The Consumer's Jurisdictional Privilege: On (Missing) Legislative and (Misguided) Judicial Action
Forthcoming in: Franco Ferrari & Francesca Ragno (eds.), International Civil Litigation in Europe: The Recast of the Brussels I Regulation
18 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2015 Last revised: 29 Mar 2016
Date Written: May 1, 2015
The following article sheds light on the recent reform of the Brussels I Regulation as well as recent ECJ case law in the field of consumer contracts. It demonstrates that the Recast of the Brussels I Regulation has extended the territorial scope of the jurisdictional rules relating to consumers contracts to include claims by European consumers against professionals from third states. In addition, it demonstrates that the ECJ has enlarged the potential reach of the jurisdictional rules relating to consumer contracts during the last years. Instead of carefully limiting their scope to consumers who actually are deserving of protection, the Court has in effect, and against the intention of the European legislature, extended the jurisdictional privileges of the Brussels I Regulation to almost all consumers who enter into cross-border contracts. The article concludes that both developments together give rise for concern because there is a chance that professionals, especially small and medium-sized companies, will decide not to sell their goods and services to Member States consumers if this inevitably means conducting legal proceedings abroad.
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