation. The amount of the legal fees can nevertheless be negotiated or agreed upon with the lawyer. The initial oral consultation in the Czech Republic should not cost more than EUR 100. If legal proceedings are conducted, the losing party is obliged to cover all costs associated with the proceedings, including the costs of the winning party’s legal representation, based on decree of the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic No. 177/1996 Sb., on Fees and Remuneration of Lawyers for the Provision of Legal Services (lawyer’s tariff). If one party wins the dispute only partially, the duty to cover the legal costs will be divided between both parties proportionately to their success/failure rate.
Legal protection insurance is one way of safeguarding against excessively high costs associated with legal proceedings. When selecting the suitable insurance company and insurance policy it is essential to determine whether and to what extent the costs of litigation are covered in relation to the particular profession, as individual insurance companies provide different insurance coverage.