The bailiff’s delivery. The claimant will need to establish the current address of the defendant in order to successfully file a claim
The comprehensive amendment to the Civil Procedure Code of 2019 also introduced changes to the rules of service of letters in the course of proceedings. One of the new solutions is the so-called bailiff’s delivery, i. e. delivery of the first court documents to defendants via a bailiff. The purpose of debt collection services is to avoid a situation in which a debtor learns about a pending proceeding only at the stage of enforcement of the debt collection proceedings, because previously correspondence was sent to the debtor’s outdated address. Now, in order to sue a debtor effectively, it will be necessary to first establish his proper address of residence. Therefore, the fiction of delivery after double avatisation of a shipment ceases to apply.
- To whom are bailiff deliveries applied?
The new rules will apply if the defendant is a non-business individual Single-person entrepreneurs and legal persons entered in the registers (CEIDG, KRS) will continue to be served with court letters to the address indicated in them, in accordance with the principle of fictional delivery after double notification of the letter.
The procedure of service of a judicial officer will be initiated if the respondent fails to collect the advised parcel from the court at the address indicated by the claimant twice.
- What documents are served by the bailiff?
The service of a bailiff will apply to the first documents in a case in which the defendant needs to defend his rights, that is to say, first and foremost, the application for a statement of claim and, where appropriate, the summons to a hearing, the lodging of a statement of defence or, if any, the order for payment.
If, after successful service of the application, the defendant ceases to receive correspondence and has not notified the court of the change of address, the claimant will not have to use bailiff service again.
- What actions should the claimant take?
If the double notification of the statement of claim is not effective, the court will transmit a copy of the letter to the claimant and oblige him to serve the letter through a bailiff. The claimant will have only two months to effect service of the correspondence on the defendant. During this time he must do one of the following:
- lodge with the court an acknowledgement of service of the document with the defendant by the judicial officer,
- return the transmitted letter to the court together with the new current address of the defendant,
- produce evidence to the court that the original address indicated in the application is correct.
The plaintiff will therefore either have to establish his or her own address or ask the bailiff to serve the statement of claim. He’ll have 14 days to do it. If the bailiff does not find the defendant but establishes that the address is correct, he or she will leave a notice (advice) to the bailiff. If the letter is not collected, it shall be deemed to have been delivered after 14 days from the date of leaving the notification.
If the judicial officer fails to deliver the letter to the address indicated and if it is found to be incorrect, he or she shall return the letter to the claimant. The claimant will then be able to ask the claimant to look for the current address of the debtor, e.g. by making enquiries to the authorities.
- What if the letter cannot be effectively served by a bailiff?
If the actions described above do not lead to finding the current address of the debtor within 2 months, the court will suspend the proceedings.
- What costs will the claimant incur in relation to the service of the judicial officer?
In connection with the initiation of bailiff service, the plaintiff will have to bear additional costs in the case. The judicial officer shall charge a fee of PLN 60 for attempting to deliver the goods, and in case of need to travel further to the debtor, an additional PLN 20.00 shall be charged. If the judicial officer establishes that the defendant is not domiciled at the address indicated, further search for the addressee shall be subject to a fee of PLN 40.00.
These costs are covered by the plaintiff. However, if he succeeds in serving the claim correctly and wins the case, he can count on the defendant to reimburse him.