No privacy rights for legal persons

Mar 20th, 2016

Even though legal persons may enjoy legal protection with respect to their corporate name, domicile, reputation and correspondence, they are not entitled to privacy rights as envisioned by Section 9 of the French civil Code. The Court of Cassation, France’s highest court of law, confirmed this principle on March 17, 2016.

In this case, a company complained about a video surveillance system and a light projector placed by its neighbor, overlooking a shared path from which the company was accessible. The plaintiff won the trial before the Court of Instance and obtained the withdrawal of the recording equipment, on the grounds that the recording of the plaintiff’s employee back and forths harmed the company’s privacy rights.

This ruling put an end to a judicial trend which tended to grant more and more attributes of legal personality to legal persons. Indeed, although legal persons are entitled to legal protection in connection with, inter alia, their corporate name, domicile, correspondence and reputation, only natural persons can invoke an infringement of their privacy rights within the meaning of section 9 of French the Civil Code. As a result, the company could not validly claim to have been harmed by any infringement of that sort.


Mar 20, 2016, Civil law, corporate law