On July 3, 2021, important changes in the adjudication of civil cases went into effect, which involve new responsibilities for legal representatives. One of the most important changes is the introduction of electronic court service through an information portal.
The change in electronic delivery of pleadings is related to the enactment of the Act of May 28, 2021, amending the Act – the Code of Civil Procedure and certain other Acts, introducing amendments to, among others, the Act of March 2, 2020, on specific solutions relating to the prevention, precluding and combating of COVID-19, other infectious diseases and crisis situations caused by them.
So far, in accordance with article 1311 § 1 of Code of Civil Procedure, the Court has served by means of an ICT system (electronic delivery) if the addressee has filed a letter via an ICT system or has made an election to file letters via an ICT system.
From July 3, 2021, and for one year after the last of the epidemic states has been repealed, service of judicial documents in civil matters on professional legal representatives (that is for example advocates, attorneys at law, patent attorneys or General Counsel to the Republic of Poland) will be effected, to a large extent, through the information portal of the ordinary courts. In the first inborn pleading, you have to provide an e-mail address and telephone number to stay in contact with the court, and failure to do this by a professional attorneys will be constitute a formal defect in the pleading.
The introduced changes will not apply to pleadings which are to be served together with copies of the parties pleadings or other documents not originating from the Court. As a result, the legal representative will not have access on the portal to e.g. the experts opinion or a copy of the appeal lodged by the other party. However, through the portal we can receive judgments, justifications of judgements, orders for payment, decisions or orders. This also applies to the summons to make good formal shortcomings and to the notification of the date of the hearing. It is important to note, that the date of service will be the date on which the addressee reads the pleading posted on the information portal, not the time when you log on to your account. If you do not acknowledge the pleading, the pleading will be deemed to have been delivered 14 days after the pleading is posted on the information portal. Given the different times of data migration on the portal, it is worth remembering, that according to the article 115 of the Civil Code, if the end of the deadline for the execution of the action falls on a day, that is considered a holiday or Saturday, the deadline expires on the next day, which is not a holiday or Saturday.
Court letters on the portal will be received in “the documents” tab when you click on the “download” icon. Service of a letter via an information portal produces procedural effects specified in the Code of Civil Procedure, appropriate for service of a court letter. If the nature of the letter makes service via the portal impossible, the Chairman may order that service of the letter via the portable dispensed with and that the letter be returned in hard copy. In the case of several professional legal representatives acting in a civil case, effective service will take place only on the day the contents of the documents are known to the legal representatives indicated as competent for service.
Importantly, pursuant to article 6 of the Act on Amending the Civil Procedure Code and certain other Acts, electronic service of court letters will apply to all proceedings in civil cases commenced and not concluded before the date of entry into force of the Act.
As mentioned in the previous article concerning the introduction of electronic delivery, the amendment provides, that electronic delivery will be obligatory for all public entities. In practice, it means that each public administration office in Poland will be obliged to have its own e-mail address. Currently, the information portal does not enable technical confirmation of delivery of the correspondence – it does not have a counterpart of the official certificate of receipt on the e-PUAP portal, therefore the introduced regulations are considered by some to be a fiction of delivery. Nevertheless, things should be done faster and with less hassle.