Structure of Public Prosecutor’s Office

Levels of Public Prosecution System

The Public Prosecutor’s Office is a system of state offices designated to represent the state in the course of protection of public interest in cases entrusted to their competence by the law[1]. According to art. 80 (1) of the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the Public Prosecutor’s Office represents public prosecution in criminal proceedings, whereas its position and competence is provided for by the law.

This law is the Act no. 283/1993 Coll., on Public Prosecutor’s Office. In order to implement the Act on Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Justice has issued a Regulation no. 23/1994 Coll., on the Rules of Procedure of Public Prosecutor’s Office, establishing branch offices of certain Public Prosecutor’s Offices and details of actions performed by legal trainees. In the period of preparation of the Act on Public Prosecutor’s Office, references to various models of possible solution of the position of the prosecutor’s office, or newly the Public Prosecutor’s Office, within the system of state authorities have been made. It was proposed that the Public Prosecutor’s Office should form an independent system of state offices designated to represent the state in cases specified by the law. However, the prevailing concept was the model of Public Prosecutor’s Office as a part of the department of the Ministry of Justice. The Constitution places the Public Prosecutor’s Office into chapter three, dealing with the executive power.

Administation of Public Prosecutor’s Office is performed by the Ministry of Justice. This must not be confused with superiority of the Ministry (or Minister) of ustice in relation to any individual Public Prosecutor’s Office or any public prosecutor. Its task is merely to create conditions for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to duly perform its competence in terms of human resources, organization, economy, finance and education. Its task is also to oversee due performance of taks of the Public Prosecutor’s Office. Appointment of Public Prosecutors, their employment relationship and in particular their position and disciplinary liability is provided for by the Act no. 283/1993 Coll., on Public Prosecutor’s Office, as amended. Chief public prosecutors are superiors of public prosecutors working at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which they manage.

First and foremost, the system of Public Prosecutor’s Office is vertically differentiated, i.e. the Public Prosecutor’s Offices are divided into individual levels. Currently the system of Public Prosecutor’s Office is four-tier and consists of:

  • Prosecutor General’s Office,
  • High Public Prosecutor’s Offices,
  • Regional Public Prosecutor’s Offices,
  • District Public Prosecutor’s Offices.

In time of national defense alert the system is supplemented also by the Higher and Lower Field Public Prosecutor’s Office.[2]

More about the competence of individual tiers of Public Prosecutor’s Office…

Furthermore, we distinguish horizontal division, which limits the jurisdiction of Public Prosecutor’s Offices to certain portion of state territory. The individual Public Prosecutor’s Offices are functionally attached to courts, in jurisdiction of which they operate, which is why the seats and territorial jurisdiction of Public Prosecutor’s Offices match the territorial jurisdiction of courts. Each Public Prosecutor’s Office fulfills their tasks individually and they form a part of a comprehensive system, within which there are defined competences and also supervisory relationships of higher tiers of the system over the activity of lower tiers. Competence of individual Public Prosecutor’s Offices matches the competence of courts[3]. Higher Public Prosecutor’s Offices operates as appellate authority in cases, where the lower Public Prosecutor’s Offices issue decisions.

Spcific relationships exist always between the closest links of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, no hierarchically throughout the whole system. A superior Public Prosecutor’s Office is entitled to intervene in execution of cases, which according to the law pertain to the competence of a lower-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office, only in such a way and in such an extent as is stipulated by the law. As far as organization of relationships within the Public Prosecutor’s Office system is concerned, a higher-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office exercises supervision over the immediately lower-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office [4] and administration in selected matters.  In this respect and in the extent stipulated by the law, Prosecutor General is superior to High Public Prosecutors, High Public Prosecutor is superior to Regional Public Prosecutors in the jurisdiction of the respective High Public Prosecutor’s Office and Regional Public Prosecutor is superior to District Public Prosecutors in the jurisdiction of the respective Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office. The principle of superiority applies in case of two immediately adjacent Public Prosecutor’s Offices, so this is a competence of the immediately superior Public Prosecutor’s Office towards an immediately lower-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office. In the extent stipulated by the law, a chief public prosecutor is the superior of public prosecutors operating at the Public Prosecutor’s Office managed by them. In practice we often encounter inaccurate perception of this principle on the part of general public, specifically that the principle of superiority applies throughout the whole Public Prosecutor’s Office system.

We have mentioned that the organization of the Public Prosecutor’s Office corresponds to the system of courts. This relates to the fact that territorial and subject-matter competence of the Public Prosecutor’s Office follows the territorial and subject-matter competence of courts, unless a special legal enactment stipulates otherwise. Section 40 (2) of the Act on Public Prosecutor’s Office authorizes the Ministry of Justice to issue in the form of a Regulation the Rules of Procedure and exceptions concerning the seats and territorial jurisdiction of Public Prosecutor’s Office, to establish branch offices in the jurisdiction of a Public Prosecutor’s Office or to establish a Public Prosecutor’s Office with an exclusive jurisdiction or to determine that cases of certain type in the jurisdiction of several Public Prosecutor’s Offices will be executed by one Public Prosecutor Office. Based on the above referred authorization, the Ministry has issued a Regulation no. 23/1994 Coll., on the Rules of Procedure of Public Prosecutor’s Office, on establishing branch offices of certain Public Prosecutor’s Offices and on the details regarding actions performed by legal trainees.

Branch offices in Brno and Olomouc have been established in the jurisdiction of the High Public Prosecutor’s Office in Olomouc, a branch office of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office has been established in Tábor (seat of the former Higher Military Prosecutor’s Office), a branch office of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ústí nad Labem has been established in Liberec, a branch office of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office in Ostrava has been established in Olomouc, a branch office of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office has been established in Zlín and in Jihlava. It follows that branch offices of Regional Public Prosecutor Offices were in principle established in the centers of higher regional self-governing territorial units, where so far no Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office was present.

As far as District Public Prosecutor’s Office is concerned, a branch office of the District Public Prosecutor’s Office has been established in Havířov, which exercises its competence in the jurisdiction of the municipalities of Havířov and Orlová.

In the system of courts there are several branch offices of District Courts, there are currently three to be exact (see annex no. 7 of the Act no. 6/2002 Coll.). In the jurisdiction of the District Court in Bruntál, a branch office has been established in Krnov, a branch office of the District Court in Karviná has been established in Havířov and a branch office of the District Court in Vsetín has been established in Valašské Meziříčí.

Regulation no. 23/1994 Coll. also stipulates different definition of competence of High Public Prosecutor’s Offices in criminal proceedings by the fact that it entrusts supervision over maintaining of legality in pre-trial proceedings in cases of certain serious intentional crimes into their competence.

Another very important document in this area is the General Instruction of Prosecutor General no. 4/2009, the Sample Rules of Organization, as amended by the General Instruction no. 12/2011, which stipulates mandatory specializations of individual public prosecutors at individual tiers of the Public Prosecutor’s Office system. For instance, all tiers have specializations on unlawful conduct of youths, acts that would otherwise be criminal commited by children under the age of 15 and criminal acts committed against youths; on the other hand, specialization on legislation, analytics and methodology is present only at High Public Prosecutor’s Offices and the Prosecutor General’s Office.


[1] Section 1 (1) of the Act no. 283/1993 Coll., on Public Prosecutor’s Office.

[2] Cancelling of military courts and military prosecutor’s offices by the end of year 1993 created an impression that military justice system does not exist. It is true that military courts and military prosecutor’s offices do not currently function, however, this does not mean that certain courts and public prosecutor’s offices cannot specialize on military cases and it certainly does not mean that certain matters having the elements of military justice in time of mobilization of military forces cannot be resolved. See Koudelka, Z., Military Justice in the Czech Republic. Military view magazine /Vojenská justice v ČR. Vojenské rozhledy/. 2009, no. 2, page 79 – 84.

[3] Jurisdiction of District and Regional Public Prosecutor’s Offices predominantly match the jurisdictions of administrative districts and regions according to the Act no. 36/1960 Coll., on Territorial Division of the State. Seats of Regional Public Prosecutor’s Offices are not permanently located in all regions, being the higher self-governing territorial units (Act no. 129/2000 Coll., on Regions). In the capital city of Prague the competence of Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office is exercised by the Metropolitan Public Prosecutor’s Office in Prague. Jurisdiction of the High Public Proseutor’s Office in Prague matches the jurisdictions of Regional Public Prosecutor’s Offices in Prague, České Budějovice, Plzeň, Ústí nad Labem, Hradec Králové and the Metropolitan Court in Prague. The jurisdiction of the Hight Public Prosecutor’s Office in Olomouc matches the jursdictions of the Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office in Brno and Ostrava. The Ministry of Justice may establish a branch office of a District or Regional Public Prosecutor’s Office in their jurisdiction by the means of a legal enactment.

[4] This includes in particular the possibility to issue instructions to the lower-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office in cases, execution of which pertains to the competence of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in question, and furthermore to perform audits of individual cases at the lower-tier Public Prosecutor’s Office or to request information in individual cases from them.

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