Dear Readers,

We are happy to present you the December issue of the newsletter by WBW Weremczuk Bobeł & Partners.
This time we would like to present an article on ideas proposed by the Polish Confederation Lewiatan on how to popularise alternative dispute resolution.
Furthermore, we present the amendments to the act on civil registry records to come into effect on 1 January 2015.
We would also like to recommend you the article on new EU directives with respect to tax evasion.
We wish you a pleasant read.
We would also like to wish you all the best in the New Year of 2015.

WBW Team

New directives on fighting tax evasion and tax fraud.

On 9 December 2014, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) adopted a directive on automatic exchange of tax information.

The directive aims at preventing taxpayers from concealing their taxable capital and assets. It is also supposed to improve the efficiency of tax collection. The works in this respect were conducted by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council along with the activities by G20 and OECD with regard to global standard of automatic exchange of information. The directive is an essential step in fighting tax evasion.

In the same meeting session, the Council took yet another step further in this respect by approving the amendments to the directive on parent-subsidiary taxation. The said modification aims at preventing double taxation evasion with respect to dividends resulting from hybrid instruments and it introduces a clause for preventing tax evasion. It will be regarded as minimum level of regulation. The EU member states will have the possibility to maintain its existing regulations on tax evasion, fraud and malpractice, unless they are at least as strict as the said clause. According to the Ministry of Finance, “adopting the new solutions is an important step in fighting aggressive tax planning and a great contribution of the European Union in fighting tax evasion on an international scale”.

Paulina Szymańska, lawyer


Polish Confederation Lewiatan presents its ideas on how toimprove arbitration.

In our articles, we have frequently discussed the efforts of the Polish authorities aimed at popularisation of alternative dispute resolution. The reason for this is not only the need to relief common courts but also the fact that making use of such solutions is also significant for the parties to a dispute. In a court proceeding, there is always a “win-lose” situation, however, if some sort of arrangement and a common position can be worked out, each party to a dispute may feel like a winner.
At present, another initiative aimed at popularisation of alternative dispute resolution is in progress. A team of experts operating at the Polish Confederation Lewiatan presented its suggestions on how to amend the existing law to the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Justice. The works were first conducted among high class experts and then presented during the conference “Arbitration Diagnosis” held on 18 September 2014 and in a public questionnaire available at the website of the Lewiatan Court of Arbitration. They resulted in formulating a comprehensive publication called “The White Book of Arbitration”, which was officially handed to the representatives of the said ministries on 20 November 2014.
The publication discusses 17 substantial proposals of how to facilitate and streamline arbitration proceedings, which, in turn, should increase its popularity. The proposals involve, for example, liquidation of the notion of amicability as a prerogative for arbitrability in any cases pertaining to property. This means that arbitration could be possible in any property case, excluding alimony and child support, without any limitations, unlike the present situation where arbitration is admissible only in case of disputes in which it is possible to contract a settlement (this requirement will now apply only to non-property disputes). Another proposed change aimed at streamlining the operation of arbitration courts is the rule that in case of an arbitration clause the rules of arbitration applicable in a given case should be the ones in force at the moment of initiating the proceeding and not the ones in force at the moment of contracting the said arbitration clause. This change may seem to be minor, however, it would make the work of arbitrators much easier. Yet another, very interesting matter is a suggestion to implement a rule allowing arbitrators to issue an interim injunction to secure a claim in a closed door session which would be delivered to the obliged party by an enforcement body at the moment of securing a claim. However, owing to the interest of the parties affected by such an injunction, the arbitration court is supposed to examine a request to overrule or change such an injunction within 3 days of receiving such a request. It is also worth mentioning that the proposed abolition of the necessity to supplement a request to recognise a foreign judgement with a sworn translation of the judgement (a private translation should suffice). In case of such a request it would also no longer be necessary to present an arbitration clause.

Apart from the above-mentioned suggestions, the document also discusses some very important technical matters. The publication is supposed to serve as a strong voice of the society in the course of consultations conducted by the Ministry of Economy with regard to assumptions to the act on supporting amicable dispute resolution. We will inform you about this initiative in more detail once the assumptions are made more specific and reach the phase of a bill.

Rafał Sałata, lawyer


New act on civil registry records

On 1 January 2015 the new act of 28 November 2014 on civil registry records comes into effect. The new law has to be implemented due to the need to digitalise the civil registry records as the formerly-binding act of 1986 (which is quite outdated from the point of view of modern standards) made it impossible to perform such a process. One of the most important changes is that birth, marriage and death certificates will now be entered into an ICT system. This way, citizens will be able to obtain a hard copy of an excerpt from civil records in any civil registry office. Furthermore, at the request of an applicant it will also be possible to send a certificate via e-mail.
Entries will be made by a registrar general or a deputy registrar, and entering certain data will automatically update the corresponding data in other public registers. The access to electronic registers will free citizens from the obligation to provide excerpts from civil registers and it will streamline administrative procedures. Granting administrative decisions will be substituted by activities pertaining to substantive technical matters such as corrections or supplements.
Another positive change is the introduction of a certificate of marital status, which will replace numerous excerpts which are required to be filed on various occasions.
We should also mention the changes with respect to future spouses. As of 2015, it will be possible to get married in places other than the registry office. However, in order to maintain the honourable character of the institution of marriage, the lawmakers introduced certain conditions which need to be fulfilled in order for a wedding to take place. The marriage ceremony could take place in a location which emphasises the significance and gravity of the ceremony and ensures safety of all participants.
The amended law will also implement changes with regard to naming a child. As of 2015, irrespective of the nationality of child’s parents’, it will be possible to name a child with a foreign name. It will also be possible to select a name which does not identify a child’s sex but which is customarily associated with a given sex.

Marek Bem, lawyer

This Newsletter is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended and shall not be treated as professional advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.

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