Publication: Corporate criminal liability in Poland


In this brief guide for all concerned, we outline the rules for corporate criminal liability under the current law.

In Poland, the Act on Liability of Collective Entities for Punishable Offences has been in force for nearly 18 years. It regulates the liability often referred to in practice as corporate criminal liability.

Although the act has been in force for many years, law enforcement agencies rarely decide to indict collective entities. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is the dysfunctionality of the act (for example, the requirement of prior conviction of individuals such as board members, employees or associates).

However, companies must take into account that in the near future, law enforcement authorities may more frequently pursue criminal liability of collective entities for criminal and fiscal offences committed by their employees or associates. It is also likely that the provisions on corporate criminal liability will be reformed, with expansion of liability, stricter penalties, and streamlining of the procedure for indictment and punishment of companies.

In particular, we answer such questions as:

  • Who specifically may bear liability under the act?
  • For what offences can a collective entity be held liable, in what circumstances and under what conditions?
  • What are the sanctions?
  • What are the proceedings like and how can a company defend itself?
  • Is liability “transferred” when a company is sold, and what is the danger of buying a “pig in a poke”?

We encourage you to read it.