The concept of obligation

1) Continuous obligation is a particular form of obligational relationship.

2) Obligational relationship is not a uniform category. It comprises obligational relationships arising from legal transactions as well as obligational relations concluded by force of law. Therefore, it provides reasons to state that also a continuous obligation fails to be a uniform category.

3) A continuous obligation is subject to three prerequisites: (1) legal relation; (2) civil law nature of the relation; (3) obligational nature of the relation.

4) There are no grounds to create a legal relation if a legal norm directly imposes obligations on a civil law subject (general obligations). The same shall apply where obligations are of continuous or recurrent nature.

5) A civil law relationship is a legal relation which can be established, modified or terminated by the parties – at least potentially – by the same legal instruments, unless another form of legal relationship is legally justified. In principle, granting the parties an instrument that is consensual in its nature implies a civil law relationship.

6) On the assumption that an obligation contract forms the basis for performing a public service, the contract may constitute a source of continuous obligation. Yet, similarly in this case, the administering body is bound by the rule according to which public services shall be performed on the grounds of legal acts (the principle of legalism in its broader sense). It means that the created obligational relationship shall not be independent but strongly influenced by public law. Possible application of the freedom of contract principle to this relationship (Article 353 of the Civil Code) shall form a derivative in respect to public services.

7) A contract relating to absolute subjective rights, consistent in substance with the rights stipulated by law, shall not result in concluding obligational relationship.
Such a contract shall neither play a regulatory function, nor create a separate legal relationship.
It refers, for instance, to contracts relating to property rights, other rights in rem, as well as rights to confidentiality (confidential information) (e.g. Article 11 par. 4 of the Unfair Competition Law, or Article 72 of the Civil Code).

8) It is justified to distinguish relative legal relationships from obligational relationships. A relative relationship without duty to perform contractual obligation shall not be an obligational relationship, therefore it cannot fall into the category of continuous obligations. Legal relationship relating to repurchase rights, preemptive rights and consent to process personal data may serve as examples thereof.