First thing to do is to ask yourself really is it worthwhile suing somebody. A lot of people forget that it can be really stressful, it can be really expensive and actually, there are no guarantees that money will be recovered. If a defendant has no money, no assets and no income – how are you going to get money from him or her?
Therefore, before lodging the statement of claim and paying the court fee which in Poland amounts to 5 % of the disputed amount, it is recommended to check whether the defendant has money. If the defendant is a company – it is easy to establish the general financial situation of the company by reviewing the financial statements which are deposited at the registry court. The registry files concerning the company are open for everyone to review. It is also now possible to see online the newest statements.
However, if the defendant is an individual (physical person), the situation is not so easy. In such a situation, you will have to mainly rely on what is generally available about that person. There is also a special National Debt Register which lists sole traders who do not pay their debt on time.
One of the solutions to avoid paying high fees upfront without knowing if the defendant has money is to apply to the court for the injunction which would secure your claim. If you manage to convince the judge that:
- your claim is highly probable (you do not have to prove your claim; it is sufficient if you present the so called prima facie evidence) and
- the situation of your debtor is worsening so – even if you win the case – there will be real danger of not getting the money awarded to you by the court,
then, you have a real chance of getting the so called freezing injunction which will block the defendant’s assets.
Most importantly, your debtor is not aware of the proceedings so there is an element of surprise and often there is a high chance of blocking money on debtor’s bank account or seizing debtor’s assets. If money is blocked or assets seized, you can quietly consider suing the debtor, knowing that it is worthwhile.
On the other hand, if money is not found and there are no assets to be seized, it is very likely that you will not get your money back even if you win the case.
The injunction also works as a forecast of the final judgment as the court is obliged to evaluate the claim on the basis of prima facie evidence. Once you are granted the injunction, you will have 2 weeks to file the full statement of claim against the defendant.
Thus, the injunction is a very effective instrument which facilitates the pursuit of your claims.