First thing to do is to ask yourself really is it worthwhile suing somebody. A lot of people forget that it can be really stressful, it can be really expensive and actually, there are no guarantees that money will be recovered. If a defendant has no money, no assets and no income – how are you going to get money from him?
Therefore, before filing the statement of claim and paying the court fee which in Poland amounts to 5 % of the disputed amount, it is recommended to check whether the defendant has money. If the defendant is a company – it is relatively easy to establish the financial status of the defendant by reviewing the financial statements which are typically available online and also at the registry court. If the company has made losses in previous years and if the company has a high level of short-term liabilities it will be relatively easy to convince the judge to grant the so called “freezing injunction” which will secure the claims of the plaintiff by blocking the company’s bank accounts or registering a mortgage on the company’s property.
If the defendant is an individual, the situation is more difficult. In such a situation, you will have to mainly rely on what is generally available about that person on the internet, including the social media. Any information which shows financial difficulties on the debtor can be useful.
Obtaining the “freezing injunction” is the best way to secure your rights as a plaintiff and guarantees the successful execution of the debt. You have to convince the judge that:
- your claim is highly probable (you do not have to prove your claim; it is sufficient if you present the so called prima facie evidence) and
- the situation of your debtor is worsening so – even if you win the case – there will be real danger of not getting the money awarded to you by the court.
Most importantly, the debtor is not aware of the proceedings so there is an element of surprise and often there is a high chance of blocking money on debtor’s bank account or seizing debtor’s assets. If money is blocked or assets seized, you can quietly consider suing the debtor, knowing that it is worthwhile.
On the other hand, if money is not found and there are no assets to be seized, it is very likely that you will not get your money back even if you win the case.
The injunction also works as a forecast of the final judgment as the court is obliged to evaluate the claim on the basis of prima facie evidence. Once you are granted the injunction, you will have 2 weeks to file the full statement of claim against the defendant.
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