Fictitious delivery - what is it characterized by?


Correspondence should be received. Explaining that it could not be done because "I was on vacation" will not help much - the letter will be deemed successfully delivered anyway. We present the principles of delivering correspondence from courts and offices to natural persons, including those running a business. Fictitious delivery - when is it effective?

Who can pick up the correspondence?

The correspondence can of course be picked up by its addressee (the so-called proper service). If no other address is given in a court or office, correspondence to natural persons is sent to the address of the place of residence. Only when there are difficulties with delivery to this address, it can be delivered at the place of work (as long as the address is on the envelope - not the postman's decision, but the sender!) Or wherever the addressee finds himself.

If the postman does not find the addressee in the apartment, he can leave the letter to an adult household member. Theoretically, it can also be left by the caretaker or the village administrator, but in practice it does not happen very often. In administrative proceedings, the postman may also leave a letter to a neighbor of the addressee (Article 43 of the Code of Administrative Procedure).

Advice in the mailbox

If the postman does not find the addressee or an adult inmate in the apartment, he throws the so-called advice. In the absence of a box, it can leave them in the door.

The notification contains information on which post office and by when the letter can be picked up. The deadline on the first notification is seven days. If the parcel is not picked up, a second advice note will be thrown into the mailbox - with the next seven-day deadline. So there are fourteen days in total to collect the letter at the post office. Fictitious delivery occurs in the case of failure to collect the notification twice. In the case of correspondence sent in the administrative proceedings, the first notification of the letter specifies the 14-day deadline for collecting the letter at the post office.

Fictitious delivery

What if, despite leaving the advice note twice, the letter is not picked up at the post office? A letter that has not been collected from the post office, despite being advised twice, will be treated as if it had been successfully delivered on the last day for its collection (fictitious delivery, the so-called substitute delivery). The point is not to block court or administrative proceedings just because the addressee does not receive the correspondence.

The date of delivery in the form of substitute delivery is the day on which the deadline for collection at the post office or other facility serving the letter has expired. Although it will only be a legal fiction of service, the fictitious service entails all the effects of service - the Supreme Court decided in its decision of March 12, 2015, file ref. no. I CZ 6/15.

Example 1.

A payment order was sent to Jan Kowalski's address, obliging him to pay PLN 10,000. On March 1, the postman did not find the addressee, because he had gone on a 2-week vacation. So the postman left the first notification in the mailbox (with the collection date by March 8), and a week later - the second notification (with the collection date on March 15). After returning from vacation, Jan Kowalski took the advice note from the mailbox and on March 16 he went to the post office. There he found out that the deadline for receiving the letter had expired on March 15th and that the letter had been returned to the sender. The letter is treated as successfully delivered (false delivery) on March 15. From that date, the court begins to charge Jan Kowalski with a 14-day period for appealing against the payment order. If Jan Kowalski does not appeal the warrant within this period, it will become final.

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What to do when the deadline for collecting the advised letter has expired?

If the deadline for collecting the advised letter has expired, you must:

  • go to the post office as soon as possible (despite the deadline for receiving the letter) and ask to determine who was the sender of the letter; postal workers can do this by checking the tracking number (shown on the advice note) in the internal mail system;

  • contact the sender as soon as possible (call the court, office) and determine the case in which the correspondence was sent to us and what it concerns;

  • pick up the correspondence at the court or office as soon as possible, so that you have a chance to meet the deadline indicated in the letter, which is already considered successfully delivered (the deadline is already running!).

Refusal to pick up the parcel

It happens that the addressee of the parcel declares to the postman who wants to deliver him the letter from the court or office that he will not collect the letter. What will be the consequences of refusing to receive correspondence?

If the addressee refuses to accept the letter, the service shall be deemed to have been effected. In such a case, the delivering party returns the letter to the court with a note on the refusal to accept it (Art. 139 § 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure). As in the case of failure to collect a twice notified parcel, also such a letter will be treated as if it had been received (fictitious delivery). The date of receipt will be the date on which the addressee refused to accept the letter.


If the addressee's goal is not to refuse to collect the parcel, but he only wants to gain time and prefers that the postman leave a notice in the mailbox, this must be clearly stated to the postman, asking him to write out the notice. If the postman, instead of leaving a note, places a note on the refusal to accept the parcel, the parcel will be returned to the sender and will be considered successfully delivered!

Are you changing your address? Inform about it!

If, in the course of proceedings before a court or an office, a party changes his address, he must inform the court (or office) about it. Failure to do so will have serious consequences. What to do to prevent false delivery?

The letter (eg notice of the date of the hearing) sent to the old address will be returned to the court with the note "addressee has moved out". As it happened already during the proceedings, to the address to which correspondence had already been sent to the party, the court will not determine the new address itself. Fictitious delivery will work again. The letter will be returned to the sender who will leave it on the case file and will treat the letter as if it had been successfully served. Fictitious service will not take place if the court knows the new address.

Are you leaving? Leave a postal authorization!

The collection of notified letters from courts and offices at the post office may be a problem when an authorized person has to do it instead of the addressee. Sending, for example, a family member to the post to collect a letter from the court will not help much - even though the address in the ID card will be the same. The postal worker will not deliver the parcel.

In order to avoid such problems, and the fictitious delivery did not take place - a postal authorization should be given at the post office to receive correspondence. When granting a power of attorney, the person who will be the attorney does not have to be present. However, the personal presence of the person granting the power of attorney is necessary - because he or she has to sign it in the presence of the postal worker. The following data of the representative will be required: name, surname, ID number. The form shall indicate the scope of the power of attorney (to which items he authorizes) and the duration of the power of attorney (it may be for an indefinite period). The fee for the postal authorization is PLN 25.83 gross (payable at the post office).