Karlsruhe, Germany - The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Germany is due to hear the first legal case brought by a diesel car driver against the German car industry over cheating on emissions tests.

The court, Germany's highest for criminal and private law, said on Tuesday that the case would be heard in January.

The case is being brought by a Skoda driver who wants a part refund from his car dealer. The driver is demanding back about 5500 euros (R92 000) of the 26 770 (R450 000) that he paid for the vehicle.

The man failed in his claim at a lower court in the eastern city of Dresden.

The car, bought by the man in 2013, had an illegal shut-off device that falsely showed reduced exhaust gas emissions during normal driving on the road, while in fact the emission of harmful nitrogen oxides increased.

Another Skoda dealer later updated the engine's software. The applicant claims that he has suffered technological disadvantages, and that his car was generally tainted because of the emissions tests scandal.

Previously, the Dresden Higher Regional Court had ruled that the man had not substantiated the two allegations. Vague fears and hypothetical possibilities were not sufficient, the court said at the time.

A judgement by the BGH could be significant as it prescribes the line for future decisions in similar cases.

The reputation of German carmakers has taken a knock since 2015 after a number of manufacturers admitted falsifying the emissions values of their vehicles with software manipulations to cheat strict environmental laws.

Diesel drivers may now see cars they thought environmentally friendly upon purchase be banned from some German cities attempting to tackle air pollution.