The Constitutional Court
On behalf of the United States
The Constitutional Court ruled on 22 November. September 1999, in the plenary on the proposal of m. s. and JUDr.
In the cancellation of § 13 para. 2 the first sentence of the Act No. 229/1991 Coll., on the
modify the ownership of land and other agricultural property in
as amended, and section 13(2). 5 of the same law in words
"that was not until 31 December 2006. January 1993 or to the 1. September 1993 by an authorized person
The proposal is rejected.
The plaintiffs have filed a complaint to the Constitutional Court against the judgment of the regional
Court in Ústí nad Labem of 24 September. June 1998 No. 16 Ca 452/97-30,
which was confirmed by the decision of the District Office of Litomerice
July 17, 1997 No. 72-1513/97-8119. This decision was not
the appellants resumed ownership of real estate in the cat. the territory of R.
Their decision was motivated by the fact that the appellants do not meet the conditions of § 4
paragraph. 1 of the Act No. 229/1991 regulating ownership of land and
other agricultural property as amended, (hereinafter referred to as
"the law of the land"). According to that provision and with reference to section 13 of the Act
on land the beneficiary entitled to a release of the property, if
31. January, or to 1. September 1993, a citizen of the United States. This opinion
is based on the text of the amendment to the soil No 30/1996 Coll., according to which the right to
on the issue of real estate pursuant to § 6 of the authorized person may apply for
provided that, until 31 December 2006. January 1993 or to the 1. September 1993 was not
by an authorized person only because they did not meet the condition of permanent residence.
JUDr. V. v., originally a citizen of CZECHOSLOVAKIA, Ms. citizenship day
December 15, 1958, IE. the date of acquisition of the nationality of the UNITED STATES, on the
naturalization Convention between Czechoslovakia and the United States no.
169//1929 Coll. of the Czech nationality acquired back on 7 December. June 1994
grant under section 7 of Act No. 40/1993 Coll. on acquisition and loss
State citizenship of the Czech Republic, as amended.
M. s., originally. the State citizen, lost. citizenship day
acquisition of the citizenship of the USA, IE. on 8 July 2006. November 1960, at the
naturalization Convention between Czechoslovakia and the United States no.
169/1929 Coll. of the Czech nationality acquired back on 11 July. May 1994
grant under section 7 of Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as amended.
The facts about the loss and acquisition of nationality are according to
the opinion of the District Land Office in Litoměřice, proven communication
The Ministry of Interior of 18 May. March 1996 No. II/s-OSOM/53/7880/
/93,7877/93 and instrument of grant of citizenship of the Czech Republic No.
j. VS/2-53/7880/93-2176 and no. II/s-OSOM/53/53/7877/93-558.
Against the decision of the land Office of the appellants have submitted an appeal
resource. The regional court in Ústí nad Labem reviewed the contested
decision and control, that its release was preceded by, and came to the conclusion
that appeal is not justified. The Court took satisfied that
the plaintiffs are the original owners of the real estate,
switched on during the relevant period. State for reasons that can be accommodated under the
the provisions of § 6 (1). 1 of the law of the land. It also considered it proven that the
the plaintiffs lost. country of citizenship. To renew to the acquisition of the
citizenship of the United States occurred in the M. S. on 11 March 2006. May 1994 and JUDr.
In day 7. June 1994.
The regional court in Ústí nad Labem thing assessed so that the appellants
have the status of authorized persons, having regard to the fact that, in
the period laid down for the application of the restitution claims pursuant to the law of the land,
i.e.. until 31 December 2006. January 1993, may not condition of citizenship of the Czech
of the Republic. The contents of section 4 of the Act on the ground as a result of the amendments changes to self-rule
the deletion of the conditions of permanent residence, but a condition that you must
meet the person continues to be a country of citizenship. The base period
for the applicability of restitution claims was established until 31 December 2006. January 1993. In
This time, the particular person had to meet the legal requirements for the
to be considered for the beneficiaries.
The appellants disagreed with the procedure of the public authorities. It was argued that
both have acquired the citizenship of the United States by granting according to § 7 (2). 1
Act No. 40/1993 Coll., in 1994. They pointed out the fact that
they are both citizens of the United States, and they were at the time of the effectiveness of Act No.
30/1996 Coll., amending and supplementing Act No. 229/1991 Coll., on the adjustment of
the ownership of land and other agricultural property as amended by
amended, and the Czech National Council Act No. 243/1992 Coll., which
to regulate certain issues relating to Act No. 229/1991 Coll., on the
modify the ownership of land and other agricultural property in
amended by Act No. 93/1992 Coll., as amended. Referred to
the Act of the plaintiff in their opinion as citizens discriminated against because
they take away the right to seek restitution of property that was unlawfully
withdrawn by the Communist regime. Have this right pursuant to Act No. 30/1996 Coll.
only those who regain citizenship of the Czech Republic until 31 December 2006. January
1993 or to the 1. September 1993.
In support of its application for annulment of certain provisions of the law on soil
the plaintiffs argued that the law is applied the principle of reverse
efficiency when eliminating an obstacle to the lack of permanent residence in
a time when it was no longer possible to rectify a further obstacle concerning the
the lack of citizenship of the Czech Republic to the effective date of the law
No. 30/1996 Coll.
In the opinion of the appellants, these two barriers of a personal nature for legitimate
persons not wearing when restitution independently. State that the Czech
emigrants in the United States, who by Convention of 1929 naturalization lost
Czechoslovak citizenship, have not obtained until the effectiveness of Act No. 30/1996
Coll. any restitution according to the law of the land. In the meantime,
There was an obstacle to the lack of permanent residence on the territory of the United
States, and if so, asked about recovery of nationality
The United States, to do so other than for reasons of restitution.
The appellants argued that they could not have known that the barrier of lack of
permanent residence will be after two years, with retroactive effect, finding
The Constitutional Court No. 29/1996 Coll. and Act No. 30/1996 Coll. repealed, and it
After all of the restitution time limits. Only by Act No. 30/1996 Coll.,
for the applicant has become a current issue of acquisition of the nationality of the Czech
the Republic, however, has already lost the possibility to meet this assumption to
31. January 1993 or to the 1. September 1993. While the legal assumption of sustained
the stay is interpreted negatively, i.e.. a move away from him, therefore, to its
no activity is required to populate the beneficiaries, with the national
citizenship is the opposite. Candidates for citizenship must submit an application
to the competent national authority, the United States and, moreover, must request the
an exception from the provisions of section 7 of Act No. 40/1993 Coll. It assumes that there is a
Act No. 40/1993 Coll. of the familiar. The appellants ' situation is considerably
impeded by the fact that they live at a considerable distance from the administrative centre
Washington, d.c., where are the seat of representative offices, including
Embassy of the Czech Republic, where could the necessary information
The appellants further argued that in the present case, there has been a violation of article 6(1). 5 and
article. 11 (1) 2 of the Charter of fundamental rights and freedoms ("the Charter"),
as well as to the infringement of article 81(1). 14 of the Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental
freedoms (hereinafter referred to as "the Convention"). See the unconstitutionality of the appellants in the
certain provisions of Act No. 30/1996 Coll., which are contrary in logic
Affairs and Constitutional Court No. 29/1996 Coll., therefore, the appellants have submitted
together with the constitutional complaint for annulment of § 13 para. 2 the first sentence
Act No. 229/1991 regulating ownership of land and other
agricultural property, as amended, and section 13(2). 5
the same law in the words "which has not been to 31. January 1993 or to the 1. September
1993 by an authorized person only.
Chamber of the Constitutional Court pursuant to § 78 para. 1 Act No. 182/1993 Coll., on the
The Constitutional Court, proceedings and forwarded the proposal to repeal certain
the provisions of the law on the soil of the plenary for a decision under art. 87 para. 1 (b).
and the Constitution of the United States) for the use of § 78 para. 1 Act No. 182/1993
Coll., as public authorities that it was her decision about challenged
provisions of the Act.
The President of the Chamber of deputies of the Parliament of the United Kingdom in its
observations on the application for annulment of certain provisions of the law on land said,
that the Constitutional Court its findings dated May 13. 1995 SP. zn. Pl. ÚS
8/95 (published under no. 29/1996 Coll.) has cancelled, inter alia, most of the time-limits
laid down in Act No. 229/1991 Coll. and Act No. 243/1992 Coll., for
the application of restitution claims. Due to the fact that other specific time limits
does not provide, or another piece of legislation, it was necessary to establish a new
the preclusive time limit so as to apply only to a circle
people as defined by Constitutional Court No. 29/1996 Coll., the President of the
The Chamber of deputies also said that from the explanatory memorandum to the Act No.
30/1996 shows that the purpose of this amendment was not to renew claims,
that ceased their not of law No.
229/1991 Coll. at the same time it was necessary because of the legal certainty to insert into section 13
the provisions of the law on the dissolution of the original deadlines. The launch of the time-limits for
the application of the constitutional rights of the Court without the following amendments to the
the law would be the status of the absence of time-limits for application of the new of the award
arising at the same time could arise from the State of legal uncertainty for
some of the ongoing proceedings and for claims that needed to be longer
apply with respect to the original limitation period.
One of the objectives of the law on soil is mitigate the consequences of certain property
the wrongs which have occurred against the owners of agricultural and forest property in
the period from 1948 to 1989. The statement further States that the frequency of areas
social life, which have been in our country for material and other
the injustices made and the amount of people affected to a large extent
determine the options a comprehensive legislation that would include a remedy
the consequences of all grievances.
The Constitutional Court finding of 13 December. 1995 SP. zn. PL. ÚS 8/95
set aside a condition of permanent residence in the law of the land. He did so in the
following the legal opinion, which was interpreted in detail in recital
Constitutional Court of 12. July 1994, SP. zn. PL. ÚS 3/94
(published under no. 169/1994 Coll.). The condition relating to the existence of
Czech citizenship at the time, however, has not been canceled and its conservation
corresponds to the international practice.
If this is a list article. 5, provides that everyone is eligible to have a
rights. From the article. 11 (1) 2 of the Charter, it follows that the Act provides that certain
things can only be owned by citizens of the Czech Republic. The appeal on the
the provisions made by the complainants with respect to the character of the addressed
the issue does not consider the opinion of the Chamber of Deputies for tight-fitting.
Not considered a target of the contested legislation restricting the rights, but on the contrary
their protection. Even the claim of discrimination, based on the above
The European Convention is not warranted. As is apparent from settled case-law
The Constitutional Court, it is for the State to ensure its functions
decided that a certain group will provide fewer benefits than others. Such a procedure
certainly not to be completely arbitrary. The statement further States that
the State has only with reference to the public values. In the present case is
public value, or the public interest expressed in the preamble to the Act on
Based on these facts is in the representation of a given conclusion, from which
It follows that the adoption of the proposal on the deletion of some of the appellants
the provisions of the law on the legal status of the soil in the area of restitution
real estate has not improved. The adopted law is according to the opinion of the
the Chamber of Deputies, in accordance with the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the constitutional order and our
the legal order.
The Constitutional Court concluded that the proposal is not justified.
The Constitutional Court has previously dealt with the question of whether mitigation
some property-related injustices can be with regard to the principle of equality to narrow down the
the circle of qualified entities as a condition of permanent residence. In its case law
noted that the space for the exclusion of certain entities from the circle of those
entities that the restitution of the title characters, cannot be inferred. According to the
the opinion of the Constitutional Court, it is possible to limit the circle of authorized persons only
According to the article. 11 (1) 2 of the Charter. According to this provision, "the law may also
provide that certain things can only be owned by citizens or
legal entities established in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic ",
(pursuant to article 42, paragraph 1, of the Charter and article 1, paragraph 2, constitutional law
No. 4/1993 Coll. on measures associated with the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak
Federal Republic, it is the country of citizenship of the Czech Republic and
the territory of the Czech Republic). The Constitutional Court therefore deduced that article. 11 (1) 2
The Charter is a special provision applicable to the constitutional principle of equality for all
bodies with regard to the acquisition and protection of property rights, thus creating a
for the legislature's constitutional space for restriction of the beneficiaries in the
It follows from the case law of the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court has previously
dealt with the question of the conditions of the nationality of legal persons
on restitution of property. Of the Constitutional Court of 4 March. June 1997 sp.
Zn. PL. ÚS 33/96, it is obvious that similar issues had already been the constitutional
the Court dealt with in connection with the proposal to repeal the provision, expressed
in section 3, paragraph 3. 1 of law No. 87/1991 Coll. on extra-judicial rehabilitation, in
as amended, the words "if it is a citizen of the Czech and
Slovak Federal Republic "and to repeal provisions expressed in
§ 3 para. 4 of the same Act the words "if they are citizens of the Czech and
Slovak Federal Republic "(find was announced under the No. 185/1997
SB.). The proposal was rejected.
Although there are issues under consideration to different views,
The Constitutional Court assessed the way that article. 11 (1) 2 of the Charter to limit the
proprietary rights of stateless persons the United States constitutional
the space it creates. This provision is, however, a need to interpret the
in a restrictive manner with regard to the article. 4 (4). 4 of the Charter, following the
the requirement of minimization of each constitutionally acceptable limits
the fundamental right or freedom. Already in its award of 4 April 2003. June 1997
SP. zn. PL. ÚS 33/96, the Constitutional Court therefore pointed out that due to the legal
the construction of the law on extrajudicial rehabilitation, dealing with financial
compensation when the impossibility of the thing, it is the job of the legislature to find a way to
mitigate the consequences of injustices in people, not in the relevant period, the State
citizenship of the Czech Republic.
Given the importance of this function with the corresponding terms in the Act on
the soil is also true for the condition of citizenship in the law on land essentially
the same reasons that were given by the Constitutional Court in connection with the
discussing similar issues with Act No. 87/1991 Coll., Constitutional Court
understands the reservations of the complainants, that the legislature did not open the possibility to apply
requirements for persons who had the citizenship of the effective date of this
the law. It is, however, aware of the fact that the legislature of this Act
cancellation terms and conditions respecting the right of permanent residence, the Conqueror, finding
The Constitutional Court, and with respect to legal stability has limited the effects of the new
editing only to those persons who, in the meantime just this condition
did not meet.
This new constitutional complaint is directed to the complainants to cancel proposal
the conditions of citizenship retroactively to persons applying to claims for
the basis of the amendment to the soil No 30/1996 Coll., the right to issue real estate
According to § 6 of the law of the land would now also persons who, in addition to
the fact that it did not meet the condition of permanent residence, or did not meet the condition
of citizenship. As well as these persons could assert their claims within six
months from the date when this law can apply for the first time. This would
She opened the period of a further six months from the date of effectiveness of the constitutional
jurisdiction for all persons who did not meet the condition of permanent residence, and
Therefore, to 31. January 1, respectively. September 1993, beneficiaries,
assuming that the later nationality acquired or will take.
If this is a replacement for the dead and live inventory pursuant to section 20 of the law on
soil, could only do so, however, until 31 December 2006. in December 1998, provided
in the meantime acquired Czech citizenship. The provisions of § 13 cancellation
paragraph. 5 amendment to the soil No 30/1996 Coll., the complainants had
did not design. Also did not design the cancellation provision, which specifies that "in
the case referred to in § 6 (1). 1 (b). and the 18-month period begins)
to run only from the date of the decision, which the statement is canceled,
If this decision after 31 December 2006. December 1998 ". In this case, the
This is a decision which was canceled a statement regarding forfeiture or the prevents
Proposed alterations to the law of the land would open the way for a new phase
restitution of the disputes of people who have received Czech citizenship after
the time limits for the filing of claims for restitution, that is, in a situation where already in the
in many cases, there has been a new adaptation of the legal conditions and the emergence of new
of ownership relations. As a result, there would be a violation of the principle of
legal certainty and to destabilise the rule of law, for property rights
properly acquired on the basis of the previous legislation is protected by article. 11
Of the Charter. From these circumstances, then the result whether or not the reasons for the further procedure
in assessing the conditions of citizenship obtained before the expiry of the time-limits
to claim for the release of the property, and cases where the State was
citizenship obtained subsequently. Apart from that, the proposal to repeal section §
in article 13(3). 5 of the law on soil tends to benefit a specific constitutional
the complaint the complainants, but leaves in force for certain cases and
modification of existing, and thus brings a new discriminatory elements. In addition to the
that would be incurred as well as differences in the assessment of citizenship in comparison with
restitucemi pursuant to Act No. 87/1991 Coll., where the Constitutional Court removing
the conditions of citizenship has previously rejected.
In assessing the constitutionality of the contested provisions of the legislation
The Constitutional Court examined their compliance not only with the constitutional laws, but also with
the international treaties referred to in article. 10 of the Constitution of the Czech Republic. In this
with regard to the particular compliance of the contested provisions of the law on
the soil with the article. 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and political rights
(hereinafter referred to as "the Covenant") and article 6(2). 14 of the Convention. In this context, points out
The Constitutional Court again on the views expressed in the report of 4 February. June
1997, SP. zn. PL. ÚS 33/96.
The UN Committee for human rights, in its decisions of 19 July. July
1995 no 516/1992 of 23 December 2003. July 1996 No. 586/1994, came to the
the conclusion, according to which, there is no reason that would justify the decision
legislature to distinguish between victims of confiscation because of citizenship.
The condition of citizenship, while it considers to be incompatible with the prohibition of
discrimination referred to in article. 26 Pact, but according to the UN Committee on human
the law does not require completely equal treatment if there is sufficient
the reason for a different approach.
The European Commission on human rights in its decisions in the matter of
restitution of ownership rights has stated that the interference in the right of ownership
There was a time when the Czech Republic (or Czechoslovakia)
take over guarantee for the respect of human rights. Because of discrimination according to the
article. 14 of the Convention is possible only in the context of a violation of one of the other
the substantive rights guaranteed by the Convention, cannot be inferred in the case conditions
citizenship and permanent residence according to the restitution legislation, violation of
the prohibition of discrimination. By Convention, if there is no right to restitution
ownership, according to the European Commission of human rights completely in the hands of
of the State as a sovereign default.
If this is the objection the appellants ' referring to the fact that, in
the soil is applied the principle of retroactivity, it must be assumed
the case-law of the Constitutional Court (from 12 July 1994, SP. zn. PL.
TC 3/94). If it is at all possible for restitution laws to speak of
retroaktivitě, this is the wrong one, which is the retroactive effect in legal
theory and practice is considered acceptable.
The Constitutional Court in its decision interpreted the content of the constitutional principle of
equality. From the settled case-law of the Constitutional Court follows that it is for the
State in the interest of the security of their functions, decided that a certain group of
provide fewer benefits than others. Can happen only with reference to
public value. Such a public value is undoubtedly the principle
legal certainty, since the interventions into the newly created legal conditions would
continuing changes signified in the future state of lasting
destabilisation, apart from creating space for new and new disputes about
the rights already acquired. The Constitutional Court also refused even an absolute understanding of the
the principle of equality, and noted that "equality of citizens cannot be understood
as an abstract category, but as a relative equality ". Points out
also the fact that the UN Committee for human rights has repeatedly expressed
opinion in the application of article admits. 26 the Covenant such inequality, which
fulfils the condition of exclusion of arbitrary power, or is based on reasonable and
objective distinguishing characters. As such, the Constitutional Court considers the
consequences deriving from article. 11 (1) 2 of the Charter, as well as the objectives of the restitution
legislation and legal regulation of citizenship.
Of all of the above reasons, the Constitutional Court had before it the application for annulment
§ 13 para. 2 the first sentence of the Act No. 229/1991 Coll., on the adjustment of ownership
relationship to the land and other agricultural property as amended
regulations, and § 13 para. 5 of the same law in the words "which has not been to 31.
January 1993 or to the 1. September 1993 by an authorized person only "reject (section
paragraph 82. 1 Act No. 182/1993 Coll.).
The President of the Constitutional Court:
JUDr. Kessler v. r.