PRAVNI ZAPISI • Year VII • No. 2 • pp. 390-410
BOSNIAN DRAFT LAW ON THE CONVERSION OF SWISS-FRANCS LOANS – CRITICAL REVIEW
Asistent, Pravni fakultet Univerziteta u Banjoj Luci
Pravni zapisi, No. 2/2016, pp. 390-410
Swiss-francs currency clause; retroactivity; Draft of the Law on the conversion of Swiss-francs loans; excessive burden; legal certainty.
Firstly, the author explains what motivated him to write this article, because Swiss-francs loans issue is very important for almost all Balkans states. After that, the essence of Swiss-francs loans is explained and what caused litigations relating to the nullity of these loans agreements. Courts are of the opinion that these agreements are legal and valid. They point out that currency clauses within these agreements are lawful and valid. Such courts’ conclusion is a premise on which rests this article. The author emphasizes that subject of this article is not whether currency clauses regarding mentioned loans are lawful or not, but whether the Draft of the law on the conversion of Swiss-francs loans is constitutional and legitimate.
The author explains the content of the mentioned Draft, especially the method of the intended conversion. Essence of the proposed conversions as follows – conversion of Swiss-francs loans into the local currency (convertible mark) at rates which had existed at the moment of the conclusion of an agreement. The author points to the vagueness of the Draft provisions and the possible problems that may arise in its application, if enacted.
Next and main part of the article concerns the potential retroactive application of the Draft provisions. Draft covers all loans agreements, i.e. agreements which have ever been concluded, regardless of whether they are no longer in force. Thus, main effect of the Draft would be retroactive application of its provisions. Retroactivity undermines principle of le- gal certainty and to some extent principle of separation of powers, since courts have confirmed validity of the mentioned agreements. Draft, also, places all negative effects of rates exchange on creditors (banks), meaning that the question of proportionality could arise.
Thus, the author argues that enactment of the Draft in proposed capacity would probably violate the principle of non-retroactive application of law and subsequently principles of legal certainty and separation of powers. Also, it seems that the Draft would put an excessive burden on banks, since it is likely that they also have obligations denominated in Swiss-francs toward their creditors. Author concludes that issue of Swiss- francs loans should be resolved in court or by an agreement between banks and clients, not by the legislative intervention.