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CJEU Ruling Invalidates Supreme Court Resolution, Clearing the Way for Borrowers to Demand Interest on Loan Repayments

LAWCJEU Ruling Invalidates Supreme Court Resolution, Clearing the Way for Borrowers to Demand Interest on Loan Repayments

In today’s ruling, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rectified errors committed by the Supreme Court in its resolution of May 7, 2021 (III CZP 7/21). This resolution, having the force of a legal rule, introduced significant confusion with regards to how the enforceability of claims for the return of mutual funds by banks and borrowers was determined. It’s worth reminding that according to the rule of two conditions, in the event of a contract being declared void, each party to the contract can demand a refund from the other party. A borrower can demand from the bank a refund of all paid rates, commissions, or insurance contributions, and the bank can demand the return of the provided capital from the borrower.

The problem pertained to when both claims become enforceable, or in simpler terms – what are the payment terms for both these claims. The date of enforceability has a significant impact on the issues of settlements between the parties. The expiry of the payment term results in each party being able to demand interest due to the delay from their debtor. Moreover, from the date of the enforceability of the claim, the statute of limitations also begins to run, that is, the period after which it will not be possible to recover the money effectively.

In Polish law, it is accepted that in the case of undue liabilities (i.e. resulting from a void contract), enforceability arises at the moment of the payment summons. However, in the matter of loans derived from foreign currencies, the Supreme Court adopted a completely different concept, stating that borrowers can demand interest only from the moment they formally declare during the proceedings that they do not want the contract to continue to be valid and demand its annulment. The application of this concept, technically called suspended invalidity, led to many courts “cutting” interest for the period before such a declaration was made, thus depriving borrowers of interest for several years of court proceedings.

Fortunately, the CJEU ruled that such action is contrary to the Directive on consumer rights protection. Hence, borrowers can again demand interest on the amounts claimed from the payment summons.

By: Izabela Libera, Legal Advisor, Izabela Libera and Partners Law Firm

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