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The Warsaw Voice » Law » February 4, 2010
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Law in brief
February 4, 2010   
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Ruling on Polish Firms in Germany
The European Court of Justice has found Germany guilty of breaching European Union law by granting German companies exclusive rights to sign contracts with Polish businesses on work carried out in Germany. According to the European Commission, Germany has infringed the principle of free movement of services, because companies from other EU member states which intend to do work in Germany can only sign contracts to perform specific work with a Polish company when they establish a subsidiary in Germany.

The Court of Justice has pointed out that the free movement of services means there should be no forms of discrimination against service providers because of their nationality or because their head office is located outside the country where the services are provided.

Child Skiers Must Have Helmets
Like other European countries, Poland has introduced stricter safety rules on skiing under a law that came into effect Jan. 31. Children under 15 years old must now wear safety helmets while skiing and snowboarding.

Parents, guardians and teachers who look after children may have to pay a fine or be reprimanded if they allow a child to ski without a helmet. The new regulations seek to reduce the number of skiing accidents.

Reforms to Prison Service
Poland's prison service system will undergo a thorough reform encompassing health care in prison and the protection of prisoners who are witnesses in major criminal trials. The Ministry of Justice is considering introducing a new special status for such witnesses. At present, such status is only granted to prisoners classified as dangerous.

Protecting Consumer Rights
Regulations on consumer protection across the EU are similar to those in Poland. Differences are insignificant and usually concern different periods of time during which a customer has the right to back out of a transaction conducted online-which in Poland is ten days. Consumer rights in the EU are governed by the same directives and national regulations which implement them only differ in details. Customers may thus return marked-down, but undamaged, goods under the same conditions they could if the product had been bought for the regular price.

When problems occur with a product and it needs to be returned, repaired or is subject to a complaint, consumers in every EU member state can turn to the European Consumer Center, which has offices in all member states as well as Norway and Iceland. The centers can help consumers contact the owner of the store where a given product was purchased and solve different kinds of consumer disputes. The Polish office of the European Consumer Center is in Warsaw.

Help for Road Carriers
Road carriers will be able to suspend their business operations without losing their license, the lower house of parliament has decided. The change to the law on road transportation is a nod to enterprises which as a result of the economic crisis and, consequently, a shortage of orders, have been facing financial difficulties. When a vehicle is temporarily out of use, the risk of an accident is lower and in such cases, vehicle owners can ask their insurance companies to reduce the insurance fee while the vehicle is not used. Including various discounts, such a reduction has to total no less than 95 percent. When a transport company resumes business, it has to notify the insurer.

Top Deal for GLN
International law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel closed 2009 with a deal that turned out to be the largest transaction on the Polish market for shopping centers over the past two years. In the deal, the Karolinka shopping center in Opole and the Pogoria shopping center in D±browa Górnicza, both built and managed by the Mayland Real Estate company, were sold to MGPA Europe Fund III. On the seller's behalf, Gide Loyrette Nouel offices in Warsaw and Paris took care of the legal side of the transaction.

"Together with our clients, we feel glad and satisfied to have successfully carried out one of the most important transactions of 2009, despite the financial crisis as a result of which the year is commonly considered to be a lost one for the real estate market," said Andrzej Lulka, managing partner at GLN's Real Estate Department in Warsaw.

On behalf of the GLN office in Paris, the transaction was handled by partners Hugues Scalbert and Bertrand Oldra.

New Partners at Salans
Three Salans Warsaw lawyers, Agnieszka Wardak, Mateusz Toczyski and Pirouzan Parvine, became partners Jan. 1.

"The new partners owe their promotion to their outstanding performance and brilliant skills," said Tomasz D±browski, Salans Warsaw's managing partner. "Despite the economic difficulties encountered by all corporate advisors, we did well last year and continue to grow mainly due to the support of our experienced and qualified lawyers."

Wardak is an expert on criminal law, including criminal and internal proceedings. Toczyski specializes in banking law, investment financing and debt restructuring matters. Parvine deals with company law and coordinates the CEE French Desk at Salans Warsaw.

Beata Gołębiewska-Chęciak
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