Final Word from Wednesday, August 1, 2018

It smacks of the absurd when the Constitutional Court changes the definition of "close person" to include not only family members, but also very close friends, and does it in such a lackadaisical way. The case in question relates to the alleged rape of a woman by her estranged husband and whether a very good mutual female friend should be required to testify (she mustn't), but the implications of the ruling are far greater. The term "close person" appears in numerous Czech laws. Will very close friends now have access to someone's medical records in case of a coma or death, asked lawyer Filip Melzer in disbelief yesterday on Czech Radio? And what about tax and conflict-of-interest cases, for which rules apply to "close persons"? If, for example, a well-known Prague lawyer concealed and managed the illegal assets of a top-level politician while he was in office, would they be protected from incriminating each other because they are very close friends? We'll find out. [Czech Republic Radek Pokorný Bohuslav Sobotka]

Glossary of difficult words

to be saved by the bell - (in boxing and other sports) to be saved from being counted out by the ringing of the bell at the end of a round; to be spared from difficulty or misfortune by some intervention at the very last moment;

to smack of - to have a flavor or taste of;

lackadaisical - carelessly lazy; lacking enthusiasm and determination;

estranged - (of a wife or husband) no longer living with one's spouse;

to incriminate - to make (someone) appear guilty of a crime or wrongdoing.


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