Personal rights, case V CKN 499/00

January 8th, 2007, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 5 January 2001 case file V CKN 499/00 ruled that the protection granted by the civil law to personal rights/interests is independent of the protection afforded by the provisions of other laws. It means that this kind of the protection is cumulative. The provisions of Article 23 and 24 of the Civil Code – CC – (in Polish: Kodeks Cywilny) of 23 April 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 16, item 93, with subsequent amendments, have the fundamental importance.

Article 23
The personal interests of a human being, in particular to health, dignity, freedom, freedom of conscience, surname or pseudonym, image, secrecy of correspondence, inviolability of home, and scientific, artistic, inventor’s and rationalizing achievements, shall be protected by civil law independent of protection envisaged in other provisions.

Article 24
§ 1 The person whose personal rights are threatened by someone else’s action, may require the desist of that action, unless it is not illegal. In the event of the infringement one may also require, the person who committed the violation, to fulfill the actions necessary to remove its effects, in particular, to make a statement of the relevant content and appropriate format. According to the conditions laid down in the Code one may also require monetary compensation or payment of an appropriate amount of money for a social purpose indicated.
§ 2 If as the result of a breach of personal rights one has suffered pecuniary prejudice, the aggrieved person may claim compensation based on general principles.
§ 3 The above shall not prejudice the entitlements provided by other regulations, in particular in copyright law and the patent (invention) law.

The Court held that one of the most important tasks of the civil law is the protection of personal rights/interests, especially human rights. This is a relatively new sphere of the civil law, which traditionally has been oriented to the protection of financial and economical interests.