At the beginning of the year, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) announced that he had issued a new decision. There would be nothing unusual about this, as dozens of decisions are issued each year, except that in this instance it was not only a business undertaking that was fined. In a decision of 22 December 2021, a management board member was fined for the first time in history[1] and a series of like decisions followed. On 30 December 2021[2], two managers were fined, while the President of UOKiK again fined a management board member of a company on 31 December. [3]

Did the President of UOKiK have the power to do this? 

The President of UOKiK in fact has had the power to fine people managing business undertakings for breach of competition law since 2015. In turn, since 2018, the President of UOKiK has also been able to fine people managing business undertakings for employment by business undertakings of practices violating collective consumer interests. In both cases, the penalty can be as high as PLN 2 m. To impose a fine, the President of UOKiK is required to prove that a manager broke the law intentionally. This can take the form of both action and a failure to act. A fine can only be imposed in a decision penalizing a business undertaking for breaking the law.

What is meant by a manager

A manager is a person in charge of a business enterprise, and who in particular holds a managerial position or is on the managing body of a business undertaking. This will usually be a management board member, as in the described decisions issued by the President of UOKiK.

The President of UOKiK has only recently begun exercising these powers. December 2020 was the very first time a fine was imposed on a person managing a business undertaking, in decision DOK-5/2020. In fact, this case concerned breach of competition law, and not practices violating collective consumer interests.

Why this is important 

Each year, the President of UOKiK issues many more decisions on practices violating collective consumer interests than on breach of competition law. Fines imposed on managers with respect to consumer interests signify a new trend. The number of fines that have now been imposed suggests that the authority has come to like this instrument, and thus in the coming years managers will have to deal with new kinds of risks. The risk of a fine that could even reach PLN 2 m cannot be ignored.  

[1] Decision RPZ 10/2021,

[2] Decision RGD – 10/2021,

[3] Decision RŁO 10/2021.