The Act of April 23, 1964 of the Civil Code is the main source of civil law in Poland, mentioning the general principles of civil law. It regulates the subjects of civil law, proxies, property, legal actions, declarations (statements) of will, deadlines, statute of limitations. In addition, ownership and other proprietary rights such as perpetual usufruct, or possession and obligations are governed by it.
Who are the subjects of civil law?
Natural and legal persons are mainly subjects of civil law. While natural persons have a legal capacity to carry rights and obligations from birth to death, the legal entities obtain legal capacities from the moment they are registered into an appropriate registry.
The age and competence of a natural person are the main criteria when undertaking legal actions such as to acquire rights and incurs obligations. Adults, meaning persons aged 18 and above have full capacity if a court in Poland does not declare otherwise. When it comes to persons aged between 13 and 18 years old, as well as persons who are officially declared partly incompetent, such as people who suffer from mental illnesses, have mental retardation, or abuse alcohol or drugs, they fit into the limited capacity category, and they cannot undertake legal actions.
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As for juridical persons, they can have legal action from the moment of obtaining the legal capacity and they act through their statutory organs. However, if the actions undertaken by the juridical person are made by a person with limited capacity, then those actions must be confirmed by a legal representative such as a parent or custodian.
Civil Law applied under the European Union regulations
Poland established an association with the European Communities and their Member Stated when the Europe Agreement was signed in 1991, and since then it has made strong efforts to align the Polish Civil law with the European rules and standards. A very important step was the Accession Treaty signed by Poland in 2003, in which the country accepted the entire acquis communautaire. However, there is still more work to be done for a complete implementation.
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