Our law firm won another appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of a client. The key issue in this proceeding was a legal question concerning the existence of already pending proceedings (Lis pendens principle) and already resolved proceedings (Rei iudicatae principle) in cases of assigned claims asserted separately by the assignor and the assignee.
It is worth recalling that both principles are present in situations where there are multiple proceedings between identical parties on the same subject. The principles thus aim to prevent the same case from being retried if the proceedings are terminated or, where proceedings have already been initiated, to prevent parallel proceedings being brought on the same subject matter. Both principles are therefore the cornerstone of the Czech judicial system. Nevertheless, as the abundant case law has shown, the seemingly clear conditions for the existence of these principles lead to several ambiguities in interpretation. One is the question of whether the existence of Rei iudicatae is possible even where the assignee (the legal predecessor) seeks a claim after the proceedings on the action in which the assignor (the legal successor) sought to assert the same claim were already resolved.
In the decision on the appeal prepared by our law firm, the Supreme Court agreed with our legal argumentation that an assignee that has pended an assigned claim at a court and an assignor pending the same claim at a later date cannot be regarded as different persons. Hence, for the purpose of assessing the existence of Rei iudicatae (as well as Lis pendens) it is necessary to consider these persons as being one and the same. Thus, if an assignor brings an action for payment of a claim after the assignee has also brought an action for payment of the same claim before the court, the court deciding on the assignor’s action must terminate the proceedings in respect of that action.
The Supreme Court’s decision should contribute to preventing a chain of actions on the same claims being brought by persons linked by legal succession.
The author of this article is a member of the DELTA legal team, attorney Adam Dvořák.
This document is a general communication and should not be regarded as legal advice on any specific matter.