UPDATE: Significant court fees increase is coming up
The President of the Republic of Poland signed the Amendment on 24 July 2019. Therefore the Amendment in the scope described below, in significant court fees increase, may enter into force even within the next 3 weeks.
Below we present the main principles of the reform, focusing primarily on property rights cases, and in particular actions for payment.
1. Court fees in property rights cases
One of the most significant results of the Amendment is the change of the rules on claim fees in cases regarding property rights. Such cases are all those that include lawsuits for payment of a pecuniary amount, but also, for example, actions for recovery or actions concerning preliminary agreements.
Up to now, a proportional claim fee corresponding to 5% of the value in dispute, but no more than PLN 100,000, has been charged in such cases. According to the new rules:
- in cases with a value in dispute of up to PLN 20,000 a fixed fee will be charged; its amount will depend on whether such a value will exceed a specific payment threshold (from PLN 30 for value in dispute of up to PLN 500, up to PLN 1,000 for value in dispute of PLN 15,000 to PLN 20,000);
- if a value in dispute will exceed PLN 20,000 a proportional fee of 5% of this value will be charged, however, with a maximum of PLN 200,000.
Importantly, the Amendment provides for benefits of claimants who will decide to make use of alternative dispute resolution methods before filing a lawsuit. If a claimant will take part in a mediation conducted under a mediation agreement before filing a lawsuit, the fixed or proportional claim fee will be reduced by two-thirds, however not more than by PLN 400.
2. Court fee on the so-called motion to set conciliatory hearing
A substantial cost change applies also to the so-called motion to set conciliatory hearing (pol. wniosek o zawezwanie do próby ugodowej), an originally Polish legal institute, very common in practice. Up to now it has been a relatively cheap procedure, with a motion fee of maximum PLN 300. According to the Amendment the motion fee will be calculated on the basis of the value in dispute and amount to 1/5 of the claim fee (see section I above). The fee will therefore reach up to a maximum of PLN 40,000.
3. Court fee on motions to secure pecuniary claims
An significant increase will affect also motions to secure pecuniary claims, filed before initiating the proper civil proceedings (e.g. before filling of a lawsuit). To date a fixed motion fee of PLN 100 has been charged. According to the new rules the motion fee will amount up to a quarter of the claim fee. However, in contrast to the current legal situation, a motion fee paid will be assigned to the claim fee, if the claimant will initiate the proper civil proceedings in due time (as a rule, within two weeks from the service of an interim injunction).
4. Court fees on the so-called corporate matters
What is more, an increase from PLN 2,000 to PLN 5,000 will apply to fixed fees in cases for dissolution of a company, exclusion of a shareholder, repeal, annulment or determination of the existence or non-existence of a resolution of shareholders or a resolution of a general meeting of shareholders, repeal or annulment of a bondholders' resolution.
5. A new type of fees
The Amendment introduces also new types of fees, including a fixed fee in the event of a witness, an expert witness or a party being summoned for a hearing, in the amount of PLN 100 per person. The fee will be due only, if the request for such a summon will be submitted after the approval of the plan of the hearing, i.e. not in a statement of claim or in a response to a claim, but at a later stage of the proceedings. Will it be necessary to issue a warrant for detention and compulsory appearance, an additional fee of PLN 200 will be charged.
6. Changes in the rules of exemption from paying court costs
Another significant change introduced by the Amendment concerns the rules on the exemption from paying court costs in relation to motions submitted by commercial companies. According to the Amendment a commercial company will have to additionally prove that its shareholders do not have sufficient funds to increase the company's assets or grant it a loan in order to enable it to cover the court costs. In practice, getting an exemption from paying court costs will be even more difficult than it is now.
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The President of the Republic of Poland signed the Amendment on 24 July 2019. Therefore the Amendment in the scope described above, in significant court fees increase, may enter into force even within the next 3 weeks. Statements of claim, motions etc. filed on or after the date of entry of the Amendment into force, will be subject to the new rules, in particular increased court fees.
Therefore, if you plan to initiate legal proceeding in Poland and intend to take advantage of the "preferential" rates and rules on court fees before its change, do not hesitate to contact our Law Office.
As always, we are at your disposal for any additional information.
Dr. Wojciech Dubis
Attorney-at-law / Partner
Aleksandra Krawczyk, LL.M.