Arbitration for business cheap and fast
A few years ago, practically nobody was interested in arbitration. Now its popularity in Poland is growing from year to year. The number of disputes given away by businesses for arbitration is growing, as is the number of publications and initiatives supported, among others, by the Ministry of Economy.
Arbitration works, among others, in the case of complex disputes, of an international character, as well as in the settlement of simpler disputes, with a lower subject value of the dispute. A significant advantage is the so-called professionalism of arbitration, which means the specialization and experience of the arbitrator in the matter which the given dispute concerns. For example, construction disputes are settled by construction lawyers with the appropriate technical knowledge or experience in terms of running a building investment acquired during the projects, and not just in the courtroom. Financial disputes go to people who are familiar with the functioning of markets, bank meanderings or the ins and outs of accounting. Arbitration also wins in international relations. The parties of an international contract rarely decide to submit any disputes to be resolved by the common court of one of the countries of their origin.
Arbitration also works well for smaller disputes. The deadline for issuing a decision here is distinctly shorter than the duration of standard court proceedings. Due to the concentration of evidence proceedings, the custom of conducting one hearing and single-instance arbitration, a decision can be made even within up to a year, while court proceedings may take several years. For example, in the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration the average period of settling a dispute since the establishment of the panel giving judgment is only 5 months.
It is also worth mentioning the costs of arbitration. Arbitration with a subject value of the dispute from 0.5 to 5 million PLN in two leading Polish courts of arbitration is cheaper than in the common court even by tens of percent. Above that amount, due to the limited court fee rate of up to 100 thousand PLN, court may actually prove to be cheaper. In the calculation of the costs of court proceedings, however, the hidden costs are not taken into account, i.e. long-term freezing of capital or legal costs.
Arbitration in Poland is still developing and improving. A number of changes that have a direct impact on the functioning of the institution of arbitration entered into force on 1 January 2016. In line with other European jurisdictions, the three-stage post-arbitration proceedings have been converted into a faster, two-stage procedure. Dealing with complaints and applications has been submitted to the jurisdiction of the courts of appeal. Also, the deadline for bringing action to set aside the arbitration award was shortened, which as of 1 January 2016 is 2 months.
This year the Lewiatan Arbitration Court celebrates its 10th anniversary. During this time, the court has accepted to hear over 260 cases, the arbitrators have issued 180 judgments. In the course of the proceedings the parties concluded 30 settlements, which is a high percentage compared with the proceedings conducted before common courts.