On 7 September 2015 an act amending the Civil Procedure Code was published. The amendments include changes to proceedings on the enforcement of liabilities. The changes aim to speed up proceedings by computerisation, and at the same time clarify various issues that have arisen in the application of existing regulations.

One significant change concerns the enforcement of liabilities from debtors’ bank accounts. After the amendment enters into force the seizure of funds by the bailiff from a bank account as well asall correspondence between the bailiff and the bank concerning the seizure will be conducted only in electronic form, by way of a dedicated IT system. At the same time the banking laws will require banks to run IT systems servicing such seizures.

This change implements the demands of both bailiffs and banks, which argued that traditionalcorrespondence resulted in delays, thus reducing the speed and effectiveness of enforcementfrom bank accounts.

Proceedings for appending an enforcement clause to the Bank’s executive title will also be computerised. An application in this regard can only be filed electronically, and the court will issue decisions in electronic form.

Another aspect of the computerisation of enforcement proceedings is the introduction of electronic bidding as a way for the bailiff to sell seized movables. Auctioning will take place electronicallythrough a dedicated IT system.

The amendment also introduces the possibility of immediate enforcement of a debtor’s liabilities in a foreign currency, but on the condition that the judgment stipulates that the receivable must be satisfied exclusively in a foreign currency. In such a situation, if the bailiff obtains Polish currency in the course of enforcement proceedings, he has the right to exchange it for foreign currency at a bank designated by the debtor. If the debtor does not indicate a bank, the right goes to the creditor, then the bailiff. Finally the creditor will receive an amount in foreign currency in accordance with the judgment.

The following is a brief description of other changes to enforcement proceedings:

  • Indication of the methods of enforcement available to the bailiff (with the exception ofenforcement from real estate, which requires an express application from the creditor). The creditor will have the right to limit the enforcement to one or more methods, and this limitation will be binding on the bailiff. The principle that the bailiff must use the method of enforcement that is least burdensome for the debtor is maintained.
  • The possibility of a third party joining enforcement proceedings with the consent of the creditor if, after the initiation of enforcement proceedings, the claim subject to enforcement is transferred to such third party. For this to be possible, however, the transfer of the claim must be proven by an official document or a private document with an officially certified signature.
  • Extending the competences of the bailiff at the expense of the court in enforcement of liabilities from property, e.g. by granting the bailiff the right to establish and implement a division plan and removing the requirement that a court approves the plan.
  • An oral hearing before the dismissal or suspension of enforcement proceedings will no longer be mandatory, but optional.

These changes aim to clear up numerous doubts that have arisen in the doctrine and case law in the course of the application of the provisions on enforcement of liabilities, and also speed up enforcement proceedings. Computerisation of enforcement proceedings is, however, the dominant theme of the amendment. 

The changes will come into force 12 months after their publication, i.e. on 7 September 2016. Such a long waiting period gives time for adaptations to be made. This is particularly important for banks, which need to introduce IT systems to support seizures of funds from accounts and make sure that they meet all requirements imposed on them.