Service law - what is it?


One of the most important elements of the proper conduct of civil proceedings is the service of documents. The importance of the institution of service is emphasized by the fact that its correct performance depends on the effectiveness of numerous procedural steps, even if it is important that the document is effectively served, the time limit for performing a specific procedural step begins to run.

The right to deliver parcels

The purpose of service under the Code of Civil Procedure is to enable the addressee to read the content of letters intended for him, in particular court documents, and it also influences the equality of the parties in the process, guaranteeing the rule of law throughout the process.

The general principle adopted by the Polish legislator is the principle of official deliveries, i.e. ex officio deliveries. According to the regulations, the service is performed by the court. At the same time, the entities performing the service may be: public / postal operators, persons working in the court or bailiffs or the court delivery service.,

The principle of direct service of letters

Another, no less important, principle that characterizes the right of service under Polish legislation is the principle of direct service of letters. When making a detailed analysis of this principle, to better illustrate a given issue, let's use the division according to the addressees for whom letters are served. And so, among the methods of proper delivery, the following can be distinguished:

  • Delivering letters to natural persons - the principle is to deliver letters in person. If the addressee does not have procedural capacity (such as, for example, in the case of a minor), service is made on the legal representative of a given person.

  • Service of letters to legal persons (including organizations without legal personality) - letters are delivered to the authority that is authorized to represent the legal person / organization before the court or directly to the employee who has been authorized to receive the letters.

  • Delivering letters to entrepreneurs and partners of commercial companies (entered into the National Court Register on the basis of separate regulations) - delivery is made to the address provided in the register (unless the party has indicated a different address for delivery of correspondence)

  • Service of letters to appointed procedural attorneys or persons authorized to receive letters in court proceedings - the service should be made to these persons. At the same time, a very important issue - if a party to the proceedings has more than one representative, the letter is served on only one of them.

Place of delivery

Another important issue related to the service law is the indication of the place where the delivery should take place in order to be effective. The Code of Civil Procedure regulates the general rule in this respect, according to which the letter should be served in the apartment, at the workplace or wherever the addressee is found. In this case, service is hand-delivered and it is the so-called proper service.

Unfortunately, there are very often situations in which the specific addressee cannot be found at home or at his workplace, which is why the legislator in such cases has established the possibility of the so-called substitute service, the essence of which is that a letter is served on a person other than the addressee. When examining the issue of substitute service, it should be clarified that in the absence of the addressee in the apartment, the entity performing the service has the right to deliver the document to the adult household member, and in the event of his absence or absence, the document may be delivered to the house administrator, caretaker or the competent authority of the commune. The condition for such service is that there is no dispute between these entities and the addressee of the letter, moreover, these entities must undertake to deliver correspondence to the addressee. Please note that this rule applies only to the delivery of letters for natural persons. For the sake of clarity of understanding the whole issue, it is worth explaining the concept of an "adult household member". According to the Code of Civil Procedure, a household member is understood as a person who is in a common household with the addressee of the letter. However, there is no requirement for such a person to have any authorization to receive correspondence.The effectiveness of the letter delivery in the above-described case is the fact that it is actually delivered to the addressee. Only then can substitute service be regarded as having been properly effected. However, if the person receiving the correspondence does not forward it to the addressee, of course, there can be no question of effective service. A different form of substitute service is the delivery of the letter at the addressee's workplace. In this case, the person receiving the correspondence must be clearly authorized to do so.

It is worth paying attention to the clarification of the situation of the addressee of the letter, in which it is not possible to provide him with correspondence using the above-mentioned methods. Well, in the event of inability to deliver a letter, the postal operator submits the addressed letter at its post office. If the delivering entity is another entity - the letter is submitted to the office of the competent commune. It is very important that each time such an entity is required to provide a notice to the addressee of the letter about this fact. Such notice is usually placed either at the addressee's door or in the mailbox, and it is necessary to indicate in the notice where and when the letter was left. In addition, if the notice is left, it must contain an instruction that the letter should be collected within seven days from the date of placing the notice. If, after seven days, the addressee does not collect the letter, another notification is made. After unsuccessful expiry of the repeated notification, the parcel is considered delivered to the addressee. In such a case, the date of delivery is the last day of the period in which the letter should be collected.

In the event that the addressee refuses to accept the letter, the delivering party returns the letter to the court with a note about the refusal to accept it, and the service is deemed to have been completed.

Right of delivery - electronic delivery of the parcel

Let us now consider the course of deliveries occurring in electronic proceedings. In this form of procedure, service of course also takes place electronically. Along with the filing of the statement of claim, the claimant obtains access to the ICT system handling the writ of payment proceedings, enabling the receipt of correspondence from the court. The defendant is served with letters in the same way with his prior consent. The moment of delivery of the letter is considered to be the moment when the addressee acquaints himself with the letter. If the letter is not read by the addressee, it shall be deemed delivered after 14 days from the date of delivery in a manner enabling the addressee to read its contents.