On 24 May 2019 the Supreme Court General Assembly on the Unification of Judgments (General Assembly) concluded that the plaintiff in a partial monetary action need not reiterate its claim for interest when increasing the value of the claim if it claimed interest for its principal receivables in the plaint petition and the claim of interest will automatically apply for the amount which is increased later on (Decision 2017/8 E, 2019/3 K).
Partial claim actions are filed when a plaintiff seeks to collect a partial amount of the receivable when the action is filed and reserves its rights for surplus. When the plaintiff wants to claim the surplus amount, it may choose between filing a separate case (known as an 'additional case' in practice) andincreasing the original claim in the ongoing case. Although the extension or amendment of the claim or defence is prohibited after the preliminary examination stage of the proceedings is completed, the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) enables parties to correct their previous procedural actions only once. The value of the claim is increased under this concept mostly by filing a petition.
There have been divergent decisions from the Supreme Court regarding whether it is possible to rule on interest for the increased amount of receivables by relying on the request for interest in the plaint petition, if not requested when increasing the claim. Some chambers of the Supreme Court have issued decisions that allowed interest for the surplus, whereas the others ruled against it.
The latter based their opinion mainly on the principle of non ultra petita, suggesting that a judge cannot rule beyond the extent that is requested by a plaintiff. They asserted that a claim for surplus must be treated like a separate case, even when asserted in an ongoing case, because plaintiffs are provided with this option only to access the requested conclusion in a cheaper and faster manner. Arguing that increasing the value of the claim in an ongoing case must have the same procedural results with filing an additional case, these chambers concluded that it is not possible to rule on interest for the surplus if it is not specifically demanded when increasing the value of the claim.
On the other hand, those chambers that allowed the request for interest in the plaint petition also apply to the surplus argued that plaintiffs which resort to correction of a procedural action aim to extend their claim rather than amend it entirely. Therefore, where the value of the claim is increased, all elements of the plaint petition except for the value of the claim remain unaffected.
In order for the resolution of the matter, the General Assembly first assessed whether the increase of the claim's value should be interpreted as an additional case, concluding that it was part of the ongoing case and could not be deemed as a new or additional case. The fact that the plaintiff must deposit the court fee for the increased amount does not change this interpretation, as payment of the missing court fee is only a procedural action. Besides, the CPC requires an action to be filed through a petition and seeks certain elements in its content. On the other hand, it is possible to increase the claim's value only through a verbal statement.
On this basis, the General Assembly concluded that such increase under the concept of correction will not affect the actual request and its accessories; it will affect only the amount demanded in the first place. As this cannot be interpreted as a new case due to the reasons explained above, there is no need to reiterate the claim for interest when increasing the value since the request for interest asserted in the plaint petition, along with all other components of it, must apply for the surplus.
In practice, if a plaintiff increases a claim's value, defendants reiterate the statute of limitation plea for the increased amount even if they had asserted it in the response petition. The General Assembly's conclusion that such increase cannot be deemed as a new or additional case might also have an impact on this practice because, based on this decision, it can be argued that the statute of limitation plea asserted with the response petition covers the amount which is increased later on. The fact that this plea is accepted as a preliminary objection which can only be asserted with the response petition also supports this interpretation.
First published by ILO - Litigation Newsletter, in 24.03.2020