According to a Czech Supreme Court judgment (file no. 22 Cdo 217/2019) on 10 December 2005, a metro structure becomes an object of property (i.e. an object in the legal sense) when it can be seen as the result of human construction leading to a distinct, mostly underground structure whose interior carves out a space that serves the structure’s main purpose. The fact that part of the metro serves non-transport purposes does not mean it is not a component of the metro.

In giving its reasons, the court pointed among other things to another judgment (file no. 22 Cdo 539/2001), which had dealt with the ownership of a well, i.e. another  underground structure. In that case, the court held that depending on the circumstances, a well might be either an independent object (a structure in the terms of the  Civil Code) or part of a land plot. If a well is to be an object, then it must not only serve people’s needs but also be a tangible item. A well is therefore an object when it arises from human building activities leading to the creation of a distinct, predominantly underground structure whose inside carves out a space that should be partly filled by water and partly serve for water drawing. In contrast, if a well lacks structure (i.e. it is not defined vis-à-vis its surroundings), it will not be an object but only part of the land plot. The assessment of whether a well (or some other underground structure) is an object, thus, depends on how it is constructed.

According to the Supreme Court, when it comes to metro structures, it must also be "absolutely" obvious where the structure ends and all that remains is the land plot on which the structure is located. It must also be considered whether the structure is sufficiently defined to be the object of legal relations (for example, an ownership transfer) on its own. The analysis, thus, depends upon the court's assessment, which must be duly justified.

In its judgment file no. 22 Cdo 217/2019, the Supreme Court also pointed out that an occupancy permit has no impact on a structure’s status as an object (i.e. an object of property). An occupancy permit is a public law instrument, which enables the use of a structure according to building regulations. However, a structure becomes an object in the legal sense independently of any occupancy permit.

JUDr. Bc. Kristýna Cibulková

T +420 270 006 111

Kristýna Cibulková specialises in civil and commercial law. Kristýna provides legal advice in the areas of contracts, real estate and litigation. She was a member of a legal advisory team that worked on major international and national trials and arbitration proceedings. She has also participated in significant transactions involving the acquisition of local companies.

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