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A Structural Approach to the Effects of Fundamental Rights on Legal Transactions in Private Law

Abstract

Horizontal effect of fundamental rights – Legal principles – Dichotomy between private and public law – Systemic or anti-systemic elements in legal orders – Conflict between contractual autonomy and fundamental rights – Coherence in law – Balancing – Cases of permissibility of bank charges in the Czech and German legal systems – General clauses on good morals and good faith in private law

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Lecturer at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal Doctrines, Faculty of Law, Charles University, Prague; e-mail: ondrejek@prf.cuni.cz. The author wishes to thank J. Kysela, V. Janeček, J. Wintr and three anonymous reviewers of this article for their extremely helpful comments. The article was written within the Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR) project reg. No. 16-22016S ‘Legal Transactions and Legal Responsibility of Juristic Persons’.

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1 Micklitz H.-W., ‘Rethinking the Public/Private Divide’, in M. Maduro et al. (eds.), Transnational Law. Rethinking European Law and Legal Thinking (Cambridge University Press 2014) p. 271 at p. 272.

2 Somek A., ‘The Cosmopolitan Constitution’, in Maduro et al., supra n. 1, p. 97 at p. 98.

3 Krisch N., Beyond Constitutionalism: The Pluralist Structure of Postnational Law (Oxford University Press 2010) p. 4 .

4 Micklitz H.-W., ‘Introduction’, in H.-W. Micklitz (ed.), Constitutionalisation of European Private Law (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 1 at p. 1. For wider context see Micklitz H.-W., ‘Konstitutionalisierung, Regulierung und Privatrecht’, in S. Grundmann, et al. (eds.), Privatrechtstheorie. Band I. (Mohr Siebeck 2015) p. 623-645 .

5 For the German distinction between negative rights (Abwehrrechte) and positive rights (Leistungsrechte) see the classic texts by Georg Jellinek (G. Jellinek, Allgemeine Staatslehre, 3rd edn (O. Häring 1914) p. 419 ff). For a current approach see Stern K., ‘Idee und Elemente eines Systems der Grundrechte’, in J. Isensee and P. Kirchhof (eds.), Handbuch des Staatsrechts. Vol. 5. Allgemeine Grundrechtslehren (C. F. Müller 2000) p. 45 at p. 70-74.

6 Kumm M., ‘Who Is Afraid of the Total Constitution? Constitutional Rights as Principles and the Constitutionalization of Private Law’, 7 German Law Journal (2006) p. 341-369 .

7 Somek , supra n. 2, p. 97-98 .

8 Micklitz 2015, supra n. 4, p. 624 . In the 19th century, civil codes were the most general regulations in legal systems, covering both private and constitutional law. Using the example of the Austrian Civil Code (Allgemeines bürgerliches Gesetzbuch), Adamová pinpoints certain human rights principles, e.g. the premise that each human being has inborn rights, apparent by virtue of reason. See Adamová K., ‘Občanská práva a svobody v rakouských ústavách 19. století’ [Civil Rights and Freedoms in Austrian Constitutions in the 19th Century], in K. Malý and L. Soukup (eds.), Vývoj české ústavnosti v letech 1618–1918 [The Development of Czech Constitutionalism in 1618-1918] (Karolinum 2006) p. 414 at p. 423.

9 Collins H., ‘On the (In)compatibility of Human Rights Discourse and Private Law’, in H.-W. Micklitz (ed.), Constitutionalisation of European Private Law (Oxford University Press 2014) p. 26 at p. 41. John Rawls describes reflective equilibrium as a set of commonly-shared conditions from which rules are deduced. But rather than implying unchangeability, the concept of equilibrium suggests dynamics in the examination of other relevant examples. For details see Rawls J., A Theory of Justice (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1973) p. 20 .

10 Decision of the German FCC BVerfGE 7, 198 of 15 January 1958 (Lüth). For the importance of this case for post-war constitutionalism in Germany see, in the Czech literature, Holländer P., ‘Putování po stezkách principu proporcionality: intence, obsah, důsledky’ [Wandering the Paths of the Principle of Proportionality: The Intensions, Content and Implications] 155 Právník [The Lawyer] (2016) p. 261 at p. 270. From abundant German literature see Dreier H., Dimensionen der Grundrechte. Von der Wertordnungsjudikatur zu den objektiv-rechtlichen Grundrechtsgehalten (Hennies und Zinkeisen 1993).

11 The courts decided in favour of Mr Harlan, who filed an action on the basis of § 826 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch), which stated ‘Whoever causes damage to another person intentionally and in a manner offensive to good morals is obliged to compensate the other person for the damage’ – quoted from the English translation in Kommers D. P., Miller R. A., The Constitutional Jurisprudence of the Federal Republic of Germany, 3rd edn (Duke University Press 2012) p. 443 .

12 The decision was based on the constitutionally consistent interpretation of the concept of ‘good morals’ in the above-mentioned provision of § 826 of the German Civil Code. As H. Nieuwenhuis rightly notes, in the Lüth decision the Federal Constitutional Court does not claim that the Basic Law creates a system of values but rather that, due to the prepositive character of such values, this system (which objectively exists) commands the foreground (hat aufgerichtet), see Nieuwenhuis H., ‘Fundamental Rights Talk. An Enrichment of Legal Discourse in Private Law?’, in T. Barkhuyen and S. Lindenbergh (eds.), Constitutionalisation of Private Law (Martinus Nijhof 2005) p. 1 at p. 4. This claim by the Federal Constitutional Court tends to be frowned upon by certain academics, because the objective nature of the order of values is not as self-evident in modern pluralist societies as would initially appear: see van der Walt J., The Horizontal Effect Revolution and the Question of Sovereignty (de Gruyter 2014) p. x .

13 See Kommers and Miller , supra n. 11, p. 57 . For details see Smend R., Staatsrechtliche Abhandlungen und andere Aufsätze, 4th edn (Dunckler und Humblot 2010) p. 180 ff.

14 For details, see Barak A., ‘Constitutional Human Rights and Private Law’, in D. Friedman and D. Barak-Erez (eds.), Human Rights in Private Law (Hart Publishing 2001) p. 13-42 .

15 Böckenförde E.-W., ‘Grundrechte als Grundrechtsnormen’, in E.-W. Böckenförde, Staat, Verfassung, Demokratie. Studien zum Verfassungstheorie und zum Verfassungsrecht (Suhrkamp 1991) p. 159 at p. 163.

16 More details on the German academic debate are provided in van der Walt , supra n. 12, p. 201 ff.

17 I would like to give credit to the anonymous reviewers of this paper for bringing this dimension to my attention.

18 van der Walt , supra n. 12, p. xi . Particularly well-known judgments by the ECJ, such as 22 November 2005, Case C-144/04, Mangold and 19 January 2010, Case C-555/07, Kücükdeveci, in which the Court applied the general principles of Directive 2000/78/EC and non-discrimination as a general principle of EC law, have provoked considerable criticism among academics.

19 Provision of s. 2(1) Act No. 89/2012 Sb., Občanský zákoník [Civil Code].

20 In the Czech Republic, the priority of constitutionally consistent interpretation has been confirmed by commentaries on the new Civil Code. See Melzer F., Tégl P. et al., Občanský zákoník. § 1-117. Velký komentář [The Civil Code. Ss. 1-117. Grand Commentary] (Leges 2013) p. 76 ; Švestka J. et al., Občanský zákoník. Komentář. Svazek I. (§ 1 až 654) [The Civil Code. Commentary. Volume I. (Ss. 1-654)] (Wolters Kluwer 2014) p. 18 ; Lavický P. et al., Občanský zákoník I. (Obecná část § 1-654) [The Civil Code I. (General Provisions ss. 1-654)] (C. H. Beck 2014) p. 40 .

21 Wagnerová E., ‘Úvod’ [Introduction], in E. Wagnerová et al., Listina základních práv a svobod. Komentář. [The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Commentary] (Wolters Kluwer 2012) p. 1 at p. 13.

22 The conflicting character of principles and values will, due to their abstract character, largely depend on our own interpretation of their mutual relationship, one which may also be regarded as being merely ostensibly in conflict.

23 See Röhl K. and Röhl H. Ch., Allgemeine Rechtslehre, 3rd edn, (Carl Heymanns Verlag 2008) p. 453 .

24 See Kenny M., ‘Orchestrating Sub-prime Consumer Protection in Retail Banking: Abbey National in the Context of Europeanized Private Law’, 19 European Review of Private Law (2011) p. 43-69 , Saintier S., ‘France, Germany and the United Kingdom’s Divergent Interpretations of Directives 86/653 and 93/13s’ Exclusionary Provisions: An Overlooked Threat to Coherence?’, 19 European Review of Private Law (2011) p. 519-544 , Frank R. et al., ‘Přípustnost poplatků za správu a vedení úvěrových účtů vedených pro spotřebitele’ [Permissibility of Maintenance Charges for Consumer Loan Accounts], 21 Právní rozhledy [Legal Perspectives] (2013) p. 515-522 .

25 Alexy R., ‘The Dual Nature of Law’, 23 Ratio Juris (2010) p. 167 at p. 167.

26 For details on these theses see Alexy R., The Argument from Injustice. A Reply to Legal Positivism (Oxford University Press 2002) p. 35 ff. For an overview in the context of Alexy’s whole work see Klatt M., ‘Robert Alexy’s Philosophy of Law as System’, in M. Klatt (ed.), Institutionalized Reason. The Jurisprudence of Robert Alexy (Oxford University Press 2012) p. 1 at p. 15-16.

27 Canaris C.-W., ‘Systemdenken und Systembegriff in der Jurisprudenz’, in J. Neuner and H. Ch. Grigoleit (eds.), Claus-Wilhelm Canaris. Gesamte Schriften. Band 1. Rechtstheorie (De Gruyter 2012) p. 191 at p. 226-243.

28 Alexander L., ‘Constitutionalism’, in M. P. Golding and W. Edmundson (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (Blackwell Publishing 2006) p. 248 at p. 248-249. This set of abstract rules indicates who makes decisions in a state, when the decisions are made and what their scope is.

29 Alexander , supra n. 28, p. 250 .

30 Ibid.

31 A similar consideration concerning the context of constitutional law was explored by M. Jestaedt, who distinguished between the major constitution (constitutio maior) comprised of a foundation of ideology, metaphysics and values, and the minor constitution (constitutio minor), which sets out the conceptual form of constitutional doctrine (Verfassungsdogmatik). For details on this theory in the Czech literature, see Kysela J., Ústava mezi právem a politikou [The Constitution between Law and Politics] (Leges 2014) p. 35 , referring to Jestaedt M., Die Verfassung hinter der Verfassung: Eine Standortbestimmung der Verfassungstheorie (Ferdinand Schöningh 2009) p. 45 ff. According to Jestaedt, the distinction between constitutional theory and constitutional doctrine (Verfassungsdogmatik) should be maintained to ensure that the constitution is not amended merely by means of interpretation.

32 Zipursky B., ‘Philosophy of Private Law’, in J. Coleman and S. Shapiro (eds.), The Oxford Handbook on Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law (Oxford University Press 2002) p. 623 at p. 653; Collins , supra n. 9, p. 28 . For arguments in favour of the distinction between private law and public law principles in Czech academic literature, see Wintr J., Říše principů. Obecné a odvětvové principy současného českého práva [The Empire of Principles. General and Sectorial Principles of Contemporary Czech Law] (Karolinum 2006) p. 62-63 .

33 Posner E. A., ‘Contract Theory’, in Golding and Edmundson (eds.), supra n. 28, p. 138 at p. 138. For details on the binding character of promises in legal transactions, see Raz J., ‘Promises in Morality and Law. Book Review: Atiyah P., S. Promises, Morals, Law. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981, 95 Harvard Law Review (1982) p. 916 at p. 928.

34 Posner , supra n. 33, p. 138-140 .

35 Zipursky , supra n. 32, p. 653 .

36 See s. 1(1) of Act No. 89/2012 Sb., Občanský zákoník [Civil Code].

37 Zipursky , supra n. 32, p. 655 .

38 In Czech literature, e.g. Maršálek P., ‘Soudobá delegitimizace lidských práv’ [Contemporary Delegitimization of Human Rights], in P. Šturma, A. Gerloch et al., Ochrana základních práv a svobod v proměnách práva na počátku 21. století v českém, evropském a mezinárodním kontextu [Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in terms of Changes in Law at the Beginning of the 21st Century in the Czech, European and International Context] (Auditorium 2011) p. 79 at p. 82.

39 Decision of the IXth panel of the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) of 7 June 2011, ref. IX ZR 388/10.

40 Frank et al., supra n. 24, p. 515 . In their article the authors primarily referred to German literature which polemised the conclusions of the Federal Court of Justice.

41 The UK Supreme Court held the same view regarding bank charges in a similar case, see 25 November 2009, Office of Fair Trading v Abbey National plc [2009] UKSC 6 (one of the first judgments of the newly-established Supreme Court). According to the court, clients took those charges into account when they entered into legal transactions with the bank.

42 Frank et al., supra n. 24, p. 515 . Class actions do not exist in Czech law. The great number of actions probably suggests dissatisfaction with the amount of the charges imposed on clients by banks in the Czech Republic. For example, the annual survey of the most absurd bank charges at <www.bankovnipoplatky.com> regularly receives considerable coverage in most national media. The case also highlighted the problems arising from the absence of class actions in Czech law which contributes to the clogging up of courts with thousands of claims of the same type. For details see Bartoň D. and Toman P., ‘Spor o bankovní poplatky z pohledu základních procesních principů’ [A Dispute over Bank Charges from the Perspective of Basic Procedural Principles], Bulletin advokacie (2015) p. 26 at p. 30.

43 Council Directive 93/13/EEC.

44 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. III. ÚS 3725/13 of 10 April 2014 (bank charges).

45 Bartoň and Toman , supra n. 42, p. 30 .

46 For the legal status of ‘consumer’ in private law of the Czech Republic see Elischer D., ‘Spotřebitel’ [The Consumer], in J. Dvořák et al., Občanské právo hmotné 1. Díl první: Obecná část [Substantive Civil Law I. Volume I: General Part] (Wolters Kluwer 2016) p. 290 at p. 295-300.

47 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. III. ÚS 3725/13, para. 7 of the reasoning. However, the constitutional dimension of the case was not discussed in great detail. It was not possible to draw inspiration from Germany because the case was not heard before the Federal Constitutional Court.

48 As stated by the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in one of its recent decisions: ‘The Constitutional Court is not placed at the top of the court system (Article 91 of the Constitution); therefore, it is not in a position to review evidentiary rulings made by general courts, unless such rulings violated the basic constitutional rights or freedoms of the complainant’: Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. I. ÚS 3308/16 of 19 January 2017, para. 14 of the reasoning.

49 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. IV. ÚS 457/10 of 18 July 2013, paras. 12-13 of the reasoning.

50 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. I. ÚS 3512/11 of 11 November 2013, para. 19 of the reasoning.

51 ‘A court decision where no appeal is permissible may be challenged through a constitutional complaint only where serious errors have been made affecting the constitutional rights of the complainant, because in the absence of basic protection of human rights and adherence to fundamental constitutional principles the rule of law cannot be achieved. According to the Constitutional Court, since such proceedings are conducted before general courts at one instance only, the general courts are obliged to exercise utmost care and skill in conducting the proceedings and preparing the reasoning of the decision’: Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. I. ÚS 3512/11 of 11 November 2013, para. 16 of the reasoning. For details see Frank R. and Veselková P., ‘ Poplatky za správu a vedení úvěrových účtů vedených pro spotřebitele – ústavněprávní aspekty ’ [Maintenance Charges for Consumer Loan Accounts – The Constitutional Aspects], 22 Právní rozhledy [Legal Perspectives] (2014) p. 194 at p. 196.

52 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. III. ÚS 3725/13 of 10 April 2014 (bank charges), para. 28 of the reasoning.

53 Ibid., para. 42 of the reasoning.

54 Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts.

55 Ibid., para. 46 of the reasoning.

56 Ibid., para. 56 of the reasoning.

57 Article 1(1) of the Constitution of the Czech Republic (Constitutional Act No. 1/1993 Sb., as amended) provides: ‘The Czech Republic is a sovereign, unitary, and democratic state governed by law, founded on respect for the rights and freedoms of man and of citizens.’

58 Judgment of the Constitutional Court ref. III. ÚS 3725/13 of 10 April 2014 (bank charges), para. 43 of the reasoning. The Constitutional Court did not deal with the question of whether the legislation governing consumer contracts complied with the Constitution, because the Court did not find any reasons therefor, and the complainant did not challenge this legislation in her complaint.

59 Certainly, it is a valid argument to point out that constitutional courts use constitutional law in their reasoning, while ordinary courts rely on statutes. However, ordinary courts should not disregard the constitutional dimensions of a case. Otherwise, constitutional courts would have to become universal supreme review institutions, which is a role they have been very reluctant to assume.

60 For greater detail on the two principles see Hurdík J. and Lavický P., Systém zásad soukromého práva [The System of Principles of Private Law] (Masarykova univerzita v Brně 2010) p. 82 ff.

61 Human dignity is a concept whose meaning very much depends on interpretation. For an appreciation of these interpretive concepts in greater detail, see Dworkin R., Justice in Robes (Belknapp Press 2006) p. 10-12 . The current, rather controversial, trend is to favour very broad interpretation. For more detail on critique of the broad interpretation of the concept of human dignity see e.g. Dreier H., ‘Human dignity in German law’, in M. Düwell et al. (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Human Dignity (Cambridge University Press 2014) p. 375 at p. 380 ff.

62 Hurdík and Lavický , supra n. 60, p. 95 . ‘The ability to exercise free will is part of the legal status of each individual […]. Such an approach may only work well if it applies to individuals who […] have approximately the same bargaining power.’

63 Micklitz 2014, supra n. 4, p. 1 .

64 Judgment of the FCC of 19 October 1993, BVerfGE 89, 214 Bürgschaftsverträge (available at <www.servat.unibe.ch>).

65 Ibid (for details on the facts see p. 215-222).

66 Ibid., p. 234.

67 I would like to thank J. Wintr for his terminological suggestions in respect of my theory.

68 For details on this conception in Czech academic literature see Sobek T., Právní myšlení. Kritika moralismu [Legal Thinking. Critique of Moralism] (Aleš Čeněk, The Institute of State and Law of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2011) p. 84 .

69 Gerloch A., Teorie práva [The Theory of Law], 6th edn. (Aleš Čeněk 2013) p. 115 .

70 Röhl and Röhl , supra n. 23, p. 453 . In the Czech Republic, there are two supreme courts at the top of the judicial system: the Supreme Court for civil and criminal law and the Supreme Administrative Court for administrative justice. Moreover, there is the Constitutional Court, which is the judicial body responsible for the protection of constitutionality. The Constitutional Court is a special court situated outside the system of ordinary courts. In Germany, the situation is similar, with five supreme courts and the Federal Constitutional Court (under Art. 95(1) of the German Basic Law such courts include: the Federal Court of Justice, the Federal Administrative Court, the Federal Labour Court, the Federal Social Court and the Federal Finance Court).

71 Here I disregard the pluralism of national, international and European law that would add further dimensions to the analysis. For the purposes of outlining the model of horizontal effect it will probably be sufficient to analyse the national legal order.

72 van de Kerchhove M., Ost F., Legal System between Order and Disorder (Clarendon Press 1994).

73 The first sentence of Art. 1(1) of the German Basic Law.

74 First, it would have to be determined whether the agreement was concluded freely. If so, the content of the agreement would be irrelevant.

75 Analysis of the case law of the Czech Constitutional Court shows that, in the Czech Republic, there are several constitutional sources of autonomy of will: Art. 1(1) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (‘All people are free and equal in their dignity and rights’); Art. 2(3) (‘Everyone may do that which is not prohibited by law; and nobody may be compelled to do that which is not imposed upon her by law’); Art. 11 (freedom of contract as derived from the protection of property rights). For details see Hurdík and Lavický , supra n. 60, p. 83-85 .

76 The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms is a separate piece of legislation which is part of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic.

77 Röhl and Röhl , supra n. 23, p. 451-454 .

78 My views on this method of reasoning are presented in the following article: Ondřejek P., ‘Limitations of Fundamental Rights in the Czech Republic and the Role of the Principle of Proportionality’, 20 European Public Law (2014) p. 451-466 .

79 However, the list of arguments is not (and cannot be) exhaustive, as I argued in detail elsewhere: see Ondřejek P., ‘Poměřování jako klíčový argument přezkumu ústavnosti v éře proporcionality a některé projevy jeho kritiky’ [Balancing as Key Argument of Constitutional Review in the Era of Proportionality and Some Implications of Its Critique], 155 Právník [The Lawyer] (2016) p. 366-367 .

80 Kress K., ‘Coherence’, in D. Patterson (ed.), A Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory (Blackwell Publishing 1999) p. 521 at p. 533.

81 For the heterarchical arrangement of the law see Walker N., ‘Beyond Boundary Disputes and Basic Grids: Mapping the Global Disorder of Normative Orders’, 6 International Journal of Constitutional Law (2008) p. 373-396 , and in Czech literature a number of texts by Kysela Jan: Kysela J., Měnící se struktura právního řádu a jeho atributy [Changing the Structure of the Legal Order and its Attributes]. Eric Stein Working Paper, No. 1/2009, available at <csesp.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/eswp-2009-01-kysela.pdf>, visited 23 March 2017 , Kysela J., ‘Evropský konstitucionalismus: hierarchie, heterarchie a povídání mezi soudy’ [European Constitutionalism: Hierarchy, Heterarchy and Talking between the Courts], in V. Göttinger (ed.), Evropský konstitucionalismus v kontextu soudního dialogu [European Constitutionalism in the Context of Judicial Dialogue] (The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic 2016) p. 100-111 .

82 Certainly, even if no constitutionally-compliant interpretation was ultimately possible, constitutional principles could still be the reason for the Constitutional Court’s intervention, if private law regulation was inconsistent with the Constitution.

83 For details on ‘object-theory’ see Mahlmann M., Elemente einer ethischen Grundrechtstheorie (Nomos 2005) p. 101 ff, referring particularly to the work of G. Dürig, who is the author of this conception (e.g. G. Dürig, ‘Die Menschenauffassung des Grundgesetzes’, Juristische Rundschau (1952) p. 259 ff). In Czech literature see the commentary by J. Baroš to Article 1 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms in Wagnerová et al., supra n. 21, p. 58 .

84 Wagnerová , supra n. 21, p. 13 . In the German doctrine cf. Canaris C.-W., ‘Grundrechte und Privatrecht’, in J. Neuner, H. Ch. Grigoleit (eds.), Claus-Wilhelm Canaris. Gesamte Schriften. Band 1. Rechtstheorie (De Gruyter 2012) p. 727 at p. 768. For details on his theory see Van der Walt , supra n. 12, p. 229 .

85 The creation and stabilisation of normative expectations are perceived by many authors as the key function of the law: see namely Luhmann N., Das Recht der Gesellschaft (Suhrkamp 1993) p. 151-153 . Recently a debate took place in the Czech academic literature, involving Slovak legal theorists, about the importance of human mind from the perspective of the existence of law: Bárány E., ‘Kde je právo?’ [Where is the Law?], 154 Právník [The Lawyer] (2015) p. 281-295 ; Berdisová L. and Káčer M., ‘Na západe nič nového (kopernikovský obrat v ontológii právnych noriem)’ [All Quiet on the Western Front (Copernican Turn in the Ontology of Legal Norms)], 155 Právník [The Lawyer] (2016) p. 154-170 .

86 Obviously, the case studies referred to in this article cannot cover all cases of the effect of fundamental rights in private law. In addition to an application of fundamental human rights and freedoms (property rights, protection of human dignity, protection of personal rights), we come across the application of fundamental political rights (typically freedom of speech). For example, in a recent Czech case, the relationship between a political party (as a private person) and a member of a body thereof was interpreted by referring to a provision of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms which enshrined, in Art. 20(2), every citizens’ right to freedom of association in political parties and political movements – Judgment of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic ref. II. ÚS 1969/10 of 27 December 2011.

87 See Gerstenberg O., ‘Private Law and the New European Constitutional Settlement’, 10 European Law Journal (2004) p. 769 .

88 Bartoň M. et al., Základní práva [Fundamental Rights] (Leges 2016) p. 56 .

89 Judgment of the German FCC in Lüth case of 15 January 1958 (BVerfGE 7, 198).

* Lecturer at the Department of Legal Theory and Legal Doctrines, Faculty of Law, Charles University, Prague; e-mail: . The author wishes to thank J. Kysela, V. Janeček, J. Wintr and three anonymous reviewers of this article for their extremely helpful comments. The article was written within the Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR) project reg. No. 16-22016S ‘Legal Transactions and Legal Responsibility of Juristic Persons’.

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