Liability for Damage

If, for example, a work of art is damaged during an exhibition, the exhibitor is obliged to compensate the artist for the damage on the basis of the statutory general liability for damage laid down in sections 2894 to 2981 of the Czech Civil Code.


An artist from Bratislava participates in an exhibition in Berlin. He sends his exhibits to the Berlin gallery by courier and receives them back from the same courier after the end of the exhibition but they are damaged. With regard to the nature of the damage, the artist is able to tell that the works must have been damaged while hanging. Liability for damage was set out expressly in the contract with the Berlin gallery. The Berlin gallery, however, argues that the exhibits were damaged by the courier service. However, the outside of the package was not damaged upon return.

In this example, it can be hard to prove when the damage occurred. If the artist is able to prove that the damage was really inflicted during the hanging, the liability for the damage will be borne by the Berlin gallery. But if the damage could theoretically occur during the transport of the exhibits to Berlin (let us not forget that the outside of the packaging was not damaged upon return), the artist may have considerable difficulties proving liability.

To make matters worse, the artist would have to sue the Berlin gallery in a court in Berlin (provided that the jurisdiction of courts was not agreed upon explicitly or that Berlin was agreed upon as the place of jurisdiction). The necessary hiring of a German lawyer and securing of any necessary translations, etc., will, however, be disadvantageous for the artist (especially in the case of a small claim).