New rules on limitation under Polish law

Benedykt Fiutowski        26 July 2018        Komentarze (0)

If you run a business in Poland, or if you enter into contracts with Polish contractors, recent changes in Polish law regarding the limitation of claims which have entered into force on July 9, 2018, are sure to spark your interest.

The basic limitation period has been shortened from 10 to 6 years. The new (shorter) term applies to pecuniary claims, including claims arising from a final court judgment. Another important change, an institution which was not a part of the Polish legal system until now, is the deferral of the expiration date of claims until the last day of the year (i.e. 31 December of a given year). This means that claims will expire on the last calendar day of the year in which the limitation period elapses, although such regulation applies only to claims with a limitation period of at least 2 years or more.

From an entrepreneur’s point of view, another important change concerns the limitation period in regard to interest. Claims for interest will expire on the last day of the calendar year, i.e. 31 December, regardless of whether the three-year limitation period expires in January or in any other month. In practice, this results in an extension of the limitation period for interest claims.

If the defendant is a consumer, the court will examine ex officio whether the claims are time-barred and, if so, they will be dismissed. However, if the defendant is not a consumer but, for example, an entrepreneur, the defendant will still have to plead the statute of limitation defense in the course of the proceedings in order for it to be taken into account by the court.

The amendment also introduced the obligation to indicate the due date of pursued claims in the complaint. Lack of such information in the complaint will result in the court ordering the claimant to provide it, which will prolong the proceedings. As such, it is worthwhile to keep this new requirement in mind when drafting a complaint.

Amended regulations will also apply to claims that existed before the changes came into force and have not yet expired at that time.

Despite the main purpose of the amendment – which was to shorten the limitation period from 10 to 6 years, it should be noted that in a vast amount of cases these new regulations may be more advantageous to the creditors, since postponing the expiration of claims to the last day of the calendar year will often give the creditors more time to pursue their claims.

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