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EU Court: Patients entitled to a full copy of their medical file free of cost

German law which stated that physicians / hospitals can demand reimbursement for costs no longer applicable

Right to obtain the full patient records under German law

Under German law, every patient is entitled to obtain a full copy of the patient file kept by their physician or the hospital (defined as “the treating party”, see section 630g German Civil Code, titled “Inspection of Medical Records”. However, this was subject to the patient being willing to reimburse the treating party for the costs related to creating such a copy. Some hospitals charged up to 50 Cent per page, which can add up to a significant amount if the hospital file is hundreds or even thousands of pages thick.

The wording of the relevant statute is: 

(2) The patient can also request electronic duplicates of the medical records. He/she shall reimburse to the treating party the costs incurred.

This German statute was challenged by a German claimant who demanded his patient file but refused to bear any costs. He based this on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. The German court stayed proceedings and referred this matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide upon.

The patient won! According to the ECJ ruling of 26 Oct 2023, patients are entitled to one full copy of the entire patient file without having to reimburse the physician / hospital. The above German statute is thus no longer applicable.

For medical malpractice claims under german law also see these posts:


and the checklist for medical malpractice lawsuits in Germany here:

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Germany


For more on civil litigation and evidence rules in German Courts of law and before German arbitration tribunals:

Download your free Guide to Civil Litigation in Germany (UK version)

For the US version of the Guide please go here:

GrafLegal Guide to German Civil Litigation (USA version)

Visit our expert blog on German litigation for much more information

The law firm Graf & Partners was established in 2003 and has many years of experience with British-German and US-German legal matters.The Anglo-German litigation lawyer team of  Graf Legal is well equipped to advise and represent clients from the UK and other English speaking countries. If you wish us to advise or represent you in a German or cross border case, or if you need an expert report on German law, please contact German lawyer Bernhard Schmeilzl, LL.M. (Leicester), managing partner and head of the litigation department. Bernhard is also frequently asked by British and US Courts and Tribunals or by legal counsels to provide expert reports and legal opinions on German law.

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