Judgment 55297/16

Applicant name ROMANOWSKI
Applicant type natural person
Number of applicants 1
Country Poland
Application no. 55297/16
Date 12/01/2023
Judges Lətif Hüseynov, President,
 Lorraine Schembri Orland,
 Erik Wennerström
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 Violation
Reason Positive obligation
Type of privacy Informational privacy; private life
Keywords Reputation
Facts of the case The applicant, who had worked as one of several assistants and advisors to an outgoing Minister of Justice, brought a civil action for personal rights’ infringement against the incoming Minister in relation to the latter’s statements that the office laptops used by the outgoing Minister and by the applicant had been destroyed, and that the destruction had not been accidental and could possibly constitute a criminal offence. The impugned statements were made at a press conference during which the Minister did not mention the applicant by his name but referred to him as the former Minister’s assistant, and in a press release published on the Ministry of Justice’s website a day before the conference, in which the applicant’s name was mentioned. The applicant was also referred to by his name in the media coverage that was sourced in the press release and the press conference. The said media coverage was mainly focused on the outgoing Minister, and, collaterally, also on the applicant.
Analysis The Court notes that the defamatory statements about the applicant were collateral to what appears to have been an attempt to contribute to a political debate related to the change of the administration of the Ministry of Justice and the use of public resources. In the Court’s view, however, the applicant was not a public figure. The Court also stresses that the impugned statements were untrue and intended to cause harm to the applicant’s reputation. The final judgment given in the impugned proceedings lacked relevant and sufficient reasons, and failed to strike a fair balance between the applicant’s rights guaranteed by Article 8 on the one hand and the defendant’s rights under Article 10 of the Convention on the other hand.
Other Article violation?
Damage awarded  that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the following amounts, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 6,290 (six thousand two hundred and ninety euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
Documents Judgment