Significant changes in the statute of limitations of claims

Poland: Shorter limitation periods from 2018

As of 9 July 2018, the rules on limitation of claims in Polish law, which have been in place for many years, change. They apply to agreements between Polish contracting parties and also in international transactions when the parties subject the agreement to Polish law or when according to the Rome I regulations Polish law applies (e.g. because the seller’s seat is in Poland).

The basic limitation period of 10 years is reduced to 6 years. Shorter periods  ̶  such as 3 years in contracts between entrepreneurs and for periodical benefits (e.g. interest) and 2 years in contracts of sale –remain unchanged. Introduction of a new way to calculate the limitation period is an important change: under the new rules, the limitation period always ends at the end of a calendar year, unless the limitation period is shorter than 2 years.

The principle that limitation periods may not be shortened or extended by contract, as is possible in Germany for example, remains unchanged. Expiry of the limitation period does not mean loss of claim – it can be asserted in court and the claimant only loses the case if the other party raises the objection of limitation and the court dismisses the claim. The new rules introduce a change in this respect: for claims brought against consumers, the court will at its own initiative take into account the statute of limitations and dismiss the claim, unless equitable considerations determine that the time limitation objection should not be taken into account, e.g. due to the nature of the circumstances which led the right-holder not to pursue the claim, including the impact of the debtor’s conduct on the delay in pursuing the claim.


Source: Act of 13.04.2018 amending the Civil Code and other laws (J.L. 2018, item 1104)


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