Record! It May Help, Says Prague’s Municipal Court
Since Roman times there has been a legal principle: What is in writing, counts (in Lat. Littera scripta manet). We strictly follow this principle in Civil and Public Law. In civil or public court proceedings the judge is obliged to make a protocol as a record of what was said or proved during the proceeding. In accordance with the previously mentioned principle the contents of this record are considered to be the “truth”.
A recent decision of Prague’s Municipal Court questions this principle. Public authorities decided on the basis of a protocol, in which certain objections of the (future) Petitioner were transcribed. However, not all objections that were raised by the Petitioner during the proceeding were recorded. The Petitioner claimed that she possesses an audio recording of how her objections were lodged.
The Municipal Court in Prague considered the admissibility of such audio recording. It concluded that the possibility to make an audio recording of a hearing is not expressly prohibited. In contrast the Civil Code stipulates: “… an audio recording may be made without any consent of the participants if it is used to secure other rights of persons.”
The Court decided in favour of the Petitioner and stated that the objections were lawfully lodged although they were evidenced only by a hidden audio recording.