On December 15 2000, Poland's parliament adopted the law on the Protection of Competition and Consumers Act (Journal of Laws No 122, item 1319), which came into force as of April 1 2001.
The act replaces the law of October 22 1998 on Counteracting Monopolistic Practices and Protection of Consumers Rights (Journal of Laws No 145, item 938 with subsequent amendments) repeatedly amended since its entry into force in 1990, and deemed by the legislator as insufficient to protect the still growing Polish market against anti-competitive practices.
Given the above, the need to adopt new regulations providing new legal solutions – previously unknown in Polish competition law – as well as adapting Poland's laws to EU regulations, became evident.
The essential new legal regulations introduced by the act are:
- increased control rights of the anti-monopoly body to collect evidence in anti-monopoly proceedings (for example, the right to search the entrepreneur's premises);
- the extension of anti-monopoly control on excessive economic concentration with the participation of natural persons already holding a 25% stake, or who have control of at least one economic entity (this regulation results from the fact that natural persons often obtain a majority of voting rights in several companies with a strong position in the market, taking over control of them);
- a strict ban on the abuse of a dominant position – economic entities with a dominant position in the marketplace will not be able to abuse it by referring to circumstances justifying such actions.