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2021. April 30.

Decision 3165/2021 (IV. 30.) AB

Decision number: IV/1510/2019.
Subject of the case:

Constitutional complaint against the judgement No. Pfv.IV.20.432/2018/7 of the Curia (violation of personality right; legal person)

The Constitutional Court found that the judgement delivered by the Curia in the subject matter of the violation of personality right was in conflict with the Fundamental Law and annulled it. In the case underlying the procedure, the applicant sports club and its majority owner jointly used the club’s coat of arms, which is the embodiment and symbol of the applicant’s personality rights, which also reflects its long history of success in the sport. Despite the agreement, the majority owner arbitrarily changed the coat of arms, which led the subsequent petitioner to take the case to court. In the proceedings that ended with the review decision of the Curia, the court dismissed the action, finding no violation of the plaintiff’s personality rights, including its right to reputation. The petitioner challenged the final decision with the Constitutional Court. In its constitutional complaint, the petitioner explained that, in its view, the Civil Code in force strengthened the personality rights of legal persons, however the courts’ decision reflected the approach and jurisprudence developed in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code that had been in force earlier, and therefore the decision violated the petitioner’s fundamental rights to a fair trial, property and protection of reputation. In its decision, the Constitutional Court found that the Curia had completely disregarded the fundamental rights implications of the case. It failed to take account of the fact that the protection of the personality of legal entities created by law, by their very nature, must be interpreted differently from that of natural persons, given that their essence can be captured in the image they present to the outside world. Consequently, the Curia ruled out the existence of an infringement of personality rights and did not examine whether the change of the coat of arms had a negative impact on the petitioner’s reputation. The Constitutional Court thus stated that the challenged judgement of the Curia was in conflict with the Fundamental Law, therefore the Constitutional Court annulled it.