The Supreme Court in its order of 23 March 2016 case file III CZP 102/15 answered important questions related to minutes of hearing that were recorded as electronic/digital versions. The Regional Court decided a case related to payment, while some doubts as to interpretation of law related to recording of minutes and evidence, arose. The Supreme Court held that the transcription of the minutes that were recorded as sound and video is not an official document according to the provisions of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, and as such cannot be used for findings related to court’s session. If the minutes recorded as audio and/or audio and video do not allow to determine the content of evidence, the Court has to repeat an action related to this step. On an appeal, there is no need for the applicant to indicate a specific part of the sound recording (or video and audio) that relates to action of taking an evidence.
Archive for: e-court
The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 12 May 2014 case file I OPS 10/13 held that the current legal status of administrative court proceedings, as defined in Article 46 § 1 pt. 4 of the Polish Act on the Law on proceedings before administrative courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi) of 30 August 2002, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270, with subsequent amendments, does not allow for filing to a court a letter that is only bearing an electronic signature of a party. Such letters must bear handwritten signature. This includes a situation of filing documents through public administration body, by means of electronic communication.
The District Court in Toruń requested the Polish Supreme Court to answer the question whether a party of civil proceedings is allowed to file an appeal in form of electronic document. If the answer would be “yes”, the Court also wanted to know whether the deadline for lodging an appeal is confirmed by the date on which the letter was received by the device receiving the court’s e-mails. The District Court additionally enquired, whether such letters can be signed by electronic signature as defined in the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature – ESA – (in Polish: ustawa o podpisie elektronicznym), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 15 November 2001, No 130, item 1450, with subsequent amendments.
The Supreme Court in its judgment of 23 May 2012 case file III CZP 9/12 held that filing an appeal by e-mail is acceptable only, if a specific provision allows for such action. Currently, this option is very limited in the Polish law. The printed version of an appeal filed by electronic means may be treated as effective, if it will be signed by the party at the request received from the Court, and the date for submission of such a letter to the court is then the date the printing was done.
A Polish citizen filed a complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court via e-mail, and signed it with the qualified electronic signature. The Court called him to sign the complaint manually, within 7 days under pain of rejection of the complaint. The applicant argued that he already signed it.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Łódź in its order of 13 March 2012 case file II SAB/Łd 35/12 rejected the complaint. The Court held that the complaint must meet two kinds of requirements. First of all, the complaint must meet all the requirements provided for the letter in court proceedings, and also it has to include an indication of the contested decision, order, or any other act or activity, the indication of an authority or body whose action or inaction is a subjetct of the complaint, the explanation of violation of law or legal interest. As each letter, the complaint should therefore be signed by the party or its legal representative or attorney, according to the provisions of Article 46 § 1 point 4 of the Polish Act of 30 August 2002 on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal Of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270 with subsequent amendments. According to the Court, for the effectiveness of the electronically signed letter it has to be signed manually by the party. Therefore, the signature of the applicant’s letter must be submitted in person, i.e, it has to be a manual sign of a specific person to allow for its identification. An exception to the above mentioned rule, is a provision stating that a letter which can not be signed by a party in person, should be signed by a person authorized by the party. Such a person has to explain the reasons why the party itself did not signed the letter. Failure to sign the complaint within the prescribed period of time means that the applicant did not remove its defects in form, which results in rejection of the complaint by the Court. The VAC noted that its view is confirmed by well-established case law of the administrative courts. See the order of the Supreme Administrative Court of 16 November 2011 case file I OZ 831/11, the order of the SAC of 8 September 2011 case file I OZ 657/11, the order of the SAC of 27 May 2011 case file I OZ 368/11.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Gdańsk in its order of 23 March 2011 case file I SA/Gd 916/10 rejected a complaint against a decision on leaving the applicant’s request for the relief for the payment of court fees from the complaints, without examination. The complaint was sent by post the day after the deadline, but the day before, the same letter has been sent by e-mail at 10:50 pm to the court. The VAC found the complaint to be void and rejected it. The applicant filed a complaint against such order.
The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 21 December 2011 case file II FZ 447/11 agreed with the applicant, and repealed the contested judgment and returned it to the VAC for further reconsideration. The SAC issued very precedential opinion. The Court held that despite the legal loopholes it is possible to bring the pleadings via e-mail correspondence with the courts. The court also held that the date of the filing is a real moment of delivery of the e-mail message, which will be communicated to the recipient in the appropriate e-mail program. The Court noted that information about the confirmation of data transmission, which includes the date of delivery, is provided in the header of each e-mail message and it decides on timely filing of the pleadings. The Court stressed that the party to the proceedings before the administrative courts cannot bear the negative consequences of failure to implement the Polish Act on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts of the relevant provisions concerning the submission of documents by electronic means. After that judgment a party can effectively bring to the administrative court every pleading by electronic means, including the complaint or a cassation complaint, despite the lack of a formal legal basis. The only problem is that the document lacks of a formal signature. But there is no obstacle to supplement it after the call issued by the court. If the applicant will send a complaint via e-mail at the last moment, it will be deemed as the effective delivery and filing. It only has to be signed in person after the call from the court in a specified deadline.
A Polish citizen requested the President of one of the Regional courts to disclose the calendar of causes that concerned his case. The President informed that the calendar of causes cannot be disclosed, because the regulation on the work of common courts does not permit for such disclosure after the calendar is deposited in the court’s records. Jan H. filed a complaint for failure to act, claiming President’s inaction in his case.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Lublin in its judgment of 2 July 2009 case file III SAB/Lu 1/09 held that the regional court is a public authority under the the Polish Act of 6 September 2001 on access to public information – API – (in Polish: Ustawa o dostępie do informacji publicznej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 112, item 1198, with subsequent amendments, and is therefore obliged to provide public information. Jan H. has the right to request the disclosure of public information, because everyone has that right, and what’s more important, the person exercising the right to public information is not required to demonstrate his or her legal or factual interest. The calendar of cases and dockets includes a list of cases that are heard in a given day by a court in a particular composition, and as such is deemed as public information, that concerns the work and operation of a public authority, which in this case, was the Regional court. Thus, the citizen’s request has to be considered in terms of request for public information. The VAC noted that internal regulations on the office work cannot be the basis on deciding on civil rights.
The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Gdańsk in its order of 9 September 2010 case file II SA/Gd 573/10 held that the legal effectiveness of a letter brought by a party to an administrative court by electronic means must be confirmed by its later signature. This is the requirement provided in Article 46 § 1 pt 4 of the Act of 30 August 2002 on the Law on proceedings before administrative courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270, with subsequent amendments, which says that each letter must contain the signature of the party or its representative. This also applies to letters sent by electronic means. This ancient requirement is still in force even if there is the Polish Act of 17 February 2005 on the Informatization of Entities Performing Public Tasks – IEPPT – (in Polish: ustawa o informatyzacji działalności podmiotów realizujących zadania publiczne), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 64, item 565 as amended, and the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature – ESA – (in Polish: ustawa o podpisie elektronicznym), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw), No 130, item 1450, with subsequent amendments, because both acts did not introduce the electronic administrative proceedings or electronic docketing systems to the Polish procedure.
On 1 January 2010 the provisions of the Act of 9 January 2009, amending the Act – Civil Proceedings Code and other acts, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 26, item 156, came into force. This act introduced articles 50528 – 50537 which added to the CPC, in the First Book – the Trial, the title VII. Separate proceedings, Chapter VIII. Electronic proceedings, Chapter 1 Electronic admonition proceedings. In addition, the series of implementing regulations were published in the Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) on 31 December 2009, No 226. These regulations include inter alia:
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the procedure of setting up an account and the way of using of electronic signatures in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the procedure of electronic serving in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the method of electronically lodging of pleadings in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the action of the court relating to the enforceability of a judicial decision rendered in the electronic admonition proceedings.
So, since 1 January 2010, XVI Civil Department of the Regional Court in Lublin is formally and officialy the first Polish e-court.
The electronic admonition proceedings were introduced as a separate proceeding – having the nature of summons for payment – in cases where the facts are not complicated and there is no requirement of the evidence proceedings. The suit in the electronic admonition proceedings may be filed by a natural person or a person acting on behalf of the plaintiff (the agent, legal representative) who also has an account enabled at www.e-sad.gov.pl website and a valid certificate to create the electronic signature. The plaintiff’s pleadings have to be lodged electronically to produce legal effects as provided by the law with regard to pleadings filed in the court.
Electronic versions of the statement of claim and other pleadings may be signed with a qualified certificate issued by a Qualified Certification Center. A person who does not have a valid qualified certificate should request a certificate from the Certification Center EPU and download the certificate, before filing a suit.
The suit should also include plaintiff’s number in the Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population – PESEL – (in Polish: Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności) which is the national identification number used in Poland since 1979 or Tax Identification Number – NIP – (in Polish: Numer Identyfikacji Podatkowej) of the plaintiff other than a natural person, if the plaintiff is obliged to have one, and the number of the National Court Register (in Polish: Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy), or the number in the other appropriate register or other records. This is much stronger requirement when it comes to e-pleadings because such a requirement does not apply to actions brought in writing.
The plaintiff should indicate the evidence to support his/her claims in the petition. The evidence is not attached to the petition.
Court fees in the electronic admonition proceedings are paid only electronically via the payment service provider. Activities during the electronic admonition proceedings may be exercised by court’s referendary (division official).
The ruling issued in the electronic admonition proceedings is deemed as the writ of execution. The enforcement clause is only left in the computer system. After the decision issued during the electronic admonition proceedings becomes final, the enforcement clause is issued ex officio. The plaintiff, or person acting on behalf of the plaintiff, may submit a request for execution of the decision to the selected bailiff through the communications system of the e-court based on the electronic writ of execution received.
The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 24 July 2007 case file I OPP 25/08 held that the letter that was brought by electronic means must be signed in person by a party or its representative to become legally effective, because only such signature meet the requirements under Article 46 § 1 pkt 4 of the Act of 30 August 2002 on the Law on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270, with subsequent amendments.
In accordance with Article 5(1) of the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature – ESA – (in Polish: ustawa o podpisie elektronicznym), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 15 November 2001, No 130, item 1450, with subsequent amendments, the secure electronic signature verified by a qualified certificate which has legal effects specified in the Act, if it is filed during the validity of this certificate. The Chapter IX of that ESA contains provisions amending, inter alia, the Civil Code Article 60, Article 78 §1 and §2, allowing for state the will of a person in the cicil law relationship by the disclosure in electronic form. In addition, the Polish Act of 17 February 2005 on the Informatization of Entities Performing Public Tasks – IEPPT – (in Polish: ustawa o informatyzacji działalności podmiotów realizujących zadania publiczne), published in Journal of Laws No 64, item 565, in Article. 36 pt 3 and 5 introduced amendments of the provisions of the Administrative Proceedings Code, i.e. Article 57 § 5 pt 1 and Article 63 § 3a by allowing the opportunity to provide a request in the form of an electronic document. The above provisions apply only to the extent that the given Act governs.
In the Polish Act of 17 June 2004 on Complaint on the Infringement of the Right of a Party to be Beard in Court Proceedings without Undue Delay, published in Journal of Laws of 16 August 2004, and in the provisions of the PBAC, there are no equivalents of the abovecited provisions of the Civil Code and the APC, and the definition of electronic signatures does not exists in these acts. According to Article 2(3) of the IEPPT, the provisions of this Act shall not apply to administrative courts in the administrative proceedings. Consequently, in this case the Supreme Administrative Court was not obliged to use in the e-mail correspondnce of certificates that are referred to in the ESA.