New Civil Code
02. 09. 2013
It is by no accident that the New Civil Code was published in the Collection of Laws under no. 89/2012, a number which reflects the historic turn in the modern Czech history. It is no exaggeration to say that this is a revolutionary piece of legislation the importance of which in law is as great as the importance of the historic milestone of Velvet Revolution. However, it should be noted that not all changes introduced by the new legislation have been welcome with enthusiasm.
The New Civil Code covers practically the entire area of private law (commercial, civil, family, successions, securities – practically everything except for employment law and registered partnership legislation), something that is most frequently mentioned in connection with its introduction. This fact in itself may be interesting and to some degree important, however, the volume is not the decisive aspect: it simply makes the legislation very extensive (the New Civil Code has 3 081 Sections).
More importantly, the New Civil Code introduces a fundamental and unprecedented revolution in the area of private law in terms of its concept and underlying principles, by inter alia unifying the civil and commercial law, thus removing the hitherto duality in private law. When it comes into effect, the New Civil Code will also cover the law of obligations. Consequently, not only all newly created commercial and contractual relations will be subjected to it but also some existing relations, such as rentals. It will remain the will of the parties whether all other existing relationships will be subjected to the new regulation. However, it is to be noted that the introductory provisions of the new Civil Code which cover the underlying principles in the area of private law will apply at all times. Therefore, we need to begin working with the New Civil Code as early as today so that legal relations continue to be functional as of its effect (and the effect of accompanying legislation).
Due to the adoption of the New Civil Code, many existing legal regulations are going to be revoked (the hitherto Civil Code, the Commercial Code, the Family Act, the Land Records Act, the Act on International Private Law and Procedure etc.), whereas extensive accompanying legislation has been or is to be adopted (e.g. the Act on Uncontested Judicial Proceedings, the new Land Records Act) and hundreds of existing laws are going to be amended (such as the Labor Code, the Code of Civil Procedure etc.).
Unfortunately, the present political situation jeopardizes the passage of the accompanying legislation without which the New Civil Code could hardly function. It remains to be seen how the legislator is going to deal with the date of effect of the New Civil Code in a case when the accompanying legislation fails to be passed, whether the date of January 1, 2014 will remain as the date of effect or whether it will be postponed (in which case by one year at least). Should the date of coming into effect of the New Civil Code be moved, then given the fact that some political representatives supposedly hold different views on the codification of private law, a complete recast of the new legislation cannot be ruled out.
In spite of legal uncertainties, we are prepared to serve your legal needs and to dispel any concerns you may have regarding the New Civil Code. We will provide you with comprehensive legal services so that you are not caught off guard. Our attorneys rely on information coming directly from the authors of the New Civil Code (and the accompanying legislation), and they stay in close contact with them to discuss the new legal concepts and related issues.
Given the extent of changes, we strongly recommend that you prepare for them well in advance.
Note: Information contained herein is of general nature only. The objective is to provide an initial overview of legislative changes or other relevant measures. For consultation regarding your situation or in case of questions, please, contact, JUDr. Jana Felixová.
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