JŠK Legal Flash
Will robots be liable for damages they cause?
The European Commission recently published a Report on Liability and New Technologies assessing the current national liability regulations and establishing that the existing system ensures at least basic protection of victims of AI, but that the complexity and unpredictability of AI requires certain adjustment to EU and Member States' laws toward a stricter system of liability.
Despite multiple discussions about the difficulty of attributing the risks of fully autonomous robots to natural persons, the Commission opposed the creation of a new category of legal personality for artificial intelligence. According to the Commission, amending the current laws directed at individuals would be a better solution.
Class actions: EU Council approves draft directive, amended bill submitted to the Czech government
The EU Council approved an amended version of the draft EU Directive on Class Actions at the end of November. The process will most likely be completed in the course of 2020. Although the directive may undergo further amendments, it is already evident that more discretion will be handed over to the Member States than previously anticipated. In that respect, the ongoing Czech legislative process on the Class Action Act, an amended version of which was submitted to the government on 28 November, will be of more significance. The directive provides for both opt-in and opt-out mechanisms in individual Member States. While the Czech bill in its current form also anticipates both these approaches, the stricter opt-out should be available only in cases of small claims, usually under CZK 3,000.
Modifying cross-border transformations in the EU
A new Directive on cross-border mergers, demergers and divisions related to limited liability companies has been adopted by the Council of the EU. The legislation broadens the scope of the existing regulation and addresses certain social and tax concerns by (i) increasing the protection of the stakeholders and employees, (ii) introducing a stricter pre-operation assessment and anti-abuse control (the procedure will likely become longer and more uncertain), (iii) reflecting current ambiguities and practice, and (iv) introducing the possibility to use digital tools and processes.
The Directive will have to be transposed within three years.