Recently enacted and planned changes in corporate criminal liability in Poland
On 2 September 2022, the Polish Ministry of Justice published a draft of far-reaching changes to the liability of collective entities, which would eliminate the requirement to obtain a predicate ruling for all criminal and fiscal offences for which collective entities could be held criminally liable. We discuss these changes in an updated version of our guide to corporate criminal liability in Poland.
Freezing of accounts by law enforcement authorities: Key information for businesses and managers
It’s hard to explain to someone who has never been accused of a crime that they cannot use their own money, and this situation could last for months. Nonetheless, an institution exerting this effect functions under Polish law and can impact both individuals and companies.
Extradition and Interpol Notices: A Guide to Procedures
More and more requests are filed with Polish prosecutors and courts by other countries seeking extradition of wanted persons found in Poland. These persons often are not even aware that they are sought by law enforcement authorities in another country to face criminal charges there or to enforce existing criminal sanctions.
New rules for liability for environmental crimes necessitate a review of compliance policies in companies
In a few days, the Act of 22 July 2022 Amending Certain Acts to Combat Environmental Offences will enter into force. It changes the rules of liability for commission of offences by corporate entities. Prosecutors in Poland will no longer have to obtain a conviction of a natural person affiliated with a corporate entity before pursuing criminal charges against the corporate entity. This removes the main practical obstacle which has made it extremely rate for law enforcement to seek to hold companies criminally liable. As a result of the changes, we expect a larger number of criminal proceedings against companies. Environmental compliance is a solution for reducing this risk.
Vehicle forfeiture: A problem for employers?
On 7 February 2022, the Polish Sejm adopted an amendment to the Criminal Code introducing a controversial proposal for ordering the forfeiture of vehicles driven by intoxicated traffic offenders. Ordered by the criminal court, the change of ownership from the driver to the State Treasury is intended to help the justice system effectively combat road hogs and drunk drivers. The amendment is currently being considered by the Senate, which can still make changes. But it can already be predicted that rulings on vehicle forfeitures will face difficulties.
Careful with seizing an automobile as security
On 21 December 2021, the European Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in Stołkowski v Poland (application no. 58795/15) holding that Poland had violated the applicant’s property rights. The case involved the long impoundment of the applicant’s car as security in a criminal case pending against him, which resulted in decimation of the vehicle’s value. Relying on principles of property rights, the court decided when impoundment of a car may be disproportionate, despite the existing public interest and legal basis for application of such a measure.
News from Poland—Business & Law, Episode 8: Legal aspects of fighting cybercrime: Ransomware and data hacks
In this episode, Łukasz Lasek explains legal aspects of fighting cybercrime in the form of ransomware and data hacks. What is a ransomware attack? How can businesses protect against it? How do we help businesses after they fall victim to ransomware extortion?
News from Poland—Business & Law, Episode 7: Business Email Compromise (BEC)
In this episode, Łukasz Lasek explains legal aspects of fighting a type of cybercrime fraud called business email compromise, or BEC. How do the fraudsters work? Why is the number of BEC attacks on smaller businesses increasing? What to do if your email has been compromised? What are the prospects of catching the fraudsters, and how to reduce the number of BEC frauds?
Game chat crimes: Does the developer have a duty to report them?
Multiplayer games are an increasingly important market segment. All kinds of features allowing players to communicate during gameplay, such as voice communication and text chats, largely account for their popularity. While player interaction is desired by players themselves and game developers, it can involve inappropriate and even unlawful player behaviour. What is the provider of an online game to do in such a situation?
Corporate criminal liability: A brief guide for all concerned
Every day, news outlets around the world report on corporate scandals and investigations, money laundering through shell companies in tax havens, arrests of executives, and multi-million-dollar settlements with prosecutors by big market players. Is this symptomatic of setbacks in the fight with corporate criminality, or is enforcement improving and uncovering more crime?
Acquittal of a drunk driver does not exclude civil liability
In December 2020, the European Court of Human Rights issued its judgment in Papageorgiou v Greece (application No. 44101/13), holding that despite his prior acquittal, the imposition of civil liability on a driver for causing an accident under the influence of alcohol did not violate the presumption of innocence. The case provides an opportunity to discuss how the outcome of criminal proceedings impacts drunk drivers’ liability for damages.
Understandable information for detainees
A document handed over (or worse, merely shown) to a detainee upon detention may not be comprehensible. This is not only a Polish problem. In other EU countries as well, guidance given to detainees leaves a lot to be desired. Hence, the idea for lawyers and plain-language specialists to join forces to create new sample guidance for detainees.