How does the tribunal actually work? Is it legal? 

Operations of the tribunal are made legal by the Chambers of Commerce bill passed in the Polish Sejm on the 30th of May, 1989. The bill sanctions the creation of commerce-based autonomous structures including any necessary specialized tribunals. (art. 5 ust. 2 pkt 4 ustawy z dnia 30 maja 1989 roku o Izbach Gospodarczych).

What kinds of disputes can be referred to the tribunal?

To quote the Polish civil code: „any dispute concerning the ownership of tangible and intangible assets can be arbitrated out of court with the exception of alimony cases” (art. 1157 KPC).

How are arbitrators selected? 

In line with tribunal regulations, each party to a dispute selects an equal number or arbitrators. BNTCC has its own selection of arbitrators but you can nominate outside arbitrators as well. Any natural person of full capacity can be an arbitrator. An arbitrator does not need to be a Polish citizen. They cannot be sitting judges except when retired (art. 1170 KPC). When an arbitrator is nominated from outside the tribunal, the nominating party gives the following information to the tribunal about the nominee: First name, last name, address, phone number, vocation including specialties.

How do tribunal hearings work? 

A hearing takes place when the parties to a dispute decide that it is needed. If no such decision is made, the tribunal itself can schedule a hearing if it is deemed necessary in order to hear testimonies and present evidence. A hearing could therefore include the following: witness testimonies, documentary evidence, inspection of other evidence and any other kind of evidence considered by the tribunal to be of note. Coercion is not allowed under any circumstances to exact evidence from any party. Expert witnesses can be summoned by either party of the tribunal.

Is there any way of settling a dispute out of court other than through an arbitral tribunal? 

Mediation, other than arbitration, is another civil code-sanctioned avenue of conflict resolution in Poland. Mediation, crucially, is completely voluntary as stipulated by article 1831 §1 KPC. Mediation can be initiated through a mediation contract, referring a dispute for mediation as part of a court proceedings or a petition by one party agreed to by the other party to engage in mediation (article 1831§2 KPC).