Wojciech Paryś

Attorney at law (Poland)
Phone: +48 61 624 49 42

We informed you in previous article that the lower chamber of Polish parliament (Sejm) had passed an act amending the Code of Civil Procedure and certain other acts on 4 July 2019. A large part of the planned changes will enter into force on 7 November 2019.

The amending act introduces separate proceedings in commercial matters, which implies restrictions on enterprises. The changes also include certain facilitations for businesses.

More stringent evidence taking rules

One of the major legislative changes brought by the amending act is the introduction of a more stringent final deadline for collecting and submitting evidence. According to the amendment, parties must submit all their claims and evidence in their first pleading (the claimant in the particulars of claim or petition and the defendant in the letter of defence). Only a party not represented by a professional attorney will be allowed to ask the court to award an additional deadline for this purpose.

Claims and evidence submitted after the deadline will be disregarded unless a party proves that it could not submit them in due time or that they became relevant and necessary after that date. Thus, parties to a litigation will not be allowed to submit new evidence at any time during the proceedings claiming that it does not cause any delay in considering the case  – an argument which has been typically invoked until now.

A new court trial procedure

In the amended procedure the court may first summon the parties to a preparatory hearing during which the court and the parties will jointly plan the course of the proceedings and agree the scope of dispute. The outcome of the preparatory hearing will be a trial plan including the decisions regarding evidentiary motions, and a hearing schedule.

The legislator’s intention in this amendment is to maximally increase the number of cases that are resolved amicably or during the first trial. 

The above changes motivate attorneys and their clients to work still closer together so as to provide the attorney with all facts and evidence of the case yet before lodging or responding to a claim. Otherwise any delayed claims or evidentiary motions may be disregarded and the client may lose the litigation

Immediate enforceability

The new statute also amends the provisions on the enforceability of first instance judgments. Judgments in commercial matters in which the court awards payment in money or in exchangeable items will be enforceable immediately. In practice, this means that the awarded party will not have to wait until the judgment becomes final and obtains an enforcement clause to be able to collect the payment.

Set-off defence

The amendment also introduces a limitation to the set-off defence during the proceedings. After the amendment's effective date, the defendant will be allowed to plead a set-off only if the amount in dispute is owed under the same legal relationship or if it is undisputable or substantiated with a document not originating exclusively from the defendant. 

This is relevant where the litigation parties are mutually bound by many legal relationships (contracts). In such a case, if one party files a claim regarding one of those contracts, the defendant will be allowed to plead a set-off in respect on that contract only. Any claims under other contacts will basically have to be considered in separate proceedings.

Changes in the proceeding fees

Amended are the fees charged in many business-related cases. The main change is the increase in the maximum fee for filing particulars of claim in property right matters [opłata stosunkowa] to PLN 200,000. This change is relevant for all cases where the filing fee depends on the amount in controversy. The maximum filing fee was previously PLN 100,000.

The amending act introduces also some new fees:

  • the fee for a motion for summoning a witness, an expert or a party if the motion was filed after approving the trial plan;
  • the fee for justification of the judgment.

Those fees will be PLN 100. Previously, those activities were free of charge.

If you have any doubts or questions for suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Rödl & Partner advisers.

Wojciech Paryś