Supreme Court judgment
dated 19 May 2005
Case No. V CK 783/04
Summary by arbitraz.laszczuk.pl:
In Polish state court litigation effectively commenced on 23 October 1995, the German company B.V.V. GmbH (and subsequently its legal successors) sought to enforce a claim for about PLN 120,000 against Polish individuals Lucjan M. and Dariusz M. as members of a partnership. After a round of judgments, appeals and remands, in 2003 the Wrocław Regional Court denied the claim, finding that B.V.V. lacked standing because on 12 October 1995 B.V.V. had assigned the claim to Winfried H., who on 12 November 2002 assigned the claim further to third parties.
On appeal, B.V.V. raised a judgment issued by the regional court in Cologne on 19 December 2003 in a case brought by B.V.V. against Winfried H., in which the court held that the claim at issue in the Polish case belonged to B.V.V. The Wrocław Appellate Court refused to consider the German judgment because it was not legally final and its recognition was doubtful. It upheld the findings of the lower court and denied the appeal.
On cassation appeal, the Polish Supreme Court found that the German judgment was not controlling because, even if it were recognized in Poland, recognition would only extend the effects of the judgment that it has under German law, and under the German Civil Procedure Code (ZPO) the judgment is not binding on the Polish defendants because they were not parties to the German proceeding. However, based on one interpretation of the German Civil Code (BGB), the Polish Supreme Court found that the plaintiff may not have effectively assigned the claim at issue in the case to Winfried H., and thus it granted the cassation appeal and remanded the case to the Wrocław Appellate Court for reconsideration.
Excerpt from the text of the court’s ruling:
According to the Lugano Convention, recognition of a ruling of a foreign court means extension of the effectiveness it enjoys in the state of origin to the state of recognition. The recognized ruling should essentially exert the same effects in the state of recognition as those it enjoys in the state of origin of the ruling. The recognized ruling may thus exert certain effects in the state of recognition only when it exerts them in the state of origin. The scope of the effects of a recognized ruling should thus be assessed according to the law of the state of origin, not the law of the state of recognition.