II SA 1603/03


4 March 2004

Considering a case from a complaint lodged by Y Limited Liability Company against a decision of the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data as regards an order to erase Mr X`s personal data from the filing system kept by this company, the Voivodeship Administrative Court investigated the following state of a case:

The Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data considered Mr X`s complaint about the legitimacy of his personal data processing by Y Limited Liability Company (vindication company), which obtained his personal data from Z Joint Stock Company (Mr X was a customer of this company) on the basis of a contract of assignment of claims concluded between these companies. After having conducted an administrative proceedings the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data ordered Y Limited Liability Company, by means of an administrative decision, to erase Mr X`s personal data, indicating that the provisions of the civil law which regulate the principles of assignment of claims require consumer`s consent to the assignment of claims which Mr X has not expressed so far. Simultaneously, the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data ordered Z Joint Stock Company, by means of an administrative decision, not to disclose Mr X`s personal data without his consent.

In the motion for reconsidering the case Y Company raised that it was processing Mr X`s personal data for its legitimate purpose and the processing of data did not violate the rights and freedoms of a person whose data were concerned, so it did not violate Mrs X`s interests, because neither the nature nor the amount of the obligation had changed. The Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data did not share these arguments and upheld the decision appealed against explaining that as a result of assignment of claims Mr X`s legal situation worsened flagrantly and quoting previous arguments concerning the legal basis of data processing. In connection with this Y Company appealed against this decision to the Supreme Administrative Court demanding its reversal and the Inspector General in reply to this complaint requested its dismissal.

In connection with the reform of administrative courts the Supreme Administrative Court transferred the case according to the jurisdiction to the Voivodeship Administrative Court, which then stated the following:

The Voivodeship Administrative Court observed that the case concerned can be considered only on the level of personal data protection, and not on the level of validity or efficiency of the contract of assignment. It indicated the civilian court as the one competent to evaluate the efficiency of the contract of assignment. While considering the condition of admissibility of data processing, referred to in Art. 23 paragraph 1 point 5 of the Act on the Protection of Personal Data (the processing of data is permitted if it is necessary for the purpose of the legitimate interests pursued by the controllers, provided that the processing does not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subject), the Voivodeship Administrative Court noted that the application of this condition would be possible only if the transfer of data to other subject did not worsen the situation of the data owner, which does not take place in this case. It also admitted that pursuant to the provisions of the law the consumer`s consent is necessary for the assignment of consumer claims, and if there is no consent, then it has to be acknowledged that the transfer of data violates the consumer`s interests.

In consequence, the Voivodeship Administrative Court stated that the decision of the Inspector General for the Protection of Personal Data which has been appealed against does not violate the law and therefore it dismissed the complaint of Y Company.