As for service procedure of documents in Poland until present, the common form was a paper letter that had to be sent with an acknowledgement of receipt. The changes introduced by the 2019-2021 amendments to the Polish administrative procedure, particularly the 2021 amendment on electronic service, are intended to effectively change the way parties are informed about the stages in the procedure. The changes move correspondence with government entities to an electronic level. From 5 October 2021, there have entered into force the changes which concern, among others, the principle of written documents (Article 14 of the Code of Administrative Procedure), provisions on the power of attorney (Article 33 of the Polish Code of Administrative Procedure ), time limits (Article 35 of the Polish Code of Administrative Procedure), reminders (Article 37 of the Code of Administrative Procedure), service (Articles 39-49 of the Code of Administrative Procedure), summons (Articles 50, 54 of the Code of Administrative Procedure), time limits (Article 57), or commencement of proceedings (Articles 61, 63 of the Code of Administrative Procedure).
The electronic delivery system will become the primary default delivery channel. Firstly, the service will be made via public service of registered electronic delivery. If delivery via this system is not possible, then the so-called public hybrid service will be used whereby the postal operator converts letters from electronic to paper form and delivers them that way. Paper letters will be served only as an exception, in strictly defined cases. At the same time, the system will replace the ePUAP system.
The Act on Electronic Deliveries introduces rules for the operation of electronic registered deliveries in legal transactions. Electronic delivery is intended to allow delivery of mail with legal effect equivalent to traditional mail delivery. The e-delivery service will make it possible to receive and send correspondence between citizens and the public administration electronically, without the need for paper documents.
The e-service law went into effect in October 2021; however, there are many transition periods of several years.
Offices and other public entities will start using e-Guarantees gradually. As of July 5, 2022, this obligation will apply to government administration bodies and budgetary units serving these bodies, the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ), the National Social Insurance Authority (ZUS), state control and law protection bodies and budgetary units serving these bodies.
The obligation to have an e-delivery address will also apply to companies and corporations. According to the information provided by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, from July 5, 2022 it will apply to new entrepreneurs registering in the Polish National Court Register (KRS) that will receive e-delivery address automatically, and from October 1, 2022 to entrepreneurs who have been registered in the National Court Register before July 5, 2022, from 30 September 2025 to entrepreneurs changing their entry in the Central Register of Business Activity, and from 1 October 2026 to companies registered in the Central Register of Business Activity before 31.01.2023.
The e-Delivery address, once activated and entered in the database of electronic addresses, will become the address for official correspondence of a given company. This means that offices using e-delivery will send correspondence to a given company only electronically.
Companies can already set up a free account on the Entrepreneur’s Account on the gov.pl website. All they need to do is apply for eDelivery address and then activate the address and mailbox.
Further institutions will join the system from 2023: from 1 January 2023 – universities and the Polish Academy of Sciences, from 1 January 2024 – local government units and their unions, from 1 January 2025 – other public entities, and from 1 October 2029 – courts and tribunals, bailiffs, prosecutors, law enforcement agencies and the Prison Service.
The Act on Electronic Service has significantly changed the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure on service of letters. However, given that the operation of the electronic register will not be implemented immediately (with the effective date of the amendment), the application of the provisions may be significantly impeded.