Big changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure in Poland are coming into force on 7 November 2019.
The incoming changes are wide ranging and aim to increase efficiency of court proceedings through a range of instruments such as:
    • joint planning of proceedings by the parties and the court
    • increased importance of documentary evidence
    • tools for concentration of hearing of witnesses
    • faster hearing dates
  • Litigation under the revised rules will also require the parties to be much more precise in their submissions, objections and evidentiary motions.
    Service of process will be substantially revised with a view to improve its effectiveness. The changes include service of certain pleadings and court notices by bailiffs and direct service between legal counsel of submissions in electronic form.

    Motions for settlement will be more difficult. Under the current rules, it is possible to interrupt the statute of limitations (i.e. that the claim is not time-barred) by filing a motion for settlement. The court fee amounts typically to Eur 70. Under the new rules, the motion for settlement will have to satisfy a number of new requirements, such as setting out specific settlement proposals, under the sanction of the court returning the request. The related court fee will also dramatically increase. The applicant will have to pay 1 % of the disputed amount.
  • Motions for the freezing injunction also will be more difficult. The applicant will have to pay 1.25 % of the disputed amount. Freezing injunctions are an important part about the company litigation and they can be a powerful tool for plaintiffs to protect their businesses. Typically, the freezing injunctions are used to protect the status quo especially when a financial situation of the defendant is getting worse and there is a threat of ineffective execution.

    A separate set of rules will be introduced for commercial matters (i.e. cases between commercial entities). Proceedings in commercial matters will be procedurally much more demanding than ordinary proceedings. In particular, they will impose strict cut-off dates for evidence. For instance, all supporting evidence will have to be invoked in the statement of claim and the statement of defence, respectively, under the sanction of being disregarded by the court. The parties will gain the ability to conclude so-called evidentiary agreements excluding certain evidence from the proceedings. In addition, the admissibility of witness evidence will be considerably limited. In principle, demonstrating that a contract (or other legal action) was made will only be possible on the basis of documents. Under the new rules the judges will be obliged to take all necessary actions to ensure that the verdict of the first instance court is issued within 6 months from the submission of the statement of defence.
    The incoming changes will have a great impact on the cases, both pending and the new ones.

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