Only 61.5% of judgements handed down by the general courts last year were upheld on appeal. The category in which the most judgements are overturned is that of commercial cases; in 2017, only 54.3% of them withstood examination at a higher instance. For many businesses, this can amount to a proverbial nail in the coffin in that overturning of a judgement after long years of litigation translates into further expense entailed in the renewed proceedings and further uncertainty as the final outcome is awaited. It is for this reason that Polish businesspeople are increasingly likely to take their disputes before an ADR tribunal.

Figures compiled by the Polish Ministry of Justice indicate that, year in, year out, what is known as the stability index is decreasing. Albeit in 2016 and 2015 this decrease was relatively modest and the index oscillated at around 64% (63.8% in 2016 and 63.5% in 2015), last year it dropped significantly to 61.5%. Put in other words, this means that, in 2017, almost 40% of judgements were overturned on appeal.

Commercial cases most fraught with errors

Statistics indicate that it is in the realm of commercial cases that the Polish courts most frequently err. In 2015, the stability index for cases of this sort was, at 63%, just slightly lower than the overall index, but in 2016 it dropped to 62.5% and, in 2017, even lower, to 54.3%. Accordingly, entrepreneurs search for alternative means of resolving their disputes, increasingly opting for arbitration. The popularity of arbitration is steadily increasing, not only in western Europe, but also in Poland. Dr Konrad Czech of Gessel, Koziorowski Sp.k. lists the advantages of arbitration, which include significantly better results as regards the number of overturned judgements. “Proceedings before arbitration tribunals are single-instance, meaning that the outcome is arrived at incomparably quicker than before the general courts. Apart from that, for the several hundred judgements handed down by Polish arbitration courts in an average year, only 40 or so are subsequently overturned by the general courts. An arbitration judgement is a sound product quality-wise”, Dr Czech emphasises. (...)

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