Limitation of debt – when does it occur?

by Sara Watson

Polish law contains a precise definition of the period of limitation of debt. It is in the Civil Code. However, you should know that despite the fact that there is a limitation period for the debt, it does not expire and the debtor ceases to be in effect.

Therefore, the debtor is not obliged to pay his debt. An exception to this rule may be a waiver of the right to avoid paying the debt. In the following article, we explain in detail the legal consequences of the limitation period and after which period of time it occurs.

The fastest prescription for fines


The shortest limitation period applies to unpaid fines and claims arising from the contract of carriage. Under Polish law, they expire after twelve months. Many people do not care about fines and prefer not to pay them back – this is reprehensible behavior.

Many people think that the debtor will not try to recover their money and that the debt will expire. People who count on it often do not calculate even how many years must pass for the prescription of the debt to take place.

However, there is a huge risk in this respect because the creditor has the right to take the case to court. Therefore, additional fees may be charged, and the process itself can take a very long time (even several years). Therefore, calls for payment of fines must not be underestimated, because after some time they can turn into several times higher costs.

The most important limitation periods

The Civil Code clearly states the limitation periods. The legislator distinguishes between two basic terms:

  • three years for claims regarding business operations or periodic statements,
  • six years for all property claims or claims established by final court judgments.

Limitation of long-term debt


As regards the limitation of long-term debt, the case is somewhat different. It should be remembered that not every liability expires after a year or two. Liabilities that arise by virtue of law (taxes) are barred after five years from the end of the calendar year in which the repayment deadline expired. In the case of debts established by a court judgment, they become barred after six years and relate to claims that have been established by final court judgments.

Many people are also wondering when inheritance debt expires. If the heir, within six months of the day on which the inheritance was opened, makes a declaration of acceptance of the inheritance, he will be liable in the same way as the debtor for the obligations he has incurred. Accordingly, the creditor has the right to demand repayment of the debt even if he was not aware that the deceased person had any debts.

What to do to stop the limitation period?

Persons prosecuting debtors in order to stop the limitation process may perform all court activities (including a lawsuit), initiate mediation or induce the debtor to recognize the claims being made.

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