Krakow Poland Provincial Court Rules in Favor of Genealogist for Access to Vital Records #poland #records

Jan Meisels Allen


Originally posted to the IAJGS Records Access Alert as it addresses records access, but since many readers of this forum are also interested in Polish records it is being reprinted here.


The Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported on November 22, 2021, that the Provincial Administrative Court in Kraków in a case bearing Docket No. III SA/Kr 706/21 ruled in favor of a genealogist who had sued the mayor for access to the vital records file of his deceased great-uncle. 


The Provincial Administrative Court (WSA) in Kraków decided that a  man's claim against the city mayor, who refused to allow him to inspect the in the identity card of his great-grandmother's brother, was justified. Such a folder is created for every citizen when applying for an identity  card. The authority argued that the applicant did not belong to the circle of the deceased's relatives. Initially, the interested party appealed to the provincial governor, but he supported the mayor’s position, referring to Civil Code Article 23 which is the basis for providing access to the deceased’s  immediate family, that is ascendants and descendants of the deceased to the documentation from the evidence envelope as personal property . In the context of the memory of the  deceased person, when assessing proximity, one must take into account the factual circumstances that accompanied specific family relationships. Moreover, personal contacts should be distinguished from psychological bonds between persons.


There is always a subjective element connected with the assessment of proximity, i.e. the feeling of closeness," justified Judge Hanna Knysiak-Sudyka and added: “From such generally defined subjective right it is possible to derive two basic rights: the right to good memory of the deceased and the right to true memory, i.e. not falsified and not distorted. The first of these rights corresponds to the duty of third parties to respect the good name of the deceased, the second to the duty to provide truthful information about the deceased.


The final comment in the article, said,” The decision is particularly important for people who are scientifically or amateurish in creating family trees of their family and researching its fate. Undoubtedly, it will allow them to see more freely the documents of relatives of the deceased.”


Translated with (free version) , therefore there is room for interpretation with other translation sites.


To read the original article in Polish see:


To read it translated by Google translate using Chrome as my browser:


Thank you to Yale Reisner for sharing the article with us.


To register with the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to:  and follow the instructions to enter your email address, full name and which genealogical  organization with whom you are affiliated.

To go to the archives of the IAJGS Records Access Alert at: You must be registered to access the archives.    You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized.


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee



Join to automatically receive all group messages.