Case law

  • Case Details
    • National ID: Case 8 MCdo 6/2014
    • Member State: Slovakia
    • Common Name:link
    • Decision type: Supreme court decision
    • Decision date: 10/03/2015
    • Court: The Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic
    • Subject:
    • Plaintiff: E.
    • Defendant: J. and M.
    • Keywords: consumer, consumer rights, court, legal actions
  • Directive Articles
    Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 6, 1. Unfair Contract Terms Directive, Article 7, 2.
  • Headnote
    (1) Article 6 (1) of the Directive 93/13/EEC (implemented into Slovak law by Sections 41 and 53 (5) of Act No. 40/1964 Coll. Civil Code ("Civil Code")) cannot be construed as to allow third parties to submit an appeal against the judgment in court proceedings before the matter is adjudicated and it can prevent a violation of the aforementioned article.

    (2) The Directive does not deal with the possibility of allowing third parties into legal proceedings. Therefore it is at the discretion of the Member States to create a legislation in this respect.

    (3) Based on the case law of the European Union, the acquis communautaire imposes two limitations on the discretion of the Member States, which chose to legislate the area of participation of third parties to the legal proceedings. First is that such rules cannot be less favorable than those governing similar domestic situations (principle of equivalence). Secondly, these rules may not make it excessively difficult or impossible in practice to exercise the rights conferred by European Union law (principle of effectiveness).
  • Facts
    The plaintiff, a legal entity, claimed the payment of the amount of EUR 1.132,12 together with interest and court costs and expenses from the defendants.

    The District Court ruled that the plaintiff was truly eligible to receive the requested amount and issued a judgment in the favor of the plaintiff. The payment order was then delivered to both defendants. During the process of delivery of the payment order, the Association for the protection of consumers called "HOOS" ("Association") entered into the proceeding as an intervening party on the side of the defendants and submitted an appeal against the payment order.

    The District Court rejected the submission of the appeal by the Association. It declared that the Association is unauthorized to file an appeal as it was not a party to the proceedings in the first place.

    The Association appealed against this judgment and the Regional Court rejected the decision of the court of first instance and returned the case to the District Court for further proceedings.

    The Advocate General issued his opinion where he rejected the arguments used by the Regional Court and the Advocate General decided to challenge the judgment of the Regional Court by means of an extraordinary appeal procedure.
  • Legal issue
    The court decided that the assessment of the Advocate General and the extraordinary appeal procedure he filed was justified.

    The court came to a conclusion that a third party is permitted by law to enter into a proceeding only when it fulfils its purpose and content. This cannot be achieved in certain proceedings as some proceedings only result in a payment order and have no hearings or a court mandated inquiry stage. Therefore, the purpose of third party participation, which is the assistance in litigation, cannot be possibly achieved.

    As the court points out, third parties are allowed into the proceedings only after a judgment rendered in court proceedings is appealed by the original parties to the dispute. This is solely due to the fact that by appealing the aforesaid type of judgment, the dispute enters into a regular legal proceeding, which allows third parties to participate.

    The Directive 93/13/EEC and any of its provision do not confer any specific rights regarding the participation of third parties in the dispute. Any legal entitlement of the third parties is solely regulated by national laws, provided these laws are not contrary to the principles of the European Union.
  • Decision

    (1) Can Article 6 (1) of the Directive 93/13/EEC (implemented into Slovak law by Sections 41 and 53 (5) of the Civil Code) be construed as to allow third parties to submit an appeal against the judgment in proceedings before the matter is adjudicated and it can prevent a violation of the aforementioned article?

    (2) Does the Directive deal with the possibility of allowing third parties into legal proceedings or is it at the discretion of the Member States to regulate this?

    (3) Does EU law impose any limits on the discretion of the Member States, which choose to legislate the area of participation of third parties to the legal proceedings?

    URL: http://www.supcourt.gov.sk/data/att/52947_subor.pdf

    Full text: Full text

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  • Result
    The decision of the court cancelled the judgment of the Regional Court and remitted the case back to the Regional Court.