Donation Contract and the principles of gratuitous contracts in the Slovak private law

  • Monika Jurcova
Keywords: donation contract, principles for gratuitous contract, dependent work, remuneration for work, protective function of the labour law.


The paper has presented the historical background for the development of the private law in Slovakia. Outlined in- the- depth analysis of the donation contract serves as the basis for the further extraction of the principles applicable for the gratuitous contracts generally. Author argues that actual definition of the dependent work in the Labour Code that does not encompass the characteristic of remuneration may not create the starting point for the application of these principles for the employment contract. Applicability of gratuitous principles has been rejected. Remuneration for the work, specific characteristic of the dependent work and the relationship between Civil Code and Labour code belong to the main arguments supporting the conclusion that the protective function of the labour law may not be undermined or the circumvented by the formal interpretation of the provision on the dependent work.


1 The paper has been prepared under project APVV-18-0443 Projections of Labour Law into other Private Law Disciplines (and vice versa).
2 Luby, Š. Dejiny súkromného práva na Slovensku. (History of the Slovak private law). Bratislava: IURA EDITION 2002, p. 26.
3Lazar ,J. et al. Občianske právo hmotné (The substantive civil law). Third amplified and arranged edition. 1.vol., Bratislava:, Iura Edition.2006, p.41.
4 Fekete, I. Právo na vrátenie daru (The right for the return of the donation (reflections de lege ferenda). Justičná revue. Ministry of Justice. Bratislava, 55, 2003, No.4, p.402
5 Laclavíková,M.:.Solving the problems of unification and codification of private law in interwar Czechoslovakia and Poland. In Schelle, K.(ed): The evolution of legal codifications. Masarykova univerzita v Brne, Brno, 2004, p.194.
6 Ferancová, M.: Unification and codification efforts in the area of private (civil) law in CSR (1918-1938).In Acta Universitatis Tyrnaviensis Iuridica I. Právnická fakulta Trnavskej univerzity v Trnave, 2003, p 169.
7 Lazar ,J. et al, cit. supra, p. 65.
8 The act No.162/1995 Coll. on real estate register and on entries of ownership and other rights in immovable as amended must be applied provided the donation (gift) is immovable. Securities are under the regulation of Act No. 501/2001 Coll. on securities and investment services as amended.
9 Immovable are plots of land and the buildings (structures) connected to the land by a solid foundation. A flat or some specific non- residential premises is also regarded as a separate immovable if it is an object of ownership.
10 It does not apply to the dependent work, see chapter III.
11 Grulich, P.. Questions about donation. In Právní rádce 8/2005. Praha, 2005, p.14 .
12 In the case, when donated thing has been sent by post as the parcel to the donee, as the acceptance of gift´ s offer can not be regarded taking delivery of the parcel, but acceptance could be based only on the decision of the donee to accept or reject donation made after unpacking the parcel. There must be reserved a reasonable time period for the donee to become familiar with the object of donation. R 26/1992 Decision of The Supreme Court of Slovak Republic.
13 They could agree that donee becomes owner sooner, e.g. at the time of the conclusion of the contract or later, e.g at the time of fulfillment of suspensive condition
14 The donation of e.g. the family house coming under the matrimonial property by one of the spouses to the other spouse must be regarded as the circumvention (§39 CC) of the mandatory provisions of the Civil Code on the content and the purpose of the matrimonial property. (Decision of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Socialist Republic on 27. 4. 1977, 1 Cz 42/77).
15 Section 3 para (1) of CC “Execution of rights and obligations arising from civil law relations must not interfere with the rights and legitimate interests of other persons without legal grounds and must not be in conflict with good morals.”
16The law determines two categories of close persons in the §116 Civil Code a) persons who are close because of being relatives or husband or wife b) persons who became close on the basis of their mutual existing relationship. Close persons under {a) are: descendants and ascendants without any restrictions (including foster children), siblings disregarding whether they have the same mother and father or not (i.e. including half brothers and half sisters, spouse as long said marriage lasts. Close persons under {b) are: other persons within family or similar relationship if a harm suffered by one of them is reasonably felt by other person as his own harm.
17 Jehlička, O., Švestka, J. Škárová, M., Spáčil, J. Občanskýy zákoník, komentár. 10th edition. C.H. Beck.: Praha, 2006 p. 998.
18 R 88/1998 The termination of the donation relationship according to § 630 of Civil Code is established by the unilateral juridical act of the donor addressed to the donee provided that the donee behaved toward the donee or toward his family members in the way that fundamentally breaches good moral manners. The fundamental breach of the good moral manners is the breach of the substantial intensity or in the case of the permanent breaking good moral manners. The family members should be regarded first of all his/her spouse, parents and children and normally other descendants and ascendants as well as siblings, and in exceptional cases other persons within family or similar relationship if a harm suffered by one of them is reasonably felt by the donor as his own harm. (Decision of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic on 21st of August 1997, No. 3 Cdo 191/96.)
R 31/1999 The donor’s right to ask for the return of the donation is not given in the case of a simple ingratitude of the donee to the donor nor in the case of the less considerable breach of the good moral manners . The fundamental breach of the good moral manners could not be considered for example: purchase of the donated thing to the other person, not visiting of the donor on the occasion of his / her anniversaries (Decision of the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic, January 30th 1998, No 2Cdo 81/97)
19 R 61/1997 As the family members according to the § 630 of The Civil Code should be regarded as natural persons who are in respect to all circumstances of the situation family or other related to the donor provided a harm suffered by one of them is reasonably felt by the donor as his/ her own harm. This provision regards as legally relevant only such donee’s behavior which has been objectively manifested. The subjective feeling and opinion of the donor are not decisive. / The decision of the Supreme Court of The Slovak Republic November 11th, 1994, No. 3 Cdo 130/94)
20 The subscription has constitutive effect to the legal relationship, the record has declaratory effects and the note has mostly informative function.
21 Ficová, S. K nadobudnutiu vlastníckeho práva k nehnuteľnosti v dôsledku vrátanie daru. Justičná revue, Ministry of Justice. Bratislava ,57 2005, No.2, p.173-177.
22 Knappová, M., Švestka, J. et al. Občanské právo hmotné. Vol. II, the 3rd amplified edition. Aspi Publishing: Prague, 2002, p.203, Mikeš, M., Švestka, J.. On basic questions about the return of the donation by the donee. In Právní rozhledy, Praha, 2002, no. 4, p.155-200.
23 R38/1992 In the case of the return of the donation, the donor may pass claim to the dismantlement of the immovable by the defendant provided that the legal conditions for the return of the donation have been fulfilled. The district court in Tabor repelled the action of the plaintiff demanding the assignation of her ownership of the immovable – the plots of land in district B and in district M. The court adjudicated the plaintiff is bound to reimburse proceedings expenditure to defendants. (The decision of the provincial court in Česke Budejovice September 20th 1991 , No5 Co 1095/91).
24 The above cited academics have also presented separate opinion in the interpretation of the term “family members”. They tend to interpret meaning of family members restrictively, so that it will include only spouses, children and parents. Their reasoning comes out of the historical interpretation with the reference to the draft of the Act on General Private Law (Civil Code) in 1938. This argument could serve as an impulse for discussion in Slovakia. According to the common law effective in Slovakia till 1950, ingratitude exclusively to the donor could be the legal ground to claim return of the donation.
25 Jurčová, M. Darovacia zmluva - návrh právnej úpravy. (Donation contract - draft of the legal regulation) Societas et iurisprudentia. Vol. 4, no. 1, 2016, p. 42-61. Available at
26 Toman, J. Individuálne pracovné právo, Pracovný čas, dovolenka, prekážky v práci a mzda. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, zastúpenie v SR; Bratislava 2015, p-286-287
27 Toman J. cit supra, p. 287. See also Decent work, Available at retrieved on 30 October 2019).
28 Dolobáč, M. Započítanie vzájomných pohľadávok v pracovnom práve. In Právne nástroje odmeňovania v 21. storočí. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, zastúpenie v SR, 2017, p.12.
29 Lazar, J. et al, cit. supra,, Jurčová, M. Darovacia zmluva : § 628-630 In: Občiansky zákonník. - Praha: C.H. Beck, 2015. pp. 2183-2221,
30 Olšovská, A., Laclavíková, M. Sociálna a motivačná funkcia mzdy, odmeňovanie ako nástroj motivácie Zamestnancov. In Právne nástroje odmeňovania v 21. storočí. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, zastúpenie v SR, 2017, p.17.
For further arguments on the relationship between civil law and the labour law and on the restricted applicability of civil law principles on the labour law relations see also Štefko, M. Pracovní právo v kontextu občanského práva. Praha: Auditorium, 2012.
31 Mc Nahon, J. et al. Zero Hours Work and the Role of Law in Ireland. In Ahlberg, K, Brun, N. (eds) The New Foundations of Labour Law. Frankfurt an Mohan: Peter Lamg, 2017, p. 147.