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The difficult (?) case of an undeclared subcontractor
The amended regulations on joint and several liability of the investor to subcontractors of construction works have been in force for four years. With the stated aim of facilitating the payment of debts, they tightened the formal requirements for subcontractors seeking payment directly from the investor. Unfortunately, this has not been followed by a change in industry practice, as for various reasons formal notification of subcontractors often does not take place. Is the situation of undeclared subcontractors hopeless?
The difficult (?) case of an undeclared subcontractor
Documents preferred over witnesses
In the course of a construction dispute, to prove certain facts the parties most often request the examination of evidence not only from documents, but also submit numerous requests to hear witness testimony. However, according to parliamentary findings, witness testimony tends to increase the length and cost of court proceedings, and also allows for procedural manipulations. Therefore, the parliament restricted the admissibility of witness testimony in commercial proceedings. This has had an impact on the day-to-day operations of companies.
Documents preferred over witnesses
Is an arbitration clause in a subcontract effective against the investor?
The investor and the general contractor are jointly and severally liable for the subcontractors’ fees. However, this does not automatically mean that the provisions of the agreement between the subcontractor and the general contractor will apply directly to the investor. A particular provision is an arbitration clause determining the method for pursuing claims. If the general contractor and the subcontractor have agreed to arbitration, can the subcontractor pursue the investor in arbitration as well, or must the subcontractor file suit in state court?
Is an arbitration clause in a subcontract effective against the investor?
Interim relief more expensive than it may seem: Regulations to be amended
From August 2019, the fee for an application for interim relief to secure a monetary claim (e.g. for payment of a specific sum of money) made before a legal action is brought to court has increased significantly. Instead of PLN 100, the fee is equal to one-fourth of the fee that would be payable in a suit on the claim (maximum PLN 50,000). Under certain conditions, the fee for an application for interim relief will be set off against the fee on the document instituting the principal proceeding (statement of claim). However, the provisions allowing for this possibility may give rise to problems of interpretation, and thus the need to incur additional costs.
Interim relief more expensive than it may seem: Regulations to be amended
Judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters: Choice of law, jurisdiction and enforcement
A hard Brexit would leave choice of law rules largely intact, but remove the UK from convenient EU procedures for recognition and enforcement of judgments.
Judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters: Choice of law, jurisdiction and enforcement
Will the Supreme Court resolve the problems with settlement attempts?
The Supreme Court of Poland has presented to an expanded panel legal questions concerning a summons to attempt a settlement as an action interrupting the limitations period on a claim.
Will the Supreme Court resolve the problems with settlement attempts?
Differently in the handover protocol than in the contract: No defects as a condition of payment
In the judgment of 26 April 2019 (case no. V CSK 80/18), the Supreme Court of Poland held that it is not contrary to the nature of a construction contract to condition the payment of fees on the absence of defects in the structure. Therefore, the parties’ terms requiring payment only after a faultless handover protocol has been obtained are permissible. However, in the Supreme Court’s opinion, such objections may also be included in the terms of the handover protocol. The court approved the possibility for the parties to invoke reservations made in the handover protocol, which constitute additional provisions in relation to the contract.
Differently in the handover protocol than in the contract: No defects as a condition of payment
Pro rata condition in insurance policy held ineffective
In a judgment involving compensation under an insurance policy, the Supreme Court of Poland has held that a pro rata provision was invalid because it was disadvantageous to the insured and was included in the insurance conditions unilaterally by the insurer as the party with the stronger contractual position.
Pro rata condition in insurance policy held ineffective
A few words on setoff
The Supreme Court of Poland has recently issued several rulings on setoff (Civil Code Art. 498), confirming the existing line of case law and the established legal and commercial practice. The regulations on asserting the defence of setoff in civil proceedings have also been amended.
A few words on setoff
Watch out for rejected pleadings: Amendment of the Civil Procedure Code
The amendment of Poland’s Civil Procedure Code which entered into force on 7 November 2019 changed certain provisions on the formal requirements for pleadings and the consequences of failure to meet these requirements. Harsh rules, uncertainty on the proper method of curing formal defects, and varying practices of the courts may result in final rejection of a pleading and loss of the case for seemingly trivial reasons. Professional attorneys must exercise particular caution.
Watch out for rejected pleadings: Amendment of the Civil Procedure Code
Contractual penalty for late payment or non-payment to subcontractors permissible
It is permissible to agree on a contractual penalty for non-payment or late payment of fees due to subcontractors, the Supreme Court of Poland held in its resolution of 30 June 2020 (case no. III CZP 67/19).
Contractual penalty for late payment or non-payment to subcontractors permissible
Business interruption insurance and the coronavirus crisis
Even before a state of epidemic threat was announced, some businesses anticipating the probable impact of the approaching pandemic decided to take out business interruption insurance. But can this type of coverage make up for at least some of the losses due to the pandemic?
Business interruption insurance and the coronavirus crisis