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The Warsaw Voice » Law » January 26, 2012
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Law in brief
January 26, 2012   
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European Letter of Rights
The European Parliament has approved new legislation under which suspects across the European Union will soon receive a special “letter of rights” listing their rights during criminal proceedings. This marks another step toward establishing common standards in criminal proceedings in EU countries—by strengthening the right to a fair trial throughout the EU and contributing to an increase in mutual trust between judicial authorities.

Under the new regulations, people suspected of a criminal offense will receive information about their rights during criminal proceedings. These are the right to a lawyer; to be informed of the charge; to interpretation and translation for those who do not understand the language of the proceedings; the right to remain silent and to be brought promptly before a court following arrest.

At present, citizens in member states do not have uniform access to information about their rights in the event of detention and charges being pressed against them.

Economic Crime on the Rise
Thirty-nine percent of Polish companies surveyed by international consulting firm PwC said they were victims of economic crime last year. Compared with two years ago, the number of companies that fell victim to economic crime increased by 9 percentage points, according to the firm’s Global Economic Crime Survey 2011 report.

Worldwide, fraud and other types of economic crime affected 34 percent of respondents last year. The figure for Central and Eastern Europe as a whole was 30 percent.

PwC experts say the high number of victims of economic crime in Poland stems from a general deterioration in the economic situation in this country. They also highlight poor prevention and a low detection rate for this type of crime, which combine to encourage criminals to commit such offenses.

Of all types of crime, Polish companies most frequently mentioned theft or asset misappropriation (61 percent of responses) and cybercrime (26 percent), and corruption (also 26 percent); 23 percent mentioned violation of intellectual property rights.

Arms Purchases Under Scrutiny
Polish police will notify their counterparts in other EU countries about any cases of foreigners purchasing arms in Poland, under new regulations in force across the European Union. This also applies to the importation, transport and transit of weapons.

A foreigner intending to buy a weapon or ammunition in Poland will have to file a special application. On the basis of this document, the provincial police commander can issue a certificate authorizing them to purchase a specific kind of weapon or ammunition and take these out of the country.

Poland Faces European Court of Justice
The European Commission plans to take Poland before the European Court of Justice on four counts and ask the Court to impose fines for what it says are breaches of EU law. Poland is mentioned six times in this context, and four cases have already reached the last stage of the procedure—involving bringing the country before the EU court in Luxembourg.

First, Poland has failed to incorporate the provisions of the so-called Third Directive on capital requirements, which also concerns remuneration policies and the extension of certain minimum capital requirements for credit institutions. The deadline for transposition was January 1, 2011. Second, Poland has failed to enact a directive regulating air pollution. The deadline for transposition was June 11, 2010.

The third charge involves the lack of a strategy to protect the marine environment, and the fourth concerns the absence of procedures for granting transport rights to airlines, which blocks competition in flights between Poland and non-EU countries.

The first three cases may prove to be especially expensive for Poland because for the first time the European Commission is pressing for quick fines under the Lisbon Treaty.

The European Commission has also called on Poland to stop dragging its feet on enacting a law on protecting waters from pollution caused by nitrates and a directive on investigations into sea accidents.

Bank Opens Law Firm
Alior Bank in January opened a law firm called Alior Doradztwo Prawne, becoming the first bank in Poland to combine banking with legal services.

Alior Doradztwo Prawne’s services are available to the general public, including those who are not Alior Bank customers, for zl.200 an hour. The staff are 30 lawyers with expertise in different areas of law and experienced in working with both companies and individual customers.

Legal services available from Alior Doradztwo Prawne cover labor law, debt recovery, court disputes and proceedings, banking and finance, administrative proceedings, trade negotiations, contract evaluation, IT and e-commerce, consumer protection, competition law, commercial law, and intellectual property protection.

Customers can consult the lawyers remotely via teleconferencing and e-mail.
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