Maciej Zych: articles by this author

Disputes involving demand guarantees

Demand guarantees are among the most popular methods of securing international commercial transactions. They may be used to secure both the payment of fees and satisfactory performance of particular works. The popularity of these guarantees (sometimes also referred to as payment guarantees) can be attributed to the fact that they are issued by trustworthy and globally recognisable financial institutions (usually banks and insurance companies), and their operation is governed by universal rules well-understood in the business community. Guarantees are also independent of the underlying relationship between the parties, and the payment conditions are based on objective criteria, eliminating the potential for unexpected interpretations and actions by the parties. Given these factors, it is understandable that disputes regarding payment guarantees can usually be avoided. However, when they do occur, they usually involve substantial sums, with the potential to affect the financial liquidity of the companies involved.

Is an unexamined complaint an approved complaint?

The Act on Consideration of Complaints by Financial Market Entities and on the Financial Ombudsman provides that a complaint not resolved within the stated period “is regarded as” resolved in accordance with the customer’s request. In a surprising resolution, the Supreme Court recently ruled that this does not mean that a delay in consideration of a complaint mandates that it is resolved in the customer’s favour, but such a delay merely increases the burden faced by the entity during litigation. If, of course, the matter ever reaches the courts. Was this what the legislature intended?

A mistrust of trusts?

In common-law jurisdictions, the trust is a popular form for achieving various aims: managing assets, inheritance, building corporate structures, and tax planning. But countries from the Continental legal tradition, like Poland, typically do not have any institution directly corresponding to a trust. Polish doesn’t even have a word for it. This has raised doubts over the years and sometimes even suspicion on the part of courts and lawyers when they need to determine the consequences exerted by a trust in actual or potential disputes in jurisdictions unfamiliar with this form. Are their suspicions well-founded?

Additional work without a written agreement

During the course of construction projects, issues often arise involving additional work or substitute work. Contractors perceive even minor departures from the original plans as additional work and demand an increased fee, while investors not only expect all their instructions to be followed within the agreed price, but treat any opposition by the contractor as a breach of contract. This dynamic works similarly between the general contractor and subcontractors. But the realities of the real estate development process often require work to be done even when the parties take different views of the work and do not sign a separate contract covering it. Is an additional fee nonetheless owed for performing such work?

When the agent’s principal drives clients away

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a commercial agent may retain the right to a commission if the client intentionally refuses to perform the contract because the principal’s attitude has caused the client to lose confidence in the principal. The ruling also clarifies doubts surrounding the effect that partial non-performance of the contract has on the agent’s commission.

Will public entities be more willing to settle disputes?

The “Creditors’ Package,” an overhaul of numerous acts, entered into force on 1 June 2017. Among other changes, it authorises public finance units to conclude settlements when certain conditions are fulfilled. This creates the hope for a more flexible attitude of public entities, open to dialogue with the private sector. But will this actually be achieved?