Decision of the Regional Court in Warsaw 3rd Civil Division of 27th April 2015
III C 1322/13
- Article 19 of the Act on Pursuing Claims in Group Proceedings provides that the withdrawal of the statement of claims, waiver, or limitation of a claim as well as the conclusion of a settlement require the consent of more than half of the number of the group members. The court may find the withdrawal of the statement of claims, waiver, or limitation of a claim as well as the conclusion of a settlement inadmissible if the circumstances of the case indicate that the above-mentioned actions contradict the law or good practice or are aimed at circumventing the law or grossly violating the interest of members of the group.
- The withdrawal of the statement of claims in the present case was effective due to the fact that it was withdrawn by more than a half of the members of the group to have submitted written declarations in this regard. The circumstances of the case, and particularly the satisfaction by the defendant of the group members’ claims do not indicate that the withdrawal of the statement of claims contradicted the law or aimed at circumventing the law, i.e. that there were no prerequisites from Article 203.4 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and that the withdrawal stood in contradiction with good practice or grossly violated the interest of members of the group, hence, no prerequisites from Article 19.2 of the Act on Pursuing Claims in Group Proceedings existed that would give the Court a possibility to find the withdrawal of the statement of claims inadmissible.
- The parties in group proceedings are the claimant – the group representative – and the defendant. The burden of generating funds required to initiate a group action rests with the representative (Article 2.2 of the Act on Court Costs in Civil Cases). The Act does not indicate sources of financing, leaving these issues to the representative and the group’s internal organisation. In consequence, the costs are awarded, depending on the outcome of the trial, from the defendant to the claimant – the representative of the group. The Act does not stipulate encumbering individual members of the group with the costs of the proceedings. Members of the group adopt the position characteristic of a party in the substantive but not the formal meaning, and they do not participate in the proceedings on the principle characteristic of a multi-entity party to the proceedings. Thus, the costs of the proceedings are awarded from or to the representative of the group, while not individual group members.