Poland: New rules are coming into force to speed up court proceedings.
Business in Poland has been suffering for years from lengthy litigation. The situation is worsening every year. In an attempt to remedy that situation new rules have been implemented to speed up litigation. In addition to amending the general rules on proceedings, separate and specific principles for court disputes between companies or sole traders have been introduced.
The court and the parties will now be required to act in these disputes in a manner that will allow settlement of disputes within six months as of filing the statement of defence.
The claimant will have to provide all evidence even at the early stage of filing a statement of claim. The respondent in turn will have to do the same in the statement of defence. Any evidence submitted afterwards will be rejected unless the party concerned proves that it could not have provided that evidence earlier or that the need to rely on that evidence appeared later.
The claimant will not be allowed to amend its claims or submit further claims in addition to the original one.
The parties will be allowed to agree beforehand as to what evidence would ‒ or would not ‒ be allowed in a potential court dispute.
The court will hear witnesses only when other evidence is not enough to establish the material facts in the case.
The parties will have to prove their case in documentary form. Only when a party demonstrates that it is not able to produce a document due to circumstances outside of its control will it be allowed to prove its case by means other than documentary.
In addition to these rules applicable to business disputes, many other new mechanisms are being implemented to speed up court proceedings in general. For example, the court will be able to organize an initial preliminary hearing in order to set the schedule for the proceedings. The parties will have to submit all evidence prior to that hearing, which should take place within two months as of filing the statement of defence or further submissions if requested by the court. If the case is not resolved at the first hearing, any further hearings should be scheduled within a short deadline. Hopefully this will resolve the current practice that months pass between subsequent hearings.