In November this year, the Polish Ministry of Justice decided to amend the draft amendment to the Liability of Collective Entities for Acts Prohibited under Punishment Act. After many negative comments from theoreticians and legal practitioners, the drafters decided to drop the most controversial of the planned changes.
This new draft does not include a revised definition of a collective entity, but only introduces a stricter liability model for larger entities that meet the definition from the drafters’ previous proposal. The liability model for larger collective entities differs, among other things, in its ability to impose a larger fine.
The drafters also abandoned procedural changes regarding the rules for conducting investigations. It was supposed to be conducted according to the rules of administrative proceedings that lacks many of the guarantees given in a criminal law procedure. Lackily that changed. Still, the drafters have not included any new provisions on conducting a full criminal investigation. As a result, many of the criminal procedure’s parties’ rights would not be guaranteed after all.
The new project still provides the companies with a possibility to avoid criminal liability. The answer will be a good compliance and following its rules, especially by the decision makers. It is yet another reason to introduce compliance standards into the company, as well as conducting an external audit on regular basis.
In conclusion, it seems that the development of an effective model of collective entity liability requires further discussion and consideration. However, given the momentousness of the issue and the wide interest in the proposed changes, it can be assumed that we will be able to see a new version of the amendment soon. More details on the current bill and drafter’s progress are available in Polish here.
The full version of the article is available in Polish here.