In the Czech Republic, there have been no cases where citizens have brought a private actor to court for allegedly breaching the law by carrying out operations that contribute negatively to climate change, despite the fact that the Civil Code and Art. 35 of the Constitution explicitly recognise the right to a favourable environment.
Disputes between private actors in environmental matters are usually solved on the basis of the provisions protecting the rights of the neighbours (§ 1013 of the Civil Code). Under these provisions, the affected person may ask the court to order the owner to refrain from anything that would cause emissions which are disproportionate to the local circumstances and substantially restrict the normal use of the tract of land. However, this kind of protection is only available to owners and tenants, not the general public concerned. The claimant may also ask the civil court to issue a preliminary injunction in order to provisionally amend the conditions of the parties, or if there is a risk that the enforcement of the (subsequent) court decision could be threatened.
If emissions are the result of the operation of an enterprise or a similar entity which has been officially approved, a neighbour only has the right to financial compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the emissions, even where the harm was caused by circumstances which had not been taken into account during the first steps of the approval procedure. In the case of damages caused by hazardous operation, strict liability applies: a person who operates an enterprise or another facility which is particularly hazardous shall compensate the damage caused by the source of the increased danger (Act No. 89/2012 Sb., Civil Code).
It should be emphasized that under Czech civil law it is, however, difficult to substantiate the required causal nexus between droughts or floods and the operation of a particular facility.
For more country specific context and relevant national climate change law see: https://climate-laws.org/geographies/czechia
This country report has been produced by Manon Rouby, Research Assistant, Catherine Hall, C2LI Senior Research Assistant and Lennart Wegener, C2LI Legal Analyst with the collaboration of Ilona Jančářová, C2LI National Rapporteur for the Czech Republic.The summary is based on Vojtěch Vomáčka and Ilona Jančářová, “Climate Change Disputes in the Czech Republic” in F. Sindico and M. Moise Mbengue, Comparative Climate Change Litigation: Beyond the Usual Suspects, Springer, 2021