Extraordinary appeal

What is an extraordinary appeal?

An extraordinary appeal is an extraordinary means of appeal introduced into the legal order under the provisions of the Act of 8 December 2017 on the Supreme Court (Journal Of Laws of 2019, item 825, consolidated text; hereinafter: the Act on the Supreme Court).

An extraordinary appeal is brought before the Supreme Court in special circumstances, when it is necessary to eliminate from legal circulation grossly unfair and harmful court decisions issued in violation of the law or fundamental rights of an individual.

What conditions must be met in order to file an extraordinary appeal?

An extraordinary appeal is a remedy that can only be used in exceptional circumstances. It should be remembered that ensuring legal order requires respecting court decisions, which should be especially durable.  

Therefore, it is not possible to submit an extraordinary appeal with respect to every final judgment ending case proceedings, but only if the strict conditions set out in the Act on the Supreme Court are met.

An extraordinary appeal against a final judgment of a common or military court ending case proceedings in the may be filed if:

  • the judgment violates the regulations or human and citizen freedoms and rights specified in the Constitution or
  • the judgment flagrantly violates the law due to its incorrect interpretation or application or
  • there is a clear contradiction between the essential findings of the court and the content of the evidence collected in the case.

Moreover, even if one of the above-mentioned prerequisites are met, when deciding to file an extraordinary appeal, it should be examined whether it is necessary to ensure compliance with the principle of a democratic state ruled by law implementing the principles of social justice.

An extraordinary appeal may be filed in a situation where the final judgment being the subject of the appeal cannot be changed or revoked with the use of other extraordinary means of appeal, such as a cassation appeal. This means that an extraordinary appeal is possible only when other extraordinary means of appeal have already been exhausted, the deadline for their use has expired, or they have not been applicable at all since the final court judgment was issued.

Ultimately, an extraordinary appeal is to be a means of appeal that could be filed within 5 years from the date of the appealed ruling becoming final, and if a cassation or cassation appeal has been filed against the judgment – within one year from the date of their examination. However, currently, in the initial period of application of the Act of 8 December 2017 on the Supreme Court, there are exceptions to the above-mentioned rule, depending on which entity submits an extraordinary appeal.

An extraordinary appeal submitted by the Ombudsman or the Public Prosecutor General within 3 years from the entry into force of the above-mentioned of the act (i.e. in the period between April 3, 2018 and April 3, 2021) may concern final and binding judgments ending proceedings in cases which became final after October 17, 1997. In turn, a complaint filed by other entities (including the Financial Ombudsman) may only apply to judgments issued not earlier than April 3, 2018.

Who can file an extraordinary appeal?

An extraordinary appeal may not be brought to the Supreme Court by a person aggrieved by an unfair court decision.

Only the following can file an extraordinary appeal: The Public Prosecutor General, the Ombudsman, and within his jurisdiction – also the Financial Ombudsman, the President of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Poland, the Ombudsman for Children, the Ombudsman for Patients’ Rights, the Chairman of the Financial Supervision Authority, the Ombudsman for Small and Medium Enterprises and the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

In what cases and on what terms an extraordinary appeal may be lodged by the Financial Ombudsman?

The Financial Ombudsman is a body authorized to file an extraordinary appeal only in matters falling within the scope of his competence.

This means that the Financial Ombudsman may only file an extraordinary appeal if (in addition to the conditions listed above) the following conditions are also met:

  • the case concerns the interests of the customer of a financial market entity;
  • the case concerns the activities of a financial market entity;
  • the case concerns a service provided by a financial market entity.

In addition, as indicated above, the Financial Ombudsman has the option of submitting an extraordinary appeal against a judgment which became final on April 3, 2018 at the earliest.

How can a request be submitted to the Financial Ombudsman for an extraordinary appeal to be filed to the Supreme Court?

The Financial Ombudsman may file an extraordinary appeal after reviewing the request of the customer of a financial market entity.

The request addressed to the Financial Ombudsman should be accompanied by all documents required for the assessment of the case, which will allow the Ombudsman to determine whether there are sufficient grounds for filing an appeal.

Therefore, if possible, please provide:

  • a description of the case;
  • indication of the type of violation specified in art. 89 § 1 of the Supreme Court Act, in which the case took place (i.e. it should be indicated which of the 3 conditions described in point 2 above would constitute the basis for filing the appeal)
  • a copy of a final judgment ending the case with an indication of the date of its final validity (if possible, also with a justification)
  • copies of pleadings filed in the course of the trial by both parties to the dispute (statement of claim, response to the statement of claim, objection to the payment order, objection to the default judgment, charges against the payment order issued in the writ of payment proceedings, other pleadings submitted in the course of the trial or other decisions issued by the court, endless proceedings);
  • copies of the minutes of court sessions and a copy of the judgment of the court of first instance, if an appeal was filed in the case (which resulted in the decision of the court of second instance – then this judgment of the court of appeal will be the final judgment).

The Financial Ombudsman, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, will make a decision on the validity and admissibility of filing an extraordinary appeal on the basis of the documents received.

When submitting a request to the Financial Ombudsman, remember to send the documents listed above. The request may be sent by post to the following address: Biuro Rzecznika Finansowego, Al. Jerozolimskie 87, 02-001 Warszawa or to the e-mail address (biuro@rf.gov.pl). In each case, the request should be signed by hand or with an electronic signature. If the request is submitted by a representative, a power of attorney must be presented. It should also be remembered that due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Financial Ombudsman remains closed to the public until further notice.

What are the effects of an extraordinary appeal by the Financial Ombudsman?

The filing of an extraordinary appeal to the Supreme Court does not imply an immediate change in the legal situation of the person for whom and on behalf of the Financial Ombudsman will act. The case must be examined by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court may disagree with the Ombudsman’s arguments and decide to dismiss the extraordinary appeal.

If the appeal is upheld, the Supreme Court may:

  1. reverse the judgment under appeal in whole or in part and, according to the results of the proceedings, make a judgment on the merits of the case;
  2. refer the case for reconsideration to the competent court, if necessary, also reverse the judgment of the court of first instance (then the entire procedure will be conducted from the beginning);
  3. discontinue the proceedings.