Posts

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland. Can the other party use them?

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland – our clients often ask whether they could  be used gainst them.

The issue of recordings in a divorce case in Poland and the admissibility of referring to recordings in  civil proceedings being a divorce case made by either party or both parties appears more and more often.  This issue generally applies to wiretapped recordings.

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland – the latest judgment of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been repeatedly analyzing the problem of using such recordings. The latest judgment was issued on  April 22, 2016 (file number II CSK 478/15). It  confirms the overwhelming trend in allowing such evidence by courts. In this verdict, we read that the recording might be used as evidence in court. This is provided that the circumstances in which the recording took place do not indicate a serious violation of the principles of social coexistence. At the same time, the court pointed out that the taking of such evidence should be justified by the need to guarantee another person the right to a fair trial.

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland  – Supreme Court opinion

The Supreme Court takes the view that evidence from secret recordings cannot be disqualified in advance. Such evidence, however, requires a fair assessment to determine whether the recording, due to its content and method of acquisition, will not violate the privacy rights of the recorded person. The recorded person’s right to privacy is guaranteed by Article 47 of the Constitution. If such recording violates the privacy rights of the recorded person, then it should be considered whether the violation of this right may be justified by the need to ensure that another person has the right to a fair trial. The right to a fair trial is also guaranteed in the Constitution, in Art. 45.

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland – which circumstances may disqualify a recording?

Exceptionally, certain circumstances in which the recording took place may disqualify evidence from a recording in a divorce case in Poland. If they clearly indicate a serious violation of the principles of social coexistence, e.g. by the unacceptable use of a difficult situation (e.g. difficult family or professional situation), mental or physical condition (e.g. nervous breakdown, depression) of the person with whom the conversation was conducted.

Recordings in a divorce case in Poland – what is the actual value of recordings?

Evidence carried out in the course of proceedings should be assessed in terms of its factual value. An element of the recording such as its integrity or continuity should be subject to evaluation. Lack of continuity may not necessarily mean the manipulate  of its content. It should be assessed here whether the lack of continuity is the result of a  deliberate manipulation or, for example, the effect of the recording activation mechanism. It should also be assessed whether the recording person has not directed the conversation in a specific way to persuade the recorded person to express certain phrases or to react. To carry out such an assessment, an opinion of court experts will be needed.

Court experts dealing with similar analyzes often work in teams to give  full picture of the recordings they have examined. These are teams consisting of philologists, speech therapists, psychologists and IT specialists. The role of the advocate  will be a fair use of expert opinions in a divorce case in Poland.