Interest are of accessory nature to principal performance. It means that, as a general rule, interest expire no later than the principal performance. For example, if a claim for price payment expires (in the event of business activity the statue of limitations amounts to 2 years), it is not possible to claim interest for delay in the price payment. However, there are cases in which interest become an independant claim. In such cases another rules of statute of limitations apply. Such cases were indicated i.a. in the Resolution of the Polish Supreme Court of January 26th, 2005 (files no. II CZP 42/04), in which:
- it was confirmed that the statute of limiations term set out in Article 118 of the Polish Civil Code for periodical performances shall apply for interest also if the principal performance expires earlier;
- it was stated that claim for interest for delay shall expire at latest at the moment of the claim for principal performance expiry;
- two exceptions from the rule determined in p. 2 above, were indicated.
Payment Before Expiry
If a debt is paid before its expiry date, interest (in the specific amount which can be calculated very easily) become an independent claim which will expiry after 3 years. According to judicial decisions, interest are considered to be a periodical performance with 3 years statut of limitations period.
Statute of Limitation Period for Interest Ceases to Run
The second case indicated by the Supreme Court, in which interest become an independant preformance is when the statut of limitation period for interest ceases to run (indepently of the statut of limitation period for the principal performance). It is possible for example when interest are accepted by debtor or creditor sues debtor only for interest. In such situation, interest for which statute of limitation period ceased to run, should expiry also after 3 years.