The State Treasury Solicitors’ Office is to receive new powers and will continue to operate as the "Solicitors’ Office of the Republic of Poland" starting from the beginning of 2017. A draft law with this respect was submitted to the Sejm on 24 November. On December 15 Parliament passed a draft, which will be now presented to the Senate. A major part of the act is supposed to enter into effect as of 1 January 2017.
The draft provides for the establishment of an analytical and - first and foremost - procedural resource for the President of the Council of Ministers. According to the draft, the Sollicitors' Office is to provide the Prime Minister with a range of studies, such as standpoints on projects of legal actions, normative acts or court rulings in matters regarding Poland. It is also planned to establish the method of settlement by the Sollicitors' Office of disputes regarding competence with respect to representation of the State Treasury in the proceedings. However, from the point of view of dispute settlement, the most interesting provisions of the draft concern the establishment of a permanent court of arbitration at the Solicitors’ Office of the Republic of Poland.
The draft provides basis for the creation, at the Solicitors’ Office of the Republic of Poland, of an institution dealing with the organisation of arbitration proceedings and mediations for a specific group of entities. The parties to potential proceedings before the Court of Arbitration (name as provided for in the draft law) would be State legal persons other than the State Treasury, legal persons with the State Treasury holdings or State legal persons. The arbitration proceedings will be initiated based on a request to settle a dispute (or perform mediations) submitted by one of the parties to the Court of Arbitration upon the other party's consent to such proceedings. The proceedings will be also initiated based on an arbitration clause binding on the parties. The proceedings will be carried out against a remuneration. The judges (arbitrators) and the mediators will receive consideration for the actions performed. Such consideration will be covered with the fees paid at the time of submission of an application to institute proceedings. It is assumed in the draft that the costs of such consideration due to the mediators and arbitrators should be effectively paid by the parties, while the costs of the current activities of the Court of Arbitration would be covered by the Office of the Solicitors’ Office with funds included in the budget assigned to the Solicitors’ Office. It is mentioned in the explanatory memorandum to the draft act that the future Court of Arbitration would be entitled to strive to settle disputes in a manner other than arbitration or mediation. Such other method might be, for example, conciliation.
The specific principles of proceedings before the Court of Arbitration will be determined by the President of the Solicitors’ Office of the Republic of Poland. Therefore, the Rules of the Court of Arbitration will be defined in an ordinance issued by the President in 2017. In view of the current wording of the draft law, one may expect that the new institution within the Solicitors’ Office will be organised in a manner similar to the majority of the existing permanent arbitration courts. Formally, the Solicitors’ Office is subordinated to the Ministry of the State Treasury. Thus, there is some controversy regarding the fact that the proposed court of arbitration would settle disputes between the companies with the State Treasury holding, even after the Ministry of the State Treasury is liquidated.