Dispute 20. May 2020

Poland: Anti-Crisis Shield 3.0 – remote hearings and closed-door sessions in civil cases

20. May 2020
Piotr Wojnar
act legal Poland

May 16, 2020 was the effective date for most provisions of the Act of May 14, 2020, amending specific acts in terms of protective actions related to the spread of SARS-CoV2 (Dz. U. / Journal of Laws of 2020, item 875), commonly referred to as “Anti-Crisis Shield 3.0.” Civil procedure has been amended to extend the possibility to conduct remote hearings (videoconferencing) and issue rulings at closed-door sessions.

Pursuant to the newly-adopted Act, the following will apply to cases examined under the Code of Civil Procedure during the state of epidemic or epidemic threat, and for a year of the end of the later of them:

• videoconferencing will be used for court proceedings. In order to have a remote hearing, the parties to the procedure needed to be in court buildings, e.g. in their city/town of residence. Now they will be able to participate without leaving their home. Traditional hearings can be held under exceptional circumstances, as long as they do not pose a major threat to the participants’ health. The lawmaker left ample room for interpretation as regards the criteria to adopt for evaluation whether the hearing will not expose participants to excessive hazard. It seems that such criteria could include the age of participants, their total number, the stage of epidemic, etc.;

• if the court is unable to conduct a remote hearing, while a traditional one might pose a threat to the participants’ health, the court will be entitled to examine the case at a closed-door session, unless any party objects. An objection can be filed within 7 days of the delivery of a notice about a closed-door session. Only individuals that are not represented by a professional legal advisor will be notified about such right to object;

• if so decided by the president of the court, the judging panel (apart from the presiding judge and clerk) may participate in the hearing through means of electronic communication (i.e. they will be able to participate from home), except for the hearing at which the case gets closed;

• in cases where the evidentiary procedure has already been completed, the court may close the case and issue a ruling at a closed-door session, after receiving the parties’ (or participants’) written positions;

• the period of application of article 374 of the Code of Civil Procedure has been extended, making it possible to examine appeals brought before November 07, 2019 at closed-door hearings (unless a party applies for a standard hearing or for evidence involving testimony of witnesses/parties). A request for a standard hearing can be filed within 7 days of the delivery of a notice about a closed-door session. In same of withdrawal of a lawsuit or appeal, or with respect to invalidation of proceedings, the court examines the case at a closed-door hearing.

Please feel free to contact us for any questions you might have.

Piotr Wojnar
act legal - BSWW legal & tax
About the authors

Piotr Wojnar

Managing partner

Piotr specializes in commercial law, with a strong focus on assistance in corporate issues for public companies. He also has extensive litigation background within the areas of civil law, administrative law and criminal law. He has advised on numerous public and private share issues, incl. those of COMP S.A. and Bank BPS S.A. Piotr has piloted M&A transactions for listed companies (incl. Novitus S.A., ZUK S.A. and Elzab S.A.), participated in the establishment of brokerage houses and investment funds (incl. TMS S.A., Analizy Online Asset Management S.A., IFM S.A. and Opera TFI S.A.), as well as provided assistance with respect to their daily operations. He has been recommended in Capital Markets, Commercial, Corporate and M&A and White-Collar Crime by the Legal 500 EMEA 2020, one of the leading international legal directories. The white-collar crime practice, co-headed by Piotr, is considered by The Legal 500 EMEA to be among the elite of Polish law firms specialized in that area.

Barbara Szczepkowska


Her practice focuses on bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings regarding businesses, during which she represents creditors and debtors alike. Having advised receivers, court-appointed supervisors and administrators, she boasts vast experience in advising insolvency practitioners. During restructuring processes, she has drafted key documents addressed to bodies handling the proceedings, such as restructuring plans and arrangement viability opinions. She assisted in proceedings involving over 1500 creditors and PLN 500m in debt, advising clients on all the facets of the process, from the selection of best-suited type of restructuring proceedings, through petition drafting and the court’s approval of the arrangement. Moreover, Barbara offers support in pre-pack liquidation proceedings. Bankruptcy and restructuring proceedings have also been the focus of numerous legal opinions prepared by her. Barbara has successfully protected clients’ interests in a few dozen personal bankruptcy processes ending in the release of former business owners and management board members (among others) from their debts. One of her clients had a record-high debt of over PLN 90m. She also represents clients before courts in a variety of other cases, including ones regarding complex fraudulent transfer claims (also ones involving a receiver) and major damages recovery cases, e.g., against receivers in connection with damage caused by them in bankruptcy proceedings. She also handled litigation between a creditor and a receiver aiming to determine whether the transfer of the bankrupt’s patent rights to the receiver was ineffective vis à vis the bankruptcy estate, which she won following an appeal. Prior to joining act BSWW, Barbara worked for many years for Zimmerman i Wspólnicy.

Marek Miszkiel


Marek provides ongoing legal support to businesses, mostly construction and investment companies. He has participated in numerous due diligence audits regarding real properties and companies. Marek is also adept at solving commercial disputes in terms of pre-trial and trial procedure. His range of duties also includes representing both creditors and bankrupts alike in bankruptcy proceedings.

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