Changing the payment date vs. the statute of limitations on a debt
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Changing the payment date vs. the statute of limitations on a debt

When performing a contract or settling contractual claims, the parties often modify the original payment dates. This practice is admissible based on the principle of freedom of contract, and so does not raise any controversies. It also happens (most often in the case of disputable claims) that the parties amend the payment date after a claim has become due and payable. In this event, however, it is important to specify the date on which a given claim becomes due and payable, as this determines the start of the limitation period and, under Article 119 of the Civil Code, limitation periods cannot be modified by the parties.

How can this issue be addressed? Can payment dates be changed freely?

The answer to this question was given by the Supreme Court (case No III CZP 88/19 dated 11 September 2020), confirming that a payment date can always be changed under an agreement by the parties, but if it results in the claim becoming due and payable on a new date, then the statute of limitations clock will start ticking after that new date.

The parties can always agree to amend payment dates, but they must remember that such an amendment will automatically affect the limitation period.

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This article is part of the Newsletter No. 2 | 2021.