We have just now witnessed the coming into force of the new Polish laws designed to counteract excessive delays in payments in commercial transactions, and the Court of Justice is now providing guidance on the role of Member State on enforcing observance of payment deadlines by their public authorities.

In its judgment of 28 January 2020 in case C-122/18, the Court of Justice of the European Union held that it is incumbent on the Italian state to ensure that its entities and units observe payment deadlines of 30 days or, in certain cases, of 60 days. By way of this decision, it addressed the complaint by the European Commission alleging violation by Italy of art. 4.3 and 4 of the Directive on combating late payment in commercial transactions, whereunder the deadline for payment of invoices issued to public entities by suppliers of goods and services may not exceed 30 days, or 60 days in the case of entities from the health care sector. The European Commission had lodged this complaint at the request of various Italian enterprises and of an Italian business association; as the Commission saw it, the Italian public authorities were persistently and significantly settling for business transactions with private entities past the applicable deadlines.

Upon considering the case, the Court of Justice held Italy to be in breach of Directive 2011/7/EU on combating late payment in commercial transactions in that it is failing to ensure that, as they engage in commercial dealings, public bodies of the Italian state actually settle their debts within 30 – or, where applicable, within 60 – calendar days, as required under art. 4.3 and 4 of this Directive.

 

The full text of this article is available for download in Polish. If you are interested in an English-language version or in discussing the issues raised herein with one of our lawyers, please contact: kontakt@gessel.pl