New form of contract conclusion – via document

Poland: Equivalent to written form, though less formal, document form will make conclusion of contracts easier.

The upcoming amendment to the Civil Code reacts to the fact that different forms of electronic communication are nowadays of paramount significance and countless declarations of will are being transmitted this way. This kind of transmission of declarations of will, have been held as equivalent to written documentations of will by courts for some time. That is why the legislator decided to formalize it and equate it to documentations of will which have been signed by the declaring person. In the future, these kind of transmitted declarations of will, will be labelled as a documentation of will in “document form” (Forma dokumentowa). Such a “document form” will be given any time, a declaration of will has been transmitted on/or via any kind of data carrier, such as e-mail, SMS or fax, in such a way that it allows to identify the person transmitting this statement. No freehand signature will be needed to meet the conditions of document form – e.g. an unsigned e-mail will be a document, if it is sent from an account with an address that allows to identify the sender.

Furthermore, document form does not apply to texts only – it can also be a record of sound or video as well. The legislator decided not to explicitly regulate or name the possible data carriers; instead, this has been left open.

The coming amendment will enhance clarity with regard to electronic legal dealings. However, businesses and individuals should pay particular attention to the security of their means of electronic communication (mobile, e-mail).

The amendments will come into force in August, 2016.


Source: Act of 10 July 2015 on amendment of acts: Civil Code, Code of Civil Procedure and some other acts

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