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Czech Case law, Czech law, Uncategorized

Absence of notification of the date of the funeral as an infringement of the personal rights

The Claimants were adult children from the first marriage of the father who committed suicide. They claimed written apology and compensation of 50.000 CZK from father’s wife due to the fact that she did not inform them when is the funeral and when is the date of the scattering of his ashes.

Despite very close relationship with the father, his children were not informed about the funeral and the funeral was by his wife labelled as private. Therefore they were not able to find out information in the funeral parlour. The Court of the lower instance, as well as Appeal Court considered this behaviour as a breach of privacy, honor and dignity, family life and as an expression of the disrespect towards the deceased person. The children were awarded with apology and satisfaction.

The wife filed reappealed to the Supreme Court and raised these questions:

Is there a right of survivors to be present at the funeral which was organized by the only one entitled person?

If so, does this right has a priority over the respectable farewell as the presence of children under which care the father committed suicide could have caused enormous stressful situation?

Based on art. 114 of the Czech Civil Code if the deceased person does not leave specific instruction about the funeral, the decision is on spouse, if there is no spouse, then on children, if there are no children, then parents and other relatives. The Supreme Court reiterated that the right lies with the wife, even to decide who to invite but this right cannot collide with the right to pieta of the others. Each case has to the therefore properly evaluated  also according to basic rule of the misuse of right. The Court considered that this case was a misuse of the right as the right to decide about funeral is not an absolute right and refusing to inform others has to be objectively grounded. Despite of the right to decide about the funeral, it might be under some circumstances considered a misuse of law and therefore breach of personal rights.

Judgement of the Supreme Court file no. 30 Cdo 2202/2017 from 29. 11. 2017

Eva Ondřejová

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About ondrejovae

Czech Attorney/Barrister located in Prague with specialization in media law and protection of personal rights

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Link to the legal office of the owner of this blog:  www.ondrejova.cz

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