An Issue of Qualification of Family Relationship as a Personal Interest (Critical Remarks Against the Background of the Current Case Law of the Supreme Court)

In the current case law of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland an opinion is presented that “family relationship” is a personal interest, a violation of which justifies the claims of family members of the deceased for compensation for immaterial damage suffered. The article offers a critical analysis of the case law from the perspective of the normative concept of personality rights and the Polish tort law. It is demonstrated that family relations have not been sufficiently defined by the Supreme Court for the purpose of compensation. They are ex definitione interpersonal and should never be considered as a personal interest, yet protected by family law. The author argues that the personal scope of compensatory liability under Polish law is restricted by statutory law to a person directly affected (conclusion from Art. 415 of the Civil Code) and victimes par ricochet are entitled to claim compensation only if a specific provision so provides (conclusion from Art. 446 of the Civil Code), as an exception to the rule. It is not necessary to classify family relationship as a personal interest so long as Art. 446 of the Civil Code and the Patients’ Rights Act provide comprehensive protection and do not consider family relationship as a personal interest.

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