New organization or disorganization of civil proceedings?

Poland: Changes introduced by the Act of 4.07.2019 amending the Act – Code of Civil Procedure and certain other acts.

An amendment to the Code of Civil Procedure dated 4 July 2019 introduced a new chapter titled „Organization of the proceedings“, which is intended to shorten the court proceedings and make them easier. The above change entered into force on 7 November 2019.

It is worth getting oneself acquainted with the said amendment, which applies to court proceedings instigated after 7 November 2019.

The organization of the proceedings was regulated in Articles 2051 to 20512 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The above provisions introduced a mandatory requirement to file a statement of defense (response to lawsuit). In the hitherto legal framework, filing a statement of defense was optional, unless the judge ordered for its filing.

Now, failure to meet the deadline for filing the statement of defense results in return of the said statement by means of the judge’s order. Such an order is not contestable. This means that the return of the statement of defense entails negative procedural consequences for the defendant (i.e. no legal consequences will arise from the statements and arguments contained in the statement).

Another important change is the introduction of preparatory procedure, in the form of a closed session. It is far from being formalized and, what is important, serves to resolve a dispute without the need for further meetings, in particular a hearing. The judge’s task is to induce the parties to reconcile and seek for a consensual resolution of the dispute. If the dispute cannot be resolved, a hearing plan is drawn up. Importantly, all statements and evidence submitted after approval of the hearing plan are, in principle, to be disregarded.

The organization of the proceedings may therefore speed them up, but the new rules must be observed so that a party does not suffer adverse procedural consequences.

It is not yet possible to assess the effects of the solutions introduced. It is right and proper to assume that court proceedings will be shortened and that the court should seek for a settlement. Undoubtedly, the amendment may contribute to an increase in the role of ADR methods, as proactively encouraged by the judges.


Source: Code of Civil Procedure

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