How long will my debts expire?

The Ministry of Justice is preparing new rules that will make debts expire faster than before. Will the Ministry’s project prove to be a good solution? The amendment is currently at the design stage, but according to the Ministry of Finance it is fundamental for the economy, the settlement of civil cases by courts as well as for ordinary Poles.

Until now, it has often happened that people who have expired debts were bought by debt collection companies (some of these companies are formally based in countries that are widely recognized as tax havens)

Time for a revolution – beneficial for the debtor


Limitation is a guarantee that the debt will not follow the debtor for years, simply because the creditor did not pursue his claim. It is important to transparently regulate this type of relationship, which is in the interest of all participants in civil law transactions.

According to current regulations, even after the limitation period has expired, the court which is currently dealing with the examination of the case can take this into account only if the debtor raises the limitation plea. If he fails to do so, the court will uphold the claim, even if the claim is time-barred.

The draft amendment to the Civil Code changes this state of affairs. It will be up to the court to determine whether the claim is time-barred. If it finds that the limitation period has expired – they will dismiss the action and no further action by the debtor will be necessary. These changes apply to all types of claims – in general and commercial transactions.

The draft also provides for changes in the scope of shortening


  • limitation periods for property claims,
  • basic limitation period from 10 to 6 years,
  • the time during which the creditor can enforce the claim from 10 to 3 years, when the court finds that the claim exists in a valid judgment or settlement and the limitation period begins again.

Another suggestion to change is to interrupt the limitation period (limitation begins to run from the beginning). This causes the debtor to accept the claim, initiate mediation or take additional steps before the court by the creditor, e.g. submitting an application for securing the claim or attempted settlement. The new proposals abolish the interruption of the limitation period in the event of additional creditor actions being taken before a court, instead its suspension will be suspended. In addition, the beginning of the limitation period will be the day on which the creditor became aware not only of the claim, but also of the person liable under that claim.

The envisaged changes are also related to the Code of Civil Procedure


They concern the enforcement of bailiffs from a bank account – on September 8, 2016 a provision was introduced under which the bailiff has the option of seizing the debtor’s bank account electronically.

At present, banks are obliged to immediately transfer the seized amount to a bailiff, which prevents the debtor from taking up defense even when the attachment is not justified or the debt has been previously settled or expired. “According to the draft, the account holder will be immediately notified by the bank of the attachment of the account.

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