On 28 August 2023, the President signed an amendment to the Civil Procedure Code, the Act on the Common Court System, the Code of Criminal Procedure and some other acts. One of the amendments modifies Article 35 of the Act on Court Fees in Civil Cases. How will it affect the employers and employees?
Expected changes in court fees in labour law cases
On 17 August 2023, the deputies decided on the new wording of Article 35(1) of the Act on Court Fees in Civil Cases. The revised version of the article reads as follows:
‘In cases relating to labour law, the employer shall be charged a basic fee only on appeals, complaints, appeals to the highest instance and actions for annulment of final decision as unlawful. However, in cases in which the amount in dispute exceeds PLN 50,000, from the amount in dispute over that amount, the employee and the employer shall be charged an appeal fee in accordance with the rules laid down in Article 13.”
The current wording of the above article provides that in cases in which the amount in dispute exceeds PLN 50,000, a proportional fee from the employee and the employer is charged for all pleadings subject to it. While in accordance with Article 13 of the Act on Court Fees, if the amount in dispute or the value of the subject of the appeal exceeds PLN 20,000, a proportional fee of 5% is charged, but not more than PLN 200,000.
The amended act enters into force 14 days from the date of its publication, which means that a revised article on court fees in labour law cases will most likely start to apply soon. According to it, a proportional fee will be charged only on appeals in cases where the amount in dispute exceeds PLN 50,000.
Pros and cons of changes in court fees in labour cases
When discussing the amendment of the Act on Court Fees, it is worth mentioning that experts and trade union community negatively assesses the proposed changes. The changes will mainly benefit employees who, according to the amended regulations, will pay only for an appeal, and this fee will be calculated on the amount in dispute, only it if exceeds PLN 50,000. However, the proposed provision is not without flaws. Namely, if the court awards an employee a part of the claimed amount, say PLN 300,000 out of initially claimed PLN 500,000, then in the event of an appeal, the employee will have to pay the appeal fee on PLN 450,000, and not on the amount reduced by already awarded 300,000, i.e. on PLN 200,000.
Bringing an appeal in some cases will therefore entail significant costs, which may make it more difficult for some employees to pursue their claims. For employers, however, a change in the rules on court fees in labour law cases may result in an increase in the number of court cases to which employer is a party, and the amounts in disputes may be higher than before. On the other hand, the increase in the number of disputes may contribute to a longer time for the courts to hear them.
The practice will show if the number of employment disputes will increase. One thing is sure, the law makers, when proposing the amendment, intended to facilitate the recovery of workers’ claims, but were they really successful?
Civil code – see how we can help: