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The President of the Czech Republic signed the Act on Foreign Investment (“FDI Act”), which will take effect as of May 1, 2021. The Act follows the EU legislative framework on the examination of selected foreign investments for security reasons given by the Regulation No. (EU) 2019/452. The FDI Act introduces the obligation for foreign investors from countries outside the EU, investing in strategic sectors of the Czech economy, to obtain prior clearance from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (the "Ministry").

The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic recently issued a judgment under file no. 21 Cdo 4779/2018, in which it dealt with a situation where the employer withdrew from the non-compete clause agreed with its employee due to the fact that "it would not be proportionate or practical to enforce the agreed prohibition of competition against the employee due to the value of information and knowledge of work and technological procedures obtained by the employee in the course of employment with the employer". The said ground for withdrawal from the non-compete clause had been expressly agreed between the employer and the employee.

The most notable recent political event in the Czech Republic was the October 2020 regional election, says Jaroslav Havel, Managing Partner at Havel & Partners. However, Havel is quick to point out that, no matter who has been in office in the last ten years, politicians have not had a major impact on business in the Czech Republic. A more tangible effect of the election, he says, is that his former partner, Jan Holasek, who left the former Havel & Holasek law firm six years ago, has become a member of the Czech Senate.

2020 was quite a year and one all of us will not forget. For employment and labor law developments, 2020 was unlike any other. We saw rapid change and common themes emerge across the globe. One of the major themes was the introduction of government subsidies to support employers and maintain employment across many countries. We also saw an acceleration of remote and flexible working, and which posed both opportunities and challenges for employers and employees alike. There was also an increase in regulations that govern remote working.

A new regulation sets up a system for controlling investments from outside the EU in strategic assets relevant to the security and internal order of the Czech Republic. From 1 April 2021, certain foreign investments in Czech assets (including private) will thus be subject to prior approval by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The ministry will also be entitled to review any foreign investment up to five years after its completion. The Act defines a wide variety of entries into the target as foreign investment (not only asset ownership but also, for example, membership of a body). There is no experience with investment approval procedures yet, but failure to notify can lead to enormous fines (up to 1% of turnover). Comprehensive preparation of the required documents and information and legal representation in negotiations with the Ministry of Industry and Trade are therefore highly recommended.

Czech Republic Knowledge Partner

HAVEL & PARTNERS, attorneys-at-law, with offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Pilsen, Olomouc, and Ostrava, has a team of 250 lawyers, tax advisors and 500 employees in total, is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe.

Our clients include large international companies, leading Czech and Slovak firms, including strategic state-owned companies and public sector authorities, as well as medium-size businesses, individual entrepreneurs, and investors. We advise approximately  150 of the Fortune 500 companies, almost 50 of the Czech Top 100 companies and 20 of the TOP 100 Slovak companies. HAVEL & PARTNERS currently provides its services to a total of 2,500 clients. We have the most comprehensive international support available to both Czech and Slovak law firms. We provide legal and tax advice in 12 languages in more than 110 countries around the globe. Up to 70 % of the transactions we deal with involve an international aspect.

HAVEL & PARTNERS was named the best law firm operating in the Czech Republic by the prestigious global rating agencies Chambers and Partners (2020, 2021) and Who’s Who Legal (2018, 2019). It is also the most successful law firm, providing the most comprehensive legal services in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, based on the total number of all nominations and awards in all years of the Law Firm of the Year awards. The firm became the absolute winner of this competition four times in the last six years, receiving the main award Domestic Law Firm of the Year in the Czech Republic (2015, 2017, 2018, 2020) and ranking as one of the most recommended law firms in all categories of law. Our company is also a four -time winner of the Law Firm of the Year award for Best Client Services (2015, 2016, 2019, 2020). In the field of M&A, HAVEL & PARTNERS is the best law firm in the Czech Republic based on the annual International Advisory Experts awards (2018, 2019). Prestigious international rating agencies EMIS DealWatch and Mergermarket have ranked HAVEL & PARTNERS among the leading law firms by the number of transactions completed in the Czech Republic since 2010. Based on annual awards of the Acquisition International magazine, HAVEL & PARTNERS has become the Law Firm of the Year 2019 in the M&A category in the CEE region.

Firm's website: https://www.havelpartners.cz/en/

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