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Recognition of an European Union Court Decision in Poland

Recognition of an European Union Court Decision in Poland

As an EU member, Poland recognizes and enforces decisions issued by EU courts in various civil and commercial matters. This principle also applies in debt collection in Poland which are treated under the Civil Code.

In order to complete the debt collection procedure in Poland, creditors have several tools they can use. Among these, the services of a debt collection agency which can try and recover the debt amicably or those of a law firm which will recover any outstanding amount of money in court.

Below, our debt collection lawyers in Poland explain how court decisions issued by EU courts can be recognized and enforced. We can help in various debt collection cases and can also assist with the enforcement of local and EU court judgments in Poland.

The EU Court of Justice (ECJ)

The Court of Justice of the European Union ( ECJ ) is an institution of the European Union that represents the highest judicial power in the Community and its judicial power is recognized in each Member State.

 Quick Facts  
 EU court decisions  European Union (a) court decisions, such as those from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), are binding on all EU member states, including Poland.

 Legal supremacy of EU law

In Poland, EU law holds supremacy over national law. EU court decisions take precedence over conflicting national laws. 

 EU directives

 EU directives require transposition into Polish law to become enforceable in the country. Poland must implement them within the specified timeframe.

Enforcement mechanisms   Poland must ensure effective enforcement of EU court decisions and promptly comply with the judgments.
 Preliminary rulings

 National courts in Poland can refer questions to the ECJ for preliminary rulings on the interpretation of EU law.

 Application in civil matters

 EU court decisions in civil matters, such as contractual disputes and family law, are applicable and enforceable in Poland.

 Jurisdiction of the ECJ

The ECJ has jurisdiction over interpreting and applying EU law, ensuring its uniform application in all member states. 

 Access to justice

 Individuals and businesses in Poland can seek justice and claim their rights under EU law through EU court decisions.

 Consumer protection

 EU court decisions on consumer protection apply in Poland, safeguarding consumers’ interests and rights.

 Competition law  ECJ’s decisions on competition law impact antitrust cases in Poland, ensuring fair competition within the EU.
 Employment rights

 Workers in Poland are entitled to employment rights and protections established through EU court decisions and directives.

European arrest warrant 

Poland recognizes the European Arrest Warrant, allowing for the extradition of individuals wanted for serious crimes. 

 Data protection and privacy

EU court decisions on data protection and privacy are binding in Poland, safeguarding individuals’ personal data. 

 Cross-border disputes

EU court decisions simplify cross-border disputes resolution within the EU, benefiting individuals and businesses in Poland. 

 Free movement of goods and services  EU court decisions uphold the principle of free movement of goods and services, ensuring trade liberalization in Poland.

The ECJ’s main mission is to interpret and apply the law of the European Union and it is characterized by its organic nature and authority beyond the legislative system of each Member State.

Poland is a Member State of the European Union since 1st of May 2004, after the Accession Treaty was signed on the 16th of April 2003.  Thus, any decision issued by the European Court of Justice is recognized and applied in Poland, following the simplified procedure available.

The European Court of Justice consists of two main bodies: The Court of Justice and the General Court, institution established in 1989. There are also so-called specialized courts with jurisdiction in the first instance and specific matters.

The nature of the European Court of Justice has been configured through treaties, thus having a permanent and compulsory character for all EU institutions and the Member States.

The European Court of Justice consists of one judge from each EU country and nine Advocates-General, whose mission is to provide opinions on the cases brought before the Court. This task is performed in a public and impartial form.

The Court shall rule on cases brought before it. The most common cases brought before the ECJ are: 

Requests for a preliminary ruling – applied when the courts of the Member States ask the European Court of Justice on the interpretation of certain issues of EU law.

The national courts in each EU country are responsible for ensuring proper application of EU law in the country. However, there is a risk of different interpretations of EU law by the courts in different countries.

To prevent this, a procedure for preliminary rulings can be started. If the national court has doubts in the interpretation or validity of an act of EU law can – and sometimes must – seek the advice of the ECJ.

Action for failure to fulfill obligations – brought against the governments of the EU Member States in relation to non-compliance with EU law.

The Commission may institute such proceedings if believed that a Member State does not fulfill the obligations imposed on them by EU law. Such proceedings may also be initiated by other EU country.

In both cases, the Court investigates the allegations and gives its judgment. If the Court finds the State guilty, this European authority obliges immediately to rectify the situation. When the Court concludes that the State has not complied with its judgment, it may impose a fine.

Action for annulment – applied for EU legislative acts that are considered to be incompatible with the EU Treaties or fundamental rights.

If any of the EU Member States, the Council, the Commission or (under certain conditions) the Parliament believes that a particular EU law is illegal, may apply to the Court for its annulment.

Action for annulment may also be brought by private individuals who are asking the Court to invalidate a particular law when it has a negative impact reflected against the individual.

When the Court finds that the law has been adopted in the wrong way or does not have an adequate basis in the treaties, it can be annulled.

Failure to act – the Treaty obliges the Parliament, the Council and the Commission to make certain decisions in certain circumstances. When the European bodies do not fulfill these obligations, the Member States, other EU institutions and (under certain conditions) individuals or companies can lodge a complaint in the form of an official note on the failure to act.

Direct action – any person or company who has suffered damage as a result of the action or inaction of the EU institutions or their officials may bring before the Court a direct complaint.

If you need help in debt collection in Poland or assistance in having an EU court decision recognized and enforced, you can rely on our specialized lawyers.

Legislation on recognition and enforcement of EU court decisions in Poland

The recognition and enforcement of a foreign court decision in Poland, including in debt collection, is based on local legislation, on the EU regulations and international treaties signed by Poland.
The following laws and regulations can help with the successful recognition of an EU and other foreign court orders in Poland:

  1. the Code of Civil Procedure through Article 758 on the Enforcement Procedure of Domestic and Foreign Judgments;
  2. Articles 795(1)-795(17) in the Civil Procedure Code on the Enforcement Procedure of Foreign Judgments;
  3. Article 1145 in the Civil Procedure Code which provides for the Recognition and Confirmation of Enforceability of Foreign Judgments;
  4. EU Regulation (EC) 44/2001 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters;
  5. Regulation (EC) 805/2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims and the European order for payment procedure;
  6. the Convention on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters of Lugano.

When seeking to have an EU judgment on a debt collection case in Poland recognized, it is best to address our lawyers who will be able to represent you in the court of law. We can also assist in domestic debt collection cases.

How are EU court orders recognized and enforced in Poland?

The procedure related to having an EU court decision recognized in Poland is not complicated, however, it must respect several steps and principles. The main regulation providing for such an action, including in debt collection in Poland, is Regulation (EU) 1215/2012.

According to it, the EU judgment can be issued under one of the following forms:

  • a decree;
  • an order;
  • a decision;
  • a writ of execution.

The advantage of being an EU member state resides in the fact that once issued, the EU decision will be recognized and enforced in Poland without an enforceability order. This provides for a simpler and faster procedure when it comes to paperwork.

The judgment issued by the EU court can also contain provisions on the assets which can be seized in order to recover a debt. Among these, real estate, various movable assets, money in bank accounts and property rights are also acknowledged by Polish courts.

Our debt collection lawyers in Poland can explain the procedure under which an EU court decision can be recognized here.

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

It is important to note that foreign citizens undergoing debt collection procedures in Poland need to appoint a legal resident representative to complete the procedure. Our debt collection lawyers in Poland can assist in such cases, so do not hesitate to contact us.