Prague, Nov 8 (CTK) – A Czech district court rejected yesterday a complaint filed by lawyer Vaclav Halbich who claimed 17 million crowns for his legal representation of the Social Democrats (CSSD) in a dispute about their Prague seat both from the CSSD and the Alba firm.
Yesterday’s verdict has not taken effect as it can be appealed.
Halbich’s former colleague, lawyer Zdenek Altner, who died on Monday, assigned his claim towards the CSSD to Alba.
The CSSD, a senior government party now, deposited the money for lawyers with a court years ago since it did not know whom it should pay.
“The complainant (Halbich) is not the CSSD’s creditor, and this is the reason why his complaint cannot be accepted,” judge Hana Marsova said.
The mandatory contract with Altner on his legal representation in the dispute about the CSSD’s headquarters Lidovy dum in Prague centre was signed by the party’s former chairman Milos Zeman, who is now the president.
In late March, Altner won a long court dispute with the CSSD. The court ruled that the Social Democrats must pay him almost 328 million crowns, including 18.5 million for his services and a contractual fine of 318 million. The Social Democrats filed a petition for an appellate review with the Supreme Court.
Halbich claims that he joined the contract later, along with another lawyer Zdenek Hajek, and that he was not paid for his services.
Zeman testified in court earlier, saying Altner was the only partner for him and that he had no idea of any agreement with Halbich.
The judge ruled that the rights and duties, including the right to remuneration, were only embedded in the CSSD and Altner’s mandatory contract. The agreement on accession to the contract signed by Altner, Halbich and Hajek changed nothing in this, she added.
The judiciary has dealt with Halbich’s complaint since 2003. It was originally rejected, but the Constitutional Court (US) supported him.
Altner, as a witness in the case, denied former notary Halbich’s credit in the dispute about the CSSD headquarters. Halbich only provided additional consultations, Altner said.
“Altner did nothing for three years. I and Hajek did all the work. We knew that he was completely useless as a lawyer,” Halbich, who did not attend yesterday’s proceedings, said in his proposal that the judge read yesterday.
Halbich also wrote that both Altner and Zeman lied in their testimonies.
($1=24.424 crowns)