The rules regarding limitation in Poland have changed, and here is what you need to know

Michał Krzanowski        27 July 2018        Comments (0)

A recent amendment of the Polish Civil Code, which entered into force on 9 July 2018, introduces some important changes to how limitation functions under Polish law.

The basic limitation period for all claims – unless otherwise stipulated by another provision – has been shortened from 10 to 6 years. This particular change does not influence personal injury claims, the limitation of which is regulated by separate provisions (and which stipulate that such claims expire, in general, after three years have passed from the day on which the aggrieved learned of the damage, and of the identity of the person obliged to remedy it, or should have learned by exercising due care).

However, another important change that was introduced with this amendment is the postponement of the expiration date of claims until the last day of the year (i.e. 31 December of a given year). This means that claims will expire on the last calendar day of the year in which the limitation period elapses (although such regulation applies only to claims with a limitation period of at least 2 years, or more).

Due to the way in which this particular provision has been worded, it is currently not entirely clear whether the aforementioned postponement of claim expiration does or does not apply to personal injury claims. While it would seem that the currently prevailing opinion is that it does, caution is advised, at least during the early stages of the amendment’s “life”.

The amendment also introduced the obligation to indicate the due date of all claims pursued in the complaint. Lack of such information in the complaint will result in the court ordering the claimant to provide it, which will prolong proceedings. As such, it is worthwhile to keep this new requirement in mind when drafting a complaint.

From the point of view of the injured and their lawyers, these changes can definitely be called at least slightly confusing. However, in any event, the worst case scenario is that nothing changes for the injured in regard to the expiration of their claims. In the best case scenario, many injured have just gained more time to pursue their claims in court – and in some cases, considerably more.

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