Scientific Conference “The law of entrepreneurs in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic – problems and challenges”
On 27 May, a hybrid-stationary Scientific Conference was held at Collegium Humanum in Warsaw. The subject of the conference was “The law of entrepreneurs in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic – problems and challenges.” The event was organised by the Law Institute of Collegium Humanum under the Honorary Patronage of:
- HM Provost of Collegium Humanum, prof. dr. hab. Paweł Czarnecki MBA, DBA, LL.M, MPH, dr. h.c.;
- The Foundation of Alexis De Tocqueville;
- The Polish Federation of Entrepreneurs and Employers Przedsiębiorcy.pl;
- The Polish Federation of Hospitals;
- Collegium Humanum Legal Analysis Centre.
The idea to organise a scientific discourse and analysis of the legal situation of entrepreneurs in the pandemic era in Poland was born as a result of various amendment changes to the law that were introduced by the acts of government called by the public opinion “covid acts” or “anti-covid shields”. The introduction by the government of the so-called lockdown, which prevented many entrepreneurs from running their businesses, has been notoriously criticised, among others, by many constitutionalists. The main criticism is that the legal basis for such far-reaching restrictions in Poland were not legal acts of the Parliament, but rather executive acts of the government – ordinances. This has, as it was emphasised in the conference, violated the Constitution of the Republic of Poland as regards the lack of introducing extraordinary measures.
The conference was divided into three discussion panels touching upon the issues of legislation, constitutional law, substantive civil law, areas directly related to this field, procedural law as well as administrative and tax law.
The discussion moderator of the first part of the conference was prof. dr. hab. Adam Doliwa, whereas the following persons delivered their speeches:
- dr. hab. Ryszard Piotrowski – Department of Civil Law at the University of Warsaw: “An attempt to assess covid legislation – between necessity and constitutionality”;
- dr. hab. Jerzy Bieluk – Department of Agricultural Law at the University of Białystok: “The significance of the rebus sic stantibus clause for entrepreneurs in the times of pandemic”;
- dr. hab. Izabella Gil – Department of Civil Procedure of the Institute of Civil Law, Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics at the University of Wrocław: “The consequences of Covid-19 and contractual penalties borne by contractors executing public contracts”.
The discussion moderator of the second part of the conference was prof. dr. hab. Adam Doliwa, whereas the following persons delivered their speeches:
- hab. Marcin Dziurda – Department of Civil Procedure at the University of Warsaw: “Will episodic covid regulations permanently change the civil proceedings?”;
- hab. Krzysztof Koźmiński – Department of Economic Analysis of Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration of the University of Warsaw: “Legislative techniques of covid regulations and the situation of entrepreneurs – the Polish case and foreign experience”;
- hab. Arkadiusz Barut – Humanitas University: “Bans on businesses justified by the pandemic threat as a departure from the constitutional principle of proportionality”.
The discussion moderator of the third part of the conference was dr. Radosław Kosrtubiec, whereas the following persons delivered their speeches:
- Dariusz Kowalski – Department of Public and International Law at SWPS: “Financial measures of public support for entrepreneurs in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic”;
- Angelika Kozyra – Jagiellonian University: “The impact of legislative changes brough about by the Covid-19 pandemic on the functioning of contracts in the economic circulation”;
- Jakub Kotkowski, MA – Faculty of Law and Administration at the Łazarski University in Warsaw: “The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on online commerce and services”;
- Sandra Hadrowicz, MA – Department of Civil Law at the University of Warsaw: “Liability of public authorities for legal damages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”;
- Piotr Ratusznik, MA – Department of Civil Law at the University of Warsaw: “The use of rebus sic stantibus clause in the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. A roadmap for tenants of office space”;
- Jan Stefanowicz, Juris Law Firm in Warsaw: “Force majeure – Art. 471 and 495 versus pandemic regulations”;
- Mateusz Werpachowski, MA – the Office of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority: “Pursuing claims under the provisions of the Civil Code by entrepreneurs for damages caused by the legislator and executive authorities in the scope of changes to the relevant legal provisions due to the Covid-19 epidemic”;
- Marcin Stępień – the Institute of Law at Collegium Humanum: “Copyrights in the times of a plague. Did copyright regulations work well enough during the Covid-19 pandemic?”.
The discussions panels made up from a unique array of practitioners and experts allowed for a truly multifaceted analysis of the main legal problems related to the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences. The conference was also a chance for the participants to establish new contacts, strengthen the existing ones and discuss possible joint research initiatives. The speakers underlined the importance of determining the actual effectiveness of the Polish covid legislation. Did the Polish authorities act in accordance with the procedures intended for such emergencies as the pandemic? Or were the constitutional actions of the Polish authorities an adequate response to a changing reality? Is the civil procedure set forth in the Polish law a suitable means of obtaining compensation for damages suffered by entrepreneurs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic? Has the anti-covid legislation limited the scope of application of the civil law procedures on compensation? Did the Polish law enforcement practice during the Covid-19 pandemic facilitate or rather hinder the performance of a wider economic activity?
The conference contributed to the assessment of various legal solutions and the wider legislative process in the field of a broadly understood business law – introduced to the Polish legal order during the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The conference was also a chance to conduct an analysis of the effectiveness of such legal solutions. The speakers talked about the solutions introduced by the legislator in this context. The questions were raised whether competent public authorities responded to the threats related to the pandemic and whether they granted legal protection to entrepreneurs.
The scientific committee of the conference was composed of:
- hab. Leszek Bosek, professor of the University of Warsaw, Department of Civil Law, Head of the Centre for Medical Law and Biotechnology at the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw, Judge of the Supreme Court;
- hab. Adam Doliwa, professor of the University of Białystok, Head of the Department of Civil Law, Faculty of Law at the University of Bialystok;
- hab. Jarosław J. Fedorowski, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, FESC, professor of Collegium Humanum, President of the Polish Federation of Hospitals;
- hab. Edyta Hadrowicz, professor of Collegium Humanum, Director of the Institute of Law at Collegium Humanum;
- hab. Maciej Jacek Kaliński, professor of the University of Warsaw, Head of the Department of Civil Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw;
- dr hab. Krzysztof Pietrzykowski, University of Warsaw, Department of Commercial Law, Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Warsaw, Judge of the Supreme Court.
At the end of the conference, dr. hab. Edyta Hadrowicz, professor of Collegium Humanum, presented certificates of participation in the conference.