Public register of unfair terms in consumer contracts in Poland in light of the EU law – judgement issued by the European Court of Justice

For many years, the issue of the extended effect of judgements issued by the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection concerning prohibited clauses was the subject of numerous disputes for which judicial judgements were issued and which were adjudicated in the legal academic community as well.

The Polish regulations on this issue were also at the same time a solution – adopted, importantly, as part of harmonisation of Polish law and EU standards – intended to help bring about more effective protection of consumers against firms employing prohibited clauses in consumer agreements.

The issue of the legal consequences of placing a provision contained in a standard agreement on the list of abusive clauses maintained by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection was finally looked at by the CJEU as a result of the Appeal Court in Warsaw referring a preliminary question to Luxembourg.

In case C‑119/15, the CJEU addressed these particular questions, stating that EU law does not prevent adoption of specific solutions valid under Polish legislation (text: Eur-Lex).

In its judgement, the CJEU applied Council Directive 93/13/EEC of 5 April 1993 on unfair terms in consumer contracts (text: Eur-Lex) in conjunction with Directive 2009/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on injunctions for the protection of consumers’ interests (text: Eur-Lex), and in light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU as well (text: Eur-Lex).

This adjudication would be extraordinarily important were it not for the fact that in between the national legislature introduced extensive reform to the current model for review of provisions in standard agreements, replacing the judicial model with an administrative model. The relevant legislation came into force in April 2016.

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