Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition
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Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, Second Edition

Edited by Jan M. Smits

Written by leading authorities in their respective fields, the contributions in this accessible book cover and combine not only questions regarding the methodology of comparative law, but also specific areas of law (such as administrative law and criminal law) and specific topics (such as accident compensation and consideration). In addition, the Encyclopedia contains reports on a selected set of countries’ legal systems and, as a whole, presents an overview of the current state of affairs.
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Chapter 23: The Czech Republic

Bohumil Havel


The Czech Republic (_eská republika) is (both politically and legally) a unitarian state having the form of a republic, and, together with the Slovak Republic, it is the legal successor of the now defunct Czechoslovakia (1992). Although the legal order underwent a substantial deformation after the Communist regime seized power in 1948, the legal system of the Czech lands has been traditionally classified as part of the Austrian law family (the basic private law codices of the Austrian monarchy applied in the Czechoslovak territory up to 1950). This historical development was disrupted first by the impact of a gradual ‘Sovietization’ after 1948, followed by a Germanization of law after 1989 (Knapp, 1996). The present-day Czech legal order is a complex structure consisting of post-Soviet normative solutions (civil law, labour law, family law) and German–Austrian and French solutions (commercial law). Especially during recent years the Czech law has been modified mainly via ‘legal transplants’; however, this has sometimes led to fragmentation and complexity of the whole system and to internal inconsistencies. Using obsolete terminology, the current Czech legal system could still be classified as a system belonging to the Socialist (postcommunist) law, modified by the normativity of Austrian and German laws; however, the entire system is a part of the continental law system beyond any doubt.

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