Case summary

Deciding Body
District Court of Prešov
Okresný súd Prešov
National case details
Date of decision: 12.03.15
Registration ID: Order n. 7C/6/2010-316
Instance: 1st Instance
Case status: Final
Area of law
Consumer protection
Unfair terms
Consumer credit

Safeguards for access to justice
Right to an effective remedy before a tribunal
Preliminary ruling
Judgement of the CJEU (First Chamber), 28 July 2016, Case C-168/15 M. T. v Slovenská republika - Ministerstvo spravodlivosti SR and Pohotovosť s.r.o., ECLI:EU:C:2016:602

Life-cycle diagram

  1. 9 April 2008

    Decision of the Permanent arbitral court (Slovakia)

  2. 15 May 2008

    Decision of the Permanent arbitral court (Slovakia)

  3. 15-16 December 2008

    Decision of District court Presov – execution of arbitral award

  4. 22 October 2010

    District court Presov – Member State liability not subsintent

  5. 31 January 2012

    Regional court Presov – quashed District court decision

  6. 12 March 2012

    Decision to present preliminary ruling, District court Presov

  7. 28 July 2016

    Decision of the CJEU

  8. 29 March 2017

    Decision of the District Court Presov

Identification of the case

EU law sources
  • Directive 93/13/EEC on unfair terms in consumer contracts

Summary of the case

Facts of the case

Ms. T., a consumer from Slovakia, alleged that the district court of Prešov, in pending proceedings for the execution of an arbitral award, had failed to examine ex officio the potential unfairness of contract terms in consumer credit agreements between her and Pohotovost' s.r.o., which included an arbitration clause.

She claimed damages from the Slovakian Republic, because the enforcement of the arbitral award against her was based on unfair terms.

Type of enforcement
  • Civil judicial enforcement
Measures, actions, remedies claimed/applied

Damages based on Member State liability due to breaches of EU law attributable to a national court

Reasoning (legal principles applied)

The CJEU links the jurisprudence on State liability for the violation of EU law by national judicial authorities with the one on consumer protection affirming that there is a sufficiently clear and serious breach of EU law when the court involved fails to apply the applicable law and the CJEU's existing case law as regards the role of the judge in assessing the unfairness of contractual clauses (pointing to Mostaza Claro decision in 2006). However, only in 2009 the CJEU acknowledged the duty of national judges to examine the unfairness of contractual terms ex officio, where legal and factual elements necessary for that task are available (in Pannon decision). Thus, as the facts of the case occurred on December 2008, in the opinion of the Court, this precludes a sufficiently serious breach. [Note that the CJEU does not assess if the court deciding the execution of the arbitral award is a last instance court which was addressed by the AG Wahl. In AG opinion the fact that the court involved is the court in final instance is decisive as in this case the violation of EU law cannot be remedied].

Finally, the CJEU considers that the rules for the compensation of damage as a consequence of a violation of EU law are determined by national law, subject to the principles of equivalence and effectiveness.

Role of the Charter and role of the general principles on enforcement

Safeguards for access to justice
  • Right to an effective remedy before a tribunal

Elements of judicial dialogue

Vertical dialogue type
  • Direct dialogue between CJEU and National court (preliminary reference)
Dialogue techniques

Preliminary reference.

Purposes of using judicial dialogue

Establishing the MS liability in case of inertia of national court regarding the ex officio powers