Informujemy, że Państwa dane osobowe są przetwarzane przez Fundację Instytut na Rzecz Kultury Prawnej Ordo Iuris z siedzibą w Warszawie przy ul. Górnośląskiej 20/6, kod pocztowy 00-484 (administrator danych) w celu informowania o realizacji działań statutowych, w tym do informowania o organizowanych akcjach społecznych. Podanie danych jest dobrowolne. Informujemy, że przysługuje Państwu prawo dostępu do treści swoich danych i możliwości ich poprawiania.
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Ordo Iuris complaint upheld. The case against Neil Datta continues

Published: 15.10.2021

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· The Court of Appeal in Warsaw has issued a decision in the case against Neil Datta - sued by the Ordo Iuris Institute for infringement of personal rights.

· The leftist activist, during a public hearing before two European Parliament committees, presented a series of manipulated information that put the Institute in a false light.

· The Foundation filed a lawsuit in this case, which was rejected by the Regional Court in Warsaw due to the alleged lack of jurisdiction of Polish courts over the matter.

· The decision was overruled by the Court of Appeal in Warsaw. Therefore individuals and organisations from Poland may seek justice before Polish courts in situations where their personal rights have been violated by citizens of other EU Member States.

Neil Datta - Secretary of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights - took the floor at a public hearing of the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) on 24 February 2021. In his speech he presented a series of manipulated and false information about the Ordo Iuris Institute, which he accused of i.a. creating "LGBT-free zones" and seeking to "legalise domestic violence". The statement was not spontaneous, it was based on a presentation which slides illustrated the words uttered, including those directly concerning the Institute. The entire committee meeting was broadcast live on the European Parliament's website and it was translated into the official languages of the European Union.

As this was not the first attack of Neil Datta on Ordo Iuris, the Institute decided to file a lawsuit against him, demanding him to publish an apology and seeking compensation. According to the Institute's lawyers, Neil Datta has violated the good name and reputation of the Institute as a foundation and a legal think tank.

The lawsuit was sent to the Regional Court in Warsaw on 1st of April 2021. However, by the order issued on 21 April 2021 (ref. no. II C 979/21) the court rejected the claim, holding that the Polish courts have no jurisdiction to hear the case. The court referred to an act of EU law, the Brussels I Bis Regulation, which regulates the issue of court jurisdiction within the territory of the EU Member States. Pursuant to Article 7(2) of the Regulation "A person domiciled in a Member State may be sued in another Member State: (...) in matters relating to tort, delict or quasi-delict, in the courts for the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur".

On the basis of the above mentioned provision, the Regional Court assumed that "(...) the place where the event causing the damage occurred is, in the case in question, the European Parliament (Strasbourg/Brussels), where Datta Neil delivered his speech, as well as the country in which the defendant was staying when he posted (published) the Internet articles contested by the claimant. According to the circumstances of the case Poland was not the country where the event causing the damage occurred. (...) The provision of the Brussels bis I Regulation unambiguously binds jurisdiction with the court of the place where the harmful event occurred or may occur, and not to the court of the place where the further consequences of that event occurred".

The Ordo Iuris Institute appealed against this decision, arguing that the Regional Court misinterpreted Article 7(2) of the Brussels I Bis Regulation. The Court relied exclusively on a linguistic reading of the provision and failed to take into consideration the broad case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union on jurisdiction in proceedings for the protection of personality rights in a situation where material that the claimant claims to have infringed its personal rights has been disseminated in more than one EU Member State, particularly where such dissemination has taken place via the Internet.

The Court of Appeal in Warsaw, by the order of 15th of September 2021 (ref. no. V ACz 397/21), found the allegation of the complaint reasonable and overruled the decision appealed against. Sharing all the arguments presented by the Institute, the court came to the conclusion that "in a situation where claims for protection of personal rights are made and the information which according to the claimant's allegations infringes his/her personal rights has been disseminated via the Internet (the statement of the defendant was made in the European Parliament and was broadcast on-line and made available on its website), the claimant may have a choice as regards pecuniary claims (e.g. compensation for damage) and as far as non-pecuniary claims are concerned (e.g. request for an apology) it is reasonable to institute legal actions before the courts of the country where the claimant has his centre of interests.  Such an approach to jurisdiction corresponds to the objective of proper administration of justice. There is no doubt that the claimant's (i.e. the Institute's) centre of interests, due to its registered office and the area of its activity, is in the Republic of Poland, so there is no lack of jurisdiction of the courts of the Republic of Poland".

For the Ordo Iuris v. Neill Datta lawsuit, this means that the case is referred back to the Regional Court, which will have to deal with the merits of the case, i.e. take evidence and decide in a judgment whether Neill Datta's statements violated the Institute's personal rights. The decision of the Court of Appeal is also of broader significance since it confirms that individuals and organisational entities (such as foundations) from Poland may pursue their claims before Polish courts in situations where their personal rights have been infringed by persons acting within the European Union but outside Poland, especially when the information infringing personal rights has been disseminated via the Internet.

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