Late payment of court fees need not always lead to the end of proceedings
Authors: JUDr. Lukáš Duffek, JUDr. Jakub Hálek, Mgr. Linda Coufalová
In case Ref. No. Cdo 1933/2019, the Supreme Court dealt with the legal issue of time limits for the payment of courts fees when a resolution calling the participant to pay the court fees is passed by a senior judicial officer. In general, the legal regulation of court fees emphasizes the payer’s obligation arising from the law to pay the court fees at the moment when the act is performed to which the obligation to pay relates (e.g. already when filing a petition or an appeal). If the fees are not paid exactly when performing the act, the court must inform the participant of his/her obligation (to call on the payer to pay the court fees), together with informing them of the consequences if the call is not complied with. The time for paying the court fees is usually limited to within 15 days of the delivery of the resolution. In case of a failure to pay within the prescribed time, the court shall suspend the proceedings and shall not accept a payment executed after the deadline.
However, a special case applies when the resolution to pay the court fees is passed by a senior judicial officer. It is necessary to take into account that the participant in the proceedings has the right to lodge a protest against such resolution within 15 days of the delivery of a written copy within the meaning of Section 9 Par. 2, Act No. 121/2008 Coll., on Senior Judicial Officers and the Senior Officers of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and on the amendment of related acts (hereinafter the “Senior Judicial Officers Act”). According to this statutory provision, protests are judged by the President of the Senate, who will either uphold or amend the senior judicial officer’s resolution. No appeals are permitted against decisions of the President of the Senate concerning protests, rejections of protests, or the suspension of protest proceedings. It is only after the senior judicial officer’s resolution is delivered and is no longer subject to objections that it comes into force.
This means that if the senior judicial officer’s resolution sets a deadline for the fulfillment of procedural obligations, the limitation period runs from the date when such resolution comes into force according to Section 9 Par. 2 of the Senior Judicial Officers Act (after the time for lodging a protest expires, if there was no protest, or after the decision of the President of the Senate on the protest is delivered, if there was a protest).
Thus, if a resolution whereby the participant in proceedings is called to pay the court fees by a prescribed time limit is passed by the senior judicial officer, the limitation period for payment of court fees runs from the date of the resolution coming into force, and not from the date of its delivery.