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Glossary of legal terms


The parents have the right to decide on the place of residence of their child within their parental responsibility. One has residence at the place at which one resides with the intention to live there permanently. Such intention can result from one’s declaration or circumstances of the case. If one does not have a residence, his/her residence is considered the place he lives at or place of their last residence (Article 80 of the Civil Code).

Enforcement order

It forms grounds for the  enforcement of a decision guaranteed by the state if the obligor does not comply with the imposed obligation voluntarily.

International adoption

An adoption is accepting somebody else’s child as own one. Legal bond, which is equal to biological parenthood, is established through adoption. An international adoption is an adoption between more countries. The ‟Hague Adoption” is a special type of adoption – it is governed by the Hague Convention on the International Protection of Children and co-operation at international adoption. Under the  Convention, the child whose habitual residence is in one country of the  Hague Convention (‟country of origin”) was moved, is being moved or shall be moved into another country of the Hague Convention (‟receiving country”) after his/her adoption or for the purpose of such adoption. Through the adoption, the same relation as between parents and children is established between the adopting parent and adoptee.

International child abduction

International child abduction is an illegal removal or retention of a child outside the state of his/her habitual residence (you can find the definition of ‟habitual residence” bellow). A situation of one parent leaving the  country to the country of their origin without the other parent’s consent is a typical example of abduction.

It is essential to remember that the child has the right to both parents. Therefore, primarily the right to contact, right to their care and right to not be separated from the parents. It is possible to infringe those rights only on the basis of a decision of court (or administrative) body in accordance with the law.

However, the child can be abducted from foster parents, children’s home or other natural or legal person to whom their custody was granted.

Removal or retention of a child is therefore illegal and it is an abduction if:

  • Through these actions, the right to child care was infringed (characteristically of the other parent)
  • The person, who had the right to child care, did not give consent to the  removal or the consent of such person was not substituted by the court consent or other responsible body (pursuant to Czech legal regulations: if the parents do not agree on substantial matters concerning the child (and permanent removal to another country indisputably is a substantial matter) the court will decide – Article 877 of the Civil Code; in different countries, for example a child care authority can act as a  court etc.)

Habitual residence

Habitual residence is a fact which cannot be established through a legal act. The habitual residence is established after a period of time of intentional stay in a certain territory and if there is a tendency to stay there further. It shows signs of permanency. The person is bound to that place through establishing permanent home (it can even be a long-term rental), relationships with friends and a job, having a doctor there, the child goes to school there etc. There are no transparent rules set for determining if any place is a place of habitual residence. The court decides on such determination.


The court can appoint a guardian for the child so as to administer his/her estate (Article 905, Article 948 to Article 952 of the Civil Code), in the case of limitation of parental responsibility (Article 867 of the Civil Code) and in the adoption proceedings (Article 807 of the Civil Code) or in the case in which it is in the interest of the child or due to other reasons (for example Article 943 to 947 of the Civil Code).

Guardian ad litem

The parent cannot represent the child should there be a conflict of interest between him/her and the child or children of the parents. In such case, the court appoints a so-called guardian ad litem for the  child (Article 892 Para. 3 of the Civil Code).


If no parent performs their parental responsibility to the child to the  full extent, the court appoints a legal guardian (Article 928 and following of the Civil Code). The legal guardian has all the rights and obligation as a parent save for the maintenance obligation.

Legal effect

Any decision takes effect at the moment in which it is not possible to submit any due legal remedy or if the legal remedy has already been exhausted (for example an appeal).

Parental responsibility

It includes the parents’ rights and obligations which lie in:
a) The care for the child including the care for their health and their physical, emotional, intellectual and ethical development;
b) The protection of the child;
c) Maintaining a personal contact with the child;
d) Securing their education and upbringing;
e) Determining the place of their residence;
d) Representing them and administering their estate.
The parental responsibility is regulated in Article 858 and 865 and following of the Civil Code.

Permanent residence

A permanent residence is an institute of registration character – many European and other countries do not know it. A person can have a  permanent residence registered but they can have habitual residence on the opposite side of the globe. The fact that a person has a permanent residence registered somewhere does not mean that the person has the  habitual residence there.

Recognition of judgements

Through recognising a foreign judgement in the territory of the recognising country, the same effect is granted to the judgement as in the country in which it was made.

Enforceable decision

A decision that has already come into force and the period of its performance passed; therefore, it is a decision which can be enforced. The  obligation included in it can be enforced by the state executive power.  

Legal guardian

On principle, parents of the child are their legal guardians. The extent of their rights and obligations are regulated in Article 892 and following of the Civil Code.

Representative on the basis of power of attorney

It is possible to be represented by a natural or legal person at legal actions. The conditions are regulated by Article 441 and following of the Civil Code.



Office for International Legal Protection of Children

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