In the cases of Sales Sinues v. Caixabank SA and Drame Ba v. Catalunya Caixa SA, the ECJ’s General Court has ruled that domestic Spanish legislation which suspends an individual consumer action pending final judgment in an ongoing collective action relating to the same issue results in inadequate consumer protection under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive (UTCCD). The Directive obliges Member States to ensure that adequate and effective means exist to prevent the continued use of unfair terms in consumer contracts. Two consumers had brought individual cases claiming that the minimum interest rate floor clauses in their mortgage agreements, with Caixabank SA and Catalunya Caixa SA respectively, were unfair. A consumer body had also brought a collective action against 72 banking institutions seeking an injunction against the continued use of floor clauses. Operation of Spanish law would stay the individual cases indefinitely pending final judgment in the collective action. Therefore the ECJ was asked whether this could be reconciled with consumer protection rules in the UTCCD. The General Court held that the domestic legislation was not compatible with the Directive as it would suspend individual actions without considering how doing so would prejudice the protection of the individual consumer. Moreover, the individual claimants would not be able to dissociate themselves from the collective action. (Source: ECJ finds Spanish suspensions incompatible with consumer protection)