Lawyers in our Dispute Resolution Practice – Paweł Lewandowski and Bartosz Karolczyk – supported by transport expert Tomasz Zielenkiewicz have represented one of the largest rail operators in a case against the State Treasury for compensation due to the incorrect implementation of the EU Directive on track access charges.

During the course of the over nine-year dispute, first and second instance courts ruled unfavourably for the claimant company, holding that, although the respondent – the State Treasury represented by the minister responsible for infrastructure – had failed to meet its obligations under Community law, in view of the circumstances of the case, this did not give rise to grounds for compensation due to the application of the so-called Francovich doctrine (which, in DZP’s view, does not apply in the case).

As a result of a last resort appeal prepared by DZP, the case went to the Supreme Court, where a three judge bench decided to refer the legal question to an expanded bench of seven judges. Unfortunately, due to the defective staffing at the court, this led to an impasse in the case.

However, thanks to the arguments of DZP’s experts, the three-judge bench of the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the legal question referral order, which is an extremely rare occurrence. After the case was re-examined by the three-judge bench, the Supreme Court resolved the dispute, setting aside both the second instance judgment and – noteworthy for the frequency with which it happens – the first instance judgment. After great efforts and the intervention of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the court upheld DZP’s arguments, which were based on the legal liability of the State for compensation for improper implementation of EU law based on Article 417(1) of the Civil Code.


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