Small Claims Court Poland: A Professional's Guide
- Name of court: Small Claims Procedure under the Polish Code of Civil Procedure
- Scope of procedure: Used for claims under contracts not exceeding PLN 20,000, rent payment claims, and claims resulting from incompatibility of consumer goods with a consumer sales contract
- Monetary threshold: PLN 20,000 for domestic claims, EUR 5,000 for European Small Claims Procedure
- Application of procedure: Procedure is obligatory and can concern only one claim
- Forms: All pleadings should be submitted on official forms available from municipal offices, court registry offices and the Ministry of Justice website
- Assistance: Not specified
- Rules concerning evidence: Principle of concentration of evidence applies, expert opinions are not admissible
- Written procedure: Simplified procedure is primarily a written procedure, but verbal applications are also allowed
- Content of judgment: If the case is complex or requires specific knowledge, it may be examined under the usual procedure
- Reimbursement of costs: Claimants are charged a fee for lodging a claim, costs are settled between parties according to general rules
- Possibility to appeal: Judgments can be appealed in the court of appeal
This guide is not legal advice and laws/rules may change; consult a qualified professional for personalized assistance. Use at your own risk.
The Basics of Small Claims Court in Poland
What is the Small Claims Court?
In Poland, there exists a simplified legal procedure for small claims referred to as Small Claims Court. Governed by Articles 5051 to 50514 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the objective of this institution is to expedite and simplify civil and commercial proceedings. The European Small Claims Procedure, as established by Regulation (EC) No 861/2007, has also been integrated into Polish law under Articles 50521 to 50527a of the Code of Civil Procedure.
The Role of the Small Claims Court in the Poland Judicial System
Small Claims Court plays a significant role within the Polish judicial system, largely characterized by its mandate to apply a simplified procedure for smaller claims. The small claims court process in Poland allows for the handling of cases that fall within the jurisdiction of district courts (sądy rejonowe) and regional courts (‘sądy okręgowe’). These cases typically include contractual claims under PLN 20 000, certain tenant fee disputes, staff-related matters, economic matters, and a range of other civil and commercial matters.
When to Use the Small Claims Court in Poland
The use of Small Claims Court in Poland is typically advised when seeking to resolve cases involving either businesses or individuals, employers or employees, provided that the value of the claim does not exceed PLN 20,000. The system is designed not only to make the process more efficient but to also maintain the integrity and fairness of the proceedings, regardless of claim size or party stature.
The Court and Statutes Governing the Small Claims Court in Poland
The Small Claims Court in Poland is directed by provisions within the Polish Code of Civil Procedure, specifically Articles 5051 to 50514 and Articles 50521 to 50527a, which include the European Small Claims Procedure. There are also underlying statutes such as Regulation (EC) No 861/2007, and the Court Fees (Civil Cases) Act of 28 July 2005, which govern fees related to lodging claims in Small Claims Court.
The Court Rules Applicable for Small Claims Court in Poland
Every proceeding in the Small Claims Court follows a unique set of court rules. The proceedings are usually written, however, verbal application is possible. The system also allows counterclaims and set-offs, provided they are eligible to be considered in this court, but does not allow party changes or third-party notices. Claims cannot be altered in the simplified procedure, and the preclusion system applies to limit evidence submissions to specific phases of the court proceedings.
Small Claims Court Limit Poland
In Poland, the Small Claims Court is governed by Articles 5051 to 50514 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which has codified the European Small Claims Procedure to streamline and simplify civil and commercial proceedings. This pertains to claims arising from contracts where the claim amount does not exceed PLN 20,000, and consumer-related matters in cases of consumer goods incompatibility with a consumer sales contract up to the same amount. Additionally, claims in payment of rent for dwellings and fees payable by tenants, as well as fees for the use of a dwelling in a housing cooperative, can also be considered regardless of the value of the claim. For small claims pertaining to civil and commercial matters in accordance with the European directive, the value of the claim, excluding interest and expenses, must be under EUR 5,000 upon receiving the claim form at the jurisdiction court.
However, some types of cases are prohibited from being handled under the small claims court in Poland. Although it's necessary to consult with legal advice for specific circumstances, it's noted that divorce cases, bankruptcy, emergency relief, lawsuits against the federal government, guardianship, name change, domestic relations disputes, and other cases requiring specific legal knowledge, more complex or those involving certain administrative decisions, are generally excluded from this simplified procedure. The reason is the unique nature of these cases requiring sophisticated discussions and a comprehensive evaluation of circumstances.
Of note is that the Polish system's emphasis on streamlining the proceedings and minimising costs does not allow expert opinions to support cases handled under the simplified procedure. Due to the speed of the simplified procedure, the court also applies a principle of concentration of evidence, disregarding assertions and allegations made by participants and motions for evidence submitted beyond the approved period under the preclusion system.
Statute of Limitations and Other Deadlines at the Small Claims Court in Poland
Types of Deadlines
In the context of Polish civil procedures, deadlines fall into three primary categories; statutory, judicial, and contractual. Statutory deadlines are preset by law, thus can neither be shortened nor extended. They initiate at a time ordained by the law, governing legal remedies such as appeals or complaints. On the other hand, judicial deadlines, susceptible to adjustment either by extension or shortening, are set by a court or judge based on notable justifications. Contractual deadlines, as the name suggests, are agreed upon mutually by the involved parties and count from when a decision or order is made.
Calculation and Start of Time Limits
The calculation of time limits in the Polish civil procedures uses units such as a day, week, month, or year. Interestingly, if a set timeline for an action falls on a non-working day or Saturday, the deadline gets extended to the subsequent working day. Notably, this calculation does not factor in the day on which an event that sets the time running occurs.
Consequences of Missing Deadlines
Missing a deadline for procedural actions invites specific consequences. For instance, one can apply for a time limit reinstatement or reopening of proceedings if the lapse occurred due to no fault of their own. However, for such cases, judicial deadlines can be shortened or extended depending on the motion of a party or the court, provided the failure to meet the deadline bears no negative procedural implications for the party.
How to Take Someone to Small Claims Court in Poland
Court Fees and Other CostsIn Poland, the court fees for small claims are quite reasonable, making this an accessible option for many. For claims amounting to €50, €200, and €500, the court fee remains static at €24. However, for a claim of €2000, the court fee increases to €70. These costs, while necessary to consider, are markedly less expensive than the potential legal fees and expenses that may be incurred in more formal court proceedings.
The Use of TechnologyThe use of technology in handling small claims is growing in popularity within many European Union countries. Fortunately, Poland is one of those employing these digital methods to facilitate claim handling. Specifically, this country uses e-filing and e-service to a limited extent, offering a more modern and convenient approach to the small claims court process in Poland. Technology, while not replacing traditional legal procedures, brings an additional layer of accessibility to the legal landscape.
The Court ProcedureThe court procedure in Poland for handling small claims is characterized by flexibility and speed. Firstly, the small claims procedure is optional in Poland. This means that a claimant can decide, depending on the strength of their case and the value in dispute, whether to follow the small claims procedure or to opt for standard court proceedings. Moreover, the procedure in Poland allows for optional hearings — an oral procedure may be requested by the parties involved, or the court can independently deem it necessary. Otherwise, the dispute can be resolved strictly through written procedure. This certainly provides claimants and defendants with valuable choices in how to present and argue their case most effectively. The procedure also allows for deviations from ordinary rules for taking evidence, such as the court being able to hear a witness or expert by phone or in writing. However, the rules of judgment tend to adhere strictly to the traditional standpoint.
The ProcessThe process to take someone to small claims court in Poland essentially follows four steps. Step 1: Serve the complaint on all defendants. This step is crucial as it officially notifies the individual or business entity being sued of the pending claim. Step 2: Assemble all evidence pertinent to your case and adequately prepare for the court meeting. Evidentiary materials may include documents, photographs, eyewitness testimonies, and expert opinions. Step 3: Present your case, including all evidence, at your small claims trial. This is the platform on which the strength of your case and evidence will be evaluated. Step 4: If you win, proceed with the collection of your judgment, either through direct repayment from the losing party or via court-induced collection methods. Naturally, each of these steps will be influenced by factors such as the nature of the claim, the amount of money in dispute, and the reaction of the defendant. Regardless, the goal of the small claims court in Poland is to provide a facile, economical, and timely remedy for disputes of lesser magnitude.
Do You Need a Small Claims Lawyer in Poland?
In Poland, the simplified procedure, or small claims court, is primarily a written process, with official forms for all pleadings, claims, and defenses. In contrast to other jurisdictions where legal representation is often optional, the complexity of the Polish procedure suggests the value of engaging an attorney. While it is not mandated by law, an attorney can guide you through the multilayered procedural requirements, from form filing to applying the principle of concentration of evidence. Seeking legal assistance becomes particularly crucial if the claim exceeds PLN 20,000, or if your case is deemed particularly complex or needing specific knowledge, as regular procedure applies in these instances. That said, with the distinct procedural constraints, nuances, and potential cost implications in the Polish small claims court, informed legal advice can prove invaluable in ensuring your claim is presented accurately and convincingly within the provided limits.
Resolving cross border disputes in Poland with the European Small Claims ProcedureThe European Small Claims Procedure (ESCP) offers a means to resolve cross-border legal disputes within the European Union. Similar to the national small claims court in Poland, it provides a streamlined, cost-effective, and less formal alternative to conventional court proceedings.
What is the European Small Claims Procedure?The ESCP addresses cross-border small claims up to the value of €5,000 across the EU, except Denmark. This procedure begins when the claimant files a Claim Form A. Upon receiving the form, the court sends it to the defendant within a fortnight. The defendant then has 30 days to respond using Form C or another method. While the procedure primarily focuses on written communication, the court can hold an oral hearing if necessary. Following the hearing, the court delivers its judgment to both parties within a specific timeframe. The ESCP allows for appeals in accordance with the laws of the individual EU Member States.
Applicability of the ESCP in PolandIf a legal dispute arises between parties from Poland and another EU member state, Poland can utilize the ESCP. The procedure applies to 'cross-border' situations - any circumstance where one party is domiciled or habitually resident in a Member State other than the court handling the dispute. It's important to note that the determining factor hinges on the situation at the date the Claim Form is received by the competent court or tribunal.
Limitations of the European Small Claims ProcedureWhile effective, the ESCP does come with certain limitations. The monetary cap of the ESCP is €5,000, which extends to the overall claim value, excluding any interests, expenses, and disbursements. If a claim or counterclaim exceeds the limit, both will proceed under national procedural law. The ESCP covers 'civil and commercial' matters, which can range from order enforcement to prevention of a legal wrong. However, it explicitly excludes certain matters including revenue, customs, administrative matters, and the liability of the state for acts or omissions in exercising state authority.
Resolving Dispute in Poland Using the ESCP - A Step-by-step GuideHere is a detailed guide detailing how you can resolve a dispute in Poland using the ESCP.
- Step 1: Obtain Claim Form A, fill in the required information, and optionally request an oral hearing.
- Step 2: Identify the EU Member State that will handle your claim and find the appropriate court within that state.
- Step 3: Submit the claim form, including any supporting documents, to the court. Ensure to meet any language requirements and pay applicable court fees.
- Step 4: The court reviews your application, determines if it falls within the ESCP scope, rectifies the claim form if necessary, and assesses the validity of your claim.
- Step 5: The court completes the Answer Form (Form C) and sends it to the defendant. Any response from the defendant including counterclaims are communicated to you, the claimant.
- Step 6: If necessary, the court may request further information or hold an oral hearing before issuing judgement.
- Step 7: After the judgment, meet all requirements for enforcing the judgment, receive communication of the judgment from the court, and follow the enforcement procedures of the relevant EU Member State.
Can You Appeal Small Claims Court Verdicts in Poland?
The process of appealing small claims court verdicts varies across European nations. While some countries allow comprehensive appeals, others impose restrictions, particularly for smaller claims. This is to avert undue strain on the judicial system. Specifically in Poland, the process of appealing a small claims court verdict presents certain provisions.
In Poland, individuals are permitted to appeal a small claims court verdict only on a point of law. To expound further, this signifies that a party can only contest the legal basis of the judgment, but not the facts that were judged. The appeal in Poland is decided upon by a single judge, who assesses whether there has been correct application or interpretation of the law in the judgment delivered.
Pursuing an appeal based on a point of law necessitates a robust understanding of the relevant statutes or legal principles that apply to your case. It's not merely about disagreeing with the judgment; rather, it is about contesting that the law was inaccurately applied or interpreted in reaching that judgement. If you're planning to take this route, it's advisable to seek expert legal counsel to guide you through this nuanced process.
In comparing Poland’s policy to that of other nations, it is worth noting that several European countries, such as France, Greece, Hungary, and Slovenia, implement a similar approach where they do not generally allow a right of appeal except for specific exceptions concerning points of law. On the contrary, countries such as Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Romania, and Slovakia offer opportunities for small claim court appeals in all circumstances.
Halting the appeal process to points of law and having the decision made by a single judge are measures in place to thwart any potential misuse of the system and to enhance efficiency in handling the cases. This system ensures that the judicial process is swift, thereby saving parties involved time and reducing potential costs associated with drawn-out legal disputes.
Frequently Asked Questions
To file in small claims court in Poland, follow these steps:1. Serve the complaint on all defendants to officially notify them of the pending claim.2. Assemble all evidence relevant to your case and adequately prepare for the court meeting.3. Present your case, including all evidence, at your small claims trial for evaluation.4. If you win, proceed with the collection of your judgment through repayment from the losing party or court-induced collection methods.Consider factors such as the nature of the claim, the amount in dispute, and the reaction of the defendant, as they may impact the process. The goal of small claims court in Poland is to provide a convenient, cost-effective, and timely resolution for disputes of lesser magnitude.
In Poland, small claims court works in a flexible and speedy manner. The procedure is optional, allowing claimants to choose between small claims or standard court proceedings. The use of technology, such as e-filing and e-service, is employed to make the process more convenient. The court procedure allows for optional hearings and deviations from ordinary rules for taking evidence. The process involves serving the complaint, presenting evidence at the trial, and collecting the judgment if successful. The goal is to provide a facile, economical, and timely solution for disputes of lesser magnitude.
In Poland, the Small Claims Court has a limit of PLN 20,000 for claims arising from contracts and consumer-related matters. Claims for rent and fees payable by tenants can also be considered, regardless of the value. However, certain cases such as divorce, bankruptcy, and lawsuits against the federal government are excluded from the small claims court. The simplified procedure does not allow expert opinions, and the court applies a principle of concentration of evidence.
In Poland, there is no specified minimum amount for which you can sue in Small Claims Court. The stipulation is on the maximum limit which must not exceed PLN 20,000 for claims arising from contracts and consumer-related matters. For civil and commercial matters in accordance with the European directive, the claim value should be under EUR 5,000. It's important to take note of Poland's statutes of limitation, which provide specific timeframes within which a claim must be filed.
The Small Claims Court in Poland is a simplified legal procedure for resolving smaller claims. It is governed by the Polish Code of Civil Procedure and also incorporates the European Small Claims Procedure. The court handles cases within the jurisdiction of district and regional courts, including contractual claims under PLN 20,000, tenant fee disputes, and other civil and commercial matters. The Small Claims Court is recommended for resolving cases involving businesses or individuals, employers or employees, as long as the claim does not exceed PLN 20,000.
In Poland, the statute of limitations and other deadlines at the small claims court fall into three categories: statutory, judicial, and contractual. Statutory deadlines are preset by law and cannot be changed, while judicial deadlines can be adjusted by the court. Contractual deadlines are agreed upon by the parties involved. Time limits in Polish civil procedures are calculated using units such as days, weeks, months, or years. If a deadline falls on a non-working day or Saturday, it is extended to the next working day. Missing a deadline may have consequences, but there are options to apply for reinstatement or reopening of proceedings under certain circumstances.