(Czech Supreme Court Ruling No. 30 Cdo 1737/2012 dated 25 June 2013)

The applicant was seeking compensation for damages from the state (as compensation for non-pecuniary damages), which she was alleged to have suffered as a result of an improper official procedure consisting in the excessive length of proceedings to correct errors in the property register and the ongoing existence of a duplicate entry of title to land.

The cause of the original dispute in an administrative proceeding was a petition filed by the applicant addressed to the competent cadastral office for the correction of incorrect data in the register and elimination of a duplicate entry of title to land. However, the property register refused to make the correction, citing two binding documents each of which attested to ownership of the land by another person. Unsuccessful in the administrative proceeding, the applicant was left with no choice but to pursue litigation.

The Supreme Court, as the final court of appeal, concluded that if a cadastral office is supplied with multiple binding documents, and each attests to ownership by a different person of the same land, then it is the office’s duty to execute the duplicate entry of title to such property and, at the same time, to inform the persons identified as the owners in the conflicting documents. The office should also instruct these persons on the possibility of filing a petition for declaratory action in a civil court. The office would then only be authorized to strike the duplicate entry of title based on a notification of one or both of the recorded owners supported by a concurring declaration on acknowledgement of title or a unilateral declaration on acknowledgement of title or a valid court ruling on the determination of ownership.