Violation of the entrepreneur's personal rights

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What are personal rights?

According to the wording of Art. 23 of the Civil Code (hereinafter the Civil Code), personal rights of a person, in particular such as: health, freedom, honor, freedom of conscience, name or pseudonym, image, correspondence secret, inviolability of the home, scientific, artistic, inventive and rationalizing creativity are protected by law civil, irrespective of the protection provided for in other regulations.

The jurisprudence of courts also indicates a different type of personal rights. An example of such attributes of each individual may be the sense of belonging to a given gender (decision of the Supreme Court of March 22, 1991, file No. III CRN 28/91), the right to freedom of expression, choice of interlocutor and confidentiality of conversation (judgment of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw of 6 July 1999, file reference number I ACa 380/99) or an emotional bond that may connect someone with a coat of arms owned by his family (judgment of the Court of Appeal in Katowice of April 10, 2002, file reference number I ACa 1399/2001) ).

Violation of personal rights - how to defend yourself?

A person whose personal interest is threatened by someone else's action may demand that it be omitted, unless it is not unlawful (Civil Code Art.24). If, on the other hand, there has been an infringement of the entrepreneur's personal rights, it is also possible to demand that the person who committed the infringement performs the actions necessary to remove its effects, in particular, that he / she submits a declaration of appropriate content and in an appropriate form (in press, via radio or on the Internet).

The provision of art. 24 of the Civil Code contains a presumption of unlawfulness of the actions of a person infringing the entrepreneur's personal rights and it will be the responsibility of him to prove that there are circumstances that may exclude the unlawfulness of the act committed. Such a circumstance will not constitute a reference to acting in defense of the public interest or acting within the limits of permissible criticism of a public person.

The entrepreneur may also request monetary compensation or payment of an appropriate amount of money for a specified social purpose. When property damage has been caused as a result of breach of personal interest, the aggrieved party may demand that it be remedied on general principles.

However, in the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Białystok of October 11, 2013, file ref. actI ACa 439/2013 we read that“When deciding on the demand for pecuniary compensation for infringement of personal rights, the court must take into account the compensatory nature of the compensation and the type of the infringed right - the specific gravity of individual personal rights is not the same and not all personal rights deserve the same level of protection by means of financial measures. In addition, the court must examine the severity of the perpetrator's bad will and the advisability of applying this measure. This translates into both the possibility of awarding compensation in a specific case and its amount. " 

Personal rights and the Penal Code

The Criminal Code (hereinafter: the Penal Code) also provides for the possibility of seeking protection of personal rights. Whoever slanders another person, group of persons, institution, legal person or organizational unit without legal personality for such conduct or properties that may degrade it in the public opinion or expose it to the loss of trust needed for a given position, profession or type of activity, shall be subject to a fine or penalty. restriction of liberty (Article 212 of the Penal Code). A qualified offense occurs when the perpetrator commits the act by means of mass communication (e.g. press, radio, television, internet). Then the penalty for such behavior is a fine or imprisonment for up to one year.

The perpetrator can be effectively prosecuted if he has communicated to at least one person, or in the presence of at least one person, about an action or properties of another person that may humiliate him in the public opinion or expose him to loss of trust needed for a given position, profession or type of activity. . To commit such an offense, no effect is required in the form of actual humiliation or loss of trust for the aggrieved party (decision of the Supreme Court - Criminal Chamber of October 14, 2010, file number II KK 105/2010).