Access to public information, case III SAB/ Lu 1/09

May 13th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

A Polish citizen requested the President of one of the Regional courts to disclose the calendar of causes that concerned his case. The President informed that the calendar of causes cannot be disclosed, because the regulation on the work of common courts does not permit for such disclosure after the calendar is deposited in the court’s records. Jan H. filed a complaint for failure to act, claiming President’s inaction in his case.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Lublin in its judgment of 2 July 2009 case file III SAB/Lu 1/09 held that the regional court is a public authority under the the Polish Act of 6 September 2001 on access to public information – API – (in Polish: Ustawa o dostępie do informacji publicznej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 112, item 1198, with subsequent amendments, and is therefore obliged to provide public information. Jan H. has the right to request the disclosure of public information, because everyone has that right, and what’s more important, the person exercising the right to public information is not required to demonstrate his or her legal or factual interest. The calendar of cases and dockets includes a list of cases that are heard in a given day by a court in a particular composition, and as such is deemed as public information, that concerns the work and operation of a public authority, which in this case, was the Regional court. Thus, the citizen’s request has to be considered in terms of request for public information. The VAC noted that internal regulations on the office work cannot be the basis on deciding on civil rights.