Decision of the Supreme Court Civil Chamber of 28 January 2015
I CSK 533/14
- The admissibility of group proceedings, on the grounds of Article 1.2, provided the action is limited to the demand of the establishment of the defendant’s liability (Article 2.3), is decided by the legal qualification of the claim that the members of the group intend to pursue in the later cases with the use of the precedent obtained in group proceedings. If such a claim falls within the subjective scope of the Act indicated in Article 1.2, group proceedings on the establishment of the defendant’s liability is admissible. The Court can establish the existence of an interest in initiating group proceedings on the part of the group members on the basis of the future monetary claims indicated therein. The Court can, for this purpose, call upon the group members to specify the individual claims, which they intend to pursue on the basis of a precedent obtained in group proceedings.
- Establishment of liability on the grounds of Article 2.3 of the Act should be understood autonomously with the consideration of the goals and functions of the group proceedings. Specifically, the establishment of liability is not identical with the recognition of the claim as substantiated, in fact as in the case of the judgement as to the principle (Article 318 of the CCP).
- The issuance of a declaratory judgement regarding a large group of persons in group proceedings is aimed solely at establishing the defendant’s liability for an indicated event – this does not, however, refer also to the establishment that damage was incurred by each of the individual group members. The subject of group proceedings, with the demand of establishment, is only mutual circumstances of all of the group members, and not individual circumstances of the individual members, which will not be examined until further individual trials. The probability that the damage occurred, although in group proceedingsthe court may prejudge this stance firmly if this is possible and purposeful, should be deemed as sufficient.
- The establishment of the defendant’s liability in a case for monetary claim resulting from a tortious act constituting one event (article 2.3 in conjunction with Article 1.1 and 2) is admissible in group proceedings also in a situation in which the precondition of incurring damages and their amount is dependent on individual factual circumstances regarding the individual members of the group. The facts pertaining to the amount or the maturity of specific, individual claims should not be taken into consideration in the examination and assessment on the grounds of Article 1.1 of the Act on Pursuing Claims in Group Proceedings of the identicalness of the factual basis of the claim, or whether it is the same.
- The non-submission by one of the members of the group of a declaration on acceding to the group, provided for in Article 12, does not lead to the inadmissibility of group proceedings in relation to all group members on the grounds of non-adherence to the observatiton of the homogeneity of the claim condition. The Court should consider this circumstance in the decision on the establishment of the composition of the group (Article 17.1), by not including this person in the composition of the group.
- Even if the indicated event can also lead to the violation of a personal interest, the compensatory claim for incurring pecuniary damages in relation to this event, is not a claim on account of a tortious act on the protection of personal interests in the meaning of Article 1.2.