Access to public information, case I OSK 2026/11

May 23rd, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 5 February 2011, Bogusław Kler, a Polish patent and trade mark attorney, requested Anna Korbela, the President of the Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys, to disclose information concerning, inter alia, copy of the audio recording of the National Convention of Patent Attorneys that was held in 2010. The President answered that such request should be dealt with and decided by the National Council of Patent Attorneys. Bogusław Kler filed a complaint for failure to act (administrative inaction). Mr Kler argued that the President did not properly consider his request or did not issue a refusal decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 12 July 2011 case file II SAB/Wa 142/11 obliged the President of the Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys to examine the application filed by Mr Kler. The Court found that the position of the President could not be accepted because it was is inconsistent. Once the President said that she did not remain inactive, because the request was passed to do another, appropriate body, and then later, she found that the requested information is not public information. Once the President announces that it hasn’t got the requested recordings, and then she states that Mr Kler may listen to them at the seat of the authority. The President filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 20 December 2011 case file I OSK 2026/11 dismissed it and ruled that information about the activities of the professional self-government of the Polish patent attorneys is a public information. It was indirectly interpreted from the provisions of Article 17 of the Polish Constitution, under whose self-governments may be created within a profession in which the public repose confidence, and such self-governments should concern themselves with the proper practice of such professions in accordance with, and for the purpose of protecting, the public interest. This simply means that the activities of the government and its bodies fail within the meaning of a public character or matters, and such information concerning these activities – has the nature of public information.