Does partial debt repayment interrupt the limitation period?


Partial repayment of the debt (e.g. installment) is the recognition of the claim by the debtor. Recognition may also be the submission by the debtor of a declaration in which he admits that he is aware of the debt. This can be, for example, reconciliation of the balance, the debtor's request to the creditor to spread the debt into installments or a request to defer the payment date.

Partial debt repayment and limitation

By making a payment of a certain amount of money, the debtor admits that he owes the creditor a certain amount, and thus confirms the existence and legitimacy of the debt towards himself. The creditor may perceive such a partial payment as an activity on the part of the debtor aimed at full satisfaction. Such a procedure, under Art. 123 § 1 of the Civil Code is the interruption of the limitation period for the claim. It is worth remembering that the statute of limitations applies to property claims. Property rights, the right to protection of personal rights, some real estate claims are not subject to statute of limitations.

The limitation period is interrupted only when the debtor recognizes his debt before the expiry of the limitation period. Art.123 of the Civil Code indicates when the limitation period is interrupted, i.e. by performing any action before a court or other body appointed to hear cases or enforce claims of a given type, or before an arbitration court, undertaken directly in order to pursue or establish or satisfy or secure a claim. ; by the recognition of the claim by the person against whom the claim is entitled.

It should be remembered that in a situation where a lawsuit takes place, the debtor must raise the plea of ​​limitation of the debt, but it is the debtor's responsibility to prove that the debtor has partially repaid the debt. Therefore, it is important to keep all documents proving receipt of part of the debt, e.g. confirmation of transfer acceptance, payment receipt.

Example 1.

Marek, running a business, sold the goods to a certain company for the amount of PLN 45,000 with maturity on January 4, 2016. On January 4, 2018, the two-year limitation period for the claim for payment against the company would have expired (2 years of the entrepreneur's claim under the sales contract) had it not been for the fact that on December 12, 2017 Marek received a letter of apology for failure to settle the invoice on time and a transfer for 5,000 zloty. This situation interrupted the limitation period and the period runs anew (another 2 years) from the date of submission of the letter of the company, signed by the members of the management board who are not entitled to represent them. An admission of debt through an apology and partial repayment of the debt is tantamount to interrupting the limitation period.