The XVI th Civil Division of the Lublin Regional Court (now the VI th Civil Division of the Lublin-West Regional Court – in Lublin ) was inaugurated on the fourth of January 2010.
The Court, known as the electronic court (the e-court), considers cases under electronic writ of payment proceedings (electronic order for payment proceedings) introduced to The Civil Procedure Code in the Act of 9th January 2009 on the Amendment to the Civil Procedure Code and other Acts (as published in the Official Journal in 2009, number 26, item 156).
The jurisdiction of the e-court covers the whole territory of Poland regardless of the defendant’s domicile or seat. It is competent to examine civil pecuniary claims (including commercial and labour claims). The cases are considered under electronic writ of payment proceedings irrespective of the total amount of the dispute, which means that some of them would otherwise fall within the competence of District Courts. The Court lacks competence over non-pecuniary claims and family law claims.
It needs to be stressed that bringing a case before the e-court is just an alternative to the traditional proceedings. In other words, the introduction of the e-court did not compromise citizens’ access to the traditional court.
The claimant (party who brings the action) communicates with the Court exclusively electronically by means of a system dedicated to the electronic writ of payment proceedings. Once registered on the platform http://www.e-sad.gov.pl, the claimant can edit and send the claim form and further pleadings to the e –court. Pleadings sent in the traditional way (by post) remain ineffective.
The defendant can choose either the electronic or the traditional way (pleadings in writing posted to the court) to communicate with the e-court. However, if the defendant opts for the electronic communication, it becomes the exclusive way.
The most common type of decision taken in the e-court is the payment order. (writ of payment) The court official (referendarz) conducts an „in camera” examination of the well-foundness of the claim as set forth in the lawsuit. /the claimant presents his claim in the lawsuit and provides a list of proofs without attaching any documents to the lawsuit/.
If the official concludes that the claim is well-grounded the electronic system prepares a draft of the order which is subsequently signed by the official using the electronic signature. (special individual code assigned to court officials considering cases). In the event where the claim appears groundless, no payment order (writ of payment)follows, and the case is transferred to the competent court for detailed consideration.
The payment order (writ of payment) is automatically served on the claimant by means of the electronic system whereas the service of the lawsuit and the order on the defendant takes place in the traditional way. (by post) The defendant can submit a statement of opposition in writing to the payment order within two – weeks’ time counted from the date of the effective service of the order. The statement of opposition does not have to meet any special formal requirements and its minimal standards are satisfied as long as it reflects the defendant’s will to oppose the order.
The effective submission of the statement of opposition by the defendant annuls the payment order and results in the case being transferred for consideration to the competent court.
If the defendant refrains from submitting the statement of opposition – the payment order (writ of payment)becomes final and the enforcement clause is issued in the electronic system by the court official. The resulting writ of execution, upon the claimant’s motion, enables the court executive officer to start execution proceedings.
The adjudicating personnel of the e-court comprises four judges and 96 court officials (referendarze-officials adjudicating independently in certain categories of cases) who are supported by 70 clerks. As of October the 1st 2011, 2 000 000 lawsuits have been lodged in the e-court, and in some 1 600 000 cases payment orders have been issued.
author Piotr Telusiewicz, translation Paweł Czochra