The Polish Sejm has adopted the law on private actions for competition damages. The act has been referred to the Senate and, according to the timetable, new provisions will come into force towards the end of June 2017.
The new regulations introduce into Polish law provisions of the EU Damages Directive (2014/104/EU), which facilitates the private enforcement of competition law by market players in civil courts. Aggrieved parties will receive instruments that will help them pursue such claims, and violators (cartel members, parties to anti-competitive agreements, or entities that abuse a dominant position) will have to pay high compensation in addition to fines imposed by the competition authority.
The most important changes include:
- making the competition authority’s final decision or the review court’s final resolution binding upon the court;
- facilitating the acquisition of evidence held by violators or third parties;
- making it possible to access certain evidence in the competition authority’s files;
- introducing a system of legal presumptions (e.g. presumption of the violator’s guilt, presumption that an infringement of competition law causes damage) which the aggrieved parties will be entitled to use;
- making it easier to determine the amount of damages;
- allowing recovery of interest from the moment damage occurred;
- suspending the limitation period for claims for the duration of the competition authority’s proceedings;
- joint and several liability of violators, with the exception of small and medium-sized businesses and leniency applicants who are exempt from a fine.
We will keep you informed about further work on the act and about the exact date it will come into force.