2017/5/29 - 30 Cdo 5260/2015 (summary)

Judgement of the Supreme Court dated 29 May 2017, file number 30 Cdo 5260/2015

(international jurisdiction, choice of law, prorogation)

The plaintiff, as the insolvency administrator, requested the defendant to pay the sum of 18,623,950.68 CZK due to his unjust enrichment resulting from the conclusion of a lien on immovable property without consideration (a payment). The Regional Court, in which the proceedings were commenced, decided that it is not competent to hear the case. The case was subsequently assigned to the Municipal Court in Brno by decision of the superior court. In the proceedings, the defendant objected to the lack of international jurisdiction of the Czech courts. The reason was that the prorogation clause negotiated in the contract does not apply to such a situation as the unjust enrichment is a separate claim not related to the contract. The Municipal Court upheld the objection and declared the lack of jurisdiction of the Czech courts. The court of appeal then confirmed the decision to stay the proceedings.

The Supreme Court has dealt with the question whether a claim related to unjust enrichment is linked to a pledge contract or a wholly independent claim. That is, whether the prorogation clause contained in the pledge contract establishes the international jurisdiction of the Czech courts for the claim of unjust enrichment. Firstly, the Supreme Court stated that the decision of the superior court on jurisdiction within the state does not automatically establish international jurisdiction. Subsequently, a prorogation clause has been interpreted. The Supreme Court ruled that the dispute on the issue of unjust enrichment was a dispute related to the lien, as it was the intent of the contracting parties. Unjust enrichment arose in direct connection with the provisions of a pledge agreement. The parties had to reasonably foresee the occurrence of such a dispute when negotiating the prorogation clause. Therefore, the international jurisdiction of the Czech courts has been validly agreed.