The New European Conflict of of Law Rules on Insurance Contracts in Rome I: A Complex Compromise
The Icfai University Journal of Insurance Law, pp. 23-42, 2008
17 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 15, 2008
The framework of conflict of law rules in relation to insurance contracts in the European Union is notorious for its complexity. The rules are spread over various Directives and the Rome Convention, and are inconsistent. However, an important development that should improve the current state of affairs is the bringing about of Regulation No 593/2008 on the Law Applicable to Contractual Obligations, which will replace the Rome Convention, on 17 June 2008. As of 17 December 2009, it will replace the Rome Convention for contracts concluded after this date. The Rome I Regulation includes new conflict of law rules for insurance contracts in Article 7.
This contribution will focus on the new conflict rules for insurance contracts, as laid down in Article 7 Rome I. Firstly, the current system of the conflict of laws on insurance is presented in order to illustrate its complexity; these rules also served as the basis for and are partly incorporated in the new rule of Rome I. Secondly, the coming about of the Rome I Regulation and the difficulties in relation to insurance matters is discussed. Thirdly, the new conflict of law rules for insurance contracts provided in Article 7 Rome I are analyzed.
It is concluded that the new rule in Article 7 is disappointing. Though it brings nearly all insurance contracts under the the Rome Convention, and in this sense leads to more transparency, the division over contracts covered by Article 7 and those covered by the general rules, as well as the complexity of Article 7 itself, still result in a difficult and unintelligible system. Rather than removing the current divergences, the introduction of Article 7 mainly conceals them. It may be hoped that on the occasion of the evaluation of the Rome I Regulation, the conflict rules on insurance contracts will be carefully reconsidered.
Keywords: Rome I, Insurance, conflict of law
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