UODO - DS.523.1470.2020

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UODO - DS.523.1470.2020
Authority: UODO (Poland)
Jurisdiction: Poland
Relevant Law: Article 6(1)(c)

GDPR

Type: n/a
Outcome: Discontinuance of proceedings
Decided: 6.4.2020
Published: 15.4.2020
Fine: n/a
Parties: Ombudsman
National Case Number: DS.523.1470.2020
European Case Law Identifier: n/a
Appeal: n/a
Original Language: Polish
Original Source: UODO (PL)

The President of the Personal Data Protection Office in Poland (PUODO) decided to discontinue proceedings concerning the processing of data in connection with the requirement for Polish judges and prosecutors to submit declarations about their membership in associations. The PUODO clarified that the obligation to submit the above mentioned statements clearly results from the provisions of the national law and thus falls under one of the legal grounds in Article 6(1)(c) GDPR. The President of the Personal Data Protection Office (UODO) stated that he cannot make a decision regarding the constitutionality of such an obligation providing that this is a competence of the Constitutional Tribunal. The Ombudsman has the right to submit motions on the compliance of acts with the Polish Constitution to the Constitutional Tribunal.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The UODO clarified that the obligation for judges and prosecutors to submit declarations about their membership in associations, and to publish them in the Bulletin of Public Information is unequivocally stipulated by law. Therefore, the processing of personal data of the above mentioned persons does not violate the law on personal data protection.

The proceedings were initiated ex officio after the Ombudsman submitted a letter to the President of the UODO on 9 March 2020. The Ombudsman indicated, that a requirement to publish such statements in the Bulletin of Public Information impose a limitation on the privacy of judges and prosecutors.

Dispute[edit | edit source]

When examining the case of processing of data that judges and prosecutors submit concerning their membership in associations, the President of UODO took into account the current jurisprudence of the Voivodeship Administrative Court, according to which if the processing of personal data is based on the national law, it is in compliance with the provisions on personal data protection and there are no grounds for the President of UODO to exercise the corrective powers provided for in Article 58(2) GDPR.

The proceedings revealed that the obligation to submit statements by judges and prosecutors results from the amendment of the Law on the Common Court System, the Act on the Supreme Court and certain other legal acts. Processing of personal data of judges and prosecutors is therefore the result of the above mentioned persons fulfilling the obligation clearly defined in the law. The processing is thus based on Article 6(1)(c) GDPR, according to which the processing of personal data is allowed if it is necessary to fulfill a legal obligation imposed on the controller. Therefore, in the present proceedings, the President of the UODO did not find any grounds to declare a breach of the provisions on personal data protection.

Holding[edit | edit source]

In the context of the above, the President of the UODO did not identify any grounds to order the restriction of processing pursuant to Article 70(1) of the Polish Act on the Protection of Personal Data. As it has been pointed out, the obligation to submit the above mentioned statements by judges and prosecutors and to make them public in the Bulletin of Public Information clearly results from the provisions of national law. Thus, it is difficult to state that further processing of such data may cause serious effects if it is carried out in compliance with generally applicable law.

The President of UODO, in his justification of the decision, also referred to the Ombudsman's argument that challenged the unconstitutionality of the provision which obliges judges and prosecutors to disclose information which may reveal their world views, religious beliefs, or sexuality. The President of UODO has proclaimed himself to be incompetent to resolve this issue. He pointed out that the Constitutional Tribunal is competent to assess the constitutionality of the provisions, to which the Ombudsman has the right to refer a matter. The Ombudsman has the right to submit motions on the compliance of acts with the Constitution to the Constitutional Tribunal. It should be stressed that unlike the Ombudsman, the President of UODO does not have the competence to submit the above mentioned motions to the Constitutional Tribunal.

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Further Resources[edit | edit source]

Full decision in Polish is available here.

English Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

Below you can find the English translation of the decision (see PDF for Original)

The obligation for judges and prosecutors to submit declarations of membership in the association, including in the association, and to publish them in the Public Information Bulletin is unequivocally stipulated by law. Therefore, processing of personal data of the above mentioned persons does not violate the regulations on personal data protection.

The President of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data has discontinued the proceedings concerning data processing in connection with the requirement for judges and prosecutors to submit declarations on membership in the association, including in the association. This proceeding was initiated ex officio after the Ombudsman applied for it in a letter to the President of the Office for the Protection of Personal Data of 9 March 2020. The ROP indicated, that such a requirement and the publication of these statements in the Public Information Bulletin limit the privacy of judges and prosecutors.

The proceedings showed, that the obligation to submit statements by judges and prosecutors results from the amendment of the Acts - the Law on the Common Court System, the Act on the Supreme Court and certain other acts. Processing of personal data of judges and prosecutors is therefore the result of the above mentioned persons fulfilling the obligation clearly defined in the law. The processing is thus based on Article 6(1)(c) of the GCU, according to which the processing of personal data is allowed if it is necessary to fulfil a legal obligation imposed on the controller. Therefore, in the present proceedings, the President of the PPA did not have any grounds to declare a breach of the provisions on personal data protection.

When examining the case of processing the data of judges and prosecutors submitting declarations of membership in the Association, including the Association, the President of PDPO also took into account the current jurisprudence of the WSA, according to which if the processing of personal data is based on the national law, it is thus in compliance with the provisions on personal data protection and there are no grounds for the President of PDPO to exercise the corrective powers provided for in Art. 58 par. 2 of the GDC.

In the context of the above, there were also no grounds to issue a security decision pursuant to Article 70, paragraph 1 of the Act on the protection of personal data, as - as it has been pointed out - the obligation to submit the above mentioned statements by judges and prosecutors and to make them public in the Public Information Bulletin clearly results from the provisions of law. Thus, it is difficult to say, that further processing of such data may cause serious and difficult to remove effects, if it is carried out in compliance with generally applicable provisions of law.

The President of UODO, in his justification of the decision, also referred to the accusation of unconstitutionality of the ROP, which he challenged, obliging judges and prosecutors to make statements. The President of UODO is not competent to resolve this issue. The Constitutional Tribunal is competent to assess the constitutionality of the provisions, to which the RPO has the right to refer the matter. The RPO has the right to submit motions to the Constitutional Tribunal on the compliance of acts with the Constitution. It should be stressed that contrary to the ROP, the President of UODO does not have the competence to submit the above mentioned motions to the Constitutional Tribunal.