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Statute on register liens and the pledge register

On January 1 1998, the new Law on Register Liens and the Pledge Register (Ustawa o zastawie rejestrowym i rejestrze zastawow) entered into effect. The Polish parliament followed the example of other (romanic) countries to establish a pledge registry and replace the pledging-privileges of Polish banks which lost effect on December 31 1997. Under the old Article 308 of the Polish Civil Code (Kodeks Cywilny), it was sufficient for the bank to register the pledge of an asset in its own register to establish a valid lien over movables in favour of a bank. The bank was then entitled to issue an enforceable title on its own behalf. These provisions were made invalid by the entry into force of the new statute.

According to the new Law, to establish a valid lien over movables an agreement between the pledgor and the pledgee is necessary. Each of the parties may apply for registration of the lien in the pledge register. The pledge registers are administered by the business courts (Sady Rejonowe or Sady Gospodarcze), which are attached to the upper province courts. The pledged assets remain with the pledgor who is entitled to use them accordingly. If the pledgor transfers his or her right of ownership to a third party after registration of the pledge, the new owner may not claim acquisition in good faith and the lien remains enforceable. In the case of insolvency of the pledgor, the pledgee may satisfy its claim through regular court procedures. The parties may, under certain circumstances, agree in advance on a right of the pledgee to satisfaction through public sale of the pledged assets. If the pledgee is a foreign bank, the secured claim may also be expressed and satisfied in foreign currency.

Draft on the convertibility of the zloty

In early May, the Polish parliament discussed a government draft on the amendment of the Currency Law (Prawo dewizowe). The proposed amendment will establish the almost complete convertibility of the zloty as of September 1 1998. It will then be possible to use the zloty in foreign trade transactions. The central banks of the OECD countries will be entitled to trade Polish currency. The zloty may also become the subject of international banking transactions. Furthermore, the draft provides for a liberalization of capital transfers and would allow foreigners to open zloty deposit accounts. The draft was forwarded to a parliamentary commission.

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