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Act on Church Restitutions and Six Years of its Application – Part I – Special Determination Action

Six years of application of the Church Restitution Act.

Part I: Special Determination Action.

Almost half a month later - December 5 - we will recall six years since the announcement of the Act on Property Settlement with Churches and Religious Societies in the Collection of Laws. [1] This law is often abbreviated as the Law on Church Restitutions. Such designation, however, is not appropriate or accurate: this Act is not the first nor the only one in our legal system that governs the church restitutions, and its scope is by far not exhausted just by restitution, because in addition to them the Act is dealing with permanent addresses and financial separation of churches and religious organizations from the state. The legislative process of adopting this law and six years of its application has sparked a number of litigation. Its constitutionality was judged by the Constitutional Court in 2013.

Our law firm brings the first of a series of articles on major application milestones of this Act. The subject of this work is the determination of the actions of authorized persons under this Act.

ECOVIS ježek is a Czech law firm specializing in representation before the highest courts, administrative proceedings and restitutions

Tomáš Nahodil has many years of practical experience and theoretical knowledge in the field of administrative law, representation in proceedings before administrative authorities and courts of the highest instance. Tomáš Nahodil is an acknowledged author of a wide range of professional publications and is able to provide you with legal advice to suit your needs.

If you need quality legal advice and representation in administrative and judicial proceedings, you can contact us at any time.

t: +420 226 236 600 | e: tomas.nahodil@ecovislegal.cz


Act on Property Settlement with Churches and Religious Societies

The Act on Property Settlement with Churches and Religious Societies (hereinafter referred to as "ZoMV") governs, in Section 18 (1), a special type of determination, distinct from the general determination of a claim under Section 80 o.s.ř. Eligible persons - that are churches, religious societies, established legal entities or Religious Matrix - have the right to apply for such an action for an unlimited period from the date ZoMV enters into force in the court for the determination of the property right of the state to the property belonging to the registered churches religious societies that were either transferred or transferred from third parties to the property of the State before the effectiveness of the ZoMV, even though such transfer and transition was prohibited with so-called blocking paragraphs until the Effectiveness of the ZoMV, ie the provision of special laws prohibiting the transfer of original ecclesiastical property from ownership of  the State into ownership of third parties until the adoption of special restitution acts on this property, just as it happened six years ago by declaration of ZoMV.

Special Determination Action

Special determination action in accordance with Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV is from the general one pursuant to § 80 o.s.ř. is different in that, for the purpose of the success of this action, there is no need to argue or demonstrate an overriding legal interest in the desirable designation. The interest in it is expressly provided by Paragraph 18 (1) of the ZoMV. According to the Supreme Court, an action under Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV is in relation to the general procedural-legal provision of § 80 o.s.ř. by a special action of a determining nature, to which the authorized person directly authorizes the ZoMV [2] The Supreme Court thus ruled in the dispute between the Provincial Order of Minorities in the Czech Republic and the state-owned company CT CRESTYL s.r.o., in which the minorities attempted to file a general determination before the ZoMV's effect on the determination of the State's property rights to four former ecclesiastical lands transferred to the ZoMV and in part transferred from the state property to the ownership of town M., which was sold in 2010 by a contract of purchase of the company CT CRESTYL s.r.o.

If it is necessary first to determine the State, by virtue of the judgment of the court on the determination of an action under Paragraph 18 (1) of the ZoMV, by the owner of the original ecclesiastical property, because that property is now owned by a third party, which ZoMV does not designate as compulsory for its restitution , in accordance with Section 9 (in the case of a request for the issue of agricultural real estate) and § 10 (in the case of a request for the issue of a thing other than agricultural property), the ZoMV shall begin to run the 12 months limitation period for lodging a request to the liable party only on the day of the decision the court has determined the ownership right to such a case on the basis of a determination in accordance with Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV. In this case, authorized persons may initiate restitution proceedings even after six years from the publication of the ZoMV. However, if the decision of the court on the determination of a claim under Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV was not to commence the restitution proceedings, the authorized persons would run the twelve-month limitation period for submission to the liable entity by the expiration of the first twelve months of ZoMV's effective date, namely 31 December 2013.


· If a thing belonging to the original property of registered churches and religious societies, before January 1, 2013, is owned by a person whom ZoMV does not include among the persons required to issue it in restitution, the entitled person may claim from the ZoMV that the owner of it is a state.

· To bring such an action, the authorized person is directly authorized by § 18 (1) of the ZoMV, which is therefore not covered by the § 80 o.s.ř. and there is no need to claim or demonstrate urgent legal interest in its success.

· The ZoMV does not provide any time limit until the Beneficiary has the right to file a determination in accordance with Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV, as the former owner of the case and a third party as its current owner. The authorized person can do so at any time under ZoMV, even today.

· 12-month limitation period under § 9 (in the case of restitution of agricultural property) or § 10 (in case of restitution of a thing other than agricultural property) to make a request to the liable person to issue to the entitled person in restitution a thing belonging to the original property of registered churches and religious societies, shall commence on the day of the lawfulness of the decision by which the court determines the State's ownership of the matter by the court which has instituted a determination in accordance with Section 18 (1) of the ZoMV.


For more information, please contact:

JUDr. Tomáš Nahodil

ECOVIS ježek, advokátní kancelář s.r.o.
Betlémské nám. 6
110 00 Prague 1
e-mail: tomas.nahodil@ecovislegal.cz

About ECOVIS ježek advokátní kancelář s.r.o.
The Czech law office in Prague ECOVIS ježek practices mainly in the area of Czech commercial law, Czech real estate law, representation at Czech courts, administrative bodies and arbitration courts, as well as Czech finance and banking law, and provides full-fledged advice in all areas, making it a suitable alternative for clients of international law offices. The international dimension of the Czech legal services provided is ensured through past experience and through co-operation with leading legal offices in most European countries, the US, and other jurisdictions. The Czech lawyers of the ECOVIS ježek team have many years of experience from leading international law offices and tax companies, in providing legal advice to multinational corporations, large Czech companies, but also to medium-sized companies and individual clients. For more information, go to www.ecovislegal.cz/en.

The information contained on this website is a legal advertisement. Do not consider anything on this website as legal advice and nothing on this website is an advocate-client relationship. Before discussing anything about what you read on these pages, arrange a legal consultation with us. Past results are not a guarantee of future results, and previous results do not indicate or predict future results. Each case is different and must be judged according to its own circumstances.


[1] Zákon č. 428/2012 Sb., o majetkovém vyrovnání s církvemi a náboženskými společnostmi a o změně některých zákonů (zákon o majetkovém vyrovnání s církvemi a náboženskými společnostmi), ve znění nálezu Ústavního soudu č. 177/2013 Sb.
[2] Rozsudek Nejvyššího soudu ČR sp. zn. 28 Cdo 3217/2014 ze dne 22.03.2016.

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