A. The Contracting State and the New York Convention

1. Name of Contracting State (also specify jurisdiction(s), if relevant)

Republic of Poland.

2. Date of entry into force of the New York Convention

1 Jan. 1962.

(Source: Dz. U. 1962 No. 9, item 41.)

3. Has any reservation been made under Art. I(3) of the New York Convention regarding:

(a) reciprocity?

The New York Convention was originally signed subject to a reservation regarding reciprocity. Poland never ratified this reservation and, although the status of this reservation is debated, the majority view confirms it is effective.

(b) commercial relationships?

The New York Convention was originally signed subject to a reservation limiting its application to commercial relationships. Poland never ratified this reservation and, although the status of this reservation is debated, the majority view confirms it is effective.

4. In addition to arbitral awards made in the territory of another State, the New York Convention (Art. I(1)) also applies to arbitral awards not considered as domestic awards in the State where recognition and enforcement are sought. Are there any awards rendered in your country that are not considered as domestic awards such that the New York Convention and the answers to this Questionnaire are applicable to them?

None.

B. National sources of law

5. What specific sources of law are applicable to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. statutes, regulations, codes, directives, other legal instruments)?

  1. the New York Convention;
  2. the European Convention on International Commercial Arbitration;
  3. bilateral treaties to which Poland is a party;
  4. the Civil Procedure Code (‘CPC’), Part V, Chap. VIII (according to Art. 91, para. 2, of the Polish Constitution, the provisions of the CPC apply only if they do not contradict those of international treaties ratified by means of a statute, e.g. the New York Convention).

C. Limitation periods (time limits)

6. (a) Is there a limitation period (time limit) applicable to the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

There is no limitation period for the commencement of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards. However, there is a limitation period for enforcement that is governed by substantive law and which is only applicable if the claim to which the award pertains is governed by Polish substantive law.

(b) If yes, what is the applicable limitation period (time limit) and when does it start running?

If the claim is governed by Polish substantive law, the limitation period applicable to the enforcement of arbitral awards on such claim is six years from the date of service of the award on the party or three years if the claim is for periodic performances, due after the date of the award.

(Source: Civil Code, Art. 125.)

D. National courts and court proceedings

7. What authority or court has jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards?

Jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards is vested in: (i) the appellate court (sąd apelacyjny) that would have had jurisdiction should the parties had not agreed to submit their dispute to arbitration, or – if the former is not applicable – (ii) the Appellate Court in Warsaw (Sąd Apelacyjny w Warszawie).

(Source: CPC, Art. 12131 §1.)

8. What requirements, if any, must be met for the authority or court to accept jurisdiction over recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. domicile or assets of respondent in the jurisdiction, etc.)?

No requirements.

9. Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement obtained through ex parte or inter partes proceedings?

The decision on recognition and enforcement of a foreign arbitral award is obtained through inter partes proceedings. A responding party may present the court with its position on the matter within two weeks after service of the application for recognition and enforcement.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1213 §2.)

10. (a) Is the first decision granting or denying recognition and enforcement subject to any form of appeal or recourse?

The decision of the appellate court is final but subject to a recourse to the Supreme Court. Such recourse is limited to errors of law.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1215 §3.)

(b) How many levels of appeal or recourse are available against this decision?

One. A cassation appeal may be only filed with the Supreme Court (Sąd Najwyższy).

(Source: CPC, Art. 1215 §3)

11. What is the earliest stage in legal proceedings for enforcement of foreign arbitral awards at which a party can obtain execution against assets (i.e. party actually obtains possession of assets as opposed to simply freezing assets)?

An arbitral award declared enforceable by the appellate court may be enforced against assets. Upon appeal before the Supreme Court, the party may request the appellate court to stay the enforceability of the award until the Supreme Court decides on the recourse.

(Source: CPC, Arts. 1215 §3; 388 §1 in connection with Art. 12131 §2.)

E. Evidence required

12. (a) What evidence must be supplied for recognition and enforcement of foreign awards (e.g. arbitral award, contract containing arbitration clause, affidavits, witness statements, etc.)?

The request for the recognition and enforcement must be accompanied by (i) the original award or a copy authenticated by the arbitral tribunal, and (ii) the original arbitration agreement or a certified copy prepared by a Polish notary or, failing that, an apostilled copy. If the arbitral award or arbitration agreement is not in Polish, the party shall enclose a certified translation in Polish.

The filing of an original or authenticated copy of the arbitration agreement is a formal requirement and a pre-condition to initiating enforcement proceedings. A request to the court to order a party and/or the arbitrator(s) to provide the arbitration agreement is not sufficient; the arbitration agreement needs to be provided, unless the party making such a request proves beyond reasonable doubt that the agreement is in the possession of either the arbitrator(s) or the party(ies) concerned.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1213 §1; Supreme Court Order of 3 Nov. 2004, docket No. III CK 510/03.)

(b) Is it necessary to provide the entire document or only certain parts (e.g. entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

The award should be provided in full. With regard to the arbitration agreement, only the arbitration clause/agreement needs to be supplied although it is advisable to provide the entire document containing the arbitration clause whenever the arbitration clause forms part of another document. Where an arbitration agreement is concluded by an exchange of letters or similar, all documents forming the agreement should be provided.

(c) Are originals or duly certified copies required?

Either originals or authenticated copies.

(d) How many originals or duly certified copies are required?

One original or authenticated copy is required, plus one copy for each of the other parties.

(Source: CPC, Art. 128 in connection with Arts. 12131 §2 and 13§2)

(e) Does the authority or court keep the originals that are filed?

The court keeps the originals in court files. The originals may be returned upon a party’s request when the proceedings are pending (decision of the chair of the panel of judges sitting on the case) and after the court’s decision is rendered (decision of the chair of the court division).

(Source: Ordinance of the Minister of Justice of 23 Dec. 2015 on Statute of Public Courts [Rozporządzenie Ministra Sprawiedliwości z dnia 23 grudnia 2015 roku Regulamin urzędowania sądów powszechnych, Dz. U. 2015, item 2316], §100.)

13. (a) Is it necessary to provide a translation of the documents supplied?

If the award or arbitration clause is supplied in any language other than Polish, then a certified translation of these documents is required.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1213 §1.)

(b) If yes, into what language?

Polish.

(c) Is it necessary for the translations to be certified and, if yes, by whom (official or sworn translator, diplomatic or consular agent (of which country?) or some other person)?

Translations should be prepared by a sworn translator, i.e. a translator listed as a court expert by any Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy).

(Source: CPC, Arts. 256, 1213§1.)

(d) Is it necessary to provide a full translation of the documents or only a translation of certain parts (e.g. entire award or only part setting forth the decisions; entire contract or only arbitration clause)?

The entire award and arbitration agreement/clause must be translated.

F. Stay of enforcement

14. (a) Can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement pending the outcome of an application to set aside or suspend the foreign award before the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

The court may postpone consideration of the case, either on its own initiative or at a party’s request, if an application to set aside the award has been filed before the competent authority in a country in which, or under the law of which, the award was issued. The court may also, upon application of the party requesting recognition or enforcement of the award, order the other party to provide appropriate security.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1216.)

(b) On what other grounds, if any, can the authority or court stay legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement (e.g. forum non conveniens)?

A court shall suspend the proceedings on its own motion, inter alia:

  1. in the event of death of a party or its statutory representative, loss by a party or its statutory representative of their capacity to act in the proceedings, loss of the capacity to be a party in civil proceedings or loss of the status of a statutory representative;
  2. in the event of defects in the composition of a governing body of a party preventing it from acting;
  3. if communication between a party or its statutory representative and the seat of the court is impossible due to extraordinary events;
  4. if proceedings related to assets subject to bankruptcy estate or secondary bankruptcy proceedings are initiated, or if an administrator is appointed in restructuring proceedings.

(Source: CPC, Art. 174§1 in connection with Art. 13§2.)

A court may also suspend the proceedings on its own motion:

  1. if the decision depends on the outcome of other pending civil proceedings;
  2. if the result of the proceedings depends on proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal (Trybunał Konstytucyjny) or before the European Court of Justice;
  3. if there are criminal or disciplinary proceedings that may affect the pending civil proceedings;
  4. in the absence of both parties from the trial, unless otherwise provided by law, or if the applicant is absent and did not request that the case be heard and the respondent did not file a motion to hear the case;
  5. if an incorrect address is given for the applicant or the respondent’s address is not provided by the applicant within the applicable time limit, or the applicant does not abide by any particular order.

(Source: CPC, Art. 177§1 in connection with Art. 13§2.)

Finally, a court may suspend the proceedings at the joint request of the parties.

(Source: CPC, Art. 178 in connection with Art. 13§2.)

(c) Is the granting of a stay of legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement conditional on the provision of security?

In general, it is not. But where the case is postponed due to commencement of proceedings for setting aside at the place of arbitration, the court may, upon application of the party requesting recognition or enforcement of the award, order the other party to provide appropriate security.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1216.)

G. Confidentiality

15. (a) Do the documents filed in legal proceedings for recognition and enforcement form part of the public record? If yes, can any steps be taken to preserve the confidentiality of such documents?

Access to the case file is limited to the parties to the proceedings. However, the head of the court’s division may also grant other persons (e.g. journalists, academics) access to all or part of the file, if justified. The parties are not notified of such access and cannot object thereto.

(Source: CPC, Art. 326§2.)

(b) If there are hearings on recognition and enforcement, are such hearings confidential? If not, can steps be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the legal proceedings?

In proceedings for recognition or enforcement of foreign awards, a hearing is mandatory. Court hearings are generally public, but the court may decide, upon a party’s request, to hold a hearing in camera, if trade secrets are likely to be disclosed. A party’s request to hold a hearing in camera may also be justified by other grounds, and in such case, be granted at the court’s discretion.

(Source: CPC, Art. 1215 §1 and Art. 153 §11 and 2.)

(c) Are judgments on recognition and enforcement published? If yes, can steps be taken to remove the names of the parties or avoid publication of confidential information (such as business or State secrets)?

Most court decisions on recognition and enforcement of foreign awards are available on the official website administered by the Ministry of Justice. All of them are subject to anonymization and the names of the parties are removed. The parties may also apply to the court to redact parts of a decision that may reveal business secrets.

H. Other issues

16. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of interim or partial foreign awards?

Recognition and enforcement of partial foreign awards may be obtained under the same conditions as applicable to recognition or enforcement of foreign arbitral awards in general.

It is questionable whether interim awards that do not constitute final and binding resolution of the parties’ dispute may be recognized or enforced by Polish courts. There is no publicly available case law on this matter.

17. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of non-monetary relief in foreign arbitral awards (e.g. order requiring a party to deliver up share certificates or other property)?

An arbitral award providing for a non-monetary relief may be recognized and/or declared enforceable.

18. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of only part of the relief granted in foreign award?

It is possible to obtain recognition and/or enforcement of only a part of a relief granted in a foreign award, if such relief may be separated from the rest of the award.

In Poland, the material scope of recognition and the material scope of enforcement do not overlap – if an award may be executed then it is subject to enforcement; if the relief is such that the award does not require execution e.g. a declaratory relief, then it is subject to recognition.

19. When, if ever, can a party obtain recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which have been set aside by the competent authority referred to in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention?

It cannot be excluded that an award that has been set aside as mentioned in Art. V(1)(e) of the New York Convention could be recognized and enforced in Poland. This issue has however not yet been considered by Polish courts.

20. Are there any other procedural or practical requirements relating to recognition and enforcement of foreign awards which are worth mentioning (e.g. unusually high court costs, filing fees, stamp duties, obligation to post security as a condition for seeking recognition and enforcement, obligation to identify the assets that will be the object of enforcement, etc.)?

A court fee must be paid when filing a request for recognition or enforcement of a foreign award (PLN 300).

(Source: Law of 28 July 2005 on Court Fees in Civil Proceedings [Ustawa z dnia 28 lipca 2005 roku o kosztach sądowych w sprawach cywilnych, Dz. U. No. 167, item 1398], Art. 24 sec. 1 (3).)

Country Rapporteur: Przemyslaw P. Krzywosz

Other contributors: Piotr Nowaczyk, Paweł Pietkiewicz, Justyna Szpara, Aleksandra Orzel-Jakubowska