Czech Court will comment on the disputes surrounding the claim of the Cistercians from Vyšší Brod
Today, the Constitutional Court (CC) will announce how it has ruled on a group of complaints from the Cistercian Abbey of Vyšší Brod in a dispute over land in the cadastral areas of Vyšší Brod and Frymburk in the Český Krumlov region. The Cistercians regained the property in church restitutions between 2016 and 2018, but later the judiciary reversed the decision, stating that the lands, confiscated under Beneš's post-war decrees, would not be issued to the order and would remain in the possession of the state forests of the Czech Republic.
According to the available information, the group of constitutional complaints, gradually merged into one proceeding, concerns 17 similar disputes. The Cistercians first regained the property. Afterwards, Lesy České republiky filed lawsuits with the Regional Court in České Budějovice, which gradually rejected them. However, the judgments were changed by the High Court in Prague and stipulated that lands were not issued. Subsequent appeals were rejected by a series of brief orders of the Supreme Court.
The Order considers that the High Court, like the highest authorities, has infringed the Cistercian rights to a fair trial and also the right to protection of property. According to the Cistercians, both the High Court and the Supreme Court accepted property wrongs committed by the communist and Nazi regimes when they concluded that the order was not a person entitled under the Act on the Settlement of Churches.
The order actually handed over part of the land back to the Forests of the Czech Republic. The State Land Office then initiated the reopening of proceedings also in respect of some other issued forest lands, for which Lesy České republiky did not originally file lawsuits, but came across a dissenting position of the administrative section of the South Bohemian Regional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court. According to the administrative courts, the reopening of the procedure only on the basis of the fact that the legal view on the application of the restitution lock has changed has not been possible. The group of lands will probably remain with the Cistercians. The complaints discussed today concern other plots.