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Debt Collection in Poland

Debt Collection in Poland

debt collection procedure can be started in Poland in a situation where a debtor is not willing to pay a debt or when he comes to the financial impossibility to fulfill the payment. With a vast experience in debt collection in Polandour lawyers can offer assistance to those who need to recover various amounts of money from debtors.

 Quick Facts 
  Applicable law

The Civil Procedure Code is the main applicable law on debt collection in Poland

Other specific regulations that apply (YES/NO)

 

YES, Poland also enforced EU directives
on debt recovery

Types of debts that can be chased in Poland

 Unpaid bills, various types of contracts with terms that have not been respected, bank loans and mortages, etc.
Availability of out-of-court procedures (YES/NO) 

YES, amicable debt recovery is usually the first step in debt recovery

Court proceedings available (YES/NO)YES, Poland has enabled court proceedings for debt collection
Pre-trial proceedings requirements (YES/NO)

YES, before filing a petition in court, pre-trial attempts to recover a debt are mandatory under the form of amicable procedures

Court in charge of debt collection procedures

In the case of natural persons, any Civil Court can try a debt collection case. In the case of companies, the Business Court is in charge of proceedings

Existence of minimum claim for court proceedings (YES/NO) NO
Duration of amicable debt recovery process in Poland (approx.)Through amicable procedures, an agreement for the payment of the debt can be reached in a
few days or weeks
Duration of debt recovery through court application (approx.)Court proceedings can take between 6 months
and 2 years
Recognition of foreign court order related to debt collection (YES/NO)YES, Poland recognizes foreign enforcement order under international or bi-lateral agreements
Possibility to use the services of debt collection agencies/lawyers (YES/NO)YES, it is possible to use the services of debt collection and law firms in Poland
Availability of debtor protection measures (YES/NO)YES, personal bankruptcy can be invoked by natural persons. Restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy can be used by companies
Debt collection services available (YES/NO)YES, we offer debt collection support
Available debt collection servicesOur debt collection lawyers in Poland can assist in out-of-court and in-court proceedings
 Parties involved in debt recovery

– Creditor;

– debtor;

– debt collection agency or law firm 

 Steps in amicable debt collection

–  Contacting the debtor;

– sending out dunning letters;

– trying to reach a payment settlement.

 Options available for the creditor

The creditor can initiate the procedure on their own or use specialized services 

 Conclusion of amicable debt collection Amicable debt recovery in Poland ends in reaching an agreement with the debtor
 Steps in court proceedings

– Filing a petition;

– hearing procedures;

– ruling 

 Types of court proceedings

  – Injunction orders;

– writ proceedings

 Mandatory hearing stage in debt recovery through court (YES/NO)

Yes, each party is entitled to present their case during the hearing stage 

 Conclusion of court debt recovery proceedings

 Issuance of enforcement and payment orders

 Availability of appeal procedures (YES/NO)

 Yes, debt collection cases can be appealed

 Availability of seizure of assets measure (YES/NO)Yes, the seizure of assets is part of the debt recovery procedure in Poland 
 Requirement for the creditor to appoint a representative (YES/NO)

 No, it is not mandatory for the creditor to appoint a representative, but it is recommended to

 Fees related to debt recovery

 Basic, flat, proportional fees may be asked in debt collection cases

 Availability of small claims procedure (YES/NO)

Yes, the small claims procedure can be used in Poland 

 Availability of debt collection services for businesses (YES/NO)

Yes, our debt collection lawyers are at the service of corporate clients 

Assistance in enforcement of court orders (YES/NO) Yes, we can assist with the enforcement of court orders. 

After the fall of communism, Poland pursued a policy of liberalizing the economy and today is one of the examples of a successful transition from a state-run economy to a market economy. The privatization of small and medium companies that were controlled by the government and the free right of establishment of new firms have allowed the development of the powerful private sector. However, in the private sector, when a customer is unable or unwilling to pay an invoice overdue, it becomes a debtor and a procedure of debt collection can be raised against him.

Types of debt collection procedures in Poland

There are two ways of recovering debt in Poland, through an agreement between the creditor and the debtor which represents the amicable debt collection procedure, and the court procedure through which a judge issues a decision for the recovery of a debt.

In Poland, the law provides that a pre-trial procedure is mandatory, which mainly consists of an amicable settlement between the parties. In this sense, the creditor has to inform the debtor several times and by multiple means (letters, e-mails, and faxes) about the debt. The debtor must also be informed about the risks involved when he does not pay the debt.

Since 2011, when the debt collection procedure implies companies, the action comes in charge of the Business Court in Poland.

If you need help in recovering a debt, our debt collection lawyers in Poland can help you, no matter if you need to recover any outstanding amount of money from natural persons or companies.

Amicable debt collection in Poland

The initial step of the actual debt recovery procedure in Poland is typically an amicable debt recovery. Reminders or/and demands for payment are examples of these acts.

This period is usually agreeable for the following reasons:

  • to recover payment of a debt that is still owed or notify the debtor of impending official procedures.
  • to receive a debt acknowledgment
  • to come to an arrangement between the creditor and the debtor based on the debtor’s admission of responsibility and assurance that it will make the predetermined payments (usually in installments).

If the creditor has not already responded to the reminders or demands for payment, service of those documents will be required for the upcoming court case.

We have also created an infographic about the debt recovery procedure in Poland:

As seen above, trying to recover a debt amicably is mandatory, as it is part of the pre-trial debt collection proceedings in Poland. The important aspects of an amicable debt recovery procedure are:

  • there are no specific court protocols to follow when starting the amicable debt recovery process in Poland;
  • the creditor has the freedom of choosing to try and collect the debt him/herself, or appoint a law firm or debt collection agency in Poland;
  • the initial purpose of the amicable debt collection procedure is to have the debtor acknowledge the debt;
  • then, the procedure should help the creditor and the debtor reach an agreement for the repayment of the debt;
  • the amicable debt collection procedure should help with a speedy and simple recovery of any amount of money and thus avoid court litigation.

It is important to note that the creditor through his/her legal representative must notify the debtor several times even during the amicable debt recovery procedure as the evidence will be used in the Polish court of law.

As mentioned above, the creditor can ask for the services of a Polish debt collection agency or law firm starting with the initial stage of the debt recovery procedure.

Considering the main goal of the amicable debt collection procedure is the recovery of any outstanding amount of money, our debt collection lawyers in Poland can advise on how to reach an amicable agreement with the debtor.

Court debt collection in Poland

When the debtor does not answer the creditor’s amiable attempt, the creditor has the right to bring the case before the Common Court to obtain a writ of payment.

When the case reaches this point there are two possibilities:

– Injunction: when the creditor has all the documents that prove the debt, the proof of delivery and the debtor’s recognition (signed and stamped) regarding the debt, a situation in which the Court issues the writ of payment and charges the creditor with a 1,25% court fee and the second situation implies that the creditor. This procedure lasts about three months. When the creditor files an appeal against the writ of payment, the case is transferred into a regular lawsuit.

– Writ proceedings: this procedure targets the situation when the creditor can not present the complete documentation and the missing document is the debtor’s recognition of the debt. However, when the rest of the documentation is accurate, the Court may issue a writ of payment. The court fees represent 5%, calculated in accordance with the amount of money to be recovered. The debtor is entitled to file an appeal and he will not be charged with the costs of the appeal. In this situation, the case is turned into a regular lawsuit and in 75% of cases, when a final decision is issued in the creditor’s favor, the debtor is also charged with the costs involved in this procedure.

The trial procedure starts when the amicable settlement failed or when the debtor files an appeal against the writ of payment.

An important thing to consider when chasing a debt that implies monetary claims is for the creditor to choose a writ of payment. This procedure is much simpler and easier to complete and will also take less time.

The writ of payment is usually issued after the first hearing of the case, however, it must be noted that the creditor must have all the documents attesting to the failure of payment. Based on the evidence, the Polish court will issue the court order which will be served directly to the debtor.

The Polish regulations provide that a pre-procedure is required, which consists of exchanging proofs and statements in writing between the parties until the court considers there is enough evidence to judge the case.

Both parties will be summoned to a court hearing where the judge will analyze the proofs given by both parties, will hear the statements, and, in accordance with the law’s provisions, the court will schedule a date to publish the decision. Both creditor and debtor will be informed in writing about the Court’s decision.

Both parties are entitled to file an appeal against the decision issued by the court, an action which will be solved by the court of the second instance (local court to district court and district court to higher regional court).

The court costs are charged by three categories: flat rate fees, proportional fees, and basic fees, depending on each action involved in the entire procedure. All the fees must be paid in advance for each step of the proceeding by the party who starts the action.

When the Court’s decision is taken in the creditor’s favor, all the court costs are charged to the debtor and are added to the initial claim.

The injunction and the writ proceedings usually take between two and four months, while the trial procedure can last for 12 months or more, depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s availability. 

Our debt collection lawyers in Poland can offer representation during the court debt recovery procedures.

Debt collection in Poland through the small claims procedure

Another legal process to recover a debt in Poland is the small claims procedure. It comes with the benefit of being a streamlined process. However, it can be used only if the claim’s worth is less than PLN 20,000. Also, it can be used for contractual claims.

The European Small Claims Procedure was established by Regulation No 861/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council in 2007, with the intention of streamlining and improving civil and business proceedings. With the exception of Denmark, all EU member states must comply with the Regulation. Articles 50521 to 50527a of the Code of Civil Procedure transformed it into Polish law.

The small claims court process is available in situations involving common people or individuals, legitimate people or organizations, employees, and business owners.

Small claims are usually solved amicably, however, in case of difficulties our debt collection lawyers in Poland can offer assistance. Here is also a video on our services:

Enforcement of debt collection orders in Poland

No matter if the debt collection procedure was completed through a writ or payments of the ordinary litigation proceedings, once the court decided for the debtor to pay the outstanding amount of money, an order will be issued. The order must be enforced based on a specific protocol which implies:

  1. the creditor to file a petition for the enforcement of the court order with the court’s bailiff;
  2. the application must contain detailed information on the actions which need to be completed by the bailiff;
  3. the bailiff will start the enforcement procedure of the court order, in accordance with the application;
  4. the bailiff must act in accordance with the law when it comes to the assets which can be used for repayment of the debt;
  5. the bailiff can seize the assets and put them for public auction in order to fulfill the enforcement of the court decision.

When it comes to the assets which can be sized in debt collection in Poland, these can be immovable or movable assets. Among these, real estate property, automobiles, or other amounts of money not deriving from the debt can be used to satisfy the claim of the debtor.

If you need assistance in court debt collection in Poland, our law firm can represent your interests before the court. We can also advise on the enforcement of EU court orders.

Payment orders in Poland

Payment orders are enabled in the Polish debt recovery procedures to make it possible to handle straightforward cases more quickly and affordably when parties cannot be reconciled.

The payment order may be given regardless of the amount of the claim.

The applicant has the option of having the case handled as an order for payment or as a regular court action. In this case, the applicants choose the procedure suiting them best.  The authority of the regional and district courts will determine the order for a payment strategy.

The decision can also be made after consulting with a lawyer, and our specialists can advise in these situations.

The court that issued the order for payment must receive a written statement of opposition or statement of defense. The defendant must state in the explanation whether they are wholly or partially opposing the order. A date for a court hearing will be determined by the judge if an objection has been properly lodged. The parties will therefore be heard in the same manner as in regular civil proceedings.

If the debtor decides not to dispute the claim, the payment order will be issued directly. It will serve as a formal declaration of obligation and a foundation for its execution. Once issued, the payment order cannot be appealed.

Considering collecting debts in Poland is well-regulated, any type of procedure you choose can be favorable based on sufficient evidence. If you need assistance in making your case, our lawyers can advise and represent you in any type of debt recovery procedure.

Services offered by our debt collection lawyers in Poland

With a deep knowledge of the legislation, our lawyers can offer assistance in debt recovery in Poland, no matter if the procedure targets natural persons or legal entities. Our services start as soon as you decide to recover your debt and we can support you during the amicable debt collection procedure in order to obtain a repayment of the debt in the shortest period of time possible.

We can also help with the preparation of all the documents which need to be filed with the court for a litigation debt collection procedure. We can also assist with the enforcement of the court decision.

Seizure of Assets in Poland

The seizure of assets in Poland can be completed after the trial and only based on a court order issued by the judge. If you need assistance in relation to the seizure of assets as part of a debt collection case in Poland, our lawyers can help you. You can rely on our debt collection lawyers in Poland during the entire procedure of recovering a debt.

Assets that can be seized in Poland

When the writ of execution is obtained the bailiff is entitled to start further procedures in order to recover the debt.

All the debtor’s assets can make the subject of the seizure procedure:

  •  movable goods;
  •  immovable goods;
  •  bank accounts;
  •  real estate properties;
  •  property rights and other claims belonging to the debtor.

However, the Polish Law provides that certain goods cannot be seized, for example:

  •  clothing, bedding, minimum household equipment;
  •  food and fuel needed for a month;
  •  three sheep, one cow or two goats;
  •  equipment needed in the debtor’s daily work;
  •  money that is not the subject of enforcement;
  •  a certain amount of money from the debtor’s income or when the debtor is unemployed a certain amount of money needed to maintain a minimum lifestyle for two weeks;
  •  aids given by the Polish Govern, as provided by the law;
  •  non- transferable rights;
  •  payments for personal insurance.

Our debt collection lawyers in Poland can offer complete information on the seizure of assets in this country.

Steps in the confiscation of assets in Poland

The bailiff will draw up a list with the debtor’s goods that will be used in the further procedure, for example in the public auction.

The bailiff must inform the debtor about each action taken against him and shall inform him that by paying the debt any further measure will be stopped.

As a general rule, the debtor loses the right to take advantage of his goods until the entire procedure is accomplished.

In this sense, third parties, for example, bank institutions, are informed about the debtor’s situation. The bailiff sends an official document to each bank institution where the debtor has opened an account in order to inform about the compulsory measures taken against the debtor. From that moment on, the bank accounts are blocked and the debtor can not withdraw money or make any payment.

The debtor’s bank accounts are the first assets used to pay the debt.

When the claim is not fulfilled, the law permits installment payments from the debtor’s regular income (salary).

The last step which must be taken is the seizure of assets. The bailiff seizes the debtor’s assets which are later the target of the selling procedure.  When the debtors oppose to the debtor’s actions, the police force can be used.

The debtor’s assets are usually sold in public action. The list drawn up in the first instance by the bailiff will be used. This means that the goods will be sold in accordance with certain rules of priority.

The selling procedure stops when the claim is fulfilled. The new owner has the obligation to deposit a certain sum in the public auction procedure and the rest of the amount in the period provided by the law.

The recognition and enforcement of EU court orders in Poland

When it comes to debt collection in Poland, it is important to note a few key aspects before a Polish court or even an EU court issues a decision. These are:

  • Before any legal action is taken in a debt collection case, an amicable procedure for the recovery of the debt is required;
  • If the case goes to court, the procedure can be completed in an expedited manner or like any other civil case;
  • Both the claimant and the defendant have the right to appeal the case if the desired outcome has not been reached;
  • An appeal with an EU court can also be filed (most of the time, the claimant files a petition with an EU court);
  • The decision of the EU court will be recognized by the Polish court based on various documents filed by the claimant.

The documents that must be filed to have an EU court judgment recognized and enforced in Poland are the court decision or order, the agreement reached in court (if applicable), and a notarial deed that provides for the payment of the debt.

Debt collection statistics in Poland

According to data for 2021, the total number of claims related to debt collection in Poland was 7.7 million. Out of these:

  • 7.215 million were consumer debt claims registered for natural persons;
  • the remaining 489,000 were corporate claim debts;
  • by percentage, there were 86.6 % consumer claims compared to 13.4% corporate claims reported by agencies.

Please contact us for details on our services and information on how we can help you with debt collection in Poland.