Recognition of the debt


What can significantly improve the situation in the case of recovery? Recognition of the debt by the debtor! The limitation period is interrupted, resulting in the new period being charged. It is worth checking what behavior is treated as debt recognition.

Types of debt recognition

Legal doctrine defines two types of debt recognition:

  • appropriate recognition,

  • recognition improper.

Contrary to appearances, both of these types result in the same - interruption of the limitation period - only their definition and type of behaviors are different. Interestingly, the recognition of a debt that has already expired, in accordance with the case law of the Supreme Court, may be treated as a waiver of the debtor's plea of ​​limitation. This means that in the event of a judicial recovery, the debtor has no right to raise it, even though the limitation period for the debt has already expired.

Appropriate debt recognition

Proper recognition of a debt is treated as a legal act, a unilaterally binding agreement concluded between the debtor and the creditor, in which the debtor makes a declaration of will. In other words, it shows the will and willingness to settle the debt.

A classic example is the settlement mentioned in Art. 917 of the Civil Code.


Art. 917. Civil Code

By means of an amicable settlement, the parties make mutual concessions to each other in the scope of the legal relationship existing between them in order to remove the uncertainty as to the claims arising from this relationship or to ensure their enforcement or to cancel an existing or possible dispute.


Is, therefore, a premise for a settlement to act in which the debtor shows the will and willingness to pay the debt? Of course! If the debtor recognizes the debt, it is worth making attempts to resolve the matter by mutual agreement of the parties (establishing mutual rights and obligations and the manner of their implementation).

Recognition of debt may also take place in the so-called in pure form, e.g. by recognizing the claim.

Bad debt recognition

Unlike proper recognition of a debt, it is a statement of knowledge which means that the debtor is aware of the claim. It may take the form of a statement or behavior that proves this fact, and in practice it very often happens that the debtor unknowingly has just interrupted the limitation period by performing an apparently insignificant act - by incorrectly recognizing the debt.

According to the jurisprudence of the courts, improper recognition of a debt is:

  • partial repayment of the debt (it may take the form of, for example, advances),

  • a request to spread the payment of the debt into installments,

  • request for cancellation of part or all of the debt,

  • request to postpone the payment date,

  • payment of interest,

  • confirmation of the balance (in commercial companies obligatory by persons representing the company).

Also, a debtor who does not have full legal capacity may wrongly recognize a debt. Such recognition may occur not only through his actions, but also by people acting with his consent and knowledge.

It is in the interest of the creditor to conduct, inter alia, negotiating with the debtor in order to conclude the situation. In other words, take any steps to obtain the debtor's declaration of will or to impose behavior that confirms the existing obligation and thus recognizes the debt.