Subject and Keywords:
theory of an unilateral legal act unilateral legal act offer addressed to unspecified numerous of unnamed persons competition theory of an offer ordinary public promise public promise nature of public promise public promise of award
Articles 919 to 921 of the Civil Code regulate the institution of the public promise. The Polish legal system distinguishes two types of the public promise i.e. the ordinary public promise and the public promise of award (i.e. the competition). Under the provisions of the public promise, whoever publicly announces an award, assumes the obligation to reward a person that will behave in a way defined by them. The institution thus defined constitutes an independent source of obligation. The most important question emerging in the analysis of the regulations mentioned above, is the one about the nature of the public promise. The Civil Code does not settle the issue clearly, and any attempt to answer that question causes a scientific dispute on the legal construction of the public promise, which so far has resulted in the emergence of two opposing theories explaining the sense of the public promise i.e. the theory of offer and the theory of unilateral legal act. The source of obligation is the criterion distinguishing between both these theories. According to the theory of offer, it is an agreement between the one who publicly announces the award and the performer of the activity or work (the public promise can be considered as an offer addressed to an unspecified number of unnamed persons; through the act of acceptance of an offer, a contract is concluded, constituting the source of obligation), while according to the theory of unilateral legal act, the source of obligation is a publicly made declaration of will of the one who announces the award, by which they show the will of rewarding a person who behaves in a way defined by them. Above all, the public promise is a social phenomenon, which is becoming increasingly meaningful and popular. Therefore, it is very important to treat the problem of the nature of the public promise with proper attention and commitment.