2010 Class Action

Selected changes in the law

On July 19, 2010, the Act of 17 December 2009 for investigation of claims in the collective proceedings entered into force. This Act introduces to the Polish law so-called class actions, known, among others, in Anglo-Saxon countries. However, a model of collective proceeding introduced in Poland, is similar to that of other European countries, Sweden, in particular, where the number of such lawsuits is still very small.

by at least 10 people, pursuing the claims of one type, based on the same factual basis. For example, clients using the services of one bank, people on the same medicine treatment or participating in the same road accident or injured in the crash. The regional court will assess whether there is a relationship between subjects, which is the basis for combining them into a group and filing a class action lawsuit. The judge, before resolving the matter, may reject the application if relationship between subjects does not exist.

After the submission of the statement of the claim the advertisement in the press should be published. Apart from the people who submitted the lawsuit, parties to the proceedings can be people who join it after the claim submission. However, there is no possibility of modifying the group before the end of the procedure, and a person who has joined the group, will not be able to withdraw from it until the proceedings are over.

A class action is filed by group’s representative. A representative of the group may be a person who is a member of the group or a county (city) Consumer Commissioner within the scope of their rights.

According to article 1 paragraph 2 of the Act class action proceeding applies in cases of claims for consumers protection due to liability for damage caused by dangerous products and liability for torts, with the exception of claims for protection of personal rights.

As far as cases involving money claims are concerned class action is permissible only if the amount of the claim for each group member is unified in the light of common circumstances of the case in a group or subgroup.

A statement of claim in such proceedings may be limited to determining the defendant’s liability. Unlike to the ordinary case in class action there is an attorney-at-law or a lawyer constraint, which means that the group must be represented by a lawyer or an attorney-at-law.

Another novelty is the fact that lawyers' fees may be established as a commission on the amount won in the court. Until now it was not possible. However, the legislature established that the remuneration of an attorney representing a group of people in class action proceedings may not exceed 20% of the amount awarded by the court.

Regardless of the value of the claim, otherwise than it is an ordinary case, the court competent for class action proceedings is the regional court.

From a class action a relative charge in the amount 2% of the value of the claim is collected, and therefore it is smaller amount than in the traditional procedure in cases of property rights, where the charge is 5% of the value of the claim. According to the Act it is 2% of the value of the claim or subject of the appeal, but not less than 30 zł and no more than 100 000 zł.

Class action also enables the entrepreneurs to raise the claim against unfair competitor.

Kancelaria Prawna 90-060 Łódź, ul. Nawrot 4/1, tel./fax +48 /42/ 630 58 41, tel. +48 /42/ 632 51 44,
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