Nature of claims concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices – judgement issued by the Polish Supreme Court

The distinction between pecuniary and non-pecuniary civil claims has important implications for how a court case proceeds and the procedural instruments available in that case. To give an example, this affects the question of whether the court has subject matter jurisdiction because under art. 17.1 of the Polish Code of Civil Procedure (text: ISAP) cases concerning non-property rights and property claims pursued jointly (with the exception of specific cases) are first heard in district courts. With regard to the latter, the statement of claim also has to specify the value of the dispute. Different rules apply with respect to determining court fees for the statement of claim, depending on the type of case concerned.

In the context of claims which can be brought on the basis of domestic consumer legislation, the Polish Supreme Court addressed this issue in its latest ruling (case no. I CSK 119/16).

The ruling concerned the provisions of Polish Act of 23 August 2007 on Preventing Unfair Commercial Practices (text: ISAP), which served the transposition of Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market and amending Council Directive 84/450/EEC, Directives 97/7/EC, 98/27/EC and 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council (‘Unfair Commercial Practices Directive’) (text: Eur-Lex).

Above that Supreme Court has suggested the affinity between the above mentioned new statutory provisions of B2C-practices and traditional claims available within the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating the Unfair Competition (text: ISAP).

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