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The Warsaw Voice » Law » March 12, 2008
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LAW IN BRIEF
March 12, 2008   
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Construction Law Under Scrutiny

A special committee of the lower house of Poland's parliament is busy working to make the country's legal system more friendly to businesses. Recently the committee has been concerned with changes to construction law.

According to the World Bank's latest Doing Business report, obtaining a building permit in Poland takes 308 days and involves 30 different procedures. In this area, Poland lags behind other members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which associates 30 developed, democratic countries. The average waiting time to get a building permit in those countries is 153 days and necessitates no more than 14 procedures.

The World Bank has come up with several proposals on how to upgrade construction law. One proposal is to introduce a "one-stop shop" where investors could arrange all formalities linked with building permits. The World Bank has also called for restrictions on appeals in the process of obtaining a permit. World Bank experts add, however, that the best way to simplify the construction process is to abolish building permits altogether. If this happened, all local governments would compile development plans for their areas, while investors would only notify local authorities about new construction projects.


Green Light for 'Territorial Cooperation'

The European Commission has approved most of the European Territorial Cooperation programs designed to benefit local governments across the European Union. The EU's 2007-2013 budget assigns almost 8 billion euros for the programs, and the money comes from the European Regional Development Fund. Out of this amount, Poland may receive almost 560 million euros.

The funds have been divided into three cooperation programs: cross-border, transnational and interregional. This division enables local governments, regional governments and nongovernmental organizations to establish cooperation with partners in other EU member states to exchange knowledge, experience and undertake joint projects.

European Territorial Cooperation seeks to encourage and strengthen cooperation among different regions in Europe and one of the main conditions for co-financing is the involvement of at least two partners from different countries in a given project.


New Arbitration Court Launched

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) launched a new court of arbitration March 1. Instead of going to a regular court, clients engaged in a dispute with a bank, an insurance company, a mutual trust fund, a pension fund or a brokerage are now able to seek a settlement through arbitrators. Such an amicable settlement is only possible if the financial institution in question-a bank, an insurance company and so on-agrees to such proceedings.

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority's court of arbitration can handle cases involving disputes in which claims are worth more than zl.500, though, in exceptional cases, the president of the court may decide to take on cases involving lower amounts. Clients who seek help from the court of arbitration have to pay a fixed fee of zl.250, regardless of the amount under dispute. The court is also available to institutions and companies, but then the fee depends on the value of the claim in question.
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