Liability for competition law infringements in Poland

Administrative liability for competition law infringements at EU level

At EU level, infringements of antitrust regulations can result in the imposition of fines up to 10% of the worldwide aggregate turnover of the corporate group to which entrepreneur belongs (so turnover not only of the company that has directly participated in the infringement). In setting the amount of the fine, EC will take into account the nature, gravity and duration of the infringement. EC can also impose periodic penalties of up to 5% of entrepreneur’s average daily aggregate turnover for delays in complying with obligations or supplying information.

Administrative liability for competition law infringements in Poland

At Polish level , infringements of antitrust regulations can result in the imposition of fines up to 10% of the entrepreneurs worldwide aggregate turnover. In setting the amount of the fine, the President of UOKiK will take into account the nature, gravity and duration of the infringement.

Fines of up to EUR 50,000,000 can be imposed on the entrepreneur in case of even unintentional obstruction of audit or search run by the President of UOKiK or providing false or not providing requested information to the President of UOKiK.

Fines of up to PLN 2,000,000 can be imposed in Poland on entrepreneur’s managing staff for intentional infringements of selected antitrust regulations by the entrepreneur.

Fines of up to 50-fold of medium remuneration can be imposed in Poland on entrepreneur’s managing staff for even unintentional infringements of selected antitrust regulations.

Fines of up to EUR 10,000 can be imposed on the entrepreneur for each day of delay in execution of the President of UOKiK decisions.

Summary fines for antirust infringements in Poland

Fine for entrepreneur for antirust infringement up to 10% of the entrepreneurs worldwide aggregate turnover
Fine for entrepreneur for search / dawn raid obstruction up to EUR 50,000,000
Fine for managing staff for intentional infringement up to PLN 2,000,000
Fine for managing staff for unintentional infringement up to 50-fold of medium monthly remuneration in Poland

Criminal liability for competition law infringements in Poland

At EU level there are no criminal sanctions for competition rules infringements.

At Polish level, the system does not directly establish criminal sanctions for antitrust infringements, i.e. there are no crimes defined in the Competition Act. As an exception there is one offence (not crime) defined in art. 114 Competition Act establishing a fine not lower than PLN 2,000 for not providing requested information to Consumer Ombudsman. Nonetheless, it shall be noted that some acts posing infringements of antitrust regulations may be covered by certain offences defined directly in Penal Code, e.g. illegal interference in public tenders (art. 305 Penal Code).

Civil liability for competition law infringements in Poland

Infringements of antitrust rules can give rise to civil liability. Any business or citizen that have been harmed as a result of an antitrust infringement (e.g. higher prices, lost profits) has the right to full compensation for the harm caused to them by an infringement of the EU antitrust rules. On 26 November 2014, a Directive was passed to ensure that anyone who has suffered harm caused by an infringement of antitrust law can effectively exercise the right to claim full compensation by setting out rules fostering undistorted competition in the internal market, removing obstacles to its proper functioning and ensuring equivalent protection throughout the EU.

In Poland the Directive was implemented by enactment of separate legal act, i.e. Act on claims for compensation for damage caused by infringement of competition law of 21 April 2017 (Journal of Laws No. of 2017, item 1132) [ustawa o roszczeniach o naprawienie szkody wyrządzonej przez naruszenie prawa konkurencji z dnia 21 kwietnia 2017 roku (Dz.U. z 2017 r. poz. 1132)]. The Act constitutes key rules of Polish private enforcement of competition law. It provides a right for every injured party to file a claim for damages caused by infringement of competition law. Such claims benefit from longer – five years – limitation periods and are heard by the District Courts regardless of the value.

Expert team leader DKP Legal Michał Dudkowiak
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