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Last update: 15-01-2009
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Procedural time limits - Poland

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters; for example, procedural time limits, periods of prescription or limitation, prefixed periods, etc... 1.
2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971. 2.
3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures? Quote references of applicable legislation. 3.
4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? (e.g.: the date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation from which it runs). 4.
a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service? a)
5. From when does this period begin to run: 5.
a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ? a)
b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days? b)
c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years? When do such deadlines expire? c)
6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event? 6.
7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the metropolitan territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have the geographically separate entities), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those who live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long? 7.
8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad? 8.
9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters? 9.
10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended? 10.
11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ? 11.
12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods? 12.
13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties? 13.

 

1. Various types of deadlines applicable under the various procedural rules in civil matters; for example, procedural time limits, periods of prescription or limitation, prefixed periods, etc...

The following deadlines are recognised in Polish civil proceedings:

  1. for acts of legal procedure by the parties:
    1. prefixed
    2. court
    3. contractual
  2. for acts of legal procedure by the court:
    1. instructive

Final deadlines include: prefixed periods and court deadlines.

1a) Prefixed periods

The law provides for periods of limitation (i.e. failure to comply with them renders the act of legal procedure invalid). These deadlines cannot be extended or shortened by the courts. Prefixed periods commence from the starting point specified by law.

Prefixed periods include in particular:

  • ad quem deadlines - where the action should be completed before expiry of the deadline
  • post quem deadlines - where the action may be completed after expiry of the deadline.

Prefixed periods include deadlines for exercising remedies at law, e.g. deadlines for lodging appeals.

1b) Court deadlines

Also periods of limitation, but set by a court or a judge. Court deadlines can be extended or shortened, but only for a valid reason and further to a request submitted before expiry of the deadline, even without the opposing party being heard.

These deadlines commence from the announcement of a decision or an order in that respect, or, if the Code provides for ex officio delivery, from the delivery of such decision or order.

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Court deadlines include the deadline for remedying incapacity to act in court or incapacity to be a party to the proceedings, or the deadline for supplementing an appeal.

The court is obliged ex officio to monitor compliance with prefixed periods and court deadlines.

1c) Contractual deadlines

These are set by the parties to the proceedings in an agreement to recommence proceedings suspended at their mutual request.

2. Instructive deadlines

These are deadlines for actions by the court to ensure the efficient operation of court bodies in civil proceedings. Non-compliance with these deadlines by the court does not entitle the parties to challenge the court's actions.

Under the Polish Code of Civil Procedure (in short: CCP), the statutory procedural time limits set for exercising remedies at law depend on the type of court decision concerned (judgment, decision as to the merits of the case in non-litigious proceedings, default judgment, payment order in payment-order proceedings, payment order in writ-of-payment proceedings and decision). In particular, provision is made for the following prefixed periods:

  • judgments and decisions as to the merits of the case in non-litigious proceedings (Article 328 CCP and Article 369 CCP):

The reasons for a judgment are prepared at the request of a party, submitted within one week of the judgment being announced or, if the party is not represented by a lawyer, a legal adviser or a patent agent and was absent when the judgment was announced as a result of imprisonment, from the date on which the judgment is delivered.

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Appeals must be lodged at the court which issued the disputed judgment within two weeks of the date on which the judgment and the reasons for the judgment are delivered to the complainant. If the party did not request the reasons for the judgment, it may submit its appeal within 21 days of the date on which the judgment is announced.

  • provisions of Article 394(2) CCP:

The deadline for lodging a complaint is one week, counting from the date on which the decision is delivered, and, if the party did not apply, within the prescribed deadline, for the decision handed down at the hearing to be delivered to him/her, from the announcement of the decision.

  • default judgment in relation to the defendant (Article 344 CCP):

Defendants against whom a default judgment was issued may file an objection within one week from the date on which the judgment was delivered to them.

  • default judgment in relation to the plaintiff is covered by Article 342 CCP:

A default judgment must be substantiated by the court if the case has been dismissed in whole or in part, and the plaintiff has demanded such substantiation within one week of the date on which the judgment was delivered to them, or if the plaintiff who had not submitted such a demand appealed within the prescribed deadline.

  • payment order in writ-of-payment proceedings (Article 502 CCP):

The payment order requests the defendant to pay the claim in full, including costs, within two weeks of the date on which the order was delivered, or to file an objection at court within the said deadline.

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  • payment order in payment-order proceedings (Article 491 CCP):

When issuing an order for payment, the court rules that the defendant must, within two weeks of the date on which the order was delivered, pay the claim in full, including costs, or submit a complaint within the said deadline.

2. List of the various days envisaged as non-working days pursuant to the Regulation (EEC, Euratom) n° 1182/71 of 3 June 1971.

Under the Public Holidays Act of 18 January 1951, the following days are statutory public holidays:

  • all Sundays (it is assumed in judicial decisions that Saturdays are not statutory public holidays),
  • 1 January – New Year’s Day,
  • first day of Easter,
  • second day of Easter,
  • 1 May – State Holiday,
  • 3 May – National Holiday of 3rd May,
  • first day of Whitsun,
  • Corpus Christi,
  • 15 August – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
  • 1 November – All Saints’ Day,
  • 11 November – National Independence Day,
  • 25 December – first day of Christmas,
  • 26 December – second day of Christmas,

The movable religious feasts fall on the following dates:

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

First day of Easter

16.04

08.04

23.03

12.04

03.04

Second day of Easter

17.04

09.04

24.03

13.04

04.04

First day of Whitsun

04.06

27.05

11.05

31.05

23.05

Corpus Christi

15.06

07.06

22.05

11.06

03.06

3. What are the applicable general rules on time limits for the various civil procedures? Quote references of applicable legislation.

A final deadline (dies as quem) - more precisely referred to as the time of expiry of the deadline. The deadline does not have to be specified as to the date, but must be determined by an event which is predicted to occur in a certain situation by the contracting parties.

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Procedural time limits are set with reference to time units such as days, weeks, months, years.

Pursuant to Article 165 CCP, the provisions of the Civil Code (CC) relating to deadlines apply to the method used to calculate deadlines in civil proceedings, if a law, a court decision, a decision of another State authority or a legal transaction provides for a deadline without specifying the calculation method (Article 110 CC). Submitting a procedural writ at a Post office run by the public operator in Poland is equivalent to submitting the procedural writ at court. The same applies to a writ submitted by a soldier to military headquarters, by a prisoner to the administrative office of the penal institution or by a crew member of a Polish sea vessel to the ship’s captain.

  • Article 111 CC: A time limit set in days will expire at the end of the last day.
  • Article 112 CC: A time limit set in weeks, months or years will expire at the end of the day which corresponds, by name or date, to the first day of the time limit and, if there is no such day in the last month, on the last day of that month.
  • Article 113 CC: If a time limit is set for the beginning, middle or end of the month, it will be understood as the first, fifteenth or last day of the month. A half-monthly time limit is equivalent to fifteen days.
  • Article 114 CC: If a time limit is set in months or years, and continuity is not required, a month will be counted as thirty days and a year will be counted as three hundred and sixty-five days.
  • Article 115 CC: If the end of the time limit for an action to be completed falls on a day designated by law as a public holiday, the deadline will expire on the following day.

4. When an act or a formality has to be carried out within a given period, what is the starting time - i.e. the initial moment from which the period runs ("terminus a quo") - of this act or of this formality? (e.g.: the date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation from which it runs).

Article 111 CC:  If the beginning of the time limit specified in days is a certain event, the day on which the event occurs will not be taken into account when calculating the time limit.

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a) Can the starting point from which the period runs be affected or modified by the method of transmission or service of documents (personal service by a huissier or postal service?

The court may make deliveries by various methods: by post, via the court bailiff or court ushers, and also via the court delivery service. Delivery to recipients may also be effected by handing the writ to them in person at the court office. As a rule, however, writs are delivered by post (Article 131 CCP). All these methods, provided that delivery has been effected correctly, are equally valid and the use of any one of them does not affect deadlines.

A deadline is complied with if the procedural writ for which the deadline was set is received at court within that deadline, i.e. is submitted at the court’s day-book office (with the date stamp being the determining factor) or is deposited at a Post office run by the public operator in Poland.

It is assumed in judicial decisions that the date of lodging a procedural writ by telephone is the date of dispatch of the telegram and, if the writ is sent by fax, it is the time marked on the acknowledgement of receipt at the court. Similarly, the date of payment of the court fee by bank transfer effected at a foreign bank is the date of receipt of the payment order by the national bank serving as the foreign bank’s correspondent. Compliance with the deadline for completing the action is determined not by the date on which the writ is dispatched abroad, but by the date on which it is transferred to a Polish post office.

5. From when does this period begin to run:

a) When such a period is expressed in days, does the actual date of the act, of the event, of the decision or of the date of service and/or intimation which begins it count ?

Under Article 111 CC, if the beginning of a deadline set in days is a certain event, the day on which the event occurs is not taken into account when calculating the deadline.

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Does the starting time for any time limit depend in any way on the receipt by or knowledge of the action by the recipient. If so how?

The recipient acknowledges receipt of the writ and its date by means of his/her signature. If the recipient is unable or unwilling to do this, the person delivering the writ marks the date of delivery himself and indicates why no signature was provided. The person delivering the writ specifies the method of delivery on the acknowledgement of receipt and marks the date of delivery on the delivered writ, together with his/her signature.

It is assumed that the recipient’s signature confirms not only receipt of the writ, but also the date of receipt. Lack of confirmation of the delivery date by the recipient does not render the delivery invalid. The date of delivery should be assumed to be the date shown on the date stamp of the delivering post office. The lack of the writ recipient’s signature requires the person delivering the writ to specify the reason, i.e. either incapacity or refusal to sign (in addition to the cases of delivery under Article 139, this may be due to inability to write, disability, illness) and the date of delivery. The date of such delivery is, in the circumstances specified in paragraph 1 and partly in Article 139(2), a date with no legal effect. In such cases, the lack of a date does not render the delivery invalid, as the date of the postal stamp is the determining factor in establishing the date of delivery.

The effects of delivery apply following receipt of the writ by the recipient or if delivery has been made in accordance with the provisions of the Code and in such a way that the recipient was able to read the delivered writ. For procedural time limit purposes, it is irrelevant whether the recipient has actually read the writ.

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b) When a time limit is expressed in days, does the indicated number of days include calendar days or only working days?

For example, if a person must act or is served a document on Monday 4th of April 2005 and he or she is requested to answer within 14 days from service, does this mean that he or she shall answer before:

i) Monday, 18th of April (calendar days) or

ii) Friday 22nd of April 2005 (working days)?

Deadlines specified in days are counted as calendar days, however if the end of the time limit for performing an action falls on a statutory public holiday, the deadline expires on the following day.

In view of the above, the response should be given on Monday 18 April. If 18 April were a statutory public holiday, the deadline would expire on 19 April.

c) When such a period is expressed in months or in years? When do such deadlines expire?

See point 3: Articles 112-115 CC.

Are there any starting points for time limits which apply exceptionally or particularly in certain civil procedures?

The beginning of prefixed periods is specified by law in the particular provisions in which such deadlines are set. Thus solutions similar to those applicable to court deadlines can be adopted, e.g. as regards the beginning of the time limit for lodging a complaint, or they can be totally different and based on different premises, e.g. as regards the deadline for recommencing proceedings.

The exception is specified in Article 169(4) CCP, which provides that one year after a defaulted deadline, its may be reinstated only in exceptional cases.

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6. If the period expires on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday or non-working day, is it extended until the first following working day? Is this extension applicable even when the period in question has as a starting point a future event?

See point 3 : Article 115 CC.

7. When the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in the metropolitan territory of the Member State (for those which comprise entities apart from the metropolis or have the geographically separate entities), are deadlines increased for persons who live/reside in one of these entities or for those who live/reside abroad? If in the affirmative for how long?

Not applicable.

8. Conversely, when the request is taken to a jurisdiction which has its seat in one of these entities distinct geographically from the mainland, are deadlines increased for persons who do not live/reside in these entities or for persons who live/reside abroad?

Not applicable.

9. Are there time limits for appeals specific to certain civil matters?

No distinction is made between deadlines for lodging an appeal against a judgment (or a decision as to the merits of the case in non-litigious proceedings – Article 518 CCP). As regards deadlines for lodging appeals and exercising other remedies at law, see point 1.

In summary and non-litigious proceedings, for the party who has waived the right to have the reasons for the judgment delivered, the deadline for lodging an appeal runs from the date on which the judgment is announced. In addition, in summary proceedings, a party present at the hearing at which the judgment was announced may, after the announcement, in a statement made for the record, waive the right to lodge an appeal. If the right to appeal is waived by all the entitled parties, the judgment becomes legally valid (Article 5058 CCP and Article 517 CCP).

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10. Can courts, in an emergency or for any other cause, shorten the appearance time limits or fix a special date for appearance? Conversely can such periods be extended?

The presiding judge may, for valid reasons, only extend or shorten a court deadline further to a request submitted before expiry of the deadline, even without hearing the opposing party. This right is not vested in the judge in respect of prefixed periods (Article 166 CCP).

11. When an act intended for a party resident in a place where he/she would benefit from an extension of a time limit is notified in a place where those who reside there do not benefit from such an extension, does this person lose the benefit of such a time limit ?

Not applicable.

12. What are the sanctions in case of non-observance of the periods?

Under Article 167 CCP, an act of procedure performed by a party after expiry of a deadline is invalid. This principle applies both to prefixed periods and court deadlines. In addition to invalidity of the act of procedure, which is an automatic consequence of expiry of the deadline, other consequences may follow on expiry of certain procedural time limits.

13. If the deadline expires, what remedies are available to defaulting parties?

If the deadline expires, the party can apply for it to be reinstated or may lodge a complaint to recommence proceedings.

Reinstatement of deadline (Article 167 CCP – 172 CCP):

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Under Article 167 CCP, if a party has failed to perform an act of procedure through no fault of its own, the court will, at the party’s request, reinstate the deadline. However, reinstatement is inadmissible if non-compliance with the deadline does not have any negative procedural effects for the party. A writ containing a request to reinstate the deadline must be lodged at the court in which the act was to be performed, within one week of the time when the reason for non-compliance with the deadline ceased to exist. The writ should indicate the circumstances supporting the request. When it submits the request, the party should perform the act of procedure. One year after the missed deadline, its reinstatement is possible only in exceptional cases (Articles 168-169 CCP). It is not permissible to reinstate the deadline for lodging an appeal against a judgment on the annulment of marriage or on divorce, or establishing non-existence of marriage, if one or both of the parties has remarried after the judgment became legally valid (Article 170 CCP). Submitting an application for the reinstatement of a deadline does not halt proceedings in the case or enforcement of the judgment. The court may, however, depending on the circumstances, adjourn proceedings or enforcement of the judgment. If the application is granted, the court may hear the case immediately (Article 172 CCP).

Recommencement of proceedings:

In the cases provided for in Articles 399 – 4161 CCP, it is possible to demand the recommencement of proceedings that have been completed by a legally valid judgment. Applications for the recommencement of proceedings must be lodged within 3 months, this deadline being counted from the day on which the party became aware of the grounds for recommencement and, if the reason for recommencement is incapacity to act or lack of proper representation, from the day on which the party, its authority or its statutory representative became aware of the judgment.

Upon expiry of five years from the judgment’s becoming legally valid, recommencement cannot be demanded, except in cases where the party was incapacitated or was not represented properly.

However, an application to recommence proceedings is inadmissible in relation to judgments providing for the annulment of a marriage or for a divorce, or establishing non-existence of marriage, if one or both of the parties has remarried after the judgement became legally valid.

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Last update: 15-01-2009

 
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