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Swiss franc loans. Will there be another attack on the courts by Swiss franc borrowers? “This is a very important position”

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Yesterday's judgment of the Supreme Court regarding loans in Swiss francs will mean that there will be even more people willing to pursue their rights in courts – says legal advisor Mateusz Płudowski in an interview with the tvn24.pl business editorial team. He added that this applies primarily to customers who have already repaid their liabilities and cannot count on a settlement offer from the banks. The most important issue regulated by the Supreme Court is determining the limitation date for claims by both banks and consumers. – Many cases will end with the bank not being able to recover the paid capital – he estimates.

On Thursday after 18.00 The Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court adopted a resolution regarding five key problems regarding Swiss franc loans presented in questions from 2021 by the First President of the Supreme Court, Małgorzata Manowska. 18 out of 30 judges of this Chamber listed on the Supreme Court's website participated in the adoption of the resolution.

The resolution of these questions was influenced by the dispute over the judiciary in Poland and the issue of appointing and adjudicating by judges selected by the National Council of the Judiciary, changed in 2018. The majority of the Civil Chamber are judges appointed after 2017. As reported in the media in recent days, nine judges of the Civil Chamber, appointed before 2018, issued a statement in which they assessed that a possible resolution would de facto lead to complications regarding the legal force of such a decision due to – in their opinion – defective composition of this Chamber.

What does the ruling change for Swiss franc borrowers?

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– In short, the Supreme Court confirmed, practically in its entirety, the existing case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) – explained legal advisor Mateusz Płudowski in an interview with the business editorial team of tvn24.pl.

According to the lawyer, the new judgment will contribute to “greater stability in the jurisprudence.” – Here (in court cases – editor) we refer not only to the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), but also to the Supreme Court – he pointed out.

– As attorneys, we already know 100% how to structure these lawsuits. Here we collect all payments made by the borrower under the invalid contract – he explained.

He pointed out that we also learned that any claims by banks had been significantly suppressed. – This already resulted from the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, but it was the Supreme Court that confirmed that banks are not entitled to anything as a fee for the use of capital or indexation – he explained. However, this also applies to borrowers who will also not be able to apply for additional benefits, such as a fee for using capital.

A new regulation of the statute of limitations

– What new did the Supreme Court rule yesterday? The Supreme Court commented on the limitation period for banks and how it is calculated. It is counted from the first customer complaint. This may result in the issue of bank capital being time-barred in many cases, he said.

He added that this applies to situations where “if customers filed complaints about defective contractual provisions in 2017, 2018, 2019 and the bank did not file a lawsuit within three years of submitting the complaint, its demands for the return of capital are already time-barred.”

– Many cases will end with the bank not being able to recover the paid capital. This is a very important position, so far it has not resulted from the jurisprudence of the CJEU, it referred to the jurisprudence of national courts on this matter – he said.

Mateusz Płudowski admitted that everyone hopes that thanks to the Supreme Court's resolution, court proceedings for Swiss franc borrowers will be conducted more efficiently. – I hope that thanks to this resolution, judges will no longer have any last doubts and these proceedings will significantly speed up – he said.

– The consumer was made sure what claims he was entitled to against the bank due to defective contractual provisions. However, the borrower gained certainty as to when his claims against the bank expire and when the bank's claims expire. The consumer's claim becomes time-barred after the expiry of the limitation period when the consumer learned about the defective clauses, he said.

He admitted that this leaves “room for interpretation, since the consumer knows that there are defective provisions in his contract.” – Many consumers today may not have such awareness and this is subject to assessment from when the consumer obtained actual knowledge about the defective aspects of the contract – he emphasized.

Will there be another wave of lawsuits?

– Many people who have so far repaid Swiss franc loans observe such interest, find these contracts and decide to take legal action. What is important for them is that their legal situation is no different from those who are still repaying the loan. This is a group of people who have no alternative but to reach an agreement with the bank, he said.

He added that there may be as many as 150, or even 250,000 people who have closed loans and who also have claims against banks. – This will be a group that will become active. Yesterday's verdict will make even more people willing to claim their rights, he said.

When asked whether the ruling could be questioned due to the neo-judges on the judicial panel, he stated that so far the parties to the dispute have rarely invoked it in disputes, although there is no shortage of judges dealing with Swiss franc cases appointed by the neo-KRS. – This is a global problem of the Polish justice system. . From my own background, from the perspective of Swiss franc cases, I have never seen, for example, a bank questioning that the judgment was issued by a neo-judge, he said.

– Reading the position of the Polish Bank Association, which focused very much on the status of judges, it seems that this is the only point they are trying to raise here – he pointed out.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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