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Judgment in case on access to toilet facilities appealed

In 2011 Józef Głuchowski sued two bank establishments in Warsaw alleging that his personal interests had been infringed upon as the banks had denied him access to toilet facilities.

In October 2009 Mr Głuchowski visited two banks located at Plac Bankowy, a busy business area in Warsaw city centre. He had to use the toilet there. For that purpose he went to the room which, according to his knowledge, was a designated toilet facility. Yet the door was locked and the room marked as ‘utility area’.

Then, in 2012 Mr Głuchowski and one of the defendants, PKO BP, settled the case. The bank agreed to apologise to the claimant in writing, pay him the compensation for non-pecuniary damage and make its toilets available to customers visiting the bank’s branch.

The same relief was ordered against the other defendant, Bank Pekao S.A., which was also compelled to make a written apology, pay the compensation for non-pecuniary damage and open its toilets to bank’s customers. The appeal concerned the last claim on opening toilet facilities to the broad spectrum of bank clients.

During the appeal hearing which was held on 23 January 2013 the attorney representing Bank PKO S.A. argued that the obligation of the party was of an abstract nature as it related to an indefinite group of people referred to as “clients of the bank”. He noted that cases concerning protection of personal interests involved an individual legal relationship. Consequently, the obligations imposed on a party may also refer to such an relationship. The Court of Appeal agreed with this reasoning and reversed the judgement on all points of appeal.

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