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Poland

Author: Magdalena Tulibacka

IV. Sectoral Collective Redress Mechanisms

As mentioned above, actions for injunctions in consumer cases can be brought before the Head of the Office for the Protection of Competition and Consumers (they are regulated in the Act on the Protection of Competition and Consumers of 16 February 2007, as amended, published on 26 January 2017(in Dziennik Ustaw of 2017, item 229; the original text was published in Dziennik Ustaw of 2007, nr 50, item 331). The Head of UOKiK has direct injunction powers in actions brought by anyone, including consumers, for the protection of collective consumer interests (these powers constitute implementation of the Consumer Injunctions Directive 98/27/EC, as codified by Directive 2009/22/EC, article 100 of the Act on the Protection of Competition and Consumers).

He or she also has injunctive powers in cases concerning unfair contractual clauses (article 99a of the same Act). The latter can be collective or individual cases.

Both procedures are administrative in nature, with the possibility of an appeal to the Court for the Protection of Competition and Consumers in Warsaw.

The consumer injunctions procedure can be commenced by anyone, including a foreign organization that is a qualified entity featured in the register of qualified entities as established by the Consumer Injunctions Directive (article 100 of the Act).

The unfair contractual clauses procedure can be commenced by a consumer, a consumer ombudsman, the Ombudsman for the Insured, and a consumer organization, including a foreign consumer organization that features on the list of organizations with the standing to bring such an action (the list is published in the Official Journal of the EU) (article 99a).

The consumer injunctions procedure includes a possibility of an interim decision by the Head of UOKiK, if it is probable that the conduct, if continued, may cause serious and irrevocable damage to the collective interests of consumers. This interim relief decision can remain in force until the final decision in the case is taken (article 101a).

The proceedings in both types of cases should not take more than 4 months, and in very complex cases -5 months. If important consumer interests are at stake, the Head of UOKiK may give the final decisions the executive force.

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