Currently, class action regulations in Poland are contained in the Act of 17 December 2009 on pursuing claims in group proceedings.
Under the Act, a class may be formed by individuals whose civil law claims belong to the same category and are based on the same or analogous circumstances.
Proceedings may be initiated by a minimum of 10 persons.
The claims can be based on the following legal bases:
- product liability;
- non-performance or breach of contract; or
- obtaining undue benefits.
as well as other specific circumstances, but only with respect to consumers (e.g. claims resulting from the sale agreement, lease, etc.).
Claims for infringement of moral rights cannot be pursued in group proceedings (unless they result from bodily harm).
In the majority of cases, the infringement of rights protecting personal data amounts – from the civil law perspective – to the infringement of moral rights, thus cannot be the subject of group proceedings.
However, there are cases when the infringement of personal data is a different form of tort.
In these cases, class action is available.
It should be noted, however, that group proceedings are not popular in Poland, as they are very time consuming and formalistic.
Recent changes in the class action regulations aimed at making the proceedings quicker and easier have not as yet been tested in practice.
After the GDPR
Currently, there are two acts being drafted, which are aimed at ensuring appropriate application of the GDPR in Poland.
One of these acts expressly gives the data subjects the possibility of pursuing civil law claims in connection with infringement of their personal data.
The claims available, however, are limited to requesting cessation of infringing actions and restitution of the legal status to that which existed before the infringement happened.
To learn more about data class actions in other jurisdictions, you can view our Data class actions: the era of mass data litigation guide, of which this article forms part.
Take advantage of the far-reaching changes brought about by the GDPR with our European Privacy Tool, which offers realistic, practical and workable insights as well as templates, helping to ensure that you are successful in meeting the applicable regulatory requirements.
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