The authors of the new Civil Code of the Czech Republic, which entered into force on 1st January of this year, took as a reference model also the European jurisdictions and their particular legal institutions. The purpose of this article is to indicate how the new Civil Code also draws inspiration from the Italian one, which is one of the oldest set of rules of the Old Continent.

Italian regulations are often mentioned in the technical report (důvodová zpráva), that accompanies the new Czech Civil Code, showing a trend towards the traditional civil law, especially in the sphere of family law, inheritance, real rights and obligations.

In this regard, we wish to emphasize the discipline on family business, a completely new institution in Czech law, which is now governed by Article 700 and subsequent articles of the new Civil Code. The overall regulation of the institution is not just about the running of the family business, but also indicates the provisions regarding the rights and duties of the family members involved. The discipline that deals with the family business was introduced into the Italian Civil Code during the reform of the family law of 1975, in a single but very elaborate article 230 bis.

34 Justice

The aim of both the Czech and Italian set of laws, is to protect those family members who informally provide work in the family or in the family business. The new Civil Code expressly provides that the rules relating to the family business will not be applied when there is an employment or executive contract that governs the running of the company with relative rights and obligations of its members. The most significant novelty for those who take part in a family business is the right to share in the profits in proportion to the quantity and quality of the work performed.

The family law contains inspirations from the Italian Civil Code also in other cases: an example is the right to the protection of the name for family reasons, the renewal of family ties and the adoption of people who are of age.

As regards successions, we would like to mention the discipline on special last wills and testaments (before the mayor or on board a ship, etc. ), with the possibility of disposing it in favour of a juridical person to be constituted later on (provided this it is established within a period of one year), or the rules on testamentary dispositions in favour of the poor, which according to the law belong to a municipal entity. A few sources of inspiration can also be traced in the set of laws on real rights, in particular with regard to the discipline on related protection of affinity or the protection of good faith in the case of purchase of goods from a non-owner.

As for Italian oblibations, the most significant Italian inspirations are found in the set of laws regarding the assignment of the entire contract. Before new Code entered into force it was possible to assign the credit or undertake the debt; now, according to art. 1895 of the New Civil Code, it is possible for a third party to take over the position of one of the members to the contract. In the case in question, you do not only transfer the right of execution or the obligation to do so, but also all the rights and obligations deriving from the previously concluded contract. This approach is especially advantageous in the case of a contract which includes a service.

Mgr. Martin Holub (lawyer)
Mgr. Lucie Miškovská
Law Firm Šafra & partneři