It should be stressed at the beginning that the trade relationship between Poland and Germany in the present climate still remains in good shape despite difficulties from the slowly receding Covid – 19 Pandemic and the war in Ukraine. These factors have certainly had a negative impact on trade and they have forced entrepreneurs from both countries to look for and establish new forms of business exchange, especially new chains of supply and production, and closer co-operation in these challenging times. All of this cannot prevent problems and disputes, and it might be expected that the number of ligation cases between Polish and German entities will increase in size arising from the following circumstances:
(i) financial problems due to rampant inflation,
(ii) the war in Ukraine itself that may affect the performance and execution of contractual obligations and
(iii) obstacles occurring within the assertion of claims in court and enforcement proceedings.
In the event of a dispute, the defaulting party will usually try to justify its failure to perform with reference to the outbreak of the war, financial or migration problems. It is difficult to predict to which extent the courts will share this reasoning, however, the war in Ukraine shall be deemed a force majeure event beyond the responsibility and predictability of the struggling parties. The question remains open how these issues will influence the enforcement of already issued final judgements in the times of crisis as it is rather obvious that the legal validity of a final judgement will not be able to be questioned by the debtor because of its financial incapacity resulting e.g. from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, introducing law enforcement proceedings through a bailiff in order to collect the final judgment is always associated with some risks for the creditor as the debtor may be bankrupt or already dead. According to recent verdicts of the Polish Supreme Court the creditor may be burdened with the costs of enforcement proceedings if he or she decides to launch proceedings having knowledge of their ineffectiveness. Due to this stance of the Polish Supreme Court it would be advisable to seek an assistant of a professional counsellor beforehand when it comes to debt collection in Poland.
The original of this article was written in Polish. You can read the full version here.