Courts Will Remain Online for Longer – Procedural Changes Fast Approaching

online-bankingThe Sejm has voted in favour of the draft “temporary” review of the civil procedure, which we addressed in January. Technically, this is an amendment to the Act of 2 March 2020, rather than to the Code of Civil Procedure, and the new solutions will apply for one year after lifting the state of epidemic hazard.

Court hearings will, in principle, be held remotely, and the presence of participants, including judges, at the courthouse will not be required. However, if a party or a summoned person demonstrates, at least seven days before the court date, that they do not have a suitable technical device, they may participate in the remote hearing at the courthouse.

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Polish Parent Companies Could Become Liable for Their Subsidiaries’ Violations of the Competition Protection Law

Chess

Poland’s government is proposing a new law that would make parent companies liable for their subsidiaries’ violations of the competition protection law if the parent company “exercised decisive influence” on the subsidiary.

Currently, Polish law could be described as being extremely strict in not recognizing “piercing the corporate veil” between parent companies and their subsidiaries. The proposed law would represent a breakthrough and a milestone in Polish corporate law by providing much clearer grounds for finding a parent company liable for the actions of its subsidiary. In addition, it would significantly increase the power and authority of the Head of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), which, under its current head, has become much more active in levying substantial fines for violations of Poland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Law.

The justification for the proposal is the need to incorporate the so-called ECN+ Directive into Polish law. In doing so, the proposal addresses the general requirements of the directive, which is intended to provide more efficient and effective enforcement of competition protection laws within the EU member states, and to further empower the competent authorities in that regard.

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UPC is Coming: Companies with Business Interests in Europe to Assess the Patent Portfolios

It is expected that the Unified Patent Court (UPC),  the proposed common patent court in the EU, will be operational as of spring 2022. The UPC will provide an efficient forum for the enforcement of patents in Europe, ending the need for parallel litigation in different member states of the EU. It will also harmonize substantive patent law with regard to the scope and limitations of the rights conferred by the patent and the remedies for infringement. However, not all patents should be included in the UPC jurisdiction.

 Our client alert, provides an explanation on which patents should be considered for the “opt-out” as well as an understanding of “opt-out” procedures.

 Please contact team members Dr. Sandra Müller, Catherine Muyl, Jens Petry or Marion Cavalier for assistance.

Business Judgement Rule in Polish Commercial Companies Code – Opportunity or Necessity?

Businessman on Stack of BooksThe amendment of the Commercial Companies Code (hereinafter “CCC”) to introduce holding law has already been discussed in our material Commercial Law Revolution in Poland – New Holding Law and Enhanced Corporate Oversight Mechanisms. However, as a continuation of this topic, we would like to touch upon one of its elements – the introduction into Polish commercial law of the measure of business judgment called “Business Judgement Rule” in assessing the actions of members of companies’ bodies.

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Polish government to pass law that will allow it more control over the Internet content and legitimize blocking access to certain websites

Cybersecurity Lock

On February 1, 2021, a new draft act on freedom of speech on social media platforms appeared on the Polish Ministry of Justice website.

Works on the draft act, originally announced by the ministry in December last year, gained momentum in mid-January amid Twitter and Facebook blocking Donald Trump’s accounts, which the Polish government viewed as censorship.

The Minister of Justice said that freedom of speech and debate is the cornerstone of democracy and censoring statements, especially online, where most political discussions and ideological disputes take place these days, infringes on those freedoms. Therefore, Poland should have regulations in place to prevent abuse on the part of internet tycoons, which are increasingly limiting this freedom under the auspices of protecting it.

The new law aims to protect the constitutional freedom of speech, as well as the individual personal interests that anonymous internet users may violate.

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Poland: Amendments to the Act on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and Other Acts

Dirty money

On January 12, 2021, the Council of Ministers adopted a draft law amending the Law on Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and certain other acts, which was submitted by the Minister of Finance, Funds and Regional Policy (the “Draft”).

The Draft aims to implement EU legislation preventing the use of the financial system for money laundering and terrorism financing. It is hoped this will increase the transparency of information on financial flows and, as a result, strengthen the position of authorities that focus on the detection of funds from criminal activity or used to finance terrorist activities.

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Poland: Websites Under Competition Authority’s Watchful Eye

Toward the end of September 2020, a draft amendment of the Act on Competition and Consumer Protection (the Draft) was up for public consultation in Poland. The provisions of the Draft are currently being agreed upon. The objective is to incorporate into the Polish legal framework Regulation (EU) 2017/2394 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2017 on cooperation between national authorities responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection laws and repealing Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004, i.e. the so-called CPC regulation (CPC), providing for enhanced competences of consumer protection authorities with regard to investigating and enforcing the provisions pertaining to breaches of such laws. Some of the competences under CPC are to be allocated to the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) acting individually, while the remaining measures are to be taken in cooperation with other authorities.

As emphasised by the authors of the Draft, amending the Polish regulations will enhance consumer protection online and boost the efficiency of the measures taken by UOKiK. Continue Reading

Stealth Civil Procedure Revolution in Poland – Online Hearings and Email Service Coming Soon

Much attention has been paid recently to the latest government-sponsored, draft civil procedure amendment, which, piggybacking on the e-bidding solutions regulations, proposes amendments to the COVID-19 acts introducing temporary solutions regarding, among others, the functioning of civil courts.

The draft has just been submitted to the Sejm. However, it must have been intensely debated previously, since the proposed changes only have one day’s vacatio legis. The new rules introduced by the draft are intended to remain in effect up to one year following the end of the epidemic. Therefore, for the time being, there is no telling how long they will last and whether the half-baked solution will prove – as they often do – permanent. Continue Reading

Recap of the Polish Competition Authority Operations in 2020

The past few months have seen increased activity from the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK), which resulted in fines for a number of entrepreneurs. We summarise below what we consider the most significant measures taken by UOKiK in 2020. Continue Reading

Commercial Law Revolution in Poland – New Holding Law and Enhanced Corporate Oversight Mechanisms

Dictionary Series : LegislationThe need to regulate the so-called “holding law” within the commercial law has raised much controversy for some time now. Unlike certain foreign legal frameworks, the Polish law had been functioning with merely fragmentary regulations in that regard – legal scholars had been debating the purpose of introducing such solutions to the Polish Commercial Companies Code.

On 5 August 2020, the Government Legislation Centre published the detailed assumptions of the draft amendment to the Commercial Companies Code developed by the Commission for Owner Oversight Reform with the Ministry of State Assets (the “Draft”). The Draft’s primary assumption is to enact the so-called “holding law” laying down the principles of how a parent company may instruct its subsidiaries, as well as stipulating the parent company liability and the principles of creditor, officer and minority shareholder protection. Continue Reading

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