Justice Ministry to prepare rules for state’s use of legal services

State administration bodies should observe certain principles when closing deals with lawyers, parliament agreed.

The Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power plantThe Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power plant (Source: SME)

Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (Most-Híd) is to prepare new rules that will define transparent principles for state authorities using the legal services of law firms, including their selection and rewards. This is the result of the special parliamentary session concerning the high reward for lawyer Radomír Bžán for his victory in the dispute over the Gabčíkovo hydroelectric power plant, the TASR newswire reported.

The proposal was submitted by Smer MP, Róbert Puci, and was supported by the 125 MPs present.

The deputies turned down the proposal of the opposition, which initiated the session. They wanted parliament to express outrage over the bonus and compel the government to inform about further steps in the case as well as the measures it plans to adopt. The opposition also wanted Economy Minister Peter Žiga (Smer) to continue in talks about the final reward for Bžán’s law firm, while taking into consideration the average remuneration awarded in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in arbitrations, TASR wrote.

In addition, the opposition called for the adoption of rules pertaining to the signing of legal agreements that would prevent these cases from being repeated and for carrying out an audit of all agreements signed by the ministries and the state administration bodies.

State company’s board of directors replaced

Read also:Heads roll over extremely high reward for legal services in Gabčíkovo Read more 

Žitňanská does not think it would be good to cap the rewards for law firms that represent the state in disputes.

“If the lawyer is contracted to represent the state, it is a legal relationship where the state or its institutions have to observe all duties linked to the administration of the property,” Žitňanská said during the discussion, as quoted by TASR. “This should force the state to sign good agreements.”

The state cannot absolve itself of all responsibility by replacing everything with regulations.

“I think this is not a good way,” Žitňanská said, as quoted by TASR. “But I am not saying that nothing should be done in this field.”

The principles that state institutions observe should be defined, she agreed.

Žiga said, during the discussion, that the whole board of directors of the MH Management company, which signed the deal with Bžán, has been dismissed.

“The new board of directors was appointed to adopt more legal steps,” Žiga said, as quoted by TASR.

The minister dismissed the supervisory board on October 12.

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