On 27 June 2017 the law on private actions for competition damages entered into force.
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 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 overcharge was passed on to an indirect purchaser) which the aggrieved parties will be entitled to use;
- allowing recovery of interest from the moment damage occurred until the moment of adjudicating, when the amount of damages is based on prices at the time of adjudicating;
- extending the statute of limitations (from 3 to 5 years);
- suspending the limitation period for claims for the duration of the competition authority’s proceedings as well as court proceedings instigated by an appeal against a decision of the competition authority;
- joint and several liability of violators, with the exception of small and medium-sized businesses and leniency applicants who are exempt from fines.