Poland updates

Arbitration & ADR

Contributed by Kubas Kos Gałkowski
Ready, set, off: Warsaw Court of Appeals confirms tribunal's jurisdiction over set-off claims
  • Poland
  • 23 July 2020

The issue of an arbitral tribunal's jurisdiction over set-off claims that are not covered by an arbitration agreement is controversial, with the rules differing from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In a recent judgment, the Warsaw Court of Appeals held that even if a set-off claim is based on an agreement that is outside the scope of an arbitration agreement, the tribunal must determine the set-off's effects on the main claim raised in the proceedings.

Words, words, words: concise reasoning not grounds to vacate award
  • Poland
  • 27 February 2020

Parties which lose in arbitration often continue to fight off a claim before a state court in post-arbitral proceedings, despite not having a strong case. This provides a double benefit for Polish arbitration practice: not only are a vast majority of these attempts defeated, but the Supreme Court also has a chance to confirm its pro-arbitration approach. One recent decision underlines that the mere fact that the reasoning of an arbitral award is concise is insufficient grounds to vacate the award.

Res iudicata saga continues
  • Poland
  • 30 January 2020

The Supreme Court has previously opted for both a broad and a narrow understanding of res iudicata in Polish arbitration law. In a recent judgment, the court again leaned towards a narrow understanding of to what degree an arbitral tribunal is bound by a previous award. The decision should be a caveat for all participants in the Polish legal market that they should play until the whistle is blown.

Important changes to arbitration of corporate disputes introduced
  • Poland
  • 07 November 2019

The arbitrability of corporate disputes has long been a controversial issue in Poland. Recent changes in Polish law introduced by the Act of 31 July 2019 aimed to resolve the issues surrounding and give the green light to arbitrating corporate disputes. Unfortunately, it seems that these amendments have failed to solve all of the problems and have even created additional uncertainties.

ICC award set aside for failure to admit further expert evidence
  • Poland
  • 05 September 2019

A recent Supreme Court case touched on the obligations of an arbitral tribunal which cannot base its award on party-appointed experts' opinions. In a controversial decision, the court clarified that in such cases, when both parties request a tribunal-appointed expert, the tribunal should allow such a motion and cannot merely decide against the motioning party, as this may cause it to violate its obligation to consider the case, which – according to the Supreme Court – is part of public policy.


Competition & Antitrust

Contributed by Schoenherr
UOKiK publishes guidelines regarding competition-related fines imposed on managers
  • Poland
  • 13 August 2020

Under the Competition Act, when an undertaking is fined for being a party to a restrictive agreement, the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) can impose financial penalties on the undertaking's managers. The UOKiK recently published a soft law document which provides detailed rules for determining such penalties. According to the new guidelines, fine calculations are a multi-stage process in which an array of objective and subjective criteria are taken into account.

COVID-19: state aid scheme sets maximum prices and margins for certain goods
  • Poland
  • 30 April 2020

The European Commission recently approved a state aid scheme worth Zl3.5 billion (approximately €700 million) for loans and guarantees to support the Polish economy in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. The scheme will allow the Polish authorities to grant aid to support Polish companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak by providing liquidity support in the form of guarantees on loans and subsidised interest rates for loans. This article addresses the new competition rules under the scheme.

Supreme Court comments on anti-competitive vertical agreements
  • Poland
  • 26 September 2019

The Supreme Court recently explained that the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection does not have to identify all of the parties to an anti-competitive vertical agreement in decisions issued in such cases. This matter has been the subject of debate in Poland for some time, with some commentators viewing it as a possible violation of an organiser's right to a defence. It is evident from this judgment that such arguments will be unsuccessful in the courts.

Constitutional Tribunal finds undertakings have right to appeal against consent to conduct searches
  • Poland
  • 13 June 2019

The Constitutional Tribunal recently analysed regulations regarding dawn raids carried out by the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection and ruled that the respective law is not in line with the Constitution insofar as it excludes the possibility to challenge rulings allowing searches to be conducted. As a result, the Competition Act will be amended to provide searched undertakings with the possibility to appeal against Circuit Court consent to conduct searches.

First year of law on unfair practices in food sector – an overview
  • Poland
  • 04 October 2018

One year has passed since the Act on Counteracting the Unfair Use of Contractual Advantage in the Trade of Agricultural and Food Products entered into force. The act aimed to protect small farmers and grocery suppliers against the abuse of power by large supermarkets and chain stores. The government recently adopted an amendment to the act which will allow the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection to intervene in cases involving smaller farmers.


Corporate & Commercial

Representation of corporations and prohibition of self-dealing
  • Poland
  • 09 March 2020

In economic trading, corporations on both sides of a transaction are often represented by the same person, who is often a board member of the parent. The Commercial Companies Code does not mention the admissibility of such simultaneous representation of two corporations by the same person acting as a board member. However, in the Civil Code, this situation is regulated with regard to the representation of two parties to a transaction by the same 'attorney-in-fact'.

Disposal of shares in private companies after introduction of universal dematerialisation
  • Poland
  • 13 January 2020

The Law of 30 August 2019 significantly amended the Commercial Companies Code and other laws. The main change regards the general dematerialisation of shares in private joint stock companies and limited joint stock partnerships. The amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Simple joint stock company introduced to Commercial Companies Code
  • Poland
  • 07 October 2019

Parliament recently introduced the simple joint stock company to the Commercial Companies Code. This change aims to provide a simpler and cheaper option than standard joint stock companies regarding company formation, operation and liquidation and a more modern and flexible company model with a legal personality that will be particularly attractive to start-ups. However, the introduction of this new type of company has provoked divergent opinions.

E-financial statements are first stage of digital revolution in Polish corporate law
  • Poland
  • 29 July 2019

The legislature recently introduced a regulation on e-financial statements. As a result, all financial reports submitted by Polish companies (with the exception of entities preparing financial statements in compliance with the international accounting standards) must be drawn up electronically using files with an '.xml' extension as defined by the Ministry of Finance. Polish companies should take appropriate steps to mitigate the potential risks and comply with this revolutionary regulation as soon as possible.

Special rules of representation for limited liability companies
  • Poland
  • 08 July 2019

The Commercial Company Code allows representation by a supervisory board or proxy appointed by a resolution of a shareholders' meeting in contracts or disputes between companies and their management boards. In this context, the Supreme Court recently examined whether a limited liability company should be represented by a general partner or its management board when amending a limited partnership agreement, despite the fact that the limited partner was a member of the company's management board.


Corporate Finance/M&A

Downstream mergers under Polish company law
  • Poland
  • 19 February 2020

The Code of Commercial Companies allows for mergers of both independent companies and related entities. Concerns arise when subsidiaries take over dominant companies (so-called 'reverse' or 'downstream' mergers) and the domination results in a subsidiary having a controlling shareholding package. While downstream mergers are admissible under Polish company law, a high level of uncertainty remains as to whether they will be accepted by a particular registry court.


Employment & Immigration

Contributed by Sołtysiński Kawecki & Szlęzak
Changes on the horizon regarding posting of employees and mobbing
  • Poland
  • 02 September 2020

For the past few months, legislative work has primarily focused on COVID-19. However, the anti-crisis shield is not the only issue that employers should pay attention to in the near future. On the horizon there are changes concerning the posting of employees and potential changes with respect to 'mobbing' (ie, workplace bullying).

COVID-19 legislation's impact on employee programmes
  • Poland
  • 22 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in certain changes to Polish law which affect selected financial aspects of the employee ownership programmes implemented in Poland by foreign companies. The pertinent changes involve the local labour law regulations which govern salary deductions for the purpose of covering the subscription price of the financial instruments offered to local employees who participate in such programmes.

Anti-crisis shield updates
  • Poland
  • 15 July 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced a package of measures known as the 'anti-crisis shield'. This article summarises the employment-related measures offered under the different versions of the anti-crisis shield relief packages, covering topics such as exemptions from social security contributions, downtime relief payments and reduced working time.

COVID-19: anti-crisis shield updates
  • Poland
  • 27 May 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government introduced a package of measures – the so-called 'anti-crisis shield'. This article summarises the employment-related measures offered under the different versions of the anti-crisis shield relief packages covering topics such as exemptions from social security contributions, downtime relief payment and reduced working time.

National Labour Inspectorate announces 2020 inspection plan
  • Poland
  • 08 April 2020

The National Labour Inspectorate (NLI) has announced its inspection plan for 2020, which includes undertaking 72,000 inspections. The NLI's inspection priorities include limiting violations of working time regulations and reducing the level of fraud in the conclusion of civil law contracts with regard to conditions which are specific to employment relationships.