Starting from the second half of this year, the rules of procedure before the Polish civil courts will undergo a major overhaul – yet another in recent years. One of the most important changes is the introduction of separate rules for consumer cases. These rules will apply both to cases in which it is the consumer who has initiated the court proceedings against a business and to cases where the consumer stands as a defendant in an action started by a business (B2C, C2B).
The consumer case procedure will differ from standard procedures in three important respects:
- The consumer will essentially always have an option to sue a business at their place of residence, in addition to other standard options like the place of the defendant’s domicile or the place of contract performance. This is to harmonise the Polish procedures with the Brussel I bis rules.
- The business’s failure to make a genuine attempt to settle the dispute in an amicable manner, evasion of negotiations, or negotiating in bad faith may result in the business being obliged to reimburse the consumer for the entire costs of the proceedings, or even double that amount, regardless of the outcome of the case.
The provisions on customer proceedings will take effect as of July 1st, 2023. They will apply not only to cases initiated from that date but also to cases that were initiated earlier and remain pending as of that date. Businesses should use the time left to prepare for the new reality and adjust their practices and procedures, so that they are ready to respond in a timely manner to new consumer actions as well as developments in any ongoing proceedings and demonstrate that the requirements regarding attempting to resolve a dispute amicably were met.