Amendments of the Code of Criminal Proceedings and Criminal Code impact the rights of injured parties by i.a. allowing requests to terminate criminal proceedings to be filed, introducing new rules for compensation for damage caused by a crime, and introducing provisions which may discourage prosecutors from establishing security against the accused’s assets.
In our Law-now eAlert of 13 August and eAlert of 23 July we discussed the impact which the amendment of the Code of Criminal Proceedings and the Criminal Code, which came into force on 1 July 2015, had on the role of professional counsels in criminal proceedings as well as on the significance and process of conducting internal investigations.
In this Law-now we will discuss additional changes introduced by the Amendment which clients who are or may become injured parties in criminal proceedings should be aware of and take into consideration when deciding whether to pursue their claims against a perpetrator of a crime before a civil or criminal court.
- Termination of criminal proceedings at the request of the injured party
The Amendment allows an injured party to file a request to terminate criminal proceedings, if the perpetrator has compensated the injured party for the damage caused by certain crimes (in particular theft and misappropriation). This new basis for termination may help clients who have been injured by criminal activity of their employees. The possibility of avoiding a criminal conviction may encourage employees to compensate employers for damage the employees inflicted.
- New rules for compensation for damage caused by a crime
Before the Amendment came into force an injured party could pursue its civil law claims in criminal proceedings by an adhesive civil action filed with the prosecutor or the criminal court. Currently an injured party may pursue civil claims only by filing a request to the criminal court to impose an obligation to remedy damage caused by the crime, or by filing a separate action before a civil court. Moreover, since the Amendment, if imposing an obligation to remedy damage is difficult (e.g. if the value of the damage is hard to assess) the court may award compensation in an amount of up to PLN 200,000.
- New rules which may impact security against the assets of the accused
The Amendment provides the accused a possibility to claim compensation from the State Treasury for damage caused by security against assets, if the security is not used to the full extent, i.e. the value of the secured assets turns out to be greater than the amount of compensation, fines and forfeiture adjudicated by the court. This may discourage the prosecutors from enforcing security against assets. In order to convince the prosecutor to enforce the security, the injured parties may be required to precisely indicate and prove the amount of damage suffered as a result of the crime even at the early stages of the criminal investigation.