The Malta Foundation, organiser of the Malta Festival Poznań, filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, seeking the payment of PLN 300,000 on account of the Ministry’s failure to pay this amount as a dedicated subsidy for the 2017 Festival. The trial took place on 25 March 2019. Thanks to Helsinki’s Foundation for Human Rights’ kind support, Malta Foundation were represented pro bono by Hogan Lovells Warsaw.
The foundation’s representative pointed out that although the trial primarily concerned the issue of the Ministry’s failure to meet their contractual provisions, it also might be the case of violating the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of artistic expression through exertion of so-called soft pressure. The legal advisor from the General Counsel to the Treasury who represented the Ministry moved for immediate and complete dismissal, claiming the Ministry had the full right to not award the foundation a grant-in-aid for the festival’s organisation in 2017. Having heard the statements of all sides involved, the Court decided to close the case.
‘The matter is straightforward: a contract has been concluded. One party met their obligations, the other did not. However, not all straightforward matters are trivial. This is about the extent to which public funds may be used to eliminate from the public debate voices, which are inconvenient for those in power’, said Wojciech Marchwicki, the attorney representing Malta Foundation in the lawsuit.
The judgement will be announced by the District Court on 3 April 2019 at 8:20 in room 130.