New Czech Civil Code may cause problems

Prezident soudcovské unie Tomáš Lichovník byl hostem pořadu Otázky Václava Moravce, který 24. února z pražského studia vysílala Česká televize (ČT).

published: 25.12.2013, 17:30 | updated: 25.12.2013 17:36:12

Prague - Czech judges will not be able to use established judicature to which they were used for decades due to the new Civil Code that will take effect in January, president of the Judges' Union Tomas Lichovnik told CTK today.

In some cases, it will be possible to use prewar decided cases when taking into account new conditions, Lichovnik said.

The Civil Code, an extensive piece of legislation with over 3000 articles, sets new rules in three basic areas - the family, property and contracts.

It was passed by the previous right-wing government in 2012.

Lichovnik said the unification of legal interpretation on the national level would only be able after several years, similarly to the case of return of property after the fall of the Communist regime.

The new Civil Code includes a number of new legal institutes and regulates the existing ones in a different way.

"The interpretation of the Civil Code will at first appear among individual judges of district courts in particular," Lichovnik said.

"Based on appeals, the interpretation will be subjected to the review, primarily by judges of regional courts," he added.

"However, here, too, one cannot expect any unification of judicature," Lichovnik said.

The unification on the national level can only be proceed thanks to the decisions of the Supreme Court. However, it only reviews the recourses lodged against the verdicts of courts of appeals, he added.

When unifying the interpretation, the position can only arise from several decisions of appeals courts, Lichovnik said.

As a result, the process will take a number of years, he added.

"Hence the comparison with the decisions on return of property. The courts were deciding in the early 1990s," Lichovnik said.

"The original, not quite clear legal regulation was increasingly complicated due to the increased number of amendments. It was only possible to speak about established judicature in restitution affairs at the close of the 1990s," he added.

Lichovnik said some judges were considering retiring due to the new regulation of private law.

"Some of them will only think of it, but I presume that a number of judges will really end as active judges," he added.

"No one knows the exact figures, but the number of judges at retirement age reaches tens of percent in some courts," Lichovnik said.

He said if most of the judges at the retirement age really decided to leave the judiciary, it would weaken the courts so considerably that it would be impossible to reprieve the situation soon.


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