Limitation periods in Poland



Limitation periods in Poland

Limitation of claims is a very specific institution, whose purpose is to regulate real legal relationships between creditors and a debtors by releasing the debtor from an obligation to comply with obligations not pursued by the creditor. As defined in art. 117 § 2 of the Civil Code, after the limitations period has run, the person against whom a claim is made may avoid satisfying it unless he waives his right to use the statute of limitations as a defense, however, waiving the right to use the statute of limitations before the limitations period has run, is invalid.

Limitation of claims in economic trade - periods

The general limitations period after which claims become time-barred is 10 years, counted from the day on which the claim becomes due and payable. However, due to various kinds of financial obligations, the limitations period for some obligations is statutorily shortened to 3 years or even one year.

3-year period of limitation of claims

This period of limitations of claims is valid in regards to any claims connected with conducting business activity or periodical performances, that is pursuant to the liquidated damages stipulated in an agreement between contractors, pursuant to outstanding or not reimbursed deposit or pursuant to outstanding or not reimbursed advance payment or down payment. The same period of limitations of claims is also established for claims pursuant to promissory notes, however, it applies only to an issuer of his own promissory notes because the legislator determined only a one-year period of limitations in regards to endorsers.

2-year period of limitation of claims

2-year period of limitation of claims is designed for a contractor based on sale, that is pursuant to outstanding invoice payments or pursuant to outstanding interest on late invoice payment. Similar rules apply to specific work contracts, limitations on claims commence within a 2-year period starting from a day on which specific work is completed or on which specific work is supposed to be completed.   

1-year period of limitation of claims

Just twelve months is given by a legislator to a person who seeks satisfying his claims pursuant to carriage of persons or things and pursuant to contingent contracts. The same period of limitation of claims is given to claims made by a landlord against a tenant for repairs of things destroyed as well as for claims made by a landlord against a tenant for reimbursement of outlays connected with normal use of the thing.

After provided for statutory period passes, execution of claims becomes legally impossible. However, an obligation to prove before court the said period has passed rests with the debtor. In another case, even if such circumstances exist, the court shall not take it into consideration in its judgment.