Key facts of the case:
The applicant S.W. underwent an eye operation in the Clinical Hospital. As a result of a medical mistake, he lost sight in his right eye (his left eye has not been functional since his birth). Consequently, S.W., who used to be an active and independent man, had to start relaying on the help of third persons and give up many of his regular activities. S.W. submitted a lawsuit against the Clinical Hospital. The Appellate Court granted him the compensation in the amount of 40.000 PLN (approx. 10.000 EUR) and damages in the amount of 350.000 PLN (approx. 90.000 EUR). While deciding on the amounts of compensation and damages, the Court took into consideration, among many other circumstances, also the life situation of the applicant and his age (the applicant was 74). The Court noted that in case of elderly people the amounts of damages and compensation had to be properly balanced and include the life expectation (different than in case of younger people who may live longer and suffer from the consequences of e.g. medical mistakes). The applicant, who requested higher amounts of damages and compensation, submitted a cassation appeal to the Supreme Court.
Outcome of the case:
The Court decided that the provisions of the Charter were not violated in this case and dismissed the application.
Although the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as primary law, is a part of the European Union’s legal order, the charge of violating its provisions can only be raised in a situation when European Union laws other than the Charter are applicable in the case. The notion of “applying the law” within the meaning of Article 51 par. 1 of the Charter requires a connection with the European Union law, which means that the court can apply the Charter in an “EU case”, namely such in which the facts are governed by EU law. Whereas the Charter cannot be applied in a case of a purely national character.
Chociaż Karta Praw Podstawowych jako prawo pierwotne jest częścią porządku prawnego Unii Europejskiej, zarzut naruszenia jej postanowień może być podnoszony tylko w sytuacji, gdy w sprawie mają lub powinny mieć zastosowanie inne niż Karta przepisy prawa Unii Europejskiej. Pojęcie stosowania prawa w rozumieniu art. 51 ust. 1 Karty wymaga istnienia powiązania z prawem UE, co oznacza, że zastosowanie Karty przez sąd może nastąpić w sprawie "unijnej", tj. takiej której stan faktyczny podlega prawu UE, natomiast Karta nie ma zastosowania w sprawie mającej czysto krajowy charakter.