Information on court procedures constitutes a business secret

The Supreme Administrative Court made a statement on publishing daily case lists by the courts as public information.

The Supreme Administrative Court underlined that a daily case list displayed on the courtroom door is publically available at court premises, the court being, however, also an  administrator of the natural persons’ personal data published in the daily case list and obliged to observe the restrictions imposed by the Act on Access to the Public Information.

In accordance with Article 5 (2) of the said Act, the right to public information is restricted on the grounds of a natural person’s privacy (a daily case list contains personal data) or business secret.

In this context, the Supreme Administrative Court stated that any information related to an entrepreneur’s participation in a court procedure constitutes a business secret as defined by Article 11 (1) of the Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition (unified text, Dz.U. (Journal of Laws) of 2003 No. 153, item 1503, as amended).

In the opinion of the Supreme Administrative Court, publishing information on pending procedures may expose an entrepreneur’s interests by, among others, undermining their reliability, lowering their credit rating, bargaining power, which may prejudice execution of agreements on favourable conditions. On the one hand, the legislator established tort liability under Article 11 (1) of the Act on Combating Unfair Competition for disclosing or using someone else’s information being a business secret, and on the other, restricted the disclosure of the information under Article 5 (2) of the Act of 6 September 2001 on Access to the Public Information (Dz.U. (Journal of Laws)  No. 112, item 1198, as amended). The combination of the aforementioned provisions of two separate Acts makes the legal system aimed to protect a business secret consistent.

  • judgement of the Supreme Administrative Court dated 31 January 2014, docket No. I OSK 2167/13