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The new rules for the invoices maximum maturity: An amendment to the Commercial Code effective as of 1 July 2013, specifies the maturity period of liabilities in trade relations. Entrepreneurs may provide a maximum maturity of 60 days.
A longer period may be agreed only if it is not grossly unfair to the creditor, otherwise the agreement is invalid. If the borrower enforces a period longer than 60 days and a lender has earlier accepted such a maturity, but subsequently calls it into question, then it will depend on the court whether (with regard to the facts) recognises such arrangements as grossly unfair. So far, it is not possible to clearly define the criteria, when a longer maturity period is grossly unfair. However, the decisive position of the lender who is protected by the law should be taken into account during the interpretation.
Stronger rules apply also to public authorities. They may provide a maximum maturity of 30 days. A longer maturity can be arranged only if it is justified by the nature of the contract, however the maturity cannot exceed 60 days. The same conditions apply to the contractual relationship between the supplier of the public authority and its subcontractors.
If the due date is not agreed between the parties, the period of 30 days from the date fixed by law, primarily from the receipt of the invoice, is applied.
The law does not specify a rule how to act with existing contracts. With regard to the protective function of the provision, we can deduce that it also covers contracts already closed but not yet realised. For recurring contracts we recommend that you arrange compliance with existing regulations. For general conditions or a framework contract, this recommendation applies unconditionally.
Author: Stanislav Servus, Dvořák Hager & Partners